Even as the cities of Seattle, New York, and other major metropolitan areas loosen their zoning to allow families self-sufficiency and companion animals of many sizes, my rural village of six hundred people, with farms within a city block of it's borders, eliminated the use of one hundred year old pre-existing barns, as places for goats to peek out the window and nibble the vegetable scraps of my neighbors and my garden.
Now that's progress.
The truth is, we've cut back our reliance on our goats gradually, when the zoning ordinance went up for review. I rallied the neighbors and some village members and as I first blogged a few years ago about this issue, when I saw our neighbors support and protest went unanswered, I saw the proverbial handwriting on the wall. Then Katie, our goat herd queen, passed away from old age, wrapped in a soft blue blanket.
We went a year without goat milk and purchased it from a Mennonite farm friend while I was pregnant with Daniel. And why did we have a year without goat milk? Because village dogs broke into my barn and tore open my goats, requiring surgery on three of them and providing me with a healthy farm visit vet bill.
Otherwise friendly labrador retriever and labrador mixes turned into ripping tearing, goat harassing creatures when let out to do their business with no leash. And my goats were zoned out of the village?
Monday morning is trash day in our village, and we usually see a few trash cans with their contents strewn about by a loose family pet of some village resident. My goats never leave their barn, provide milk, manure for the gardens of both my half acre and the neighbors, and eat up the weeds they pull for them.
I fail to see the wisdom of more rules for my barn. Perhaps enforcement of the dog leash law would have been time better spent. But that could just be my bitter bone speaking, I've noticed I have one when I lose the source of milk for my young children and source of cheese for my lactose intolerant family.
By all means, make more government, make more rules, invade my barn. And a plague of flies upon the swimming pool behind my barn during swimming season. I think this summer you'll have a very difficult time making the case that your flies are caused by my goats. Especially since I hang fly strips in the barn and they were usually quite empty!