Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Get Your Goat

Ever since I moved to Greece, I have been campaigning for Mr Zeus to let me keep a goat and two chickens, but he ain't having none of it.

A weird request, you may think, but what can I say? Goats and chickens make me happy. Just watching them go about their little lives is like a philosophy for living. Search here, search there, eat what you find, make a noise when you do something good like lay an egg.

On Sunday we went to Schisto bazaar, a sprawling market that is laid out near Pireas and it was just divine. For one thing, it was just like being back in the Home Country. Secondly, it had that same Home Country appeal of anything and everything being collected all together to be sold. There were people literally selling junk, but kudos to them for being that ambitious.

Okay, now I know Schisto bazaar is in the news now and then for the shabby conditions they keep the animals they sell in, for example teeny little puppies out in the open, shivering on a cold day when they had no business being away from their mothers in the first place etc. But guys, I have to tell you, my heart lept a hundred metres off the ground when I spied a pen containing kids. No, no, not the manifestation of all the threats mothers in Greece dish out about the Gypsies kidnapping you if you misbehave. Kids, as in baby goats.

My oh my, it has been years since I laid eyes and hands on a baby goat. They are about the cutest little creatures you could ever see. If you feel around in the fur on their heads, you will find adorable little horns. They smell like earth. Sadly I had no camera to capture myself with a baby goat in arms.

But they took me right back to my childhood days and our goat couple, Elvis and Priscilla, with whom we enjoyed many a happy frolick before they disappeared. I don't know for sure if they were sent to the village or if they ended up on my dinner plate. I wasn't a particularly questioning child. But I have pictures of me and them and some of their offspring.

Next up were cages and cages of fabulous chickens. They were all so round and lovely and looked so delightful pecking about here and there. Life is not complete unless you own chickens! Another childhood memory of visiting our aunt in the village and searching for warm, shiny, brown little eggs laid here and there, which our aunt boiled and served to us with bowls of hot tea before cups and saucers came into fashion.

Mr Zeus thinks chickens stink and the fact is that to me chickens smell like chickens, and that's not a particularly bad smell. That's just how chickens smell. It's not their fault! And they should not be barred from my household just because Mr Zeus was born and bred in a city.

But he said pooh to that, and no chickens were to be had. Oh well. Back to urban living without goats or chickens. I think he worries that I'm a stone-hearted bitch who will eat my goats and chickens once I'm bored of them, and it doesn't help that I go on about how tasty goat curry is. It's not like my childhood doesn't back up his claim. Mwahahahaha!!!

Okay I didn't eat my pet goats and chickens. Just the ones that people brought as payment when they didn't have money (see, I didn't personally know these goats or chickens so it was alright). Oh and there was one time a baby chicken we bought from the market grew up to be a really mean rooster who we gave away to a rooster fighter. Who probably ate him. And if you knew this rooster you'd agree that he deserved it.



Psofofeggaro said...

then you're not made to be a housewife in athens but for one in a village. :p
If you weren't married I'd suggest you apply to the reality show to be a farmer's wife :p
Seriously now, I too belive that animals stink and are noisy but I understand your view. My mom was against having any pet, because she was hurted as a kid (had a lot of chickens ended up cooked) is against the idea but I dont really agree.

Sesi said...

Ok, little missus, here's a story of urban kids going to the Xwrio for Xmas holidays.
My friend went year after years to her Xwrio, until one year she found Christos in her grandma's yard. Christos was a goose, proud and loud. She fell in love with him, adopting him as her official Xwrio pet. Season after season she went to the Xwrio, petting Christos and playing with him for endless hours.
Then one Xmas, she went to Xwrio, with her heart filled with images of her playing with her precious goose. But when she arrived there, Christos was nowhere to be found. She asked grannie, where's Christos? Grannie said, Christos? Oh, he was ready. Meaning, he grew old enough to be dinner.
Needless to say, my friend never adopted a pet off her grandmother's yard ever again.
It's just the way nature goes. These animals are our food. They do have personalities and all, but once their time comes, it comes. The other way, would be to let the animal die of old age, burry it, and let the worms eat it. I don't see anyone wondering themselves which animal our dinner steak comes from? That's from a once live animal, with its own personality as well.
With all that being said, I never actually felt comfortable when my own grandmother in my own Xwrio went to her chicken barn to pick up a chicken for dinner. She never had any problems with it, but I had. Which is odd, because I had no objections to eating the chicken in the end. Well, other than the smell of a real chicken in my plate, to which I was not accustomed, as a city-child.
Not including meat in our meals is not normal. Humans are carnivorous animals, they need meat. Noone ever said that death is nice, but we are all part of the food chain. Even us humans.

bollybutton said...

Ladies I swear I felt like the most cruel freak of nature when recently a friend was telling the story of how in the army they had to slaughter a sheep and he couldn't eat meat for about six months after. By contrast, growing up in a boring little town that was practically a village, watching chickens and goats being prepared for dinner was like the event of the week. We never even flinched and would later sit with our cousins comparing this year's festive goat sacrifice to last year's - size, shape, technique, skill of butcher, etc. We were weird kids. But we grew up in a place where that sort of sentimentality didn't really exist, maybe because we were taught that certain animals are food and a lot of people don't have food. Our dad especially was not well-off as a child and they hardly ever got meat.

Maria said...

Bolly button, you need to come to Sparti where I am now- goats, turkeys, ducks , chickens- there is a truck that comes around selling the critter, too- And stewed rooster is great-I love goat curry- they are all cute! My uncle had chickens for eggs in Halandri- I just had a beautiful egg today, laid by the neighbor hen!

smaro said...

Bolly button, you are not weird about not having sentiments in relation to the animals being killed for food. We would do the same, swap commentary on the size of the animal be it fish, goat or chicken that graced our Yiayia and Papou's table. It was funnily enough my city born Irish father who had to be protected from the awful reality of where my Yiayia's chickens and goats were going. I have never had a problem with that and would still like to own some domesticated animals one day. The only thing is my boyfriend is now the one needing protection from the realities of where our food comes from, so maybe it is a dream that is never to be. That said, having domestic animals in a city setting is a real no-no. Where do you slaughter them? How will you answer anxious questions you may get from more sensitive neighbours if by chance the poor goat gets the chance to bleat out its fate? Mom had this problem in Botswana where I grew up, where African families had no problems keeping and slaughtering their goats in the backyard for a feast, much to the fright and alarm of the European and/or more sensitive neighbours appalled with the sounds, mess etc...