This weekend, we had to escape the city, our routine, and ourselves. It was time. We needed nature, animals—stuff that has nothing to do with our M-F everyday fare. And we found it, at the Fattoria Pasqué outside Varese, an easy 45 minutes from Milan. This is just one of many places along the lines of an agriturismo not far from the metropolis, where you can take city-weary kids to working agricultural establishments, and let them be one with farm animals of every description. But it’s not just the children who are healed by such outings. My first glance at the baby goats was as good as a Xanax.
Being in the presence of animal nature and animal intelligence is a great way to shake off the rather meaningless ambitions that accumulate in my mind over time. Watching the cows chew their hay or the free-range chickens scratch out a hollow in which to lay an egg calms the nerves. Even the smell of animals is sweet to my nostrils. I like being with them. I like, too, what happens to my children when they are surrounded by chickens and geese, pigs and sheep. They seem happy in a pure, uncomplicated way that has nothing to do with being entertained or having “fun”—as if they, too, are returning to their natural state. They run. They serenade peacocks. They whisper sweet nothings in the donkey’s ears. They glow with exertion, and work up healthy appetites for hearty food.
And hearty food is in abundance here, served simply in a no-frills restaurant featuring the products of the farm. I’ll remember the ice cream that topped off my meal best, though— just the cold, creamy essence of milk. Fresh, simple, good. But then again, that is how I would describe the whole experience. At one point during lunch, I asked my husband, “Do you think this all tastes so good because we’re here at the farm? Or would this taste amazing anywhere?” He didn’t know. It was impossible to unravel the “delicious” from the “happy.” And, honestly, who would want to?
Aww, is there anything cuter than a baby goat? Lovely story. Thanks, A.
There absolutely is NOT anything cuter. I swear to you, when I saw that little fluffy white beige-y thing I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. Or her. Both the girls were like “Can we get a goat? Can we get a goat?!” Hmmm. In the city? Don’t think so.
people are keeping goats in their backyards here in portland now, and a ‘goat collective’ has started that i heard about yesterday. something about walking them, and feeding them and in trade you get fresh goat milk. right in our neighborhood but i have not looked into it too much yet. i loved your photos….http://www.neighborhoodnotes.com/news/2009/11/goats_in_the_city_portland_neighbors_take_a_step_towards_selfsufficiency/
Shannon, thanks for this! Especially for the link…you know, if I moved back to the States, it’d be between Portland and New York…a toss up for a variety of reasons. But the goats might tip it in the Portland direction.
I LOVE goats and I am dying to have one. Chickens too. Someday, I feel sure that Roberto and I will have both. Thanks, thanks!
Thanks for taking all of us on a trip to the farm today. There’s nothing much better than baby animals. The pigs/boars are amazing and I’m already breathing slower.
Thanks Diane…we don’t get a lot of nature inside MIlan, so it was a welcome change…but you with your wind turbine!!!??? you must have lots of nature around you, do you?
I liked those little pigs the best. I love the stripes.
love this phrase: “…impossible to unravel the ‘delicious’ from the ‘happy.’ ” must mean that happiness is a big factor in determining how we review something. and how we store it for later use. hmm…. and which should come first.
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