Word of warning to future island-hoppers:Beware the goats and sheep.And their kids.I mean, they are everywhere—EVERYWHERE!On St. John, where goats are preferred, herds of them can appear in the road around any corner.Here on Bequia, and on St. Vincent, folks tie up sheep by the roadside to munch on free grass.Even in town.
They’re a driving risk, to say the least.But even worse, they’re noisy.One recent, early morning, a nearby sheep was having a ba-a-a-a-a-a-d dream.He would NOT shut up.It wasn’t til the sun came up that I could see him—tied up in the yard next door.No way did the shepherd own that property.But who cares?It’s free sheep chow.
Speaking of cheap graze, on St. John, the island is still considered “free range.”We’re not talkin’ organics here, but rather, old laws that allow “farmers” to let their livestock roam.(Fortunately, there are only a handful of cows and pigs still ambling about.)
While I have yet to consult an attorney, it’s my understanding that this law means that free-range animals can wander into your yard and eat your bougainvilleas.Poop on your driveway.And yes, walk en masse onto your deck.And they do.
Call me prejudiced, but the thing is, these critters are dumb as bricks.Look into their eyes and you see…nothing.Just big, popping, bulbs of emptiness.They’re so stupid they don’t even know how to run away when scared.
I don’t yet know all the animalia etiquette on the island of Bequia.But on St. John, story goes that if your Jeep hits (and kills) a goat, the owner will find you and request remuneration for the loss.But if you hit the goat and it does damage to your Jeep, the owner will simply say, “Not my goat” should YOU request repair reimbursement.
If you visit a goat owner to say,
Please keep your goats out of my gardens; they’re eating my flowers,”
you’ll simply get laughed off their property.Word about your ludicrous ignorance will quickly spread in bars and on streets.Even the goats will laugh at you.Best avoid that.
So why all the fuss over grow-your-own meat?It’s cheap, for starters.After all, every time one has a baby, you can slaughter the parent and still break even.But mostly, they just love their mutton.It’s a delicacy around here.
You’re considered “in the circle” and a close friend when invited to an event where they slaughter and roast a kid (of the animal nature).And those feasts are reserved for the most special of occasions:Christenings, high holidays, weddings, voodoo ceremonies.
If invited, go!Not only will you experience an extraordinary cultural ritual, you’ll help rid the island of one less live driving hazard.You may even like the taste.Some say you can’t bleat it!