Posts Tagged ‘zoom call’

Photo: Cronkshaw Fold Farm.
This is Lulu. “Lulu likes to use her treacherous screech to interrupt any time a goat other than her is booked for a call.”

Everybody loves goats. I’ve lost count of the number of times my youngest grandchild has had me tell her the story of the goat that ate my brother’s mitten when he was 2 or 3. Maybe the goat only pulled the mitten off. Not sure. But eating makes a better story, and my granddaughter likes me to embroider the tale with all sorts of other details that never happened.

Meanwhile, in England, goats are participating in Zoom calls. Sydney Page reported the story for the Washington Post.

“At this point in the pandemic, Zoom fatigue is universal. But one woman has a solution you never knew you needed: a live goat on the call.

“Cronkshaw Fold Farm in Lancashire, England, has been offering up their goats to make spontaneous, up-close appearances in virtual meetings anywhere in the world.

” ‘It started as a joke. It wasn’t actually supposed to be a thing,’ said Dot McCarthy, 32, who runs the family farm, which spans two generations.

“The goats drop in on otherwise mundane virtual gatherings, including seemingly serious business meetings, birthday parties, baby showers and high school math lessons. Out of nowhere, a goat will appear in the meeting with its name displayed on the screen.

It’s typically a surprise to all attendees but the organizer. The idea is that the goat ‘crashes’ the party. …

“At first, ‘it was just to give people a laugh, and I thought, maybe we’ll get a few more egg and meat sales because people are on the website,’ McCarthy said. ‘But what actually happened was people were like, “Yes, I need a goat.” ‘

“After sharing a post on the farm’s website explaining the idea one evening early in the pandemic, she woke up the next morning to 200 emails requesting a goat call. In the past 11 months, Cronkshaw Fold Farm has facilitated more than 10,000 five-minute video calls on conferencing platforms.

“While the main idea is to get some laughs during a grim time, the goat video calls have managed to keep the 500-year-old farm afloat — and staff members employed. …

“ ‘You just see people screaming and saying, “Why is there is a goat in here?!” ‘ McCarthy said, adding that each goat is labeled with their name when entering a call because they each have a particular personality.

“People like to have their pick, she said. That’s part of what makes it fun. Seven of the farm’s 40 goats are showcased on the website, with a photo, a brief bio, as well as a ‘what to expect’ section displayed for each. …

“Alongside training sheepdogs and selling eggs, meat, produce and manure (for gardening purposes), the farm financially depends on hosting educational visits, weddings and other events, all of which paused during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Employee wages are normally reliant on these events, McCarthy said, leaving her in a bind. ‘They work so hard,’ she said, explaining that she was adamant about keeping her two employees on the payroll. ‘I just iterated through idea after idea, asking myself what we can do to make money.’ …

“ ‘A few friends who work in the tech sector were saying how bored they are with video calls, and I was like, “You know what would be funny? If you just had a goat appear in your call. Why not throw a goat into the mix?” ‘

“Since April, the spontaneous service has brought in around $60,000, allowing McCarthy to continue paying her staff members. Plus, additional funds go toward her long-term goal of converting the farm to renewable power.”

More at the Washington Post, here.

By the way, in Lunenburg, Massachusetts, you can go hiking with a goat for a reasonable fee. Check it out. Are you on Instagram? You’ll get a kick out of @sweateredgoats from Bangladesh and India.

Photo: Christy Sommers.
An Iowa native’s Instagram account features sweatered goats in Bangladesh and India. Check out my previous post.

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