Thursday, 25 July 2013


Guess what! When we checked the pen this morning all 10 babies were present and correct! What a happy start to the day! I was definitely expecting at least one given the previous days track record and the fact I could see my breath as I wandered around the 'house' this morning. It was a very misty morning but Alex had us out at 8 and after kids were fed there was a fence to build.
The farm has about 1500 goats but around 200 of these are 'pets'. The pets are goats that have been hand reared and are kept to produce babies but they themselves won't ever go to slaughter. They are quite funny but for the most part a nuisance. There are a handful in particular who sleep at the house, most annoyingly Dean and his bezzie Ronnie who sleep on the deck by the warm chimney and shit everywhere. Alex won't stand for this so we are redoing the fence around the 'house' so it is a dog only yard. My morning was spent digging deep holes for straining posts, cutting my very first bit of metal (I felt very flash dance with all the sparks), using a monkey wrench (not just a song!) and all sorts of useful wire-related things. Everything is old and rusty and 'useless' according to Alex who had no patience with the previous workmanship on the fence but seemed to have endless patience with two girls who don't know a grinder from a gripple (we do now!).

He left to go to the other farm after lunch leaving K'Marie putting in another post and me with the task of taking Clifford the pig dog puppy (horse sized already) and Kip the blue healer. It was not a task I was looking forward to after chicken gate, mouldy head gate and general stories of the pigs/foxes/rabbits they've all mauled. I attached them both to the same piece of rope ne tentatively set off...they were exceptional. I have never walked two more well behaved dogs. Don't get me wrong I wouldn't let them off the rope ad I did worry about rope burn if one bolted but bar one rancid kid leg incident with Clifford I couldn't complain! We did have to turn around and go back the way we came though as 60odd goats were out and about and one poor soul was lying on the ground with one hoof (trotter? What do goats have?!) stuck very firmly in the fence. I couldn't free her alone so went to get K'Marie to help. 

When I got back the water man was back! He had come earlier with a water delivery - something of great joy as usually we have to fetch the water ourselves (again, a trip I haven't made yet as Noel has been away). I believe most of the people round here get their water delivered, farmer Chris is just tight...our delivery was a favour as the guy is building him a Dam and apparently the water is in return for dirt. So Chris isn't paying anything for it. Water man was enchanted by our little collection of kids and horrified to hear that we often ran out of water and were here for free so he brought us another tankful. Nice, hey!

We managed to free the clumsy goat and herded the others (basically a pro now) and were back in time for feeding just as Alex returned. I am a bit worried about jy as he hasn't embraced life in the nursery and does not care for the rubber teat. He is often at the back looking little and sad and lonely but he loves a snuggle with me. We nearly took him in for the night but he kept walking into the fire so he's in the pen with the others. Fingers crossed they all make it again. We are feeding them more and blocking any bit of air getting into the cage overnight, it's worked once!

We did have one little chap in with us tonight - I found him being attacked by pesky crows. He is only about 4 days old but when I came to check on him a few hours after I'd brought him in to warm up he was basically sat in the fire. The smell of burned goat is another treat. He is called Bernard. But I am not convinced he'll be with us tomorrow so I won't dwell!

Spirits dip ever so slightly in the morning as I'm a bit fed up of always being cold. I do not have workmans hands and they are already red and peely as they are constantly being washed in freezing water or eaten by goats or manipulating wire or just out in the chilly air. If anyone fancied sending gloves...!

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