Our friends, Matt and Ruth, live just down the road from us, on their smallholding. They are pretty much self-sufficient with all their vegetables and meat. The only vegetable they don't have sufficient land for, is potatoes. They have chickens for eggs and chickens for meat. Every year they raise pigs and sheep, selling off the surplus to the lucky ones (like us!) as a way of paying for the purchase of the young and associated costs of feeding and raising them.
Ruth is amazing! She does so much - looking after a vast vegetable garden and looking after the animals is a full time job. But she also makes beautiful, hand painted cards, sews and knits, cooks like a dream and is generally a lovely person. Accomplished and articulate - grrrr!!! And Matt is pretty cool too - calm and gentle with a great sense of humour.
However, they have never been able to provide for their own milk requirements. At least not until a couple of months prior to Christmas when their first goats arrived. Ruth kindly invited us down to view and of course we went, albeit a little reluctantly (see above and reasons for...).
We were introduced to Iona and Bracken. Iona is three years old and Bracken is only 7 months. They are Golden Guernseys... or is that Guernsey Goldens???... oh well, hopefully they'll forgive me and they are far from the aforementioned 'types' I was expecting to see. Extremely attractive with kind eyes and charming natures and characters. Iona was already 'in kid' so as to ensure a milk supply from her.
Two days ago, the happy event took place and Iona's twins were born. Ruth tells me that normally goats aren't the most maternal of animals, but Iona is turning out to be an excellent and devoted mother. So sweet!
So, Ladies and Gentlemen, may I introduce to you, Iona and her two little babes or 'kids' as I really should call them...
In the picture above, you can see the young male being 'kissed' by Iona and the female is just turning in for a nap in the corner.
Sibling love! They have bonded well as a family unit already and are very affectionate towards each other - aren't they a beautiful colour? Their coats are as soft as silk too. Sweet little faces.
Below is a photo of Bracken - girls just check out those eyelashes!!!! Bracken has been rather excited by all of this and Ruth thinks that she probably hasn't had a lot of sleep since the youngsters were born. Today, however, the sun was shining and she was starting to relax and calm down.
Bracken also has a new party trick, which she displayed the day the kids were born. She has taken to jumping on this box and Ruth was trying to encourage her to do so for our entertainment... but Bracken was having none of it. Just give me the food please.... so Ruth and I walked away to have a little chat about life in general and....
As you may imagine from someone as talented as Ruth, she has already begun to make cheese from the goats milk.... which is where I come in again.... yum!