Friday, 20 February 2009

Goats and kids...

I can't say that I am normally too keen on goats. They seem to have a 'malevolent' eye in most cases and are smelly... rankly smelly. However, one lives and one learns. I should state that the smelly problem does not seem to arise with goats cheese - in fact, the smellier the better. Strange person that I am!

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.

I'm tired! I just want to go to sleep please...

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....

Bracken immediately jumped onto the box as to say, well I can do it if I want to... oh and by the way, aren't I just too pretty....

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!


  1. a little bread, some fresh goat cheese, perhaps a nice bottle of red wine to wash it all down........sounds smashing. hows the weather your way? still quite cold here....toodles, jack

  2. These goats are great! Talk about a topic for a children's book!!

    I have a pony that we got for our daughter. Now that she has gone to college the pony is here alone. I have been told that ponies and horses really like goats for companions and I have actually thought about getting one or two... Your post really makes me think about doing it now!

    Take care.

  3. Hi Jack - definitely a nice bottle of red wine to go with such a delicious little meal... Weather sunny but the wind is bitter... hopefully the normal prelude to spring!

  4. Oh Veronica! They are beautiful! Someday I think I will have one.

  5. Another thing about goats is they eat almost anything. That old joke about them and tin cans has some truth to it. There was a pair on farm I spent a summer at and we had to be careful about what we left lying out. But they love stale bread and such, so no need to worry about them being picky eaters, and they are very, very cute.

  6. Those goats are so pretty! Ours, on the other hand, are not so pretty - but at least they're not smelly. In truth our goats do nothing at all but give us pleasure, as one is a neutered male and the other a neutered female - both rescues. They are the funniest creatures!

  7. Deedee - I hope you manage to have one of these beautiful goats - apparently they are on the 'Endangered species list' - which is such a shame - let's hope they manage to continue and to thrive.

    Maureen - I hadn't heard the one about the cans to be honest - but I do know that they will happily eat most things... but the mind boggles about cans!

    Hi Pondside - Your goats sound delightful! And I'm so glad to hear that they are rescue goats - well done you! Warm wishes, V xx

  8. Dear Veronica, very nice and different blog. I loved the pictures from the pear trees, it is unbelievable how old they are. There are very old trees here, in São Paulo, Brazil, because of the tropical forest that there was here. Nowadays just very old trees in some parks and clubs. As far as the goats are concerned, it is very interesting. Thanks for visiting my blog. Although I am an English teacher, I know I have to improve my vocabulary. I like the Deedee´s blog, too.
    Best wishes,

  9. Dear Rosana, Thank you for visiting my blog... I imagine that Sao Paulo is a very beautiful city - how wonderful to have some old trees from the original forests in your parks. Goodness, your vocabulary is very good and I can assure you that it is at least a zillion times better than my Portugese vocabulary... I'm enjoying your blog so thank you! Warm wishes Vxx

  10. Those goats are so pretty. I never heard they were not good mothers.
    I have a blog friend, Peggy at Hidden Haven- she is on my blogroll. Go visit her, her goats are gorgeous, & just like family for her. There are so many different breeds of goat!

  11. What a lovely post this is! The goats and especially the kids look just too sweet for words. Reading this post has made me want to get some goats on our smallholding too... and here was me thinking that goats do smell. Thank you for putting that idea straight. Not that I am a "shrinking violet" when it comes to animals and smell... one does get used to it and actually I quite like the smell of my sheep and even the hens (when their house is newly cleaned, mind you!)

    Thank you for your always so sweet comments in my blog. I love reading them and am so glad you have taken the time to visit and to write them. Thank you!

  12. Hi Veronica, Thank you for visiting my blog aswell. I am gradually working my way through your wonderful posts with great interest. I once had two yellow labs,Ben and Sam, but sadly they are in doggy heaven now. They were both eights weeks old when I first got them (but they were not brothers) and lived with us for 12 and 14 years. So I have a soft spot for labs.
    I am also hoping to get some chickens in the spring, but I havent made mind up on what breed, although battery hens on defintly on the short list. Ive heard lots of good tales about them and what they get up to. There are so many of them that need good homes and Im sure I could provide this.
    It was great to here you used to sail your boat at Chichester. Its a wonderful harbour, especially for bird watching. My Father too once had a boat, which was moored in the marina and we spent many a happy day sailing round the IOW and the Solent etc.
    Thank you again for leaving me a such a lovely comment. Its been good to talk to you and Best Wishes to you. Catch up soon. Julie X

  13. when is your next post????? hope everything is okay over there, jack