Category Archives: goats

As the world carries on turn

Many, many times I have wanted to sit down and write over the past months but I have only managed to do so a few times and only a handful of those few times have I managed to write something coherent. Part of my problem has been knowing where to start again as so much has been happening and time just seems to keep marching on without anytime to take stock, or breath before another week, two weeks, a month has pasted. But I will try…

Dog rose flower; somewhere along Lydney Docks - 14th June 2011

Dog rose flower; somewhere along Lydney Docks - 14th June 2011

Family and health (or lack of it.) Since Easter my dad has spent more time in hospital than at home, just him being so ill takes up a massive amount of time and energy but when he is in hospital then someone visits him everyday, which takes up most of every afternoon. Mother is bearing the brunt of it but is has everyone stretched and then the few days that he has been at home, maybe even a week if you add all the days together, it is a battle. He can hardly do anything for himself, and getting him to eat… And every time he has been rushed back in within days of being discharged for one reason or another. This last time he didn’t make it to resus which is an improvement, but is does leave everyone on edge waiting for the next phone call to say he is coming home, not really coming home or been rushed back in.

I have also still been trying to sort out my health problems, I have changed doctors and hopefully now am getting somewhere. I feel a little bit like I’m being a hypercondriac as a part from a few blips I am mostly fine, and feel better than I have in years, but I know if I don’t get things sorted then I could end up back in the mess I was in a few years ago and I don’t ever want to go back there so it has to be sort out.

Work. It is all change at work again; I seem to write this so often but at the moment the three years of funding we had has come to an ended and there is only work for me until the end of September. I realised I have been very silly as although I’ve been doing my job for two years now I have been reluctant, or completely refused, to do the university course that would mean I was qualified to be doing my job so I now only have my experience and the good name of the charity I work for if I was to go up against someone else if another very rear job were to come up. I am annoyed with myself for letting this happen but the work / home life balance is a great battle I always seem to be fighting and committing myself to an extra day or more a week away from home to be qualified for something I was already doing perfectly well was something I was not willing to do… Add to that the growing suspicion that I would have hated the course and it has been one of the very few times home life has won over. The summer holidays started this week, so our busiest time of year, and I am only working ‘my patch’ one day a week and so doing a fair amount of travelling, also seem to have taken on an extra half a day more than I promised myself I would.

Fowers at Ryton Gardens; I have have no idea what these are - 11th September 2010

Flowers at Ryton Gardens; I have no idea what these are - 11th September 2010

Holiday. I had a whole week off at the start off this month and I did hardly anything with it which is not like me at all, normally for a month before time off I am writing a list of every backbreaking job I want to get finish whilst I ‘have time’. I think I still had a list but in the end I just pottered about and spent time with friends. It was nice, needed and somehow I have managed not to beat myself up about not ‘getting things done’.

Busy bees; comb after less than a month they moved into the hive - 11th July 2011

Busy bees; comb after less than a month they moved into the hive - 11th July 2011

Bees. This is possibly the most exciting news of all and from the second the swarm arrived I have wanted to blog about it but not jinx it. WE HAVE BEES!!! Last year mother was given a top bar beehive by her sister and since then the plan has been to start keeping bees again. We had our name down for a swarm but weren’t really doing anything more proactive about getting one as everything else has been some manic. Then, during a complete nightmare of a week a swarm just arrived on a gorse bush just across from the house, a neighbour almost walked into it and came and knocked on the door as he knew we wanted one. Him and middle-younger-sister carried the hive out and left it near to them with the lid off in the hope they would go in and then I arrived home (on a call that the cows where out, it was that kind of week) to find mother cutting the branch they were on and putting it into the hive. And they have been with us ever since!

Growing in numbers - 30th July 2011

Growing in numbers - 30th July 2011

It has been amazing watching them build their combs and how they change; to begin with they were not in the least bit worried about us opening up the hive and I have even been in there without a hat or vail and have still not worn gloves but they have started getting a little more up set if the hive is open now. The comb seems to change every time we look in there as well; to begin with it was white and looked so breakable, then you could see the different between the honey and brood cells and now the comb is covered is golden stickiness.

Each time we open the hive I have been taking photos and have created a new Flickr set to record it – Bees

Goats. It would seem that I am not kidding this year after all. I’m not too worried about it as I know the Jelly Beanies kidded fine and they were living in with Knightshade at the same time but it is a bit disappointing. I have put Briony up for sale and am trying to find somewhere/someone who will take Bella on loan for a year or so until I am more sorted. I have had lots of phone calls and emails about them but haven’t been sorted enough to contact people and both Briony and Bella make it impossible to take photos of them as they are just to interested in the camera or having a fuss. I was looking at their ‘baby photos’ the other day and I can’t believe have they have completely changed colour and markings, they are now both mottled and patchy and stunning.

It’s raining, it’s pouring…

It has been a while since I’ve blogged and it hasn’t been that I haven’t meant to or wanted to; it has been that nothing feels news worthy at the moment.

Everything seems to be plodding along, with lots happening but possibly nothing more than getting through another week.

I have been to the allotment and gardened but everything other than weeds seem to be stood still. I am not sure that my courgette plants have grown at all since putting them in… Is it just me? Do they not like where I’ve planted them, or am I not watering them enough? I am still waiting for my goats to kid, but that is getting less and less likely now. I have made a batch of Elderflower cordial, using Colour It Green’s excellent recipe and am drinking my way through it whilst picking out the best spots for my next pickings and waiting for another dry day to make some more.

I worked far too hard over the May bank holiday, my own fault for wanting to do everything and be everywhere, and now I have a cold. Which I am ignoring in the hope that it will go away whilst my throat slowly becomes rawer and my voice hoarser and the coughing keeps me  awake a little later each night. Maybe I should succumb and allow myself to lay on the sofa for a day but I have too many things to do, and too many things I want to do.

There are only a few weeks of funding for my current work left, I have a job until the end of September but it will never be the same come the end of this month and I am pushing myself to be there everyday until the end; to answer the hard questions that don’t really have an answer, keep my promise that I will be there every week until this date and deal with the upset, of which there has been lots. Over half term we held a celebration event to mark the end of our funding, a conversation happened about photo permissions and I was asked how many of the kids there I knew and could ask for permission after the event and as I looked out across the field I realised I knew most, not quite all but only by one or two, of the 150 kids there in  just one of the parks I visit weekly. Admittedly that is the busiest but that has been build up from not seeing anyone for the first few weeks of us being there; the park is now owned by the kids who live there, even if some of them are only allowed there when me and the other play rangers are there and I don’t want that to stop.

My dad is unwell again; I have almost lost count of the number of times he has been in hospital since Easter but he has certainly spend as much time there as he has at home. There is nothing anyone can really do though other than all pull together and get on with it but it is hard, especially for mother, keeping on top of what is happening with him and questioning everything as some of the treatments and medicine just don’t seem to be the most logical or best course of action, to us any way.

In spite of all this though life doesn’t feel all doom and gloom; just very full!

Hen tea party - 9th January 2011

Hen tea party - 9th January 2011

Everything feels a little crazy right now. I am still not into a routine after moving and I seem to be starting one of those busy times at work were at least one of my weekend days is taken up with something extra.

One of the tyres on our trailer has gone; which has called a halt to our mass clean out. Not a big problem shouldn’t be that hard to sort out and get going again… If only it were that simple. After trying one garage without the tyre and not getting very far I took the whole wheel into another tyre place to get a replacement. It turns out that our trailer has been made out of a base of an original original Mini and a replacement tyre will cost at least £50, each.

When I say the ‘original original’ Mini what I mean is when Mini’s first came out they had one size of tyre, then a little later they changed the size to a more standard one so it isn’t even like all the original Mini’s take the same size and there are very few that take the original original size now as they were the very first Minis.

The halt on the mass clean out has resulted in a halt to covering allotment beds ready for growing later this year. I’d hoped that if I managed to get at least most of it done last month then there would be about three months for it to rot down before anything was ready to plant out. I know that doesn’t sound long enough by ‘book’ standard but we have such a good eco-system (I think that is what I mean) thing rot down mega fast.

Allotment at sun set - 30th August 2010

Allotment at sun set - 30th August 2010

I have managed to go through my seed collection and work out what I haven’t got, only parsnips, sweetcorn, beetroot and seed potatoes, and now I just have to work out how I am going to fit in all the things I want to grow into the space I have.

I can’t wait to start sowing but I decided at the start of the year not to start growing anything until the 1st of March. Which will give me time to sort out everything out and also mean I don’t lose so many seedlings to leggy-ness or frost. It is a good plan… 22 days and counting.

Last week I was given some Maran hatching eggs so I have the incubator on. It is the first time I’ve used my new one. Yesterday the Beanie Babies went to their new home, after so many false starts. But they have gone to a lovely family where they will join their other goats to provide milk for making goats cheese once they have kidded.

Onwards, slowly

This week has been grey… Grey and busy; busy at work, busy at home, busy moving. There is just an endless list and I am not feeling very organised, or completely well.

I have a new home for the Jelly Beanies, well hopefully I have. They were meant to go on Saturday, and a few times since but for busy-life reasons they are still here. At home everyone’s sheds are in need of cleaning out, plus a shed we use as a sort of ‘over-spill’ housing which naughty doesn’t get cleaned out as it is normally used in a rush but we want to bring the cows home so it has to be done before they move in.

All the cleaning out does mean that the allotment is getting a generous manuring, and I almost have a plan for them now. Part of my plan includes not sowing or planting anything excluding garlic until March 1st, when I told Rhys this he asked how I was going to survived. Until then I am getting organised, I need to finished manuring and covering those beds that are still left, add some boarders to those on plot one, buy some pens that don’t come off of the plant labels (done last night) and finally, and really finally after all the other bits are done, buy the very few packets of seeds I need for this year and seed potatoes. I think I am also going to treat myself and the new house to some large terracotta pots for growing salad and tomatoes on the patio

Beanie babies for sale

Jelly bean babies

Jelly bean babies

I have decided to readvertise the beanie babies, I had promised them to someone but they are not sure when they might be able to have them and with me moving I think it is for the best to find them a new home somewhere they can go to soon so as I can put the time that I am going to have for my goats into the ones I am going to keep instead of spreading myself to thinly. They are also bullying Lilah, who doesn’t find it easy to eat anyway because of some missing teeth, so it will make looking after her easier if they are not here as well.

I do feel a little bit bad about not being able to keep them on like I had promised but things have changed since I said I would and so it is something I think I have to do for me and the other goats.

They have been put in kid to Knightshade and will be due to kid from mid-March. They will make someone a lovely set of milkers but must stay together as they have always lived together and are very close.

If you are looking for some goats, or know someone who is, please email me alifelesssimple @

Autumn tasks

We took three lambs down for meat this morning, with another two booked in for next week. We have too many lambs for our own freezer this year, which is still full of mutton, pork and possible even some beef, so I have been busy on forums and local food groups finding buyers for this years meat.

We have bought a new ram this year, a Cotswold. Our old ram is, well, getting very old now.

Our new ram - 5th of October 2010

He has fitted in well with the other sheep and settled down straight away to being on a common. He is very much looks like one of this years Cotswold cross lambs and has joined one of the ‘gangs’ of lambs.

At the weekend we also sorted the goats out and moved them around so as they are all with the right males for next years kidding. A few weeks ago we got a call from the couple we sold the Jelly Bean Babies to a few years ago as because of an accident they were no longer able to keep them and so we have had them back.

Knightshade out on the green before moving him in with 'his girls' - 17th of October 2010

After getting the Jelly Beans they bought a lovely Anglo Nubian called Lilah who we are putting in kid as well. We are putting the Jelly Beans in kid as well and then finding them a new home together as we really don’t have room for them and I would like to keep ‘my pure breeds’, they will make someone very nice milkers.

Everything is very much feeling like autumn now, and starting to be about planning for next year.

Maude kids

Maude finally kidded yesterday, a little boy who weights 3.7kg. He is very strong and lively and has already learnt how to get in with the older goat kids.

Maude's kid - 14th May 2010

Asleep on my lap - 14th May 2010

There are some more photo on my Flickr stream

No holding still…

The goat kids are all ten weeks old now, Betsy and Bramble on Saturday and Bella and Briony on Monday. 

I had planned to mark the occasion with some nice photos of them looking cute and goat like, how stupid I was. They are ten week old goat kids and a camera is just too interesting a thing not to investigate, so the following photo is the best one I managed to get, taken before they have realised I had something in my had: 

Bella and Briony, ten weeks old - 12th May 2010

Checking in

One of the pigs, happy to be photographed - 13th of April 2010

No, I haven’t fallen off the face of the Earth but ‘outside life’* has been busy for a few weeks. Spring is here and the weather outside has been lovely, it’s so nice to be home in daylight each evening.

I tried to take some photos of the goat kids this evening but they would not hold still long enough so instead a photo of one of the pigs who was only to happy for a close up!

*e.g. none smallholding/home life

Goat kid up-date

The goat kids will be four weeks old this weekend. It doesn’t feel like it has been that long since they were born, but in another way it feels like they have lived here as long as any of the other goats.

Bella having a bottle - 21st March 2010

They are all now disbudded, Briony was done last week and Bella was done this week. Bella has had an infection in one of her knees, it responded well to the first course of antibiotics but swelled up again when the course finished. She has been back into the vets and had the knee ‘flushed out’, which is why she wasn’t disbudded until this week. Her knee is much better now but the infection has damaged the cartilage which is going to take a long time to heal.

The Tog kids have been named, Betsy and Bramble. They are both now far to heavy for our 5kg feed scales, so have not been weighed since I last posted their weight. Last week Briony weighed 4.75kg and Bella weighed 4.3kg, the infection has had an impact on her growing as fast as the others and since she had her knee flushed she has been living in the kitchen as it has to be kept dry and clean.