Another busy, ‘out-&-about’ sort of a day.
As ever I was up early to go through emails, blog & paperwork before taking the dog for a quick, energetic walk in the chilly air; then it was time to haul Tony’s backside out of bed before hurrying off to collect Boo for our weekly Welsh lesson.
This was our first class with the new tutor, Albie; thus much of it was revision from previous lessons. His teaching style proved to be markedly different from Meryl’s & it took the group a little while to settle down & comprehend what was required. And coping with soft & nasal mutations all in one go….ugh! It’ll take a while to get to grips with it all; although I’m sure one of thse days it’ll be second nature.
After the lesson I needed to go into Cardigan for specific shopping, rather than having coffee as usual in Newcastle Emlyn. Because Boo needed to collect an antique chair she’d been restoring at the local college, she drove us there – & generously sated our hungry appetites with tasty local ham & mature Snowdonia cheddar paninis, accompanied by a zesty salad & quality, creamy caffelatté at Cardigan’s excellent ‘Gallery’ café.
Hunger satisfied, we still could not resist the irresitible pull of the wonderful ‘Deli Delights’, on the opposite side of the road: whilst I was impressed by the quality & diversity of local produce on my initial visit, in only a few weeks the shop has come on in leaps & bounds to be a serious contender in Wales’ top quality Delicatessen market. My only plea is that they soon restock the Marrons Glacés so I can treat Mum to my finest “Mooreish Marrons” Ice Cream, especially concocted for her connoisseur’s palate, to make hers a truly tasty Christmas…..!! Meanwhile in my quest to create the perfect spiced honey ice cream I bought a large jar of borage honey (also known as starflower honey) supplied to the delicatessen by the local honey farm at New Quay. It’s a lovely light, mild honey & I may even just use it to do a simple honey ice cream; it’s so light & delicate the spice may prove a bit overwhelming.
We made our usual cheeky excursion to ‘Sosban’, Cardigan’s finest Kitchen/Stove shop; after which we longingly browsed through a couple of lovely Antiques Shops before returning to Emlyn, where I hastily grabbed a fistful of bovine intermammary mastitis injections as Tony had called with the bad news that he suspected Morganna has mastitis for the second time this lactation; the first, & very severe, case occurred approximately six weeks after she’d kidded; but the udder has at least made an excellent recovery.
I hurried homewards to help Tony with the chores & to apply Morganna’s first treatment: hand-milking her to strip the last drop of milk from the udder; second, hot-wrapping the udder with heated, damp cloths to soften the hard, mastitic lumps; & third (& most uncomfortable for the poor goat, as the pharmaceutical companies deem dairy goats a ‘minority’ activity & so only manufacture products for use with cattle) giving an intermammary injection where a (cow-sized) nozzle is inserted into the (smaller goats’)teat canal & a topical solution injected up inside – hence the reason for removal of the milk. It’s decidedly uncomfortable for the goat; however, by ensuring she has her head in a bucket of feed she generally just grumbles a bit rather than whacking me with a well-aimed kick. After completing the intermammary treatment, the udder is massaged to disperse the product. To give it a bit of extra ‘help’ I do the massage with Uddermint, which contains Japanese peppermint oil & gently warms the udder tissue; the goats certainly seem to appreciate it & whilst it might seem a bit ‘Rolls Royce’, only the best of care will do for our lovely ladies.
I must say I was particularly dismayed when I confirmed Tony’s diagnosis of Morganna’s problem – heat & hardness in the affected side; not only because she has had mastitis already this year, but because (to my surprise) it has now occurred in the other half of the udder to the original illness; hopefully next year the whole udder will recover but effectively that’s her lactation over for the year; & she may never return to full capacity production, which is a shame as typically she’s our most well-put-together goat & gives us the loveliest kids.
So, a disappointing end to an otherwise fruitful day: but we stoked up the woodburners & lit the fires at last. They’ll stay that way for the Winter now to keep the house warm, dry & snug – there’s certainly a distinct chill in the air, even tucked down here in the valley. Time to dust off the winter woollies & the warmest wellies….!