Deep, dark, silent night;
yet not for poor Tony; who despite being heavily dosed with painkilling anti-inflammatories couldn’t sleep, a cocktail of pain & concern about the Business Plan keeping him awake. So at a restless 4am he got up to go through the figures – yet again although to me it was getting a little academic by now; he’d calculated cashflow costings virtually down to the last teaspoonful of milk. But as our fate was pretty much sealed in terms of the size of loan we needed, it frankly wouldn’t make much difference how many dairy delights we could craft to make a difference to the overall staggering amount we need to borrow – in the region of £90,000 on top of the mortgage; plus the £110,000 we’ve already invested ourselves.
So as he was still grimly, exhaustedly, ploughing on with ‘numbercrunching’ I commenced the morning chores – just as two of our ewes decided to give birth to their lambs – pretty, (noisy!) silver-on-black Althaea with her lovely long fleece & tough, trusting little Shetland Sheep Acer; both thankfully having girls.
Acer’s given birth to a super, bouncing single little lady lamb whom we’ve dubbed ‘Chicken Dumpling’ in honour of our wonderful (& also blissfully pregnant) friend Nora, over in San Fransisco (as the lamb we’d initially dubbed ‘CD’ was unfortunately born to our little coal-coloured, fast n’furious Glaswegian Kissing Sheep who is aptly dubbed ‘Headcase’ owing to her ‘in yer face’ headbutting tendencies – her lamb was tactfully renamed ‘Crosswort’ until we found someewe a little more mellow to celebrate Nora & Daniel’s impending ‘Little Dumpling’ this summer.
And Althaea’s lambs – ooooh, what a pretty, sweet pair of exquisite little girls! One of the twins is already sporting an amazingly lustrous staple, just like her father already! All three are strong in bone, sturdy of body; beautifully marked & demonstrating superb potential as top-class smallholding stock – I suspect we’ll keep them for ourselves, they’re just too gorgeous to sell!
So I struggled on with my ‘solo’ chores, with the additional burdens of having to remove a firmly & awkwardly-lodged hayseed from Vine’s eye; who, whilst typically tractable, understandably disliked the painful procedure & wriggled & struggled throughout. But whilst she was by no means easy to manage alone as she’s such a big & powerful goat, she thankfully trusts me implicitly; so it was only the extreme pain as I gently extracted the firmly-lodged seed, which caused the poor girl to wince with objection. Meanwhile Aloe’s raw, sore horn stump started bleeding after Yet Another Scrap & therefore needed Yet More Treatment – no picnic when you’re on your own & the antiseptic spray stings severely at the best of times.
After all this activity it was time to scrub off as much purple spray as possible from hands, face & from beneath unwilling fingernails; & to hastily squeeze into an elegantly-cut business suit before racing with an equally immaculately-dressed Tony, off to our meeting with a Local Business Bank Manager in nearby Cardigan.
It was a long & mutually informative meeting; & in spite of our lack of ability to provide our full Business Plan thanks to Silli’s inopportune furball, it seems that what we’ve provided so far was more than adequate. So unfortunately there’s no news yet; but suffice to say things look tentatively promising…..
To discuss the day’s events (&, admittedly, to make sure we managed to salvage something to eat) we managed to snatch a hasty lunch on the way home; after which – in the name of Market Research – we also managed to pick up another two potential customers en route….!
Back home with a bump, it was time for our next round of kid-feeding before ensuring the newly-lambed ewes were safely tucked up in their snug pen, along with their newborns; then it was time to start the bustle of the evening chores, all over-a-busy-again.
And after the main chores it was time to give the resident youngsters in the cottage living room their bottle-feed of warm milk; with Buddug’s bottle literally causing more of a stir than anticipated as after her greedy drink, she leaped around the room in excited play – but to our amazement, her stomach sloshed like a partially-filled hot water bottle! It was hilarious; & with every bout of laughter the little goat gambolled & bounced with more delighted glee; plus more gurgling, swooshing & slurping of innards with every ebullient bound. I’ve never witnessed such a thing – it was priceless.
After our (considerably quieter) supper I ‘phoned Mum & Dad; then it was time for the main group of kids’ unfailingly active evening feed. We finished all the bottle-washing, sterilising & the standard round of livestock checks, just before 11pm; leaving just enough time to attempt a bit of Blog catch-up before overwhelmed by yawning & deciding it was high time, to stagger sleepily upstairs & call it a long old day…..