Unluckily….

….We didn’t get the goats into the new building today,

in spite of our hopes.  However the floor of the shed is almost finished; with gargantuan truckloads of chippings having been levelled & smoothed across the surface, the only thing being left to do now is to sink the gateposts into their pre-positioned metal sleeves & hang the gates.  Our long-term aspiration is to fit automatic drinkers throughout the building, & an automated hopper feeding system in the new parlour; however for now it’ll be ‘conditions normal’ as I pursue the endless round of hand-filling & scrubbing the metal water pails & sturdy rubber feed bowls we currently use.  Still; it keeps me fit I suppose….!

Little Blaise’s upset tummy seems to be on the mend, at last; I spent some ‘quality time’ with her this afternoon, wrapping her up in a fleece & cuddling up on the sofa as she drifted off to sleep in my arms.  I gave the poor little thing an injection of 0.75mls of Metacam this morning as things hadn’t really improved during the night; & alternated her feed with a mixture of Lectade (basically the caprine equivalent of Diarolyte!) & a milk/water mixture to ensure she was taking in sufficient nutrition, as the scouring has caused her to lose weight.  However she’s bright enough in herself although she always has been a serious little goat & doesn’t leap around quite so much as her chums.  But I too wasn’t feeling at my best as a hayseed in my eye had caused it to flare painfully, consigning me to a reluctantly quiet day indoors.

Baby girls having a nap.  Blaise is sticking her bottom out on the right-hand side - just as well, really!

Baby girls having a nap. Blaise is sticking her bottom out on the right-hand side - just as well, really!

Meanwhile the Milkforce managed to enjoy a few short hours in the fretful sunshine, punctuated as it was by flighty, scudding dove-grey clouds; which eventually became darker & more ponderous until they discharged their heavy burden of rain onto the already sodden fields, exhausted by their burden of unseasonable soaking.  Anxiety is ever-growing as the days grow shorter & the nights, colder; & still there is no sign of when we will be able to gather in our precious hay….the worrying plight of smallholders & farmers almost everywhere, I suspect…..

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About LittleFfarm Dairy

The LittleFfarm Dairy Team: Jo - Goat farmer & Gelatiere Artigianale, plus General Dogsbody; Tony - Airline Pilot & part-time Herd Manager, Product Taster, Accounts Secretary, Handyman etc!
This entry was posted in Animals, August 2008, Dairy, Diary, Farming, Goats, Life, Livestock, Smallholding. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Unluckily….

  1. Gosh I hope you get your hay cut, baled, and stored no problem. I got mine cute last month. There will be enough this year for a third cutting, as we just got about 4 inches of rain in the last few days. Very green now in East Texas

  2. LittleFfarm Dairy says:

    You lucky thing!!!

    I dream of just ONE cut of hay; any & every year. This year will be a real nail-biter…so please, keep your fingers crossed for our otherwise hungry goats – & we won’t be the only ones….

    Lovely to have such a Global Village post from ‘deep in the heart of Texas’ – & great to know that goats are enjoying good farming over your way, as well. Looking forward to hearing all about you & yours….!

  3. Sylvia says:

    Hi Jo
    I noticed your comment about the little quiet goat with the tummy problem. It happens with puppies too. They seem to be born a bit weaker and although they often go on to be delightful animals, they never seem to have quite the same amount of stamina, so it is possible she may not become one of your strongest ladies. have to wait and see.

    As to the hay – I have just checked the forecast for the next four days and it says rain each day!

    What sort of chips are you laying in the shed? Slate, wood? (or potato? – little joke!)

    Sylvia

  4. LittleFfarm Dairy says:

    Hi Sylvia –

    crikey, long time no catchup! Anyway count on us to help you with haymaking (if we actually DO get to make some!) – there for you, whatever; as ever.

    Fear not regarding little Blaise, she’s always been a thoughtful lass but is hardly a ‘runt’ & was in fact an ‘only child’ therefore if anything, more robust than her siblings. However she is almost the youngest, at only a couple of months old. Inevitably we get the odd tummy upsets running through the youngsters – & at the moment this spell of inclement weather is hitting many tender young ruminants, with its’ up-&-down temperatures & alternatively hot-&-cold humidity.

    Rest assured that Blaise has now fully recovered although her little brother Balan has also suffered unpleasant scours today. Having hit upon the appropriate antedote with Blaise we have every confidence that this precocious little lad will also make a full & fast recovery. The few kids who suffered from similar upsets last year have since blossomed into fine, robust Goatlings so I really am not concerned that the prognosis is as gloomy as you suggest.

    Chips? – well as it’s Friday it must be Hot Potato, surely….hee hee!! No seriously, in accordance with our stricly environmentally-friendly policy they’re a specially-tailored, carbon-neutral natural composite which offers optimum warmth, comfort & drainage for caprine bedding whilst giving the very best to the environment.

    And as for making hay whilst even the lightest ray of sun shines (& of course, for those attending the Pembrokeshire Show)…..ohhh, dear, what a meteorological nightmare. Owing to Tony’s aviation career he has access to extensive synoptic charts over which he daily casts a hopeful eye; but it seems that the light at the end of the tunnel has been switched off for now!

    BTW did you like our ‘Lovespoon’ brochure? May picked up a Press Pack whilst at the Royal Welsh Show which I assume was for you – otherwise I’d have dropped one round. Meanwhile I’ll bring some gelato when we gather in the hay.

  5. Sylvia says:

    Hi!

    I am glad the little goat is better. It is a great worry when animals are ill – inspite of very careful observation by their owners, it is never the same as if they could TELL us what is wrong.

    We have just lost our senior citizen. She was 15 years and eight months. A good age for a pug. She was the mother of my greatest champion who is herself now turned ten. Time does fly.

    It was very kind of you and Tony to offer your services to help bring in our hay. I appreciate the offer but you do not need to worry.

    Luckily our hay is already in the barn, smelling as sweet as only meadow hay can. We were also lucky to get wrapped our top two pastures so as I gaze out on the rain sweeping across our fields – in fact the farm at the top of the hill is now completely hidden behind the driving cloud of liquid silver, I can only hope for better weather for our friends.

    All trhe best
    Sylvia

    PS. Your brochure is very pretty but it was not a surprise as I had seen it some time before the launch.

  6. LittleFfarm Dairy says:

    As James Herriott used to say, “if only they could talk!” So very sorry to hear about your elderly lady, she had a long & happy life but that’s scant consolation when you lose a much-loved member of the ‘family’.

    Phew, you were lucky to get your hay in – fortunately having only a few acres at least your crop is relatively swift & painless to deal with & at least the horses will munch their way through another winter.

    We no longer make haylage because with our strict environmental policy we are trying to reduce the amount of plastic waste; as well as preferring to leave our fields a little longer to enable the bees to take full advantage of pollen collection: we have a ‘bee friendly’ policy here owing to our shared concerns regarding the growing problem of CCD, or Colony Collapse Disorder. Our local honey supplier has lost over 140 colonies in the past year, which is very worrying – no bees means no fruit, flowers, vegetables, crops, honey or hay…!

    However as the latest synoptic charts don’t bode well for the foreseeable future (of course it’s not enough to have four days of clear weather to get the hay in, the land needs to drain & dry so that it can be worked without damage to the soil structure) we’ll probably end up buying in some meadow hay from friends across the border in Lloegyr. And I’m sure we’re all mutually concerned about the lack of straw, as well.

    Glad you like our brochure; I recall you were somewhat sceptical that we were intending to launch our business, at all! I sincerely doubt however that it was our brochure you saw if it was as you say some time before the launch; I only sent the script to our designers the week prior to the Show & we collected the finished pamphlets from them on the Friday.

    I did widely circulate an electronic copy of the draft a couple of days before the Show; however it was only that – a draft. Nevertheless it was evidently still professional enough to pass muster, so we’re obviously doing something right. And the overwhelmingly positive reaction from the many people who have sampled our gelato suggests that thankfully, our publicity isn’t the only thing which is a success! Mind you having studied in Italy with a Master Gelatiere we have ensured we are professionally competent to produce nothing but the best; & having passed our final exam with flying colours in what must be the most discerning place in the world to craft gelato, we have justifiable confidence in our delicious dessert.

    Ah well, I suppose that as your hay is already in, it’ll be next summer before we get to deliver the promised gelato – alas, it really does seem that time has wings, these days. But look on the bright side, we’ll have an even greater range of flavours & another year’s worth of experience with which to tempt everyone’s tasebuds, so it’ll be worth waiting for!

  7. Sylvia says:

    Colony Collapse disorder is certainly a serious worry. I do not think that leaving your hay field a bit longer is going to help a lot. The problem is a lot more serious than gathering a bit more pollen, as your research on the internet will have revealed. The loss of honey bees would cause great problems with crop fertilization, although nature abhors a vacumn, so I am sure that the gap would be filled after a while by other insects. The crop yield being down in the meantime.

    The bees here are still trying to work even in the rain. Only this morning, as I was picking another large basket of runner beans for the freezer, I was astonished by the amount of honey bees working the glorious red flowers at the top of the plants. Usually it is only the bumble bees that brave the rain. We have a giant bumble bee colony that lives under a rock next to the green house complex.

    Cannot chat further now – must go and think about creating dinner.

    By the way – dont worry about me with new flavours of ice cream, you know that I cannot handle any product that tastes of “goat”. Your labours would be wasted on me but I wish you well with the business.
    Over and out
    Sylvia

  8. LittleFfarm Dairy says:

    Never mind, Sylvia – your loss!

    However I distinctly remember you polishing off a bowlful of my home-made ice cream when you visited last year & before we were even considering it as a commercial venture, remarking that you couldn’t tell it was made from goats’ milk. So please, kindly refrain from attempting to cast aspertions that our product is ‘goaty’ when you know full well it is not.

    I know that those who have sampled it recently – including the Judge at the Royal Welsh Show, who made praiseworthy comments regarding its’ taste, texture & flavour – would assure you as to its’ excellent quality.

    We certainly would not make our ice cream if it had any of the sour taste associated with milk from the family goat, collected in a bucket by the back door – those days are long gone with modern milk production now very different: our new Dairy Complex facilities are state-of-the-art, with the milk produced to the most rigorous hygiene standards.

    Of course the gelato we craft professionally today is far advanced from that which I used to make in my table-top machine in the farmhouse. As such, it has been carefully assessed in formal taste tests by a panel of organoleptically-trained experts; & assuredly they could find no trace of caprine muskiness in the flavour.

    I must say I am somewhat surpised & disappointed with your disparaging assumption that we need not do everything we can to help the world’s ailing bee population. Any beekeeper will tell you that as the multiplicity of plant life species yields pollen at different times from each other, being able to leave certain flora on a field to mature can make a crucial difference. Appreciating how vitally important these wonderful little creatures are, we certainly would not wish to hinder them! I wrote a detailed post on the subject on 23rd July 08 which lists some extremely worrying statistics. We are hoping to install around 20 hives here on the Ffarm so that not only can we produce our own honey, we will be doing our level best to help the bee population on which we are all so highly dependent.

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