Clumsily scrubbing the sleep from my eyes,
I headed into the Dairy Complex at first light to discover what mayhem had occurred during the few brief hours of my absence. I’d finally left the goats to it for the night at around 02.30am, satisfying myself after the busy spate of kiddings we’d had that mums & babies were all well & cosily snuggled up together; whilst I hunched my solitary self deep inside my jacket against the unwelcome damp chilliness of the evening.
The previous day’s weather had dawned promisingly enough; but by evening a persistent, light drizzle had set in although thanks to the relative warmth for the time of year, not as inhospitable as it could have been. So this morning, I was prepared for the worst…..
Or so I thought.
Nothing could have quite readied me for the completely unexpected downpour which hit me when I walked into the Dairy Complex this morning.
Sliding the heavy bolt on the double doors closed behind me, I took three paces into the barn. And then it hit me. Or should I say, she hit me. Because little (or actually not-now-quite-so-little) Ceiriad – Thummy’s daughter – who has ‘adopted’ me as her bottle-feeding Mum, apparently decided it would be Great Fun to ambush me for her early-morning milk.
Doing a dawn raid – by literally dropping from the sky.
The highest bales in the barn are almost on a par with the roof’s apex – enough to make a grown man’s knees quake at the thought of tumbling from such dizzy heights. But the prospect didn’t even momentarily phase the foot-high caprine as she eagerly launched herself into space.
Admittedly, she wasn’t actually on the topmost bale at the moment of her assault; rather, crouched in eager anticipation, just behind it….all the more fun, apparently. Now, we’re no strangers to caprine parenthood. Whilst still relative novices as this is only our third year of breeding we’ve nevertheless brought around 85 kids into the world so far. So we’re pretty sanguine & are used to all sorts of cheeky antics from goats of all ages. I have to say that this, however, was a novel approach; & was the last thing I expected as she landed – smack! – on my head; I hadn’t even realised she was there!
So at least I broke her flying fall; & because where there’s no sense there’s no feeling, I too was uninjured if somewhat stunned by the incident. But Ceri wasn’t to be deterred…. “where’s my bottle?” she demanded in goat-speak.
Throughout the day the clouds slowly but steadily descended. Maintaining the momentum from yesterday Apricot gave birth to two little boys, Culhwch & Cydwal; much to my relief she proved a better Mum this year than in 2008 when she’d abandoned her tiny daughter Bechan, with whom I’d spent an all-night vigil to keep alive; & who then spent the first few weeks of her life as an impromptu resident of the Ffarm’s household. She was however banned from sleeping on the bed when she needed to relieve her bladder one night – & did so all over poor Tony!
Meanwhile not to be outdone by Jelly, Camilla dropped a shivering little ram lamb (Dock) on the pastures of Parc Cam (literally, the ‘Bendy Field’); & it was at this point – with the weather growing increasingly cold, wet & miserable – that I decided to bring the flock in early & keep them snug in the Lambing Shed for a while; as the forecast for the next few days was far from promising.
After all, it is raining cats &…..goats!
….Kids?! No, surely that should read, ‘dogs’. rain sweeping the valley. Camilla lambed. Apricot kidded. Brought sheep in.