It is the purple month yet again! The Jacaranda trees are in full bloom and where roads have them planted in abundance along each side, it is like driving thru a purple tunnel. Lovely.
It has been an exciting and eventful month on the Goat Farm! We started the month weaning Pizza and Charlotte, which they thought was totally unnecessary and were happy to inform us of their displeasure. They are VERY loud and vocal kids! Weaning means we also slowly stop milking their mums, Piglet and Brittany. So we needed new milkers and decided it was time to take Clover and Flower (the twins), Hazel and Sunny away from their mums for the nights as they are now nearly 3 months old. This means in the morning their mums, Demmy, Wendy and Princess have milk for us before reuniting with their kids for the day. We feel this is a more gentle way to wean than to just remove the kids from their mums ‘cold turkey’ so to speak! However, it does mean we have a couple of noisy nights as everyone settles to the new routine.
Mid-month we had a call from Edelow, one of our beneficiaries, whose three goats had already expanded to 6 by March of this year (sadly one passed away during a very cold spell in July). Edelow was very worried about one of her kids who was not looking well. Thando and I leapt into the ‘Goat Ambulance’ with our Home Visit medical box and headed off to do a house call. While we were there we noticed that Daisy, one of the original mamas Edelow had received, was looking unhappy. She was pregnant, but Edelow assured us she was not due until end of October. We medicated her as well, prayed for healing and returned home. But Edelow’s story is not yet complete! Five days later we received a frantic call from her saying that Daisy was not at all well. Off we go for another home visit and this time we decided we would bring Daisy back for intensive care so we could watch her, rather than travel to and from Edelow’s home which is at least five miles away. We couldn’t see much wrong with Daisy over the next few days as we monitored her. She was very quiet initially and not keen to eat. Then she settled down and wanted to reunite with her old friends in our herd! She went out with the herd for a few days before we took her back home to Edelow. The next day we get an excited call from Edelow to say that Daisy has given birth to twins! According to Edelow’s due date they were three weeks early! All is well though and Edelow’s herd has increased now to seven with her twins, a boy and a girl. Her other two does are due in the next month as well, so if all goes well before the year is up, she will have at least tripled her herd. She is an excited lady!
We have explored various methods of identifying each goat in the herd for ease of management. We tried to come up with a more practical method than tagging their ears. We do not like this method as the goats sometimes get the tag caught on the wire fences and unless we are close by, can cause themselves an injury. We tried tattooing their ears, but that was unsuccessful and a lot of work. However, as the goat herd grew and we had more and more unidentified goats running around, we have gone back to the ear tagging method again. This month we chose a day and tagged all the untagged. It is about as painful as ear piercing if done correctly. The team did the deed without a drop of blood spilled and only a few ‘piercing’ complaints. Job well done and we hope there will not be any fence issues!
What you may ask are we doing with the milk we are getting from the ladies we milk? Several things, actually. We have donated some to a project in town that is assisting young school children with life skills. One of those skills is soap making and they have introduced goat milk into the soap. We purchase some of the soap and sell it in our small craft shop. Making Kefir instead of purchasing yogurt for our kitchen. No longer purchasing milk from the shops. Making feta cheese.
We should soon be seeing more miracles on the farm when the birthing starts in just over a month. Each birth still astounds me. It is such a privilege to see these babes arrive in the world, usually with so much ease. Within minutes they are up on their wobbly legs and searching for their mums’ udders. We are in a great place – you should come and visit!
Until next time, I am off to make lunch: green salad with lots of feta!
Edelow and Daisy on Their Way Home
The New Twins
Charlotte Minutes after Her Ear Piercing