From the North Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty we bring you the best milk, cheese and meat. Traditional responsible and ethical farming means free range access to grazing with all feed, including hay from our own ancient meadows, GM and chemical-free and blended by us. We know the name and personality of every single member of our pedigree herd of happy healthy goats. We love - and thoroughly spoil – every one of them, male and female alike.
In life there are many different types of goodbyes. There are the planned, anticipated and exciting goodbyes and there are the totally unexpected 'take your breath away' kind of goodbyes. We have experienced both this week.
Our planned goodbye started early on Wednesday morning as we loaded 48 of our gorgeous little female kids into a trailer for David to drive up to Hereford. These lucky babies have gone to live in the same herd as our other goaties with those lovely people Andrew and Diane. It was sad to see them go but we are excited for them to be part of the new herd which is now well into the swing of producing milk to supply a Welsh cheesemaker.
We will miss them all especially the last one to be loaded into the trailer. She did bring a tear to the eye. Little Boomerang ..
An email from Diane received today confirmed that all the babies were settling in well and seemed very happy in their new home. However, she did also write ..'It didn't take them long to find their way on top of
our stacked bales or out into the other end of the shed past the cow and calf
much to her surprise'. Mmmm .. I wonder who that was!!!
During kidding season, The Boys usually get moved out of the main barn as we need to make space for all those mums and babies. Although happy in their new house, old Beamish seemed not to be doing so well and so I decided yesterday that he should come back into the main shed.
We set up a large pen in one corner of the milkers' area, next to our little 'special needs' babies so that Beamish could enjoy a bit of warmth from the patio heat lamp if the evenings turned cold again. He was very happy to be back with all his ladies again and they all went over to welcome him back as they came out of the milking parlour. He munched away on his hay, enjoyed a banana and we had a nice cuddle as he settled down for the night.
Promising to return in a couple of hours, I drove off to do my evening deliveries and to get things ready for weekend farmers' markets.
When I returned to the barn, I switched on the light and walked in to find Beamish dead. Totally and utterly dead. I could hardly believe my eyes ... I vaulted over his gate but there was nothing to be done. My beautiful old boy was long gone.
We can only imagine that he must have had a massive heart attack and dropped down dead. There was no evidence that he had struggled and there was no apparent sign of illness. It would seem that he went very suddenly, surrounded by all his old friends.
So, a little photographic tribute to dear Beamish ..
As a young boy:
A working boy and 'man' of the herd:
And in his old age with his smart winter coat on ..
Over the years, Beamish has said goodbye to all his close friends as they have passed on .. Shaggy, Fremlin and Max. So maybe now he is there with them all again in that great goat shed in the sky.