Saturday, 23 June 2012

Wow! What a week!

We are usually pretty busy here at Ellie's Dairy but this week seems to have just been absolutely non-stop!  I've also been getting to bed very late and haven't had time to blog.  So, get yourself a stiff drink or a nice cup of tea - this could be a long one!!

Monday was cheesemaking with Julie as usual.  She is doing brilliantly and I can quite happily leave her alone in the cheese room now, with only the minimum of interference (which I am sure she appreciates!).  We always make a point of having lunch together on the days that we make cheese and have come to an arrangement that I will provide pudding on a Monday and she will bring it on a Thursday.  We decided on this arrangement after we both turned up with pud on Monday!!  Fortunately, Dave and Jane both turned up at the cheese room as well, so the extra rations came in handy.

Monday also saw the arrival of our latest work experience student, Molly.  She is a friend of ours who is doing lots of work experience in order to be accepted into vet school.  She is staying with us for 3 weeks whilst she does 2 weeks work with our own vet and then the final week solely with us, helping with the goats.  She is very keen and loves the goatie girls.  Here she is with Footsie:

Tuesday was more cheesemaking!  This time, brie and camembert with cow's milk for Jane.

Wednesday just did not have enough hours in the day!  Our vet called in at 7.30am to give our dogs Nell and Ben their annual vaccinations.  Then, later in the day, I saw him again as I took young Jake the Peg to have his cast taken off.  Here he is on the way to the surgery:

He was very well behaved and was so pleased to have his leg free again.  Peter was very pleased with how well it had healed and Jake was certainly glad to be able to give himself a good scratch!  Judging by the bits of hay that had fallen down inside the top of the cast, I think his leg must have been getting very itchy - he spent ages just licking and nibbling his leg to groom it.  He is bouncing around the barn now on all 4 legs.

So, having sorted Jake out, Molly and I loaded some goats into the trailer and took them up to the cheese plant for an open evening.  We had obtained a special exhibition licence from Defra in order to be able to move the goats just for the evening - I had imagined that it would be a long and painful process but it was remarkably simple to achieve.  I had decided to take Footise, as we know she loves people and is great entertainment, and a selection of 6 kids to show the various breeds that we have on the farm.  And here they all are:

Jane and Dave had been very busy tidying and decorating the old grain store so that they could set up tables inside.  We had also invited Biddenden Vineyards with their wine and cider, Tony from Hopdaemon Brewery with a couple of his beers and Andrew from the Bottle Shop with a great selection of Westerham beers.  We had quite a few people turn up for the evening and everyone seemed to enjoy the cheese, wine and the trip around the cheesemaking plant.

And I had the chance to wear my birthday t-shirt that Jane had ordered especially for me.  Bit difficult to see clearly but here you go:

'Keep Calm.  I'm a cheesemaking goatkeeper'.  Fab eh?!  Makes a change from 'Ellie's Dairy' !!

Thursday - more cheesemaking!!!

And finally, Friday .... I went off to do all my deliveries and David went off with the trailer to Dorset to pick up 4 nice goaties that a lady had offered us.  We very rarely bring new animals into the herd for many reasons, but we decided that these four would hopefully give us some nice different breeding stock, as well as a bit more milk.  David collected 2 black British Alpine type milkers - sisters Dannie and Maggy -  and two white goatlings - sisters Takira and Angelique.

The traffic coming back to Kent was absolutely horrendous and it took David almost 6 hours to come home.  I had built a separate area for the new arrivals while they get used to everyone else.

Maggie and Danni are only used to be milked by hand and so we expected that it would be a bit of performance to get them through the parlour.  But, they were extremely well behaved and stood very well, even though they were a little bit nervous.  We will get them out with the rest of the herd early next week, once they have all had a chance to get to know each other through the barricades!

And talking of barricades - the naughty little goats have been up to their tricks again.  First of all, they decided to take a wander into the big boys' area:

Fortunately, the big males are very well-behaved this time of year - Fremlin doesn't look too impressed with the little upstarts walking around HIS area though!

Once they had got bored with that, they decided to start climbing up on all the stacks of straw waiting to be used:

Bad bad little goats!  They seemed to be enjoying themselves though, which is the main thing.

Right .. that's about it I think for today.  Hopefully more tomorrow.  I'm off to bed.  Night night!

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