Saturday, 23 March 2013

Wet and windy in Wimbledon

What a horrendous day for market.  Two sets of thermals, two pairs of socks and I was still freezing!  Snow, wind and sleet made for a crippling combination at Wimbledon today but, fortunately, there were still quite a few brave souls who ventured out to do their shopping.  After last week's wet and windy West Hampstead, I was hoping for a drier market but it was not to be.  At least we didn't get as much weather as those poor people further north.  Lucky old Jane the Cheese was snug and warm indoors at Whitstable Farmers Market and had the audacity to send me a text saying how nice it was to be indoors watching the snow out of the window. 

Meanwhile, it's been another busy week in the goatshed.  Our young work experience student Jess finished on Friday and seemed to have enjoyed herself.  I think her favourite bit was bottle feeding some of the little people:

On Thursday night she and her dad came to help with the milking as David wasn't around and I needed a couple of extra pairs of hands to get all those naughty new milkers in.  Jess's dad John is a fireman and so I knew that he would be great at goat wrestling! 

By 8pm, we were going great guns with only 4 new milkers left to do.  We opened the gate for the final time and in came 9 goats.  Ah ... Must have been hiding round the corner where we couldn't see them.  But, as we worked along the line, it became clear that they had all been in for milking already.  On closer investigation, I discovered that a group of them had broken down the back gate and let themselves back in.  Only a few days into milking and they are already learning all those bad habits.

And some of them are still trying to get the hang of the parlour stalls and the 'one goat - one stall' rule.  Here we have the 'two goats - one stall' variation ..

And it has to be said that it is SO nice to have milk back on stream after a long winter of very little milk at all.  It is so good to see all those lovely full udders coming through the parlour every day!

Needless to say, there have been numerous more new arrivals with another 6 kids appearing while I was battling the elements at Wimbledon today.  I think that we are still slightly ahead on the boys but we did send quite a large group of little men off to Somerset on Thursday.  A chef and a farmer started up a new business last year to promote English kid meat to restaurants around the country and they did such a good job of it that they sold over 3000 kids last year.  As a result, they need more kids to rear this year and are always looking for large groups of kids that they can take and rear on for meat.

As you know, we raise all our boys for meat but as we have so many this year,  we had to find a way of moving them on quicker than normal.  A timely email put me in touch with James and Jack and, on Thursday, Jack drove up from Somerset to pick up a group of our boys.

We spent much of Wednesday selecting those who would be going and making sure that they were all fit and healthy.  David set up some temporary pens in the tractor shed so that we could have them all in the same place:

So, when James arrived, all we had to do was move them all quickly out of their pens and into the lorry and then off they all went to their new home.  It was sad to see them go but I know that they will be very well looked after.

That tiny little white girl is doing really well.  Here she is asleep with her sister:

And here's a few more of the recent arrivals:

Valerie and her little men are doing very well in the barn.  Val is walking very well on her bad leg but still likes to find the most comfy place to lie down:

Her little chaps are really growing well and getting into all sorts of mischief.  But they are both doing a very important job of looking after their mum and giving her plenty of exercise, so they will be free range in the barn for quite a while yet I think!

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