Sunday 31 January 2016

Ellie's Dairy goes on holiday!

As you know, David and I are very rarely able to take a day off.  But this week, leaving goatie Auntie Anita and Milking Mel in charge once again, we headed up to London for our annual away-day.  Oyster cards in hand, we set off by train from Blackheath to go and do touristy things in the big city!

We started at Covent Garden and then hopped on the Thames Clipper river boat to make our way down to Greenwich Pier and back.  Very relaxing and a great way to enjoy all the sights of London including Shakepeare's Globe Theatre ..

By the time we had got back and had dinner, it was time to get ready and go off to see the Cirque du Soleil once again at the Royal Albert Hall.

What a magnificent building that is!  No matter how many times I see it, it never fails to impress.

The stage setting for the show was incredible again ..

And the show itself was just breathtaking.  Unbelievable!

The following day, after a lie-in (what a luxury!) and a very leisurely breakfast we went to see Joe at Borough Market and then strolled along the road to go up The Shard.  I seem to spend rather a lot of time looking up at it, so I figured that it was time to start looking down!

And, what can I say?  Utterly amazing!  The view from the top is just fantastic and we spent a couple of hours picking out landmarks and watching the world go by hundreds of feet below us.

We treated ourselves to a hot mulled cider at the top level ..

Tweeted a picture of Borough Market from above ..

And generally just admired the view!

On our way back to Borough, we made a little detour to a small green area which lies on the corner of one of the busy roads.  Set back a little from the road, this place is known as Cross Bones Garden.  Well documented throughout history, it was a graveyard for the 'outcast dead'.  A paupers graveyard.  In fact, it is also known as the 'prostitute's graveyard'.

Set amidst the bustle of busy South London streets, this garden is very peaceful and has a strange poignant quality about it.  There is just a small pyramid and a shrine erected to remember the many hundreds of people buried in this place:

It is only open at certain times, but the gates are absolutely covered in messages and ribbons ..

You can find out more about it at

Then it was back to Borough for some lunch.  David obviously went straight round to our goaty friends at Gourmet Goat to have one of their delicious wraps ..

Check out their spanking new unit at Borough Market in Rochester Walk.  Very flash!  If you have never tried kid goat meat before, then get yourself over there and prepare to be deliciously surprised!

The final stop on our hols was the James Bond exhibition at the Film Theatre in Covent Garden.  It is the largest collection of original JB vehicles and was absolutely wonderful.  David, of course, was in his element with all those fantastic cars around him.  And each car had a running film behind it to show where it had appeared in the JB film.  Very well done and really enjoyable.

So, that was that over with for another year!  Back to reality and goats ...

Wednesday 20 January 2016

Like mother ... like daughter ..

Regular readers of our little blog will be very familiar with our lovely Husky goat and all the various adventures we have been through together over the years.  And they will also know that Husky prefers to drink her water straight from the tap in the parlour ..

And, as we all know, Husky's daughter, young Monkey goat likes to help with milking and spends her time trotting around the parlour and sitting in the wheelbarrow ..

But it would seem that Monkey has been observing her mum very closely .. Because tonight, for the first time, we saw her do this ..

Who's a clever girl then?!

Tuesday 19 January 2016

On a cold and frosty morning

There was a distinct chill in the air this morning as I stuck my nose out of my duvet and peeled myself off a very warm and comfy mattress ... Actually, it's not that cold .. it just feels so cold because the weather has been so mild recently.  And I'm getting older and feel the cold so much more than I used to.  Fully layered up with thermals and body-warmers, I set to scraping the ice off my van.

But it was lovely and warm and cosy in the goat shed and those girls were very reluctant to get up for milking again.  A little group of four of the Mary goats caught my eye .. all perfectly arranged next to each other with two lying one way and two lying the other way with their heads on the backs of the others.  Very cosy!

And it was such a crisp and clear morning outside.  The air was very still and quiet .. standing out in the goats' field, all I could hear was the hum of the vacuum pump outside the milking parlour.

So, I thought I would do a little video for you to give you a taste of early morning in goat-world ..

All the mud in the yard had turned to ice and so the goaties were happy to walk across it, though Mischief and Robin found it a little confusing to start with ..

But soon, most people were brave enough to skip outside and into their field to enjoy the early morning frost.

Saturday 16 January 2016

A dry day at last!

Finally!!  It has actually stopped raining for a couple of days.  Hurrah!  David has managed to get out and do some long overdue hedgecutting and we are no longer knee-deep in mud.  I am sure that it is only a brief respite but let's enjoy it while it lasts!

While I was out at market today I received a text from David which simply said 'goaties in field'.  As you may recall, they absolutely hate rain and so none of them have been anywhere near their field for several weeks now.  They have stuck their little noses out of the barn door occasionally and then promptly retreated back to the comfort of their straw and hay racks!

But today, the ground was hard and dry, the sun was shining and so off they went racing down to the bottom of the field:

Happy days!

Those big old Gracie Moos are happy too in their new home.  Lots of cosy warm straw and plenty to eat ... this was breakfast time ..

And here is our oldest girlie - Gracie 196.  She and her companion are 10 years old this March.

Tuesday 12 January 2016

Rainwater and little goatlings

No matter how many times I see the Shard, I never get bored of looking at it!  Joe had a couple of days holiday this week, so yours truly was on Borough duty.  An early arrival to beat the traffic was rewarded with an illuminated Shard ..

The weather has continued to be utterly atrocious, so we have all been living in wellies and waterproofs.  Husky decided that she fancied a bit of fresh rainwater and spent a happy few minutes licking all the rain off my jacket!

I spent a very pleasant day at The Food Market in Chiswick on Sunday as a guest stall.  The stallholders and customers were all very friendly and it was nice to see a few of the old familiar faces behind some of the stalls!  Hopefully, they will manage to find us a space there for a more permanent pitch sometime soon.

Yesterday was a sad day for myself and goatie Auntie Anita as we heard of the death of one of our heroes, David Bowie.  Both of us are great fans and I was lucky enough to see him many many years ago when I was a student.  Seems that Heidi goat was also a fan as she did her Aladdin Sane tribute makeup ready for evening milking ..

Meanwhile, we have another little visitor to the milking parlour.  Young Dolly goatling has not yet had babies but has come into milk already as a 'maiden milker'.  She is still learning how to behave in the parlour but is doing very well.  Such a brave little person!

And such a cute little goatie face!

Tuesday 5 January 2016

Gracie Moos come home!

Why does it always pour with rain whenever we have to move the Gracie Moos?!  Yesterday was no exception as we spent most of the day trying to stay upright and keep our wellies on as they were continually sucked down into the muddy quagmire around the farm.

It's almost calving time again!  As you know, David becomes quite an anxious parent and he was keen to get those big old Gracie Moos back up to the farm and settled in well before they start to have their babies.  They have been living just a mile or so away from the farm in a very nice field with lots of grass and, as the weather has not been too bad yet this winter, they have stayed out there rather than come back into the yard.  But, now we need to keep a closer eye on them ..

David has been busy mending fences and putting up new gate posts ready for their arrival.  With everything back in place, we spread lots of straw in the back of their pen:

Everything with cows has to be big and heavy!  So, we had to pick up all the big cattle gates ..

Load them into a trailer and take them down the road where they had to be unloaded into the field:

And a pen set up, with the trailer at one end ...

Of course, as soon as we started doing all this, those girls were off and away down the far end of the field!

The way to a Gracie Moo's heart is through her stomach(s) ... Much shaking of feed bags and whistling ... and they reappeared over the brow of the hill!

And then the difficult bit ... A lot of coaxing, aided by a rather nice bale of silage, finally got everyone into the pen.  It can often take a very long time (sometimes days!) to get everyone in the pen all together, but they were very good girls and everyone was safely gated up within an hour ..

The first 3 loaded into the trailer pretty quickly and they were very soon home and back in their new house ..  Patiently waiting for their friends to arrive ..

Here they come!  The next load backs into the yard ..

And, just in case you needed to know just how muddy it was .. Here's a few boots for you ..

And a couple of pairs of legs ... David and Anita ..

It was hard work, but soon everyone was back home safely and tucking into a tasty 'welcome home' snack!

And here's the baby!  Our youngest Gracie Moo ..

And of course, we then had to do everything again in reverse ... load all the gates back into the trailer, bring them back to the farm, unload them .. and clean out the trailer.  I have to say that we were all absolutely filthy and very tired by the end of the day!

Saturday 2 January 2016

Happy New Year!

And a very Happy New Year to all from the humans and goaties at Ellie's Dairy!

Just a quick piccie of Sadie's little chaps ...

Not so little now!  But still staying close to mum..