As the year draws to an end, I realize how quick 2014 it has passed.
Not the best of years I have to say, no actual progress and loads of negativity. In October a goat kid was stolen, very sad and again very unsettling. Further unfortunate events mean that my breeding program has been jeopardized and I am not sure what is happening when yet. It looks like kidding will be split in two periods.
I planted a few trees and carried on observing this rush infested land and it turned out to be good to wait. With the strange weather patterns we had I got a good idea what is happening and what I can do now. It all takes time. This patch of land took years, even decades, to ruin by neglect and mindless use of heavy machines and it will take many years to get right again.
This seem to be something visitors and passers by don’t quite see! Constant remarks about the state of the fields and suggestion how to remedy the problems just dragged me down! Pouring and spraying chemicals on vast areas to get me out of a predicament seems to be general consent. I only see them as a quick fix, a sticky plaster rather than a cure. Yes, the state of the land is bad, and I am not sure whether I will have to resort to the chemical solution or whether I will find an alternative. Since it seems to be impossible to find contractors with useful tools and a will to work, the job will take longer doing it myself, but I can take the holistic approach slowly but effectively. At the end of the day I always have done what I believe in no matter how big the opposition or how difficult it was. I try harder not to get demoralized by other people and just hold on to my vision they can’t see!
Not all was bad, after a fashion I had my concrete floor in the goat shed and their yard, and now I see it as a blessing. The whole area is clean and bright, easy to work in and the foot problem seems to be under control. Unsuitable genetics and the constant wet when we moved here, as well as an overaged population of goats contributed to the scald and rot.
So, everything with chronic foot ailments and those beyond a certain age had to go. Removing the infection improved the situation dramatically.
I have, for years, worked hard on developing a herd of Boer goats capable of living on the poor ground and the wet climate. I have made progress, although I sometimes doubted whether the Boers a suitable for anything else than intensive systems with loads of processed feed. I am now left with a small herd of young animals well adapted to an extensive summer system and being yarded in the wet winter.
It is also very interesting to notice that changes are very slow to adapt to by animals. We move them around from one part of the country to the next, to totally different systems of doing things always expecting them to go along and perform their best. The longer I observe their behaviour and learn about their nature the more I see that animals are very rooted in their surroundings.
I have sold a few kids, it looks like to forever homes, I have kept some for myself and I must say that this years was very good, they have done well.
My Fjord horse had a colt foal, now six months old, so she was on maternity leave for part of the year. He will be weaned now and I can carry on with light work with my horse. The foal will come up for sale, there is no use for too many animals on the ground until it has been restored. Also it is sometimes tricky to do everything single handed, so I will leave the training to those who have the time, help and the facility for doing a good job.
My Mastino pup Pinto has almost grown up, he still likes to devastate the place by raiding bins, playing with flowerpots (with and without inhabitants!) shredding anything he can and stealing my shoes. He has stopped chasing goats, he leaves the ducks and chickens alone and doesn’t mind the horses. After the goat was stolen he is out on the yard and at night he has access to all fields as well. Feral cats and foxes seem to be under control so far and he is a good friend for Gerald.
And finally I have started to go to food festivals and selling the meat again. I missed that I have to admit.
I have tried various abattoirs and butchers last year, but I was not satisfied with the work they’ve done. Now I go back to the one I have used years ago and I am happy with the job. They are sadly a way away, there is always a waiting list, but I get my carcasses hung and butchered to specification, and they do a tidy job!
I have more plans for 2015 to add to my product list, but for now I can recommend winter-warming spicy hot dishes with my delicious diced Boer goat meat 🙂
For me Christmas time is a time of reflection, introspection. A time to close a chapter and get ready for the new.
Thinking about life’s lessons, experiences dreams and whatever else has happened this year, it is all in the past. The days are getting longer now, soon it will be spring and a new cycle will start with all its riches, new experiences and new ideas. I am looking forward to 2015 and it is up to me to make the best of it.
I wish all of you, dear readers, a happy new year, health, prosperity and that your dreams come true!