2009 Mentor Awards

To all my goaty friends and mentors:

2009 Goat Husbandry Mentoring Medal

2009 Goat Husbandry Mentoring Medal

I want to thank everyone for the suggestions, advice, and general ‘peel me off the ceiling’ words of comfort about my goat birthing this past week: Matron of Husbandry, MMP, Phelan, and Tony (Little Ffarm).

When you live as far from a Vet as I do, it is very unnerving to be dealing with something you have no experience in. Your words and life experience was ever so supportive and I am forever grateful for finding you all out there in the ether. As many of you will know (and suggested!), I need not have worried.

Special mention must go to Jo at Little Ffarm Dairy who answered semi-panicked emails swiftly  (though given our time difference, I don’t know how she managed this!) and comprehensively. In addition to this, she went the extra-mile(s)! and got a call into a goat expert who relayed much needed advice, most of which was quite simply an emphatic ‘Don’t worry!’

All of your concern, interest, and support was very welcome and much needed. Thanks to knowing all of you I feel that I am in very good company.

Warm wishes,

HDR

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “2009 Mentor Awards

  1. That is so lovely – thank you!

    Your posts are uplifting, & always fill me with inspiration & courage. I think you are incredibly brave to do what you’re doing, where you’re doing it & with the extraordinary additional & frankly dangerous challenges, you face: the projects & adventures you tackle, take serious guts & determination; & I have nothing but unswerving admiration for you.

    My caprine advice was based on my own clumsy, stumbling experience & the desire that if I could help my dear friend all those miles away to have an easier, smoother ride through the sleepless worry that is kidding, I’d do all I could to help. If I could’ve flown around the world to be there & be of assistance, I would’ve done – but like you said, at least we have the wonder of modern communications…! And admittedly I did get up every hour-or-so, to check the emails & blogs, owing to your concern for Fatty-Fat.

    I know how just it feels; & was so grateful for Dreda at all hours of day & night, in the same way. As I expressed my stumbling gratitude to her, that wise old owl chuckled & said that “there should always be someone out there, to help someone like you….we all need help & advice at times; but most of all, we all need a friend to be with us, in our hour of need” – how right she is! Just so glad, I could be there too, for you.

    Next year we’ll have to set up inter-barn webcams – & I’d pay darn good money to establish one at ‘Goat Guru’ Dreda’s, to put all our minds at rest!! However nothing quite beats ‘hands-on’ experience; & with this year’s accumulated knowledge, next year you’ll doubtless sail through the whole thing (hey, & with a ‘double whammy’ of triplets, I should hope so – you’re now our BRCTE – Blogosphere Resident Caprine Triplet Expert..!).

    Meanwhile six kids & two Mums….boy, you have your hands full…not to mention in a few months’ time, your freezer as well, with all those boys!!

    (BTW Tony – in our ‘offline’ chats HDR & I have already discussed udder balancing as a mastitis prevention technique; plus the extra milking required especially when one of a set of triplets is either stillborn or dies prematurely, as the doe’s body is in ‘overtime’ milk production – & yes, we have discussed the rudiments of kidding kits although I do need to put a bit more thought into it, & come up with a full list!).

    HDR, sorry for that “offline” chat to my nearest-&-dearest” but as you’ve gathered, he’s been away flying – otherwise this discussion would be happening at home…! But even he sent me a “panic” email to alert me regarding your concerns over Fatty-Fat, as he’d been reading the Blog in his spare moments, from afar & was worried about you – bless ‘im. Friends all over the planet – now I understand the expression, “global village”).

    Anyway if you can castrate the boys within seven days of birth it will be all to the good; then you won’t get any of the taint you can get from entire males, in the meat (they do tend to be a bit liberal with their own unique ‘eau de cologne’…!) plus it’ll prevent fights later on & as your goats aren’t polled, reduces the risk of injury to you & yours.

    For the sceptics, goat meat is the finest you can eat. Akin to lamb in taste it boasts all of the flavour, but none of the fat. Jointed, it surpasses the finest Sunday roast; produces sweet, tender little chops; & succulent sausages. It can be dry-cured into the most delicious Parma-type meat & when smoked has a stunningy delicate yet earthy flavour. Combined with the all-important offal it makes superb pies; & when the meat is marianted & cubed, makes incredible curries, especially when marinated in our special blend of aromatic Ras-El-Hanout spices (mmm, wonderful).

    Frankly, it’s such a shame that religion & economics have combined to make the goat such a much-maligned animal throughout the Western world: their naturally-homogenised milk is far healthier than cows’ milk, yet has the same versatility; the meat contains far less fat & is so full of fine taste & texture; & even the hides are valuable not to mention exquisitely beautiful, when tanned (a friend of mine had an organically-tanned kidskin we gifted her, made into a handbag – now valued at circa £300!).

    Anyway, I digress: thank you so much HDR, for your kind words (& for the gorgeous ‘virtual’ medal – much treasured!); as ever, anything I can do to help, you only have to call – I’ll be there, as best as I – (well, I should say, we: me, Tony & Dreda, combining our formidable Goatforce (!?!) ) can.

    J@LFfD xx

  2. howlingduckranch

    Sounds like I might have to employ my friend Dave (the taxidermist, etc) to utilize their hides! He’s busy teaching himself to make knife holders for the beautiful hand made knives he’s fashioning, replete with antler handles (where he finds the energy I don’t know). If you can imagine, he’s been using saddle leather and hand tooling and sewing it (hand strength of a grizzly bear!). I reckon kidskin would be a godsend after wrestling with that eh.

    Anyway, would love your Ras-El-Hanout spices recipe! I also will have to talk with Dave about the ‘dry curing’. He makes all sorts of sausage (even out of the cougar he hunts), hams, and smokes meat. I’m sure he’ll either know how to do it, or relish the challenge.

    PS. I don’t know what ‘jointed’ means in Canadian.

    All the best and once again, thank you and Tony!

    HDR

  3. Tony Knight (Lovespoon)

    HDR thanks for the award! I know you had been talking to Jo ‘offline’ so I was not able to see all you chatted about. However, I would rather that you heard about something important twice, rather than not at all. We have an expression in flying- never ASSUME always check, otherwise it will make an ASS out of U and ME!
    Reference joints of meat- it is the way you buy the meat at the butchers or supermarket- rather than buying a whole carcass you buy meat ready prepared (skinned) in smaller sizes. For example a leg of lamb or a rack of ribs.

    Tony Knight

    • Hey Tony,

      A big thanks to you too for sending the email to Jo too! You know, I recall that saying from a tv show in the /70’s called The Odd Couple starring Tony Randall & Jack Klugman. I must have been only about 6 while watching the episode where Tony (huh, something in the name?) Randall is defending himself in court and the opponent says ‘Well I just assumed’… to wit he replied with the above. So, I’m with ya on that.

      Also, it was good advice about the milking from one side. So far, I think everyone’s teats are getting milked relatively regularly. With triplets, I don’t the gals have much chance of being lopsided! I will keep an eye out though.

      cheers,

      HDR

  4. Well living here on the ‘Funny Ffarm’ you certainly could call us the ‘Odd Couple’ (or at least a little eccentric at times…!). 🙂

    Don’t get complacent re the mastitis though; we had one prolific milker who had triplets & for some reason the three babes generally preferred the one side; owing to the Mum’s massive milk production she had mastitis literally within hours. I’d checked her & even taken milk off her heavy side, at 2am; by 6.30am, the udder was already hardening.

    Mind you she was a top-flight Dairy Goat & so more susceptible to bodily overdrive…at one point we thought we’d lost one side of the udder altogether & several people suggested we get rid of her as she “wouldn’t be up to much as a milker” thereafter; however she’s still one of our most prolific goats. It just shows that with painstaking care & a whole lot of love, you can overcome pretty much anything….

  5. Thanks for the mentor mention – we have all been there and had a guiding hand at some time or another. It is helpful to get many different opinions and techniques to help make a decision.

    Thank you for your writing of your life up North and sharing with us all!

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