Sunday arvo on the farm

It’s been a while since we posted a blog, but things have been busy on the farm. Sundays are no different. A typical Sunday at Holy Goat involves milking early morning and afternoon (just like every other day) cheesemaking (just like every other day) and the usual farm related chores (and farm related things/events/surprises that happen when you have animals). We do try and have a proper Sunday lunch down at the house, invite friends over, and our interns, to have a few hours down time. Until 3pm.

And because it’s spring, there’s more happening on a Sunday of late; even after a very low rain-fed autumn and winter (less than half the average totals for our farm). Spring so far has seen around 20mm and we’d certainly wish for more to fill our dams and the soil. But the pastures are doing surprisingly well. We’ve just let the dairy herd out onto a pasture cropped paddock – see earlier post – in small stints. The poor season to date meant there was no point putting them out onto short grass before this. So it was mostly hay and supplements. Now they’ve been out and slowly introduced, a couple of hours over the last couple of weeks, to fresh pick. Last weekend was their first whole day out; a Sunday treat.

There’s new kids – and new mums on the milking line-up (with trimmed tails to remind us all). Our first lot of 14 kids have now been weaned. After three weeks on their mothers milk they are big and strong, very healthy, and just a little wild. Even though separated by wire mesh, they still sleep and talk and hang about with their mums for much of the day. The kids – already forming their own herd – have proud lineages. Crema begat Cream; Cafe begat Tea; Nut (her sister was Meg) begat Almond and Tibet begat Nepal. There’s more to these names than just wit; see this earlier post to find out more.

Our compost is brewing and we’re about to clean out the sheds and create more feedstuff for the microbes.  Tristan Jubb – remember him? – is coming back to do a farm boundary walk with us to hone in on biosecurity issues. Ruby has been learning and helpful in moving goats from A to B. Sometimes she’s over helpful.

Spring milk means making more Nectar  every week. We’ve been driving over to the Mannes’ organic shorthorn cow dairy for extra milk to supplement our goats milk whilst we wait for our own herd’s production levels to increase.

We’ve also been planting trees, or shrubs. We have 70 understory species – read more about the importance of shrubs here – planted in spots where we have thinned small and very close growing saplings (using their root activity to help establish the young seedlings). Around our two dams where spiny rush had taken hold over decades, we’ve removed ten tonnes of the noxious weed, placed it in piles to compost, and replanted with species that will hopefully tolerate damp and slightly saline conditions. More on planting for biodiversity and productivity in an upcoming blog.

And there’s feet trimming. We trim now because the feet get really tough and hard over summer. It doesn ‘t matter whether it’s a Sunday afternoon or any other day of the week. We trim every three months; it’s constant and ongoing. If you are really interested in this highly important activity, there’s a link on our animal health page here more explanation and images. If not so interested, just know that it’s a critical aspect of dairy goat husbandry and just another Sunday afternoon activity.

We’ve been 15 years on the farm now, making cheese for 12. The farm has developed it’s own quite highly developed routine, for both humans and goats. We all fit into that routine. Sundays are no exception.