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Thursday, 22 April 2010

Dances with Goats: April at Tumbledown.



Well a stroll around Tumbledown Farm is long overdue. I have finally retrieved my laptop from the strange mumbling techy guy in the darkened little shop somewhere on an industrial estate in Peterborough, but alas he could not save my hard drive. I lost everything on it. Luckily most things were saved to disk although I fear some were not. I am trying not to think about those. I am extremely happy to have it back. However since its return, I have barely had a chance to use it.


Blossom on the Greengage Tree.


Spring has arrived at Tumbledown kicking and screaming this month, and I really mean SCREAMING! 

It all started last week. I had been visiting friends in the West Country at the weekend and I did not return until Tuesday. The Aged P's had gone on a jolly outing to the district Hospital for Aged P No 1's weekly dip in the pool hydrotherapy session when I arrived home. I slowly extracted myself from the car and stretched my legs after a rather slow and extemely vexing four-hour car journey. I decided to cheer myself up with a visit to the greenhouse. I was half way across the veg plot when I heard the all too familiar shriek of a baby goat, it was making the sound it usually makes when its loving mother steps on it with her size nines. "Hmmmmm" I thought to myself as I started sprinting back across the veg plot and into the goat house "I'm sure we're not supposed to have any of those yet!"




What I found was that Delovely, one of mums favourite milkers had rather sneakily decided to have her kids a week early whilst everyone had gone out for the day and since no one was expecting her to kid she was out in the day area with the rest of the herd. So there she was in the middle of the goat house having carefully removed all the straw off of the floor trying to clean up four babies on a freezing cold stone floor. So before I even had a chance to think about unlocking the house and relaxing from the long drive etc. etc. there I was in the middle of it trying to help the poor girl out who to be honest was somewhat in shock.





She kept counting one, two, three, four.... then looking at me as if to say, "I can't cope with that many." So she made an executive decision, she cleaned up the boys and ignored the girls. This is typical goat behaviour and I expected nothing less! She tried her best, but well, four is hard work you know, and working out where is safe enough to put your feet without stepping on one of them is even harder!




All the babies are doing just fine. They get along together very well, there are two boys and two girls. One of the boys is booked to go to a herd in Scotland already, the other we are planning to keep as a stud male here at Tumbledown. The girls we shall keep here at Tumbledown and see how they develop. If the are promising then they will remain here, if we find that they are not quite up to show standard we may look for pet homes for them later in the year.




At the moment they are growing faster than I can keep up with them. I am having to be their mummy now. Delovely decided it was all a bit much like hard work and left the bottle-feeding to me. So now I am in a constant state of tiredness and slightly nibbled around the edges.




I told my little brood yesterday that they now have blogging obligations and a photo shoot would be required. So at just a week old the quads went for their first stroll outside for your benefit yesterday. The sun was shining and the grass they tell me was rather good. Although they seem to prefer nibbling my trousers more.




Stilton of course came out to supervise us, although he didn't think much of the nibbling kiddies and kept his distance.






All was going well until Delovelyson (don't talk to me about the name!) decided to do his best Forest Gump impression and started running, running to where I don't know, but he did not want to stop, he just kept on running. I've never had any formal Rugby training but I must admit I am rather proud of the tackle I eventually caught the little bu*$$%er angel with.




The garden is springing to life so quickly I am not sure I can keep up with it now. It just explodes at this time of year. There is so much to see and do, and what with mum and the babies to look after now I seem to have even less time. There are a few things that have caught my eye so far though that I must share with you. Things I really love...


Aquilegia viridiflora "Chocolate Soldier"

O.K. So this is not going to be everyone's cup of tea but I am thrilled with it. This is the first flower just coming out on my Aquilegia "Chocolate Soldier". I have fancied this plant for a few years now and never managed to find it in a garden centre so had to grow it from seed. It feels like I have been waiting a year and a day for it to flower -I sowed the seed the Christmas before last and this is the first year the plants have flowered for me. I just adore the delicate, sweetly scented chocolate brown flowers and the green sepals. To me this is a really special little plant, all the more so as I have been waiting so patiently for it.




I do love my greens and browns. Spring can be so brash with its Kerrias and Forsythias bursting through and frolicing all over the place. Sometimes it is plants like this little Euphorbia cyparissias that really make me smile.




Even the new growth on this heuchera is looking good with the sun behind it at the moment.


 Helleborus x ericsmithii

I must admit I am rather partial to this hellebore too. It is a beautiful pale white that turns to the most wonderful dusky pink over time. I love its dark stems, gorgeous!


Pulsatilla
...and another favourite!




Everything in the greenhouse is still merrily growing away. I love to go in there and see how everything is doing. I also have a small collection of Auriculas in there I have not yet shown you. They really jolly the place up. I am rather fond of them, and they smell surprisingly good too. Just don't ask me their names...












Of course the most beautiful thing in the greenhouse without a shadow of doubt is dear Stilton. He tries to keep up the pretence of making himself useful, but quite frankly he is fooling no one!




So I have rambled on for long enough, yes indeed I can here Destiny calling. He's a noisy little git! He must be wanting another bottle, a mother's work is never done. *Sigh*

31 comments:

Dan said...

Awwww - how wonderful - thanks for sharing!!

Noelle said...

Oh, what darling kids. I hope their mother can keep up with them and feed them all. Your flowers are just lovely in the garden.

Juliet said...

Lovely photos, RO - the baby goats are incredibly cute, and I see that as well as trousers they also nibble dandelions - how useful! - if you ever think of hiring one out, let me know ...

Sorry to hear you've had laptop problems. You may have missed that I posted my first desert island garden - sorry it's taken so long - at this rate I think I'll just have to send you my list, as it looks like it's going to take me all year to find the pictures of them all.

blake said...

My goodness, baby goats are simply the cutest little things. A bit of work, it looks like, but my they're precious. Thanks for sharing.

Bernie said...

Delovely did a marvellous job ... the kids are so beautiful. I particularly love the shot of the little black one sniffing away at that flowers... cute shot.

Your aquilega does look so unusual ... I've never seen such colours on a columbine before. Would love to see another shot of it when it's fully open.

Such lovely blooms and colours ... auriculas are beautiful!

Lesley said...

AAAArrrrrHHHH!!!
Great post and wonderful photos.
Best Wishes
Robert

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

Such sweet kids! I'll bet they're a handful!

Dirty Girl Gardening said...

I have never seen that color goat before... they are gorgeous!

fairegarden said...

A monumental post, RO! How little the baby kids are, and how sweet, except when escaping I suppose. The Auriculas are a dream, and Stilton very handsome as well. Do keep your strength up, many are depending on you! :-)
Frances

Diana said...

RO, your flowers are beautiful, but Delovely is exquisite! Bless her heart, she did produce a lovely lot.

jeansgarden said...

Wow! You do have an abundance of flora and fauna to herald spring. The flowers are lovely. I guess "cute kids" is a redundant phrase. :-) -Jean

Kyna said...

The word balloons made me laugh so hard! And that second picture is what the hidden, cutesy girl in me calls 'Just precious' :D lol

Lynne said...

Gorgeous pictures. I could imagine that first one enlarged as art. And Delovely's markings are beautiful. They look as though she has had them painted on lol.

Andrea said...

how lovely this post is! You made it so good with your story that i am "all ears and mind" in it until the end. The story of the mother goat delivering without help is so cute, and the kids are so healthy and adorable. Our native kids, though smaller are cute too, maybe all of them are. But your story really made my day. The photos of the flowers which are sooooo beautiful also became 2nd rate. Maybe you should have them in a separate post! hehe. thank you

BTW, i did not know that mother goats prefer the boys than girls, maybe because they are carrying the genes for the generation, and they know that the males are slightly weaker when young than the females. It is normal that mortality is higher in males.

debsgarden said...

Quadruplets! That is a lot of work for any mother! Your kids are precious, and your photos of them are delightful. Columbines are my favorite flower, and your striking Chocolate Soldier has all he attributes I love about it. Gorgeous photo!

Sara said...

Stunning as per usual RO!!

Deborah at Kilbourne Grove said...

RO, baby animals are the sweetest things ever! I grew up on a farm, and it doesn't matter what animal it is, calf, foal, piglet, or chick they are all adorable.
On a garden note, I have lusted after Chocolate Soldier for a while, hard to find, I should look for some seeds instead.

Kiki said...

Wow..wickedly beautiful post..they are soooo CUTE!! Gorgeous photos! And lovely flowers !
Kiki~

Ilona said...

It was a beautiful tour that I so much enjoyed this morning :)

elizabethm said...

Love your goats and I too have a weakness for euphorbias. They just make me smile. Isn't it great that spring is finally here?

VP said...

Great to see you've surfaced at last to give us a long newsy update :)

Denise said...

Wonderful to have a peek into your overflowing world, the goats, Stilton and lovely spring flowers. (The "Dancing Goats" caught my eye because I just was given a lengthy explanation of how coffee beans in Ethiopia were discovered by a goat herder who noticed his goats' antics after nibbling a certain bean. Sounds like your little goats don't need any caffeine though!)

Kathryn said...

I thoroughly enjoyed your post. what a wonderful life you have with cats and goats and flowers. You are truly blessed! Great photos too. All the best Kathryn

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

I had such a great time reading your post and looking at these amazing pictures! What lovely creatures! And you showed yourself as a very responsible, hard-working mama!

noel said...

those kiddies are really something else, very cuddly and a handful it seems...i loved your chocolate soldier, beautiful.

kate smudges said...

The baby goats are adorable. Loved the photos and the commentary about them. Oh C. 'Chocolate Soldier' is delightful. What a gorgeous photo. I love chocolate-coloured plants. It is wonderful to see Primulas in bloom. You have me smiling.

Jess said...

I think goats are very cute, smart and cool animals. My mom adopted a baby goat from the farm next door which was seriously getting picked on and we raised it along with 2 puppies so he basically thought he was a beagle. He would go for walks with you, he hung out at the back door. However, he still ate the rose bushes. Some things are innate!

The Galloping Gardener said...

Wonderful pictures .... so enjoying looking at all the greenery here on my return from India!

joey said...

Thoroughly delightful post ... your kids are adorable and I'm in love with your Aquilegia viridiflora 'Chocolate Soldier'!

PaulineC said...

Really enjoyed reading about the 'new kids on the block'. As always well worth taking time out to read your blogs.

Rosie@leavesnbloom said...

such a beautiful post RO. I hope you are still coping there with the new members of the family - it sure is a busy time for you and they look ever so cute.

That is a lovely columbine but your little bit of auricla theatre is lovely in the greenhouse. Its the best place for them. The red with yellow one could be Bradford City.

Have a lovely weekend RO :) Rosie