Friday, 31 August 2012

A Decision and a Nomination

I finally gave up trying to sleep at 4 a.m. this morning, worrying about hay and goats and weather.  Of course I woke my husband to get his opinion and, to be fair to him, he was a good sport about it. He got up and made us tea while I worked through the business plan again, sans our own hay.

I couldn't make it work.

My creative solution? I called Kevin and Lynn, who own the goatling, and together we decided that the goats would stay with them for another year.

I haven't given up on goats, but I've had to concede defeat this year in the face of our hay crisis. Lyn has more than generously offered her herd for me to come and practice on, so I can get my goat fix and gain experience at the same time. When it comes to livestock, goat people are some of the nicest people you will ever meet.

It feels like a setback in some ways, but it's a mature business decision too. I really want a goat to pet and milk (that's not the mature part of the decision), but I really don't want to fall out with my bank manager over an overdraft either. (That is.)

The local farmers gave us advice on our grass, and we found someone willing to bale it and take it away. He's spending time and money of a crop of poor fodder with limited feed value, but hay will be short this year and he can feed it to calves. We get the long wet grass off our field so the new shoots can regrow, and we can overwinter our expanding flock of sheep there. It's not a perfect solution, but it is good enough.

We're still left with having to purchase hay to feed our sheep and horses this year, but, with the money I've had returned from the goat purchase, plus another gardening job, and if I shoot some extra deer which are plentiful, then I can keep the bank manager from the door.

Among all this worry, a bouquet of roses was delivered to the door. Mike nominated me for an award given to gamekeepers' wives and apparently I was the runner up - hence a beautiful bouquet of flowers. I am honoured to even be considered for the award, and therefore feel kind of guilty wondering what feed value a bouquet of roses might have for a milk goat.


BilboWaggins said...

That's a brave decision, and an honest one. We're all praying for a better season next year.

Well done on your (nearly) award :}

Anonymous said...

Congrates on coming runner up. What were the criteria for the judging?
You could of fed the roses to the goats after 2 or 3 days.

Tamar@StarvingofftheLand said...

So it's a no-goat?

What a crappy decision to have to make, and my hat's off to you for making it. I'm sorry about your goats.

And I think anyone who's runner-up for Gamekeeper's Wife of the Year deserves a sash, a tiara, and a new pair of Wellingtons. Reading you for several years now, I've gotten a feel for just what the job entails, and I'm guessing the competition was fierce. Enjoy the roses.

Jennifer Montero said...

Tamar - I must get you to write my post titles from now on. "It's a No-Goat" is perfect.

In truth, it's a delayed goat but still, making that phone call to the owners and in effect telling them I'd wasted their time was horrible. They were generous and understanding. No decent farmer wants their livestock to go to a home where it won't be properly cared for.

Mike tells me there were about a thousand contenders for the gamekeeper's wife title, but his math is always suspect. If it were ten I would still be thrilled. And a sash/tiara combo would really set off my wellie boots.

Jennifer Montero said...

anon- I have no idea of the criteria; no one does. Husbands just write a letter to the organisation explaining how much they rely on their wives, how we help, etc. So I'm not sure why I was chosen, because all the keepers' wives I know are exceptional people and invaluable supports, working and raising children while training dogs and knocking up pheasant pens to help their spouses.

Hazel said...

Congratulations on your bouquet. Here's to next year being easier and full of goats.

Janice Bendixen said...

You earn the title in our book! Congratulations my friend and enjoy helping w your soon-to-be goats. I wd love to have a pair but Darling Husband won't allow it. Perhaps some day he'll relent. BTW, my license plate is "GOAT 1" - long story. I have dear friends who raise goats and I get to visit them. That suffices. For now...