Sitting here thinking about what to write has given me the oppertunity to reflect on the last few years and just how far we have come, also makes me think, had I done this sooner it would have been a great journey log.
A little bit of history… We moved to SnogrocK late October 2010, we named it SnogrocK right of f the bat. Why? Because we were known to snog a lot and thought it was a great piss take of the famous Mudgee winery “Frogrock”, intially we has looked at property out that way and this became a natural progression.
We bought our first herd at the beginning of 2011; five nannies came with one 8 week old baby buck, we called him “Boy”.
None of these goats had been handled, not good for milking goats, but it was a start, and what we could afford but certainly a long way from what we needed and wanted, but Flash had a plan and I was soon to learn the biggest patience bucket in the world.
Two of the nannies we named Lucy and Granny were in kid at the time, in short order they produced three new kids…that was goat learning curve number one, coming to the yard one morning to find feet sticking out the rear end of a very disturbed nanny was a real treat for Flash, to say the least. We kept them all and stared handling the new kids, learning curve number two, Granny was the head of the herd at the time and she was cantankerous and bossed the girls that wanted to become familier with the humans that feed them. Another lesson in patience, nannies in milk but catching them was “not an option”.
Around October 2011, Milly the Anglo Neubian arrived, you know Milly as the figurehead on our website. The locals knew we wanted milkers, so out of the blue Milly arrived on the back of a truck one afternoon, You want her? She was hand raised and full of milk, how could we say no. Learning lesson number three, milking twice a day produces up to 6 litres of milk, what are we going to do with all this milk?
Learning curve number four, how to make cheese, just as well Flash had a scientific background and a love of all things goats milk. I must say that he got it right almost out of the box and in truth all this time later there is only about three lots of cheese all up that we haven’t been able to eat. His soft cheese, fetta and soft chevre became quickly known in the valley apparently, because our phone number got around and people stared arriving from all over.
About four or five months after Milly arrived our Boy serviced the herd and 5 months later we had fifteen goats, just like that. Learning curve number five, if one goat produces about 6 litres a day 4 goats produces around 20 litres a day, enter soap making.
Goats are paternal in their bloodlines, this means that we needed to get rid of our Buck, impregnating his sisters is not the way to go, some of the girls were great breeders but we still couldn’t handle most of them, enter learning curve number seven, remove the babies at birth and hand feed, this worked a treat. We now have mostly perfect little nannies that were hand raised and think they are one of the family, they come to their names and can be hand petted, so much easier.
15 goats are way to many for our little set up, so we sold and culled and long story short today we have 6 milkers. Three of the older girls are currently in kid, Polly, Milly and Bella, they are due in another 6 weeks and then when these kids arrive we will impregnate Zelda, Emma and Sky for the first time, this will give us a rotating run of kids and milk. The kids will be removed at birth and hand feed, then sold at about 10 weeks old; the milk will became soap and cheese.
The soap story came from an excess of milk, its been a natural progression. I have used my background in aromatherapy and natural herbs to make sure that the oil mixtures are theraputic, Flash has worked hard on the scientific formulas, the soap we are now producing is very mositurising, our hemp soap works a treat on excema and our signature soap is a wonder, it feels like velvet and smells like our version of heaven.
Really so much has happened along the way but here we are with goats, chickens and Sid our Kelpie X Collie fawn, its worth looking them up, they are rare and Sid was one of a litter of six that we had in late May 2012, we lost his mum last January, which was devastating to say the least, however Sid is a wonderful legacy.
At the moment we are getting ready for summer, this means new raised garden beds to try and beat the wombats that ate our winter crop. New milking sheds are being built this year, using the timber from the trees that we dropped a couple of weeks ago and old water tanks. We have also worked really hard to become self sustainable, new solar hot water means all we have left to do now is get our electricity off the grid, we hope to achieve this by 2014.
We have learnt, life on the land is hard, the weather is not your friend, don’t be fooled or become complacent, the soil has a mind of its own and nature takes its toll. However waking to peace and quite, walking in your own forest, watching wombats, roos, echidna, reptiles and birds of so much color and varity that it takes your breath away is a daily way of life. Working hard as a team that makes you sleep like a baby at the end of the day and a wonderful sense of growth (like learning patience) and the self satisfaction of producing all that you eat certainly means that we are up and running and it appears by what i’ve managed to pull together… we are doing OK.
Thanks for visting the website, if you are coming out this way pick up a bottle of Mudgee wine and feel free to contact or come on by and taste some cheese. See the girls that produce the milk, hand feed the kids and relax… the soap out here sure is smooth.