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Pine Trees for our Goats


Good morning from Gullringstorp!

It’s a beautiful sunny breezy day. Not so warm, even in the sun, but still beautiful.

Walking toward the stable this morning, I spotted some recently cut pine trees! Wow!!
We recently found out our goats love them. Some eat the needles but all enjoy the bark.

We went over and discovered a tree trimmer there trimming a row of tall pine trees between our properties. We asked if we could have the cuttings and when we got a yes, we were on a mission.

Our goats are so happy and so am I. We will have a surplus supply that will last some time. The tree tops will go directly to the enclosures and the smaller branches will be an evening treat in their boxes.

Oh the things that makes goat herders so happy!!

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A Day With Alpacas!


We were fortunate enough to recently have an Alpaca Show and Sale Exhibit in our little country town. Of course we jumped at the opportunity to view these lovely creatures up close and learn all about them. Owners came from all over Sweden to show and sell their prized alpacas.

We  met several wonderful people there but one in particular was so very knowledgable and helpful. We met the owners of Royal Alpacas from Falkenberg Sweden. they had beautiful alpacas , several of which won prizes on the day we visited the show.

I have always wanted alpacas, so this was the ideal time and place to get first hand information from actual owners. I learned that like goats, alpacas are herd animals, so when purchasing, always start with 3.  If you get 2 and one becomes sick and dies, it is certain that the second will die of loneliness. All breeders know this so they will not sell unless this minimum amount is met. Just like goats , always buy 2-3 to start and allow your herd to grow from there.

Alpacas are known around the world for their most beautiful light weight and fin fleece. This fleece is far superior to cashmere. They are usually shorn once a year in spring.

They are related to Llamas of which belong to the South American species called Camelids. they are much smaller than llamas and a much kinder gentler animal.

Alpacas make wonderful pets and can be kept with other farm animals and livestock such as goats. Music to my ears! Like any animal, the more you handle from the time they are babies, the better pet you will have. There are special harnesses that fit on the heads so that a lead can be attached and with patience, they are easily lead on a leash.

Llamas and camels are known to spit and often. Alpacas can of course spit, but it’s very rare.

Like goats, alpacas are ruminants and chew their food over again. Their diet consists of good grade hay and grasses. it is also advised to offer a mineral supplement along with fresh clean water.

Baby alpacas are called cria. There are two different types of alpacas, Huacaya those are the fluffy ones and Suri which have a longer coat.

I took photos of everything; alpacas waiting in their pens, alpacas eating, alpacas resting and alpacas being judged.

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Do alpacas make any kind of sound? I should say so and if you are fortunate enough to hear it, they will be in your heart forever:

 

Now to the judging ring:

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Some alpacas are not comfortable in the ring

Some alpacas are not comfortable in the ring

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Products from alpaca fleece:

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It was a wonderful afternoon spent viewing and learning more about these most lovely animals.  When I spoke with the owner of Royal Alpacas, it was his utter delight and love of his alpacas that I wanted and needed to see. His unabashed delight in his babies was just so heart warming. I know the feeling; I have it about my four legged family here at Gullringstorp.

This, of course has solidified my wishes to own and love some lovely alpacas.

Good afternoon from Gullringstorp!


We have a beautiful sunny, blustery day.

Our goats are finding new grasses coming up, finally.

Our rooster Bojangles decides to guard any hen on her nest. We have a rooster for all 3 breeds, but he takes care of all hens.

No tulips yet but some blooms are coming around Gullringstorp.

The sky is a beautiful shade of blue with fluffy white clouds.

A beautiful day at Gullringstorp!

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Good Afternoon from Gullringstorp


Good afternoon from Gullringstorp !

It was a cold night here at Gullringstorp, -3 !

It’s a cold day but the goats are out and happy.

One little girl has a nice warm fluffy coat with winter wool coming to the surface. I think she needs to hang on to it a but longer, with these cold temperatures and wind. All the white tips you see is her winter wool on her black fur.

Surprise is as sweet as she looks.

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A Lovely Day at Gullringstorp


It was a beautiful, cool but sunny day at Gullringstorp.

Our goats were very happy. Great day for getting a bit of warmth. Our goats, and us are waiting for the grasses to grow in both enclosures.

It was even a day to open stable does and windows.

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A Visit to A Goat Dairy Farm


During the holidays, I had the good fortune to meet a lovely lady Kristina, who also had goats. We shared a room at the Löfstad Slott Christmas Market. Kristina, from Hejtorp dairy farm was selling her goat cheese and I my goat milk soap.

We had a lovely time together and quickly became friends and business associates. We decided that we must each make a trip to the others goat farm in the spring. I was the one to make the first visit for a couple of reasons. Kristina was and still is much to busy with her new baby goats being born and I just had to see them. We both have our goats for our businesses and milk is very important. There is a slight difference; Kristina uses her milk immediately to make her cheese and I freeze mine to make my soap. There needs to be a constant flow of milk at a cheese maker’s dairy but not so at a soap making farm. With two freezers filled with goat milk, I and my does are taking a break from breeding, giving birth and being milked.

We spent a wonderful afternoon amid many new mothers and more baby goats than I have ever seen. With 70 does giving birth to 1, 2 or maybe 3 babies, the count was up to 86 babies! There were many does who had not given birth yet, so that number will rise shortly. I understand that last year the count was up to 123 new baby goats born.

As a goat owner and breeder, it’s always a joy to visit other goat owners. You see how they house their goats, what they feed them, and how they have outdoor time.

There are several differences between our goat farms:

At Hejtorp the does all live communally in an open barn.

At Gullringstorp all our goats live in boxes in our stable.

At Hejtorp, the does can go out and come in as they wish. they can walk right out of their barn home into their pastures.

At Gullringstorp, our goats are led out to their enclosures because of proximity of our stable to the enclosures.

At Hejtorp, there are 4 boys or bucks who live outdoors all year long with an outdoor shelter.

At Gullringstorp, there are 6 boys or bucks who come inside every evening.

At Hejtorp. the goats are an indigenous breed, Swedish Lantras.

At Gullringstorp, our goats are West African miniature dairy goats, Nigerian Dwarf and Pygmy.

I have learned so much from watching how Kristina manages her goats and its always good to find out new ways to do things.

Mothers about to give birth are moved to birthing pens

Mothers about to give birth are moved to birthing pens

Brand new mommies and babies sit warm under heat lamps

Brand new mommies and babies sit warm under heat lamps

This is the open space in which the does at Hejtorp live

This is the open space in which the does at Hejtorp live

All the mothers relax as babies find their places to rest or play

All the mothers relax as babies find their places to rest or play

Some babies stay close to mommy

Some babies stay close to mommy

Other babies prefer the company of other babies

Other babies prefer the company of other babies. I asked how do they get fed? Mommies find their babies in the crowd of tiny goats

This little  one just found mommy

This little one just found her mommy

Sweet babies sleeping together to stay warm

Sweet babies sleeping together to stay warm

Some mothers need a little help keeping their babies fed

Some mothers need a little help keeping their babies fed and Kristina happily steps in to help.

The open barn has open areas at the top to allow for good air ventilation. The cold air may co

The open barn has open areas at the top to allow for good air ventilation. The cold air may come in at the top of the barn, but the mothers and babies are quite cozy and warm at the bottom.

This mommy and baby were reunited at snack time

This mommy and baby were reunited at snack time

What a cutie!

What a cutie!

This mommy had twins that stay close by her

This mommy had twins that stay close by her

What a beauty!

What a beauty!

Time to refill the hay racks

Time to refill the hay racks

A sleepy baby

A sleepy baby

Really nice hay racks. Little hay loss

Really nice hay racks. Little hay loss

Natural light come into the barn through large openings at the top

Natural light come into the barn through large openings at the top

Milking stations for the does

Milking stations for the does

This little baby had made its way to the wrong side and was brought back where she belonged

This little baby had made its way to the wrong side and was brought back where she belonged

Every baby is registered and banded

Every baby is registered and banded

After enjoying the beautiful goats, I visited the farm boutique.

It was great to see between 20-30 varieties of goat cheese available .

Looking around I spotted Li’l Sis Goat Milk Soap on display!

 

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Thank you Kristina from Hejtorp Dairy Farm in Doverstorp, Östergotland for a lovely afternoon.

www. hejtorp.se

An Afternoon at the Opera


For all my followers who know me and those who have just found me,  I am a city girl turned country gal, living in the Swedish countryside. It has been some time since I have had an opera evening to share with you. My business Li’l Sis Goat Milk Soap is keeping me quite busy. As much as I love my farm and life in the countryside, I still miss and enjoy when I can, city delights. One such delight is being able to watch live HD transmissions of opera direct from The Metropolitan Opera  in New York. Yes, I can attend and enjoy world class opera just 20 minutes from Gullringstorp! Yesterday I had the pleasure of viewing an opera that sat unfinished for many years. Prince Igor, by composer Alexander Borodin. In true Metropolitan Opera fashion, this Russian epic required and received a stage that was filled with the most wonderful chorus and the costumes and sets that transported you to the towns in Russia that were depicted in the opera. It was a story of power, protest, loss and recovery. Sound familiar? I could not help but think of the present day struggles that are now going on around the globe , most especially the struggle in Kiev, Ukraine. It was very beautiful and moving with a musical score with vocals sung by some of the finest opera voices from  Russia, Ukraine and Georgia. The orchestration and vocals along with the world class Metropolitan opera chorus, were magnificent and really touched my heart. Here are reviews from The Metropolitan Opera site:

Prince Igor

Approximate running time 4 hrs. 15 min. Borodin’s defining Russian epic, famous for its Polovtsian Dances, comes to the Met for the first time in nearly 100 years. Dmitri Tcherniakov’s new production is a brilliant psychological journey through the mind of its conflicted hero, with the founding of the Russian nation as the backdrop.

Star bass-baritone Ildar Abdrazakov takes on the monumental title role, with Gianandrea Noseda conducting. Dmitri Tcherniakov’s “wonderful staging is dreamlike, wrenchingly human and viscerally theatrical. The impressive cast, with many Russian singers, is headed by the compelling bass Ildar Abdrazakov in the title role… His Igor has moments of Italianate lyrical refinement. He brings passion, even a touch of neediness, to his exchanges with his devoted wife, Yaroslavna, the Ukrainian soprano Oksana Dyka in her Met debut. She is a classic Russian soprano with a cool, penetrating intensity, fearless high notes, and a glint of steel in her sound.” (New York Times)

“The charismatic Georgian mezzo-soprano Anita Rachvelishvili brings her plush, big voice and a sultry physicality to the role of Konchakovna.” (New York Times) Gianandrea Noseda “led a vibrant and textured performance… [conveying] the Russian character of the music, while conducting it with clarity and precision. The Met chorus is at its glorious best.” (New York Times)

Prince Igor’s triumphant return: the Met makes a masterpiece of an unlikely opera. [A performance that] would be the jewel of any opera company in any golden age.” (New York Observer)

“The Met has returned a long-absent marvel to its rightful place in the repertoire.” (New York Magazine)

“The hugely talented Tcherniakov [is] a director who also designs his own sets. These were terrific: neither abstract nor period medieval, they took us into more universal realms of fear, longing and despair.” (Bloomberg) “Ildar Abdrazakov masterfully probed Igor’s guilt and regret.” (Wall Street Journal)

There was much to understand and comprehend in this opera. As with any war or civil unrest, like a chess game, there are many moving pieces. to understand exactly what the opera was about, I have included, from the Metropolitan Opera website,the SYNOPSIS

Prologue The city-state of Putivl. Together with his son, Vladimir, Prince Igor gathers his army for a military campaign against the Polovtsians. A sudden solar eclipse frightens everybody. The people and Igor’s inner circle of boyars (nobles) take this as a bad omen and plead with Igor to postpone the campaign. Unnoticed by the army, two soldiers—Skula and Yeroshka—decide to desert: they do not want to risk their lives and are determined to stay behind in Putivl. Igor’s wife, Yaroslavna, pleads with Igor to remain at home, but he cannot be persuaded. The Prince bids farewell to her and leaves her in the care of her brother, Prince Vladimir Galitsky. The army of Igor and Vladimir sets out on their campaign.

Act I The Polovtsian steppes. The battle is lost. Igor’s army is destroyed, and he is taken prisoner by Khan Konchak, the chief of the Polovtsians. In his mind, the tormented Igor replays over and over everything that has happened. The beautiful Konchakovna, who is in love with Vladimir, appears to him. Then Yaroslavna appears. Then Ovlur appears, urging him to flee his captivity. Then Khan Konchak appears and offers his friendship as his guest of honor. Igor has a vision of the overwhelming joy of living life to its fullest.

Act II In Yaroslavna’s palace. Terrible nightmares and dark premonitions haunt Yaroslavna. There has not been any news from Igor for a long time. Young maidens come to Yaroslavna accusing Galitsky of going on a wild rampage in Putivl. They complain that Galitsky has abducted one of their friends and ask Yaroslavna to step in and demand that the girl be returned to them. Yaroslavna doesn’t have the power to deal with her brother. Galitsky behaves impertinently with his sister and threatens both her and Igor. In the court of Prince Galitsky, the men are having a drunken feast. Seeking still more power, Galitsky would like to exile Yaroslavna to a nunnery as part of his plan to replace Igor as the new Prince of Putivl. Skula and Yeroshka now support Galitsky’s claims. The young maidens come directly to Galitsky in a desperate attempt to save their friend, but the mob laughs at them, chasing them away. The drunken brawl reaches its climax; everyone prepares for revolt. Yaroslavna’s palace. The boyars bring Yaroslavna the tragic news of the army’s destruction and of Igor’s captivity, sending her into turmoil. In the meantime, Galitsky and his followers take advantage of the moment and revolt. Alarm bells announce imminent danger: the enemy advances on Putivl and in the ensuing panic Galitsky is killed.

Act III Putivl is destroyed and left in ruins. Yaroslavna has lost all hope for Igor’s return and weeps over her husband’s loss. Igor, who has in fact escaped from captivity, suddenly returns to destroyed Putivl. Torturous visions continue to haunt him. The tipsy Skula and Yeroshka discover Igor. In order to escape deserved punishment for treason, the cunning Skula suggests to Yeroshka that they be the first to summon the people to share the joyous news with them. Igor interrupts the crowd’s jubilation and addresses the people with words of repentance. He blames himself for all that has happened and calls upon everybody to unite and rebuild their destroyed lives.  

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Here is a video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZHtISoeGWQ

I may be a little goat herder in the Swedish countryside, but I step out of my world to enjoy wonderful culture whenever I can. As soon as I can get the score on my iPhone, my goats will  have a real treat in the stable.

Thank you for a wonderful and moving experience spent with the Metropolitan Opera of New York.

Good Evening From Gullringstorp


Good evening from Gullringstorp!

As the sun set, our gang were so ready to come inside. They ran like the wind to the stable. Even my ladies in heat who normally try to stay by the boy’s fence.

Once inside, everyone quickly ran home to their boxes. In addition to the regular dinner of fresh water, hay and grain, each box received a fresh layer of straw! Yummy!!

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Good Afternoon from Gullringstorp


What a great day for our goats to be outside.

So, they are !

What fun they are having and what fun I’m having watching them.

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Good Morning from Gullringstorp



It is with sadness in our hearts I inform my followers and kind supporters, that this morning our Rosie could fight no more. Leif and I decided that we would take her in to the vet this morning because her struggle to survive was becoming too tough for her.As I lay in bed this morning, I had already let her go. I felt her spirit leave but I felt like a boulder on my chest pinning me to that bed. Indeed she had left us just within the hour I could not get out of my bed.

As I walked into what is usually a din of goat chatter from every corner of the stable, it was deathly silent. I knew. Each and every goat looked as though time had stopped and they had turned to stone. All I could see was the knowledge that they all had lost Rosie. I saw it in their eyes. I have never seen anything like it before. The sadness in that stable was absolutely palpable. Still is.

In time I let everyone out of their boxes. They comforted each other and found their way to her box, to sniff and stand in silence. I went in to comfort each of the bucks who looked shell shocked at me through the bars. Each one wanted and expected to be held close and kissed.

We will have her body shipped to the north for autopsy to determine exactly what caused her to become so ill that nothing we did could save her. We just need answers.

We will all miss our little Rosie. Farewell Rosie.

Thank you, everyone who gave your loving support to both myself and Rosie. Your kindness will never be forgotten.

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You can read about Rosie and her illness on my Facebook page  https://www.facebook.com/gullringstorpgoatgal.gullringstorp

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