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Archive for May, 2011

Frida’s Surprise!!!


Before I write about the subject of the day, I would first like to thank everyone who has read my blog. I am happy to say that I have had 200 readers!! Wow! That’s great. Thank you all. I hope that you continue to log on and read about my life in the country with my goats. If you have any requests, anything you would like to see on my blog please let me know and I will try to provide it.  Once again, thank you for reading and please you are very welcome back to learn more.

Now to my Frida. When she arrived to us in October, after learning that she was pregnant, I thought her roundness was an indication of just that. She blossomed into a beautiful pregnant doe as we took very good care of her. She had fresh hay and straw twice daily and as much grain as she could eat.  She as well as Jalle and Julius  got fresh veggies and fruit at breakfast and dinner.

Since these three were my very first goats and Frida was pregnant, I took no chances.  We called a vet in to examine her and to make sure everything was going well.  To our disappointment, the vet knew very little about goats and said “well I guess she is pregnant “. She could not tell when she would deliver. So we had to guess, based on when we purchased her.  I also needed to know exactly how old she was. The vet could not tell me that either. Well, through time and experience with the other goats that  eventually came to Gullringstorp, I realized that Frida was not 3 yrs old as her previous owner said, but more like 8-10 yrs old.

All three goats had to spend the winter in the stable due to the harsh winter we experienced that year. Here are just a few photos to show the amount of snow we had:

Having a tractor really helps in the winter

Having a tractor really helps in the winter

Gullringstorp in winter

Gullringstorp in winter

Snow drifts make it impossible to open the stable door

Snow drifts make it impossible to open the stable door

The snow looks like whipped cream!

The snow looks like whipped cream!

Not only was there a huge amount of snow to move  at Gullringstorp that year, but we had a weather condition that produced the most beautiful ice crystals on all the trees.

Trees full of ice crystals

Trees full of ice crystals

More ice crystals at Gullringstorp

More ice crystals at Gullringstorp

While it snowed and temperatures kept dropping, Frida, Jalle and Julius were snug and as warm as could be inside. I knew that Frida’s time was coming. She was “nesting”. so that spot that became her nest was kept clean with fresh straw and hay with in a mouth’s reach. All the books said that Frida  should  be moved to a “birthing stall”. I felt  just the opposite. Call it “home birth” if you will, but I saw how comfortable and safe she felt just where she was, with her two stall mates. So there she remained and there, on one very early morning in March, in the middle of a Swedish winter, Frida gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl!!!  At 7:30 am my husband who was leaving for a business appointment , checked in on Frida and discovered her new babies! He called me via cell phone and I grabbed my winter coat to cover my jammies and winter boots and hat and camera and flew down to the stable. My husband and i stood there feeling the pride that I imagine new grandparents must feel. My husband was beaming and I was so full of so much happiness and relief I could not speak. My mouth was just open in shock and surprise and utter delight. The new babies were snuggled up close to mommy looking so loved and so safe. Frida was just the perfect new mother. It was quite cold in the stable so Leif installed   a heat lamp over the “nursery” to help keep the babies warm. These two beautiful babies were born the day after St. Patrick’s Day and since as an American, I have celebrated this every year of my life, it meant something to me. My new babies had Irish names, Keriana and Flynn. I introduce you to Frida a new mommy and Keriana and Flynn:

Frida and her new babies on the morning of their birth

Frida and her new babies on the morning of their birth

Frida and babies

Frida and babies

Happy goat family; Frida, babies and Julius the dad

Happy goat family; Frida, babies and Julius the dad

Just hours old and they are already up on their tiny hooves

Just hours old and they are already up on their tiny hooves

The babies were so tiny, like  little kittens were up and about so very quickly. Frida had done a fine job at their birth. There was nothing in the box to let one know there had been a birth except those beautiful little babies. She had cleaned up everything and them also. She was a very lovely mother and at   point I realized that this was NOT  her first birthing experience. No way! She handled everything like a seasoned pro. I was now aware that she had given birth before and obviously had her babies taken from her. I was in the position to let Frida keep her babies, this time. I found it not only my duty to her but my absolute pleasure to know that she would be able to raise these two little ones and she would soon learn that they would NEVER be separated from her. We were able to have the pleasure of watching her and her babies as they grew. But first they had to be babies and it was our job to keep their mother happy and to help her to keep them warm. In spite of the heat lamp that Leif had installed for them, the temperature had dropped to -10 C in the stable. I had a solution, one that my husband laughed at, sweaters then jackets when needed. They looked so cute!

The babies really needed their sweaters

The babies really needed their sweaters

Little Keriana in her nice warm sweater

Little Keriana in her nice warm sweater

As they outgrew their sweaters, it was time for little jackets to keep their body heat

As they outgrew their sweaters, it was time for little jackets to keep their body heat

Jalle and Julius were fine for a while , but then they both became in heat and we needed to separate them from Frida and the babies. They were just a bit out of control and so we ended up having to replace the partition that we took away to enlarge the box for them when they arrived to us. I think Frida was a bit relieved and didn’t have to worry about the babies any more. Julius, her “husband” was always looking over the wall to see her and the babies. I felt a bit bad at first, but remembered it was for the safety of the babies.

Jalle and Julius

Jalle and Julius

Julius

Julius

The boys were on their own and Frida was basking in motherhood and Keriana and Flynn were flourishing in her motherly love. It was just delightful to watch as the babies grew and Frida was assured her babies were hers. Maybe it was just me , I don’t know, but she seemed very secure and comfortable with her new little family.

Please check back and see just how Keriana and Flynn grew and learn about what the future held for Jalle and Julius and Gullringstorp.

Thank you for reading, please come again, read, enjoy and remember I welcome any questions. Please feel free to leave your comments, in Swedish as well as English.


Our very first goats at Gullringstorp


Well I have to tell you, it wasn’t as easy as I thought it might be to locate goats here.  Imagine my disappointment when there were no goats available for miles. Ok I have to clarify , there were goats just not the goats I was looking for. it took up to a year to locate my very first goats to start off my herd. I searched online sites, local animal parks and on-line ads.  Finally we ran across an ad that was actually as we later found out was a distress ad. With great excitement and anticipation the days drew closer to our meeting date. I could hardly wait! Finally I would have my much wanted goats!

When we arrived, the first thing I thought was, “oh no we don’t have this type of terrain for them”!  They had huge boulders to climb, even a structure to climb and trees everywhere! Needless to say I panicked and felt like this was not the time nor were these the goats for me. Here take a look at where these goats were living:

This is where my goats lived with the large Gotland sheep

This is where my goats lived with the large Gotland sheep

There see! What fun they must have had playing in this setting. Oh yes he was also looking for a home for these two magnificent big horned sheep that are from the Swedish island of Gotland. My husband thought I was crazy because they were so beautiful and we had the land, I couldn’t see why we couldn’t take them also. We didn’t in the end. there in the photo you can see two of the goats that were available. The black one was actually the breed of goat I was looking for. She is a West African dairy breed , Nigerian Dwarf. She was with two others whom I learned later were part of the package and if we wanted her we had to take them also. They were beautiful even though they were not what I set out to have . They are a rare Swedish breed of dairy goat called Swedish Lantras and just a bit larger than the Nigerian Dwarf. They were also bucks. But it was easy to see that they needed to be together and were indeed a package.

My new goats

My new goats

Aren’t the white ones beautiful?? I fell in love instantly! I just had to have them, no matter that they were not my breed of choice. I was about to become a goat owner! That was a fantastic feeling.

As we were negotiating price, we learned that this owner was needing to find them a home together due to his personal stress and it was really sad to know that he was unable to cope with whatever life was throwing his way and he had neither the time nor the energy to give these goats what they needed. In the end there was no exchange of money (kronor) , just hugs and reassuring words that these three would be well taken care of and loved.

Then there was a bonus to our verbal transaction. The Nigerian Dwarf goat named Frida was PREGNANT!!!  Oh my goodness!!! And one of the white goats was her “husband”. They were very much attached to each other. that is evident in this next photo:

Frida and her "husband"

Frida and her "husband"

As we walked around the property and learned what was to be learned about all three, these two “lovers” were never apart. They walked together and when one stopped the other stopped. It was clear to see the connection between them and the bond was strong.

So started the Gullringstorp Goats! We were now proud owners of a tiny herd of goats. Wow, a dream come true. We brought the three home to Gullringstorp in October and we were about to experience the worst winter in our area in over 100 years. So my concerns and fears of having inferior grounds, were quickly put on hold. Winter hit and it hit hard. My new goats which up until they came to Gullringstorp, were outside since he got them, would now be confined to the indoor stable boxes. I have since seen goats that were outdoors through the winter, wind and rain and I was not happy with what I saw. Even a three-sided shelter was not enough for our tough Swedish winters and this was a doozy! Not to worry, my new goats were cozy and as warm as could be, inside. See for your self:

My new happy goats

My new happy goats

Well here is a photo of Frida and her “husband” Jalle. They remained close even at our home. Goats require fresh branches,grains, hay ,straw, fresh water and minerals to stay healthy. Since my new little herd was “stable bound” for the duration of the winter, it was my husband who cut fresh branches from our property to bring in for our little herd. They could not go out and brows as goats do in nature, we brought nature in to them. in the beginning, we were unaware that the branches really needed to be strung up so the goats could reach up and stretch to get to the leaves and goodies. We learned. We learned a lot with this little herd. It’s similar to being a parent. You can read all the child rearing books in preparation, but nothing teaches like the real thing. you just have to jump in with both feet and your heart and you will learn, together. And that was how we started.

Here are some photos of life in our stable which was once so empty! We had box activities and corridor activities to get through that long winter:

Happy goats cozy in the stable

Happy goats cozy in the stable

 

Jalle and Julius standing in the inn the center of the two opened boxes

Jalle and Julius standing in the inn the center of the two opened boxes

 

Jalle and Julius

Jalle and Julius

Here are two of my new goats enjoying some yummy branches.

 

Frida enjoying branches that we bring into the stable for them

Frida enjoying branches that we bring into the stable for them

Jalle enjoying a branch

Jalle enjoying a branch

I am so glad we have so many evergreen trees and bushes on the property, so we had plenty of green to offer our goats.


Frida

Frida

 

Jalle

Jalle

 

Time to explore the stable

Time to explore the stable

 

Julius gets a hug from Max our Brussels Griffon

Julius gets a hug from Max our Brussels Griffon

Julius gets a kiss from Max

Julius gets a kiss from Max

Time for typical buck play

Time for typical buck play

 

Frida is ready to explore her new home

Frida is ready to explore her new home

 

Frida meets Max while the boys wrestle

Frida meets Max while the boys wrestle

 

 

As you can see, the goats do not suffer for being inside through our long cold winter. They were kept quite happy with goodies in the boxes and fun activities in the corridor. They even met a new friend!

Please check back to learn more about Jalle and Julius and the surprise package Frida was carrying!

Thank you for reading and I welcome your comments and questions. Please feel free to leave your comments på svenska!

Bye for now, (Hej då)


Hej from Gullringstorp, Sweden !!


 

Just want to say hello from a city girl turned country gal! Wow who would have thought that life started again at 50! I sure had no idea what was in my future.

Gullringstorp

Gullringstorp

I have always loved the cultural attractions any city offers, museums, theater, ballet and opera. My dream had always been  to live in the country but have access to the city for all the culture which is not found in the countryside. Well here I am, in the country. Not just the country, but the countryside in Sweden. We bought this home as a retirement home for when my husband retired and now here we are. It is a beautiful horse property. I also had dreams of riding once again. Well as life had it, horses were not to be in my future. We used to walk the property and try to imagine some one in our pasture and our 8 boxes in the stable filled.

 Gullringstorp

Gullringstorp

Well it took 3 years and here we are, a full and active farm! We have goats living happily in our boxes and enjoying the pasture we have for them.

A real dream come true.

I am a goat gal! I love my goats and want to share my life here in the country with my goats with you. Please come back to my blog to meet the goats and  for updates and all kinds of information about goat-keeping. We have a variety of animal life at Gullringstorp. I would like to include them in this blog, but the goats will be the stars.

 

Stable with hay storage up top

Stable with hay storage up top

 

Empty horse pasture!

Empty horse pasture!

Our empty stable.

Our empty stable.

 

Our stable from the back yard

Our stable from the back yard

 

Spring time has finally come to Gullringstorp

Spring time has finally come to Gullringstorp

Thanks for reading! Please leave your comments and questions, I would be very happy to hear from you! Feel free to leave your comment på svenska!
 


Hello world!