2016 – April

As the weather warms up here at Olive Tree Farm it has given all of us a new energy which has been put to good use around the home, garden and farm area!

We promised last month that we would be bringing baby news in this issue ….. Well here it is! Molly our black goat, gave birth to a female kid on March 12th, so we were just a few days too late to include it last time. We had taken Molly out for a walk when we suddenly realised she was stopping and nipping at her side, which is one of the signs of imminent labour.

We got her back just in time. She kept lying down, then standing up, and we were getting concerned that the baby might not be in the correct position as it was taking longer than we expected. Youngest son Nick, bravely donned plastic gloves and knelt down beside her. He could see 2 feet protruding, so he gently made sure they were the front ones, and that the head was also there.  It was, he knew it was because the baby bit his finger. He was quite surprised that it already had what felt like teeth. As the next contraction came he tugged at the front feet, and out she came. Mum cleared her head and face and washed her. So Lily our first female goat to be born here joined our little goat family. She is beautiful, brave and very playful.

We also had 5 ducklings hatch, and out of the 16 chicken eggs in the incubator, we now have 13 chicks. They are all doing well but although the ducklings are with their mum, the chicks are still in a heated box where they will stay for another week or 2 until it is a bit warmer.

Now that mum goat Molly has a kid to feed, we decided to have a go at milking her. We have to admit it is not as easy as it looks when you see it on the TV! We all took it in turns, and some of us failed miserably. Emma however, and 12 year old Fliss, have got the knack! Incredibly we are now milking her morning and evening and getting an average of 1.5 litres a day, which is fabulous. We have bought some glass bottles, and they are now proudly placed in milking order in the fridge, and being used for cooking and drinking, it is delicious! Over the next few weeks, all being well, we will be making our own cheese, so we will let you know how that goes as it happens.

Having recently watched the BBC Edwardian and Victorian farm programmes, we decided to prepare new areas for planting, but this time they will be used to grow food for the animals. We went to our local farm store along with eldest son Ben, who showed us a few different types of seeds which we could use for feed. The 2 we decided on are Alfalfa and Mangel Wurzels which are both full of nutrition for all kinds of farm animals and have been grown as fodder for hundreds of years.

We buy bales of Alfalfa regularly, it is a good all rounder and is particularly enjoyed by the goats and chickens, so it will be good to have some of our own. The Mangel Wurzel is a type of beet and both the root and foliage can be eaten. Remember Worzel Gummidge….. We often wondered where his name came from?

So apart from harvesting lots of our own carrots, red cabbage, peas, beans, sprouts, lettuce, various herbs and radish, that is about it for this month ….. Phew it’s been busy!

If anyone is in Arboleas on a Saturday morning by the way, we do have a stall on the Los Llanos Market every week. We always have some eggs with us as well if anyone fancies treating themselves to some. Plus we have a huge range of lovely handmade gifts including our up-cycled pallet wall art, olive wood candle holders, organic cosmetic made using our own olive oil, pet healing oils and of course bottles of our own oil, which we must say is rather tasty! Hope to see some of you down there, do come and say hello!