Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Bonne Année, and.......... SURPRISE!!

A slightly belated happy new year!

There was so much I was planning to tell you about what I’ve been up to, but then everything got swept aside yesterday afternoon when this little chap arrived

Now, I have to confess that we were not expecting this. Based on the dates we put the bucks with the does we are due to start kidding in about mid March. This little chap proves that there was some unscheduled hanky panky in early September. This would have been when the goats were still housed while Eddie was working flat out madly trying to erect electric fencing for them. I do have a vague recollection of one of the bucks breeching the defences but I thought we had caught him before he could do anything he shouldn’t. Appparently not.

So, we have our first animal born on French soil. In honour of this momentous occasion we have christened him Jean-Claude. He is fine, but we are a little concerned because his mum doesn’t appear to have a huge amount of milk. Normally, we increase the does’ rations gradually over the six weeks up to kidding, but of course this didn’t happen for her. She is getting extra feed now, and we’re hoping that plus the act of him actually taking milk from her might increase the amount she’s producing, but to be honest as we’ve never had this situation before we’re not sure if that will happen. We’re offering him a bottle several times a day in case he does need topping up. The problem with kids is that, unlike lambs, they can be very reluctant to feed from a bottle, even if they are hungry. We’re hoping we can get him used to it so that as he gets bigger, if there is no increase in milk production by his mum we can make sure he always has enough.

So, what else is news? Well, the Reversible Rib Shawl did not make it to the party on New Year’s Eve. Funnily enough this was not because I ran out of time, or because it was too short. No, it was something far stupider than that. I started the third and final skein and merrily knit away for a few inches, looked at it and thought “Hmm, seems a bit lighter than the other skeins – but only a bit” and carried on knitting. After about six inches I could ignore it no longer – it WAS lighter. Much lighter, as I discovered when I took it out into daylight (can I just say in my defence that our house was built so that the “living rooms” are protected from the prevailing direction of the weather - the west - which means with low sun in winter the living room gets no natural light. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!)

I had about five minutes in serious strop mode, then remembered my mantra “It’s only knitting”.

So, Clapotis went to the ball instead, and all was well. It was a fabulous night, but more about that next time. For now, just for clarabelle, I’ll leave you with some photos of the Pyrenees taken from the garden (they look much better if you click on them to enlarge them)

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