Local Heart, Global Soul

June 2, 2011

When Getting it Wrong Didn’t Get Our Goat …or Did.

Filed under: FRANCE,Places and Sights — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I settle down to test my French with some of the brochures in the Gîte that advertise local  and regional events.

One of them especially caught my eye, it was Saturday “Open day” a various local farms, where the public are invited to come and see a working farm in action.

There are only three or four of these Open Days per year, but by a stroke of good fortune this Saturday happens to be one of the Open Day dates.

I’m well used to rural sights and smells but am well aware that my city-bred kids are not, and since Kiwi Daughter and I both have mild cat and dog hair allergies, which we have been warned would only become more severe if we had these as pets, we also have no animals at home.

One item on the list especially caught my eye:  a working goat farm where you can see the goat’s milk being made into cheese.  If you are a fellow foodie you will see why this one appeared to be the jackpot selection.

Downside was that it was almost an hour drive away, but we kicked the kids out of bed early (nooo not literally) and with the aid of Our Lady of the SatNav, were soon taking shortcuts though little lanes that lead though the vines and enjoying the view of the French countryside as we did.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Our Lady, for once, took us directly and easily to the required gate and we turned in, stopping in front of a enormous shed.

There were no other cars around and it looked deserted, so Himself went over to the open doors of the shed to investigate. A few polite calls in French resulted not only in a reply but the emergence of a friendly French goat farmer who looked somewhat puzzled.

Yes, it appears that indeed, ages ago he signed up for the  Farm Open Days, but some time back he got a contract to supply goat milk to a large local cheese making company and now their own dairy is closed as all the milk goes straight to the processing plant located some distance away.

He  had notified the people who produced the brochure of the change  and thought therefore that his farm had been taken off the list.

Regardless of the fact that he wasn’t expecting anyone and the dairy isn’t open we get an invite for a tour of the goat farm.

I did the ‘ultra short tour” which involved getting in the doorways of the sheds and then back to the van on crutches, Himself  then drove me further up the farm track and then I got inside the next  shed door and then back to the car. I could photograph whatever was in range whilst Himself and the kids saw adult goats and real kids further in and went exploring around the back with the farmer.

First the shed we are parked outside of… it’s an unseasonably warm 27 C  outside in the yard but inside the shed was cool and shady. There is a central “isle”  where feed is stacked and then two lower areas filled with goats. We instantly attract attention as heads turn to greet us, many of then stand on their back legs to get a better view.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Kiwidutch kids are delighted and try and “feed” straw as many of them as they can, and it’s as if all their Christmas’s have come at once when the farmer spots a stray baby kid, grabs it and brings it over got them to pat.

I’m impressed that the goats seems to have a decent amount of space, the place is amazingly clean and there’s only a sight very natural farm animal smell, so clearly these animals are well treated and looked after.

I also find the goats to be a delight, they are straining to get close for a nuzzle or a nibble and its clear that some of them are real “personalities” as they rubberneck especially hard and appear to enjoy having their photographs taken.

On the photography level, its hard to get a good photo as they keep straining to get closer, and I like their faces and the fact that the pupils of their eyes are almost perfect rectangles, rather than round. You can see it clearly when their faces are side-on but when they are facing you their eyes look like they have stripes.

My children are in love with them all…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwi Daughter)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

1 Comment »

  1. Oh, how DELIGHTFUL!!! Something was guiding your hand (and car) that day and yes, I’m talkin’ about something greater than the ‘Lady of the Sat Nav’. 😉

    I NEVER noticed the rectangular irises before! I had to go back and take a look at my goat photos to confirm and yep! There they were!

    How sweet of the farm owner to embrace his unexpected visitors. And how cute are these goats? They always look like they are smiling to me. Their little beards are adorable!

    What an UDDERLY wonderful tale! 🙂

    Comment by milkayphoto — June 2, 2011 @ 11:24 am | Reply

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