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Today at The Gatwick...

An ongoing series of informational entries

You Guys - We Made a Blog!

December 30, 2017

So yeah, this is our blog. We think we'd like to keep you up to date on what we're up to around The Gatwick. Bear in mind, a lot of this involves hoof trimming and barn mucking, but we hope there will be some more compelling stuff, too! 


For example, I want to start a Year of Challenges, so I'll post about those things here. Look for more information about that on January 1st!


For now, I'll leave you with this lovely photo of me headed out to give the girls breakfast yesterday. You could say it's a little cold here.


~J

Happy New Year! A Year of Challenges!

January 1, 2018

Happy New Year from all of us at The Gatwick! We wanted to welcome prosperity into the New Year, so what better way to start the day than with some silver dollars, am I right? :)


Last October I completed the 30-Day Minimalism Game and enjoyed it so much, I kept right on going through November. It felt good to go through and get rid of extraneous stuff, and by November 30th, I had ditched more than 2,200 things! Inspired by that experience, I thought wouldn't it be great to challenge myself with something new each month?  I've got LOTS of ideas, but I'm kicking off January with the Uber Frugal Month. Each day for 31 days, I'll receive an email with an action item, recommended reading, and a mantra, all designed to help save money and live more frugally so we can enjoy the really important things and reach some of our financial goals (new barn, anyone?) Today's mantra: Anything in life that's worth doing takes effort.


Also, I added a bunch of photos of and some info about Harriet!


Here's wishing all of you a safe, healthy, prosperous, New Year!


~J

Updates!

January 19, 2018

I've been busy as a bee uploading adorable goatos of Ruthie and Angela and generally updating their pages. What's a "goato?" you ask? Why, it's a goat photo, of course!


We've been dealing with some extreme (for us) cold and snowy weather over the last couple of weeks here at The Gatwick. The girls are super puffy to conserve their body heat, but they don't seem to mind the snow at all. Harriet likes to eat the snow off the fence, but she's a weirdo, so...


I'm still participating in the Uber Frugal Month and have been thinking about money differently, which I think a lot of people could benefit from, as well. There have been several "Oh yes, that really makes sense!" moments, but I'll leave you with this nugget:


"Consuming does not constitute a hobby or a skill, our material possessions do not define who we are, we are all capable of focusing our energies on productive, meaningful outlets.  We can all create instead of consume."  - Mrs. Frugalwoods


Perfect.


~J

Some Days You're Just Lucky...

January 31, 2018

What's that weird thing in the photo, you ask? I'll tell ya, it's something I've wanted for a very long time. 


When I first learned that goats lose their baby teeth as they get older, I thought it would be kind of sweet to save one of their  little teeth. I realize it seems kind of strange, but human parents save their children's teeth, so what's really that different? Last year as each of the girls passed their first birthdays, they lost their front two teeth, but I missed it every time and came away empty handed. Today, I randomly checked their teeth just to make sure things were in good working order and I thought I saw that Ruth had a loose tooth. When I tried to take a closer look (goats aren't that keen on having you mess around with their faces) it popped right out and onto the ground! 


Today is the last day of the Uber Frugal Month and the tooth incident proves an important point: The best things in life really are free. I was so happy to be able to save this small reminder of our journey into farming and raising these goats from little doelings to full-on grown up girls. We've had our ups and downs, but we've gotten them through the most challenging parts and have healthy happy animals, which is all we really want in life. 


Stay tuned for my February challenge: The Scanning Party!


Stay warm,


~J

February Challenge: Scanning Party!

February 1, 2018

One of the things we have a lot of around the ol' homestead is paper. Old bills, important documents, some vintage school-days correspondence and such, and LOTS of photos. This stuff takes up a lot of space and mental energy, and generally leaves us feeling really cluttered. For my February challenge, I've decided it's time to get rid of the paper!


Mostly, this will consist of scanning important documents and our precious photos and backing them up in a secure location. You ever know (or read about) someone who's experienced the trauma of a house fire and they always mention the heartbreaking loss of their irreplaceable photos? Yeah, that's not going to be us. 


I bought a scanner a couple of months ago and today was set up day. I realize that's not particularly "minimalist" of me, but I think this tool will really be useful to us on an ongoing basis and help minimize a lot of stuff that would otherwise just hang around taking up space.


If you're interested in throwing your own Scanning Party, you can find some helpful info on The Minimalists page.


Please note: my first ever scan is my 8th grade school picture ;-)


~J

The CONE OF SHAME(tm)

February 27, 2018

Chewbacca has achieved a milestone! Now that he's fully grown, it was time for a little snip/chip/clip action with our friends over at James River Animal Hospital last Thursday. Dr Belbey and his staff are awesome and some of Chewie's favorite people!  He also got to practice getting in the car several times, which for some reason, terrified him. He actually jumps right in now!


Chewie weighed in at about 105lbs - he's a really big boy! We had him in the house for the first 4 nights and that was plenty - by Monday night he was looking for all kinds of things to get into while we slept and you could say he outstayed his welcome a little.  Last night, Stephen checked his stitches and he's got a mild infection from licking the area too much, hence the Cone of Shame(tm).


We're really looking forward to him calming down a little and hope he'll soon be able to live with the goats full time since, you know, that's his job ;-)


Remember, spay and neuter your pets, and don't lick your stitches!


~J

February Challenge Wrap Up

February 28, 2018

Well, I completely misjudged just how long this scanning thing would take and I feel like my February challenge was a big ol' flop. I expected it would be something along the lines of: 1. Scan photos, 2. Save to Flickr, 3. Done.


Boy, was I wrong...

Read more...

March Challenge: Exercise Every Damn Day!

March 1, 2018

So, you might know I'm a rather squishy individual and I talk about living a more healthy lifestyle often. But, true to my "I-didn't-get-this-squishy-overnight" nature, I typically pull stunts like going to yoga class then eating peppermint stick ice cream for dinner.


Enter March's Challenge: Exercise Every Damn Day!

Read more...

Stephen and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

March 20, 2018

So, I receive a call this evening during my yoga class and it's Stephen. "Can you come home?" he says in a very worried voice. "I think I just broke my leg."


Ummm... WHAT?!?!

Read more... (warning: probable icky photo ahead!)

April Challenge: Run a Marathon!

April 1, 2018

You might not know I've always wanted to add "Marathon Runner" to my already impressive "Goat Cuddler" and "Wookie Wrangler" titles, and this month I'm doing it!  I'm starting training today by walking down to the river and back. I figure if I do that every day, I'll definitely be able to complete a marathon at the end of the month!

Read more...

Stephen Gets THE BOOT(tm)

April 12, 2018

Stephen asked very nicely for a bionic foot, but instead, he really got screwed. Meet Frankenfoot!


Today was his first post-surgery appointment with his surgeon (Dr Yarboro @ UVA) and things are looking good. He is now the proud owner of 3 plates and 14 screws with which he can set off metal detectors and anticipate the weather for the rest of his life.

Read more... (warning: probable icky photo ahead!)

May Challenge: Create Every Day!

May 1, 2018

Being creative is one of my personal values. It's rewarding in so many ways, but it's also something I tend to let slip away when I lose focus and let other stuff get in the way. My challenge this month is to make time to create something every day.

Read more... (warning: naughty foreign word ahead!)

Field Trip to Clover Top Creamery

May 22, 2018

Today I crashed our cheese department's field trip to Clover Top Creamery, a brand-new goat dairy and creamery in Albemarle County.  We met Hillary (owner & cheesemaker) and Sasha (Farm Manager) and, as it turns out, I discovered Madison (another one of the owners/cheesemakers) used to work with Stephen! We had a tour of the farm and creamery, a taste of their awesome chevre, and OF COURSE, a baby goat cuddle or two!

Read more...

June Challenge: Keep Creating!

June 1, 2018

I'm enjoying being this creative and I'm right in the middle of a big project, so I'm just gonna keep going!


Taking the time to focus on creative projects has really helped my stress levels over the last month with everything that's been going on around here. I'm also really excited to build some inventory for a future webstore/ farmers' market-type venture.

Read more... (warning: naughty words & salacious themes ahead!)

Got Milk?

June 18, 2018

So, interestingly enough, goats don't actually need to get pregnant to produce milk - who knew? (I mean, I guess a lot of goat people know that, but we sure didn't!)


A couple of weeks ago, we noticed one side of Harriet's udder was getting a little larger. We figured at first it was just part of her development - she is a teenager, after all! As it continued to grow and neither the other side of her udder nor any of the other girls' udders were growing, we started to wonder if we should be worried. Stephen reached out to goat farmer friend Madison @ Clover Top Creamery and she told him all about precocious udders


Precocious.  Yeah, that sounds about right for Harriet!

Read more...

July Challenge: Clean Up Our Act!

July 1, 2018

It's hot. I don't want to go outside or do anything particularly strenuous.  In fact, the humidity has turned my brain into mush and I nearly forgot to even think about a new challenge for July!  But as I was cleaning up the kitchen tonight, it came to me: No dishes left in the sink overnight for one whole month.


It might not sound like much, but it's something I've always struggled with as a world-class procrastinator - I am truly an Olympic-level procrasthlete. I'm hoping focusing on getting the dishes done each night will help me build a new good habit moving forward.   Wish me luck!


~J

Our Cups Runneth Over!

July 8, 2018

In just three weeks, Harriet has increased her milk production to just about three cups a day! Tomorrow we are going to start milking her twice a day.


At this point, we are barely able to keep up with all this milk! We are filtering it and freezing it, but quickly running out of room in our freezers.  We've been collecting all the tools and equipment we need to start making some basic goat milk soap and should be ready to get started later this week.


Stay tuned for soap making updates!


~J

SOAP!

July 12, 2018

It's our first batch of soap! It's very plain as we're just figuring out how to do this, but we hope to get really good at it and eventually be able to sell some soap. We're kind of grateful that Stephen has some extra time on his hands so he could learn all about soap making. I suppose it's about time to figure out how to start an actual business!


~J

And Then There Were Two...

July 23, 2018

I'm really beginning to think we have Magic Goats because in a more curious turn of events, Juliette has started milking, too!  Good thing we can make soap now - we've got way more milk than we know what to do with since Juliette looked at Harriet's udder last week and thought, "Hold my beer..." 


Harriet is up to 4 cups per day and Juliette is giving us about 2 cups.  That's 3/4 of a gallon! Even more oddly, Angela gave us a tiny bit of milk for a couple of days, but it wasn't developing into more, so we stopped milking her (for now?)

Read more...

July Challenge Wrap-Up

July 31, 2018

I hereby declare July's "Clean Up Our Act" challenge a success!  I only missed two days and both of them were nights I worked until 10pm. I've really grown to enjoy and appreciate having a cleaner, more organized space so our kitchen is ready to go whenever we want to use it instead of having to spend 15 minutes cleaning up before making dinner.  I plan to continue this habit into August and beyond!


~J

August Challenge: No Facebook!*

August 1, 2018

I admit it, I'm a Facebook junkie. Possibly even worse, I'm a Facebook creeper. I don't post a whole lot anymore and I rarely even comment on others' posts, but I'm constantly checking my news feed and seeing what's going on in my friends' lives, the news, etc. When I wake up in the morning, I spend at least 15-20 minutes scrolling through Facebook before my eyes are even properly opened and I'm still lying in bed. It's pretty bad. I've mentioned I'm a huge procrastinator and Facebook is one of my main enablers.  Enter this month's challenge: NO Facebook in August!*

Read more...

Did Someone Say "JAM?!?"

August 9, 2018

On Monday, I spent the entire day making jam. I had hoped to leave this extremely hot task to Autumn/ Winter this year, but we need the freezer space for milk! In May and June I was buying strawberries and cherries while they were on sale and prepping them for jam. I'd pit/cut/smash the fruit in the quantity needed for a batch of jam and freeze it for actual jamming later. Much later. When I didn't have to dread having a giant pot of boiling water bubbling on the stove top all day.


But alas, these goats had other ideas!

Read more...

Make New Friends & Keep the Old

August 11, 2018

We had a busy visitor day at The Gatwick today!  


After my my trip to Saunders' Brothers in Lovingston yesterday, I quickly realized an entire bushel of peaches was wayyy too much and I wasn't sure how I was going to handle the excess without wasting them. Enter our friend Mara. She told me she was after some peaches for canning and I offered our bounty. She and her littles Robert & Sam came by for some goat pets and peaches, and they brought us a gorgeous bouquet and goodies from their garden!


Later in the day, my school-days friend Laurel and her two lovely girls, Madeleine and Lorelai, made a detour from their Charlottesville/ Monticello trip to meet our girls and catch up after 28 years! They brought us some wonderful thyme from Monticello and spent the evening learning about goats. They even tried their hands at miking! They're all naturals and would be welcome farm hands any time :)


~J