Welcome! Oh, this is exiting, my first blog on Ganders Goat. I thought that I should let you know a little about the farm, our family and well, I guess the stars of the show, the Ganders Goat goats too! I should also explain how goat milk soap comes in to it all too I suppose.
We are a family of four-if you count Lady the dog (which we do). If I took the time and counted the rest of the animals, well I’d still be counting while you read the rest of this post! Not long after meeting (as he calls himself ‘the not so silent partner’ and some of you may also recognise him as ‘Farmer Ian’due to his work at West Lodge Farm Park) Ian , we travelled together across the USA with a tiny blue tent, confusing almost everyone we met there (most people couldn’t get over how we could travel in something so small), then travelled down to the Western Sahara where we had a ‘little’ accident and limped the remaining parts of (at the time, his dad’s) Land Rover home! So we are not strangers to small adventures, or to mending and fixing. This came in extremely handy when bought our house in Corby as it was a total mess! We knocked down almost every wall and put it all back again. Then I think that we settled down. Well we re-homed the dog, a pretty, mad collie who pops up in some, if not in most of the pictures across the site (she photo bombs the rest!).
Ian and I got married a little over 5 years ago and I think I was one of the few brides who turn up early to their own wedding; I actually beat my dad to the venue! Then not long after we had our little man, William! The aptly named ‘Smudge’ who is very handy around the farm, loves helping out during hay bailing by riding in the tractor with daddy, directing him towards the next row. He is head goose herder on the farm, and has excellent technique to get them where we need them!
The house we bought had a big-ish back garden, large enough, we began to think, for a few veggies and four hens. We did this for a while before we got ideas to take on larger projects. This is where our small ideas started to gain momentum! Behind our house was a disused allotment, with thirty years of growth and rubbish. Well, of course, we got carried away! We managed this space for three years before handing back two-thirds to the council so other keen allotment people could enjoy the space and we could move on with bigger plans. We still keep one-third for wildlife management and coppicing wood that we use at the farm.
Our smaller plans then became big plans; soon we had found and bought our 10.69 acre plot at auction. This was only after four years of searching all over the UK and it was just down the road! Again it was in a bit of a state, so out came all the tools, strimmers and loppers that we’d put to good use before. And now here we are, three years later, setting up a business. (eeeck!)
On our farm we have a wide variety of livestock. We have only just recently lost our four, original stock of hens that we bought for our back garden to Mr Fox and old age. We used to sing the Ganders Farm version of Old MacDonald to William to help him learn the animals: *Young McWilliam had a Farm ee-i-e-i-ooh, and on that farm he had some (add you own sound effects!)…. ducks, geese, pigs, sheep, chickens, goats (if pretending to be a Billy goat you can blow a raspberry here!) and bees!
One of our goals for the farm was that we wanted to provide our own milk for the house so we started off with a (very temperamental) cow called Enya. She was great in the field, we were able to milk her a little if we had enough food in the bucket as she was ruled by her stomach! Unfortunately Enya was hell in a barn; this was a necessary evil to stop her poaching the ground (turning it into a muddy mess) since, when autumn comes, the hill we farm on becomes very soggy and soft and a cow’s hooves just cut through the grassy layers, leaving mud. As time went on (two winters) and she still didn’t like the barn or calm down, we realised that she wasn’t the animal for us and our hill was not right for her.
We started to look elsewhere for a solution and we found it – GOATS! Oh, how we fell in love (ok. how I fell in love); soon we had Carrie and Shandy, mum and daughter. They came from an exposed hillside in Wales where they had been kept by a great lady named Jan who couldn’t keep them in the life of luxury and pampering that they were used to due to changes in her circumstances. Here at Ganders Goat we couldn’t have wished for a better start to the herd; friendly, fun and affectionate are our first Ganders Goats. Not long after, we knew we were hooked, even the distinctive smell of a hired in billy goat didn’t put us off, especially with the great results of that pairing; we had triplets from both Carrie and Shandy, twins from Misty (the white one) and another set of triplets from Guernsey Girl (one of our two Guernsey goats). Our herd was expanding and my heart definitely did with all these silly bouncy kids about! This year we have brought onto the farm four new goats to add to our original herd, you can find them on the ‘Meet The Herd’ page and learn a little about each of the cheeky Ganders Goats.
The thing is Goats equal milk and potentially a lot, milking up to four litres a day, what to do with all this milk? I was chatting to a friend about my sensitive skin, who spoke of a friend who’d used goats milk to make soap, that was the spark that ignited the fire! the more i researched this i realised this could be the answer i’d been looking for. Goats milk now equals goats milk soap. we started working on recipes, much of my research had yielded many a recipe that had a long list of addition ingredients. all these “extras” would inflame my skin, it was here that the KISS bar was born! The KISS bar is goat milk soap in its striped back naked form, if it doesn’t need to be there it isn’t!
Hopefully you will enjoy getting to know them and us (poor you) with the help of the website. Or if you are extremely brave and in the area, by meeting us at a local farmers market, hoof yourself over to the ‘Events’ page to find out where we will be next!