Dotty, Elsa & their friends join the Harness Goat Society

Hello all fellow goat lovers

My partner and I are new members and I’ve been asked to let you know a bit about myself and my goats. 

I keep my goats in a small village near Bath Somerset, on the Cam valley hillside.

Goats have been in my life for most of it. As a child we had a pet white entire Billy to clear the land of brambles. His name was Snowy but as you can imagine his beard was not at all white! He lived a long life with us.

Then when I had my own children. We took on an Anglo Nubian to hand rear. My children called him Jack. It was a great experience.  He used to jump in the back of the car with the dogs, he loved it. One day someone said to me ‘what breed of dog is that?’They were surprised when I told them it was a goat. When he got too big to live in the garden we took him to live with our horses, we bought a golden Guernsey to keep him company. Jack and Toffee lived together happily for many years.

Later in life I went to work for Mary Holbrook at Sleight Farm in Timsbury a village close by. She was and still is a renowned artisan goat’s cheese maker. I made cheese with Mary for 18 months. When I left I bought 4  goats for myself they  lived along side my children’s ponies who were retired out at grass. 

Unexpectedly in 2019 Mary passed. I returned to Sleight farm to assist the family in cheese making, milking and looking after the herd of goats which was about120 at that time. 

Unfortunately the business had to cease and the herd sold. 

I made the decision that I would buy a few goats and make some soap. It was an idea I had toyed with for a long time. 

It was hard to choose which goats I wanted and to see the herd broken up and sold was heartbreaking.  Mary’s life time of work gone.

So two years on my small herd of 6 from Sleight is now 17. 

There have been a few highs and lows along the way. The births are so wonderful.  (When it goes well!) But losing one is so hard and losing an old friend is the hardest. 

My kids born this year had a pure Anglo Nubian father. He was black and white and very handsome we named him Pongo! 

He sired beautiful kids a couple of spotty ones. I have started pack training 2 of them. They are doing very well. 

My herd is mixed breeds but to me they are all beautiful. 

My dream of making soap came true last year when I got my licence.  So most of my milk makes soap. I have found it to be popular.  I keep it as natural as possible. The milk, olive oil, coconut oil, almond oil lye and various essential oils.

The keeping milking and soap making is all done by myself; luckily I have my partner Shaun to help with the mucking out! 

The times I have to just watch and talk to my girls are the best ever; they all have such unique personalities.  If there a dispute Eliza (an old milker from sleight) who is the queen goat keeps them in order, the hair on her back goes up and she uses her head to push them apart, it’s all very discreet.  

As my friends say to me ‘you are living the dream aren’t you? My answer is always Yes!!!

We were so lucky over the Christmas time to find a cart. So we are impatient for the girls to grow now!

I hope to meet some of you soon.

I hope you enjoyed my short story and the pictures. 

Happy goat keeping 

Best wishes Debbie and Shaun 

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