Monday, December 27, 2010

The 'Sneeze-fart' a Goat keeping Phenomenon

I would assume that it is a little known fact to those outside the world of keeping goats, and indeed it was a mystery to us too, but for reasons that will baffle scientist around the world it would appear that goats are susceptible to simultaneous explosions from both ends whenever they enter into anything more than a gentle trot. I have no idea when we first noticed it nor when it started but exist it does, the 'sneezing-farting' goats of Castle Hill Lodge. Whenever moved to their new feeding ground and the excitement builds to an overwhelming crescendo both Basil and Parsley literally burst unashamedly. To describe this phenomenon, first of all there's a small sneeze, similar in all aspects to a human sneeze and similar in depth and tone to a quick, gentle, nose tickling sneeze like that when one may accidentally inhale pepper for instance. Not particularly funny in its self. However, this is immediately followed on every occasion by a short comedy 'raspberry', like noise produced should one poke out their tongue and seal their lips and exhale quickly. The effect is quite hilarious and almost musical in its regularity and only matched by the immediate look of utter surprise upon their faces after every note!!!!


Monday, December 13, 2010

The Great escape

Yesterday we put Sid in with the other sheep. They were both on a good section of land with electric fencing surrounding them. We thought this would be enough.

The other sheep, Reo, has no requirement to leave her little plot of heaven and is quite content to sit and eat all day. The same cannot be said for Sid.

He has now made 3 sucessful escape bids albeit he doesn't travel far, just to the other side of the fence.

So I pick him up, return him to his section and walk back up the driveway. Before I get to the house he is out again. Now, if I sit and watch him he doesn't try to leave but the moment my back is turned he escapes.

I can only imagine that his wool, which is randomly thick on his face, is preventing him from being zapped by the fence.

We are hatching a plan to crank up the zap from the fence by attaching it to the tractor. Once he gets a hit from it I am sure he won't push through again! Well thats the plan. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Bits dropped off

After a couple of months of running around with an elastic band around them Sid's unmentionables have finally dropped off. We found them by the front door this morning. He seems unimpressed by the whole incident.

Our Firsts at Castle Hill Lodge

Clipping the goats feet - Do you know how hard this is when you don't know what you're doing! Our neighbour Hamish came over to show us how to take Basil to the ground. Hamish moved his neck back nice and calmly and Basil obligingly lay down. Once Hamish left though it took Mark and I about 20 minutes to get Basil back down again, both so nervous incase we were hurting him and Basil taking full advantage of the situation.
First paying guests at the Lodge - Couldn't find any matching crockery so the breakfast table looked like a paint pot accident that first morning. Everyone loved the cooked breakfast though so all good. I love it when people write sweet things in the visitors book. Hoping for lots of that.
Earthquake - It happened around 9.15pm and was about 7.8. The front door started banging furiously and us having only recently moved from England were convinced someone was trying to break in! We both jumped out of bed, torches in hand and ready to defend ourselves. It was only when we saw the kitchen light shade swinging from side to side that we realised. Straight on the phone to the neighbours to check it was infact an earthquake. We were very impressed that we survived our first, everyone else in Garston was very un moved by it all!
Ploughing - We got the old Fordson Major tractor for only $500, what a bargain. Mark set about ploughing our paddock out the front. This after we had borrowed pretty much all the attachments from locals. The first plough was kind of a Banana shape rather than a straight line but once Peter and Hamish had set him straight there was no stopping him.
Sowing the Sun Flower seeds - Well why not. With the help of Heather we planted out 12,000 sunflower seeds by hand. Two weeks later we can see tiny little plants about 1 inch in height beginning to grow. We can only count about 2000 so it might not be the wonderful bright Yellow field we were hoping for but its a start. For a couple of English cops who haven't got a clue what we're doing I think we're doing o.k

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Meet the Castle Hill Lodge animals

When we arrived we started with a cat.He is called Hercules and is the biggest softest creature ever. He arrived here as a wild kitten and has now been tamed beyond all recognition. His demands for fuss are unrelenting as is his ability to melt the hearts of anyone he meets.

Then came Basil and Parsley. They are the goats, brother and sister. Basil arrived with an elastic band around his unmentionables. The band and everything else has since dropped off! Am still convinced I will come across the small package somewhere in the garden one day. Parsley is just plain silly and believes with all her heart that every time you go near her she will be murdered. I have to confess to coming quite close to such an act when she sent me 10 feet in the air as her chain wrapped round my ankles and she made a run for it!

Jack and Ryan, they are our Kune Kune pigs. What can I say, they eat and they sleep. Jack is the pushy one and sometimes bites Ryan's ear in his daily battle for more food. He also lies down in the food so that Ryan can't get at it.

Reo, John and Sid. These are sheep, white lamb and black lamb. All orphans and either their Mum died or she rejected them so as a soft touch and to prevent the local farmer from killing them we have given them a home.

Chickens too. No names though because I really can't tell thedifference.

Thats all of us here at the Lodge

How it all started

My husband and I were working as Police Officers in England. As is often the case after a long time in the same job decided enough was enough and took a career break to travel the world.

What a year. We backpacked around Nepal, Malaysia, Thailand, China, Hong Kong, Cambodia, Vietnam, Australia and finally New Zealand.

It was here in our beautiful final destination that things began to happen for us. The New Zealand Police were recruiting English Police officers and so we put our names down. Do you know how hard it is to try to complete an application form and a cv on a computer screen with 50 other backpackers waiting to get on it!

Forms all completed and in we returned to England to await our fate.

We didn't have to wait long to hear back and after a lot of written tests, strange questions and intrusive medical checks we were in.

We landed in New Zealand on the 22nd of Sept 2008.

We had been looking online at houses before we left England and this was the first time that we set eyes on Castle Hill Lodge Bed and Breakfast. It was called Anglers Lodge back then and was set in the beautiful town called Garston in Southland. Its not really a town, more a village or should I just say a pub, a school and some great people. No-one has ever heard of Garston, most Kiwis don't know where it is either.

Tried to play it cool when we viewed the house. You know what I mean when you try not to giggle like school kids cause you,ve found the place of your dreams but you want to knock the owner's price down. We failed, she knew we were smitten and on December the 13th 2008 we moved in.

It wasn't being run as a B&B year round so we didn't really have any accounts to see if there was any business. All we knew was that we loved it as a home first and a B&B second and if we could make some money out of it too then it was all good.