Wednesday 5 December 2012

Meet Mr Bramble Our New Swiss Smallholder Gardener.

Mr Bramble.  Our new Swiss gardener.

We recently got ourself a new addition to our West Cork Smallholding.  A young billy goat called: Mr Bramble, now resides on our little farm on the edge of Bantry Bay in Southern Ireland.  We have finally got some help in the garden.  I have to stake it though because he's pretty partial to my cabbages.  He works hard and we can afford his wages: some vegetables and some straw.

We have had goats before and they are characters and excellent browse grazers.  Shall I tell you some tales about them?   Are you sitting comfortably?   OK then, I will begin.

We purchased our first white goat (a Saanen) in 2002.  A street stall holder lady we knew.  Gave us the phone number of a goat herd owner on the outskirts of Dunmanway.  Jean rang the goat owner and took some directions and we set off without a road sign or a talking horse (Old American tourist joke, yawn!) and after a few miles (at least thirty) of driving over hill and dale, we found ourselves stopped outside a smallholding.  How does she do it?  My mother always said that Jean had radar up her jumper.  I think she must have been a homing pigeon.  Jean that is, not my dear mother.

Any road.  The lady from the telephone conversation, introduced us to a beautiful white goat called 'Lily'.  The goat lady showed me how to 'milk the goat' and I paid her fifty punts for Lily.  I then attempted to lift our new goat into the back of our Volvo hatchback.  Talk about 'one lump or three'.  I struggled and moaned and Lily bleated and took great exception to me man handling her.  The goat owner's male partner heard the commotion and helped me lift Lily into the car and we set off back home.

Our poor little car, struggled over and around the West Cork hills and the meandering, pot hole scattered roads.  The back of the car was weighed down to her haunches and we got many curious looks from passing motorists and farmers.  Think I read the mind of  2 of them:

"Did you see dat?"


" That blue Volvo then.  I am sure I have just seen Bin Laden going down the road, in the back of that little Volvo."

Well Lily did have a beard.

Time for a song.  Here's Val Doonican (the man with the multicoloured jumpers) singing:  Paddy Mcginty's goat.


  1. he looks like a sweetie
    I was given a huge billy a year or so agao and he escaped 1=== times!

  2. Hi John, Goats are great characters. They also do a great job of clearing back scrub and weeds. The farmers long a go, always kept a male goat because they believed it kept the TB away. Saanen goats are from Switzerland but I think they come from desert areas of the middle east originally. That's why they hate rain because their coats don't have waterproof oils like the cattle. I have ate goat, very similar to mutton, but stronger. Can't say I like it though. Much prefer the beef.


  3. Love the comment about goats being 'characters', Dave.

    Would I be unduly unkind if I suggested that Brambles 'looks as daft as a brush' (but probably isn't, of course).

    Still think you may have room for a sausage dog, Dave.

  4. They are browse grazers Pat. It doesn't matter if it's a favourite rose bush, cabbage or washing on the line. They will chew it if they want to. Rather like Paddy McGinty's goat. They do a good job clearing brambles (hence the goat's name) and encroaching vegetation. Can't seem to get them to eat rushes though, sadly.

    Thanks Pat.

  5. This goat looks like your old mate, Brian Fudge, Dave.

  6. Hi Pat. You always make me laugh. What's the weather like in Poland? Everywhere is wet through here.


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