Author: kaliani1757

We have 5 stars!

If you are interested in an ecological holiday a good place to start is with www.organicholidays.com    This site lists homes and holiday venues around the world.   The Goats’ garden is listed on the site, and is in fact the only organic venue listed in Norway.

In addition, The Goats’ Garden is listed under Eco Hotels of the World with 5 stars.   Eco Hotels give stars based on ratings of energy, water, disposal, eco-action, and protection.   The Goats’ Garden has been listed with 5 stars and has been given the Eco Hotels seal of approval:

eco hotels of the world

Since we were given the rating, we have made even more upgrades to our property and ecology, putting in a Biovac, biological septic system, additional composting, and new organic gardens.  We are the only Norwegian listing on this site also.     Here is our rating description on EcoHotels:

Green Star Rating Results:
For more information on how these work click here
Overall Rating: ★★★★★ (5)

Energy Rating: ★★★★ (4)
Staff Comment – Our home is heated mostly with wood. We have a wood stove in the kitchen and in the living room, and a ceiling fan in the living room to direct extra heat upstairs. The house is well insulated and we have two and three layer glass in all windows. We use low energy bulbs throughout the house and staff are aware of the necessity to turn off lights and appliances whenever possible. We use electric appliances sparingly; we have an energy saving vacuum machine and use energy saving settings on the washing machine and dishwasher. We air-dry all clothes, towels, and linens. Guest rooms have an electric panel with a thermostat and day night electricity sinking. We provide a guest guide to the thermostat and to saving electricity in general, and our staff and management are trained and aware of energy saving. We use a service of our local electricy authority that allows us to choose to buy alternative energy.

Water Rating: ★★★★★ (5)
Staff Comment – We have our own non-chemical septic tank and our own well. We use compost and water conservation methods in our ecological gardens. We reuse spent water from the goats or from the house in the gardens. We use ecological cleaning products and organic toiletries. We change sheets and towels only on demand. Staff are aware of water saving measures, turn off taps when not in use, use the washing machine on eco settings, use the dishwasher only when full. We have signs in the bathroom reminding guests to use water sparingly and have an ecological manifesto in the rooms with the room literature. Guests are advised to use showers instead of baths, and we have a written water saving memorandum in guest rooms. Guests may use ‘family cloth’ optional cloth wipes instead of toilet paper, if they choose; we provide wet bags for used family cloth and wash these for our guests.

Disposal Rating: ★★★★★ (5)
Staff Comment – We avoid as much waste as possible by buying only what we need. As much as possible we buy from local farms or use our own home grown products thus avoiding packaging. We shop with cloth bags and take care to buy organic products in ecological packaging. We sort all waste and advise guests on sorting waste as well. Guests are advised to use the recycle bins and the compost bin. We sort guest waste from the guest room bin ourselves when we clean the rooms if they have not done this themselves. We sort foodstuff, paper, plastic, metal, and glass. We have our own compost and compost all compostable material for the garden. We also have a second business called ‘Carbon Free Creations’ that recycles used clothing and other products into new clothes, accessories, toys, and other products. Everything is used, and scraps are used to provide stuffing for stuffed animal creations. Any used towels, sheets and so on are also recycled through our Carbon Free Creations. We do not use disposable tableware,etc, although we are experimenting with edible plates and cups, and handmade recycled paper plates and containers.

Eco-Active Rating: ★★★★★ (5)
Staff Comment – The owner and staff are members of our local Transition Initiative and we are active in community projects such as Incredible Edible, Freecycle, and organic planting, as well as Film nights featuring films to increase ecological awareness in our local town. We work together with local permaculture and seed saving organizations and take part in lectures and presentations held by local organizations such as MaJoBo (Food,Earth and Living) and Fremtid I Våre Hender (The Future in Our Hands) and NaturForbunet (the Nature Foundation) We are members of a local farm cooperative and get many of our vegetables from there or from our other neighbours. All profits from our Bed and Breakfast are deposited in the Cultura Bank, a local bank that funds ecological projects. Our blog and PR material emphasize our environmental priorities and practices, and guests are invited to join in activities if they like. All our PR material, envelopes, etc. are made of recycled paper. We offer pick up from our local airport in our electric car, which has mileage offset with credits for renewable energy from our local energy provider. We have made a commitment to offset air travel of overseas guest to our Bed and Breakfast by planting trees on our property and buying credits through Myclimate.org. We encourage the use of trains and will pick up and deliver guests at the local train station. We can loan out bicycles and encourage use of public buses. In our home we use ecological cleaning products, microfiber cloth, organic sheets, towels, and toiletries, and fully organic meals.

Protection Rating: ★★★★★ (5)
Staff Comment – We are dedicated to living as locally as possible. We source food, accessories, and vintage furniture from local farms, from local organic initiatives, and from local recycle shops. We protect our own land from pesticides and support the practice in our area. We grow organic food and share our seed locally. We aim to plant local perennial plants as well as plants localized through seed saving and selection. We advertise local events such as the annual Viking festival, the Roots and Reggae festival, and other music events as well as local products, in our in-room literature. We have a variety of Norwegian and other art, books, and music in our home. We are a bilingual home. We make local products available for sale at the location and advice guests of where they can find local handcrafts in the immediate local area as well as in the town.

 

 

A cosy spot

It’s blustery today, but inside it is warm and cosy by the fire.  Curl up in this comfortable wicker chair and read a book!  Tea is on the stove, too.

wicker chair no flowers

This wicker chair is handmade-( by me, actually).   Skovestuen Pil, (pil is the Norwegian word for wicker) is a small wicker farm in Vestfold Norway, which sells wicker and also offers classes in basket making and in chair building .  It took two days and the  patient direction of Lars at the Bendwood chair course to saw, screw bend, and nail each piece of wood and length of wicker into place.  there were just 5 of us on the course, and an amazing comraderie among us as we worked.  By the end of the day on Sunday I was bone tired (it is much more physically taxing that one would think, to bend and turn this way and that, while pounding in each tiny nail) but I was also happy to the core. Here is a photo from Skovestuen Pil’s website, of Lars working on a chair:

wicker chair course  Here is their website:  www.skovstuenpil.no      It was such an amazing experience.  This chair is not perfect, but it is the first piece of furniture I ever made myself.  It is so much more fulfilling to rest in a chair that you have laboured over yourself.

wicker chair

We covered the chair seat and ottoman with vintage embroidered  pillow covers from David’s mom- they look fantastic with the natural wood, and the clay nepalese elephant candle holders on the right.   With a full library of  books to read, we are ready for warm and cozy nights.

 

We say a heartbreaking goodbye to Dina

I have not been able to write this post.  Three weeks ago our sweet goat, Dina, died. I loved her so. She was 14 years old, maybe more.  She was arthritic and slow, and we had worried at how she would manage the winter.  I had also fretted over the summer that she might leave us while I was away.  

When I came home from my course we had several lovely evenings together; I took the goats out on walks and Dina followed slowly behind.  I fed her grape leaves and pears and stroked her ears.  She mostly took to sitting quietly in one spot up on the hill, where she could enjoy the fresh breeze and look over the landscape, practically to where she had been born, on a neighboring property.  On the Tuesday she died I greeted her in her spot on the hill when I came home, and she was breathing heavily. Later, she stood and walked toward the shed, but did not make it in. She fell and David and I ran to her- she died quickly, was not in pain long, and I stroked her and sang to her at the end. It was a lovely early fall evening, and she had enjoyed the most lovely summer here. I will miss her very much.

We had also been in the process of looking for a new home for Lucky and for one of her girls, Ajla.  We had thought that our little shed would be cramped with all five goats, and had decided to breed just Kara and Izzie, since Ajla continued to be so shy and skittish.  Ironically, we received a call from an interested party the same evening Dina died.  They came over two days later and bought Lucky and Ajla- she works for the our veterinarian, and lives nearby, so we will have the opportunity to visit from time to time. 

Kara and Izzie, and I, have spent some time adjusting to being only two.  I miss our big goat family, and most of all I miss Dina.  I think they do too.  Our plan is to breed Kara and Izzie in the spring, and welcome new kids next August.  I am happy that Dina’s lovely character lives on in our sweet Izzie, and that we will have the chance to carry her line into a new family of goats.  For now, David and I are still grieving.  It is remarkable how much a beloved animal, and its loss, can affect you.  I find myself thinking of Dina as an old soul- she was so calm, and affectionate, and present.  I am very grateful for having known her and having had her in my life.  Goodbye, my lovely friend. 

dina

Who Are You All?

I have just found out that I can go back and find statistics about who has visited The Goats’ Garden, and I have learned that hundreds, almost a thousand of you have been here, from all over the world!  Mostly from Norway, but also the United States, Brazil, The U.K., Australia, Denmark, The Netherlands, The Russian Federation, Spain, Italy, South Africa, Austria, Hong Kong, and more-42 different countries all together and from all continents.  Who are you all, I wonder, and what brings you here?  Do you love goats, as I do?  Do you love gardening, good food, travel, or Norway?  What peaks your interest, and what would you like to know more about?  Drop me a note and let me know who you are, and how you came to visit.  And if you visit in person, we will sit and have a coffee, or a tea, or whatever you like, in the garden. I’m looking forward to meeting you!

Almost Home!

I’ve been away from my goats and garden all summer, following a master’s course in Education in Mallorca. Wouldn’t you know it’s been the most lovely summer in Norway, with weeks of sunny days and temperatures in the high 20s and up to 35 degrees! My goat girls have been naughty, too- they seem to find endless ways to get outside the fence and nibble on trees and plants in the garden- I guess they really do think its all theirs!

I can’t wait to get home tomorrow and see them all again; I know the babies have grown up- I hope they remember me! Here is a picture David took to cheer me up when I was missing them:

the goats garden goats in garden

You would think with all those lines of electric fencing they would stay inside, but no, they just jump over!  🙂

Horten Viking Market with Viking Life July 4-6

The  Viking Festival with a three day authentic re-enactment of viking life is a highlight of the summer.  Viking aficionados from all over the world come to take part, living in tents, recreating viking craft and dress, and engaging in mock battles, music, and drama performances.  A full scale Viking market takes place at the same time over the three days.  If you are interested in Viking history, Viking craft, or just a splendid time, this is a must-see!  If you need a place to stay, we have rooms available- please email.  Welcome!

Organic Appetizers-Mediterranean Style

stuffed vine leaves

Organic appetizers for Ådne’s confirmation-  100 percent organic, home made dough and puff pastry with organic flour and butter, and  home gathered or local ingredients (well except the olives- still haven’t figured out how to grow olives in Norway!)   Mediterranean inspired stuffed grape leaves, spinach rolls, mini cucumber salads, chorizo sausage in blankets, avocado, cheese and tomato spears with fresh basil, humus filled red pepper with black olives, curried deviled eggs and green olives with pimento.

It was surprisingly easy to make puff pastry!  I discovered that my new pasta machine doubles as a puff pastry roller.  The trick is to keep all the ingredients cold, and fold and fold and fold.  I had so much fun doing these appetizers, and channeling my inner Greek for a uniquely Norwegian event.

We name our goats, and they pose for a picture!

So we have finally named our new baby goats- they are a month and a half old, and growing so fast!  Meet all three generations in one shot:  a rare picture with all our goats posing for the camera at the same time.  Grandma Dina is in the front right of the shot, while her daughter, Lucky, is behind her, surrounded by Dina’s daughter Izzie, and Lucky’s daughters, now named Kara and Ajla. the goats garden three generations