Izzie has babies!

Izzie had her babies last night at about 3:00 am! David made a visual chronicle of the birth:


Izzie went into labor yesterday morning.  We had already moved her into the birthing stall and set up a baby monitor in the house so we could hear her.  When she would start bleating I would go out and spend time with her stroking and comforting her.   This happened several times through the afternoon and evening.   This picture is taken about 10:00 pm.  She was beginning to breathe quickly, and several strands of mucus had come out, so we knew she was close.   I went in around 11:00 pm, and told her to call me when she needed me.  She did!


Around 3:00 am we heard her start to yell.   I jumped up and ran out.  We already had the towels and plastic gloves ready- When I came into the stall I saw her water break, so I knew we had about a half an hour or an hour til the birth.   This picture shows the first kid’s head just as it emerged.  One more push and baby was out!


Here I have lifted the baby out of the muck and am starting to dry her off.  ( I think she is a she- I haven’t got a proper look yet! )  Izzie started right away to lick her and clean her, but then she started pushing again, and out came the second little one!   Izzie is so small, I had not thought she would have two babies- a sweet surprise!

It’s important to make sure the baby’s airways are clean, and get it to suck at mama’s tit as soon as possible.  This promotes a strong sucking reflex.  Babies that don’t get that reflex in the first half hour can become poor suckers, or even become bottle babies.


Both babies were soon clean and dry, and had each sought and sucked on Mama.  When we were sure they were all fine, I removed the soiled toweling and lay down new clean pine chips for them.   You can still see Izzie’s placenta (afterbirth) under her on the left side of the picture.   Most goat mamas will eat their own placenta, and this is healthy for them to do, so  we left it for her.   After we had given Izzie a sip of warm water with just a bit of maple syrup in it to help her regain her strength, set out food and hay and fresh water for her, and had one last cuddle, we were off to bed!



I was exhausted and slept til almost 8:00 am!  As soon as I woke I ran out to check on mama and babies.  They were doing great, resting and mewing and cuddling with mom.  I watched them each suckle from mom, and then removed some more soiled pine chips and laid down new.  Later in the afternoon I will go in and shovel out the chips here and put in all new chips again.   For now, mama and babies are well and happy, getting to know each other and growing stronger all the time.    Soon they will be bouncing and hopping all over the place!

Kara watched all of this with her usual ‘big sister’ persona.  She is also due, and so we will soon do this all over again with her.   I expect her to have twins as well, so we will have four new baby goats at The Goat’s Garden.   We can’t wait!

We meet Doffen and plan babies

This past week we got to go out to Doffen’s farm and meet him and his owners.   What a beautiful spot.   Doffen’s ‘folk’ have several acres including both forest and pasture, leading down to a small lake on an island, but close to Tønsberg, the oldest town in Norway and now a small city of about 42,000 people.   What a lovely place to live, and what a fantastic life for Doffen!   There are two other female dwarf goats there, one who has just given birth and one who may do so any day now.

doffen 1 Doffen (left) and a pregnant doe.

Doffen was personable but not cosy with us- of course, we had just met him, and he clearly has some pride!  He is still a teenager, less than a year old, but male african dwarf goats can handle the task at hand when they are only a few months old, as the recent birth of babies on his farm shows!  We noticed how much smaller he is than our girls-  I think Kara may give him a run for his money!  But he is so beautiful, and also gentle.

We took a rag and I tried to get close enough to Doffen to rub it on him, but he was having none of that.   Finally, I put some goat kibble in it and let him eat from it.  When we got home we hung the rag up on the gate.  Kara didnt take much interest, but Izzie rubbed all over it and pulled it to the ground.    Female dwarf goats go into heat about every 21 days, for just a couple of days.  We discussed our strategy and decided the best thing is to board our girls there for a month, to be sure they have been in heat and been serviced.  A month!  I don’t know if I can stand that- I will have to go and visit a few times!

doffen 4 Doffen in his enclosure.

I worry that our girls might not get along with the two other females, especially the one doe who is pregnant, so we decided to wait until after she has given birth.   Our girls will not be on their own territory, so hopefully they will not be agressive, but if they are frightened, I tnink especially Kara might be hard to handle.   We will not know until we try!

This is all so exciting and new to us, and obviously it will be new to our girls too.   If all goes well we will have our girls down in Tønsberg in the next month or so.  I hope they will love the beautiful place, the contact with other goats, and of course, Doffen!



A suitor for our girls!

We have found a suitor for our girls!  Doffen is 3-4 years old and lives in Vestfold county.  In Norway, goats cannot cross county lines, so the challange has been to find a suitable African Dwarf goat race to breed our girls.

I get to go meet Doffen this week.  After that, the trick is to get the girls down to him when they are in heat.   African dwarf does go into heat about every 21 days.   When I visit Doffen, I will take a rag that I will rub over him, and then bring it back and hang it in our goat shed.  When the girls go crazy over it, I will know they are ready- then it is into the car, down to the farm, where hopefully Doffen will do the rest!  Gestation is 5 months, so we will greet our new babies in the early fall, if all goes to plan.   How exciting!


A fully organic breakfast

We had a lovely single guest this week, on business in the area, who was treated to a full organic breakfast even though he was the only guest at the time.

dining room with guest

‘I can’t eat all this!’ he protested, and  we explained that it wasn’t about eating it all, but about having choice, and the type of abundant offering and attention to variety that is often only available in a big hotel.  In our case however, all the food is 100 percent organic, as much as possible is home grown or homemade, and as local as possible.   We hope too, that we can offer a warm and homey atmosphere, even if it is for just one guest at a time!

breakfast muslibreakfast breads

Much of our food is bought at our local ‘Lokal Kolonial’  a local business that prioritises local, short traveled organic food.  I always try to make a few items myself; here I made the cornbread and the biscuits, as well as the pancakes (pictured in the main photo above).

We also always offer a plate of fresh vegetables, from the garden when we can, as well as local and some more exotic fruits and cheeses (here some figs and dates).  We do also offer organic, locally produced meats for those that eat them, and always offer a choice of fresh local eggs, with vegetarian or local sausages.

Of course, our guests never eat everything on the table, and what cannot be stored is incorporated into our own meals, nothing is thrown out or wasted, and any scraps go into our home compost.   It is possible to have abundance without waste!   I hope we offer our guests a taste of how we can live sustainably and yet contribute to a healthy planet.

New Year’s Resolutions

As 2016 begins, we are planning on spending more time on our gardens, our goats, and our offerings to our guests.   We have long wanted to develop and offer a second, and even a third room.  Now that David is retired, and spending more time on the bed and breakfast side of things, we hope that this can become a reality.

Comfort and Convenience

One of my interests in developing an organic bed and breakfast has been to offer quality and comfort to travelers who would like to live lightly on the Earth, but would like to still have the pleasure of being catered to.    I am am determined that our guests’ experiences at The Goats’ Garden include comfort, convenience, and the pleasure of a full organic breakfast ready when they are.

Mini Spa and Hot Tub:

Another comfort we hope to offer over the coming year is the development of more spa-type options.   We are introducing some mini-spa items now:  a sun lamp, personal massage machine, head massage, back scratcher, and foot massage, as well as organic salt scrubs,  oils, face masks, and lotions, are all available to our guests in the price of the room. In addition. we can now offer a fantastic wood fired hot tub that we can ready for guests with prior notice.   2015-12-26 14.42.45.jpg                                           We all soaked in the tub on Christmas Eve- what a treat!     Here David takes a hot soak in chilly weather after our first snow fall:2015-12-26 15.30.51Ok, you can’t see much of David there, but trust me, he is there in that  rising steam!  It looks like a cold trek back into the house across the snowy terrace to me, but a warm shower is waiting, so welcome, all brave souls!

Offsetting Our Carbon Footprint

I have long been concerned that we help travelers to feel as comfortable as possible with their environmental footprint, while we, too, make our own footprints as light as possible. This year we will shift to a new electricity provider that provides electricity from solely renewable sources.   At the same time, we will begin to institute more  carbon offset ideas for our guests.  We will calculate the travel footprint of every guest and commit to planting, on our own land or virtually, at least the equivalent in carbon offsetting bushes and trees.  I am considering offering a certificate to guests designating that carbon offset.  We have joined 1% for the planet, and given a donation of what we think will be about 5 percent of our earning this year.  You can read more about 1 % For the Planet here:  http://onepercentfortheplanet.org/

Giving Back

We feel so fortunate to have found this lovely home, and we recognize that many of our guests are fortunate as well.  This year, we have decided to give back 5 percent of all profits made from The Goats’ Garden to others less fortunate, including to refugees and to projects that improve sustainability in food and habitats for people in developing countries.  We welcome our readers to make suggestions and I will be posting projects we have chosen to give to, so that our guests know where a percentage of their fees have gone. For those interested, we invite you to also match our gift with your own.    .

We wish you all a Happy New Year, and Safe and Happy Travels!

David and Kathy


It finally snowed!

We finally have some snow in Southern Norway! It has been so unseasonably warm this entire winter that we wondered if it would ever snow.   I walked home in the stillness  and enjoyed the house glowing in the dusk.house in winterWe might even get a chance to do some cross country skiing on the fields behind our house if it doesn’t melt.

cross country ski run outside house  We lit up the fire in the sauna and had a soak with the snow all around!

Christmas is coming….


Local Christmas markets are starting up, and there is much to see and buy that is locally and made and of excellent quality.   This weekend  the market at Karljohansvern took place, but if you missed that, you can still find lots of wonderful items at Karljohan in the shopes atGarasjeTorget.  https://www.facebook.com/GarasjeTorget  GarasjeTorget literally means the Garage Plaza- what were once garages used by the navy base on Karljohan have been converted into tiny, cozy shops at the far end of the road leading into the Preus Photo Museum and past the famous submarine.  I am not one for shopping, and when I do, it is usually at used stores, but at GarasjeTorget you can always find the types of treasures you would never find in a department store or a mall.  Some of my favorites are:

Original stuffed animals at Lene’s MoR (Myk og Rar means soft and rare)  Lene models her fantastic designs after drawings made by children with cancer.  You will never see another stuffed animal like this, ever (unless it’s one of Lenas!)  Lene animals BRM Strikk offers these wonderful warm fleeced blankets:  warm blanket and these wonderful goblets are from the Pikilia Handwork shop:  pikiliaIf you are around Horten in the weeks leading up to Christmas, a trip down to Garasjetorget is a must!  When you are done shopping, or for a break inbetween, have lunch or supper at Cafe No. 10  ( Nummer Ti, in Norwegian, so named, of course, because it is housed in the 10th garage spot!

Hope to see you in Horten this Christmas!