Most visited this week:
Smallest wood stoves
How many batteries do I need for my solar panels?
Wood stove in a mobile home
Propagating persimmons: Germinating seeds, grafting, and transplanting
A dangerous dog
A year ago this week:
New methods of winter-protecting figs
Growing into a Farm: Before the Walden Effect
Fixing a broken refrigerator handle
ATV solenoid replacement
Walden Effect Facebook page
About a week ago, Mark walked past one of my fenceline cleanup zones
and pulled a bit of honeysuckle from the top to within goat reach. Why
didn't I think of that? With a little bit of effort, I realized, we
could double the amount of honeysuckle that goes into our goats' rumens
while also cleaning up our fencelines twice as quickly. Brilliant!
We're expecting a killer
frost just in time for Halloween.
Two glorious days of Indian Summer made the garden part of our winterization list move along very quickly this week. I yanked out the big weeds between the oilseed radishes in the forest garden, where I'd mounded up the earth and tossed down cover-crop seeds without any sort of kill mulch to maintain my cover-crop monoculture. In the process, I found one last hazelnut, plus a half-ripe butternut that the goats greatly enjoyed.
Next stop was the back
garden, where I yanked out all of the dying tomatoes along with their
stakes. Despite lack of a killing frost, I'd actually stopped picking
tomatoes a couple of weeks ago when cold weather turned the offerings
insipid. But as I worked Monday, I stumbled across a cache of about ten
fruits that were ripe red and luscious. A nice treat!
Finally, Kayla and I got
to work on the active mule garden, where kale, mustard, lettuce, garlic,
tatsoi, tokyo bekana, Swiss chard, peas, parsley, and strawberries are
all still hard at work. I'll need at least one more day of pretty
weather to bring this zone into line --- maybe I can squeeze that in
before the forecast snow this weekend?
How well do the goats and
Lucy get along?
I'm starting to wrap my
head around goat digestion, but it's slow going since ruminants are so
very different from any other animal I've ever spent time with. Goats
are especially interesting because they're able to eat really fast,
filling up their rumen, then they slowly digest that food over the
course of the day. Which begs the question --- do our girls need to fill
up their rumen once daily? Twice? Keep it full all day? Or what?
I suspect that the lack
of an easy answer is due to the vast differences in nutritional value of
different food sources. Our girls have been gorging on honeysuckle
leaves for the last week or so, which probably means that Artemesia's
round evening belly is providing plenty of calories. Abigail's belly
never looks as round, but I suspect that's just the older animal's
natural shape since she's the head goat and surely eats quite a bit more
than Artemesia does on an average day.
I'd be curious to hear
from other ruminant wranglers (and especially from others captivated by
caprines). Do you have a rule of thumb for how much a healthy goat
should eat per day?
Our ATV stopped working due to a broken
prop shaft piece.
When Mark and I first started sharing Microbusiness Independence with the world, I was surprised by how many readers came back to me and said one of two things. First came: "Can we sell your chicken waterers for you?" I tried to explain that it was the uniqueness
of our product that helped our microbusiness grow and thrive, but then I
got the second comment: "I can't think of a unique product to make and
I don't usually think of
marigolds as particularly bee-friendly plants. But anything blooming on a
warm, sunny day in late October is a plus. I guess the ten cents I
spent on last-chance seeds at the dollar store this summer was worth it.
The 2014 crop of brussel sprouts
has not been doing too well.
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