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In Natural Goat Care, Pat Coleby says in no uncertain terms that deep bedding is a bad idea with goats. Unfortunately, she doesn't give any information on why
deep bedding is such a terrible idea. So I went ahead and used my usual
methods with our girls, and they haven't seemed to have any problems.
However, a timely post on Throwback at Trapper Creek's blog
suggests that the issue could have to do with bacteria affecting
newborn kids. So I figured I might as well clean out all the deep
bedding in preparation for Mark separating the coop into two stalls for
kidding season. That way, we can keep the kidding stall manure-free just
to be on the safe side.
I'm tossing all of the
used bedding over the fence into the tree alley in hopes it will build
the soil and maybe kill back some of the weeds. I'll lay down some
cardboard on top, if necessary, to turn this into a zone to plant fodder
crops for next fall. On the menu are field corn (with the grain being
earmarked for the chickens and the stalks for the goats), sunflower
seeds, sweet potatoes, mangels, and carrots. The last two on the list
will probably go in the main garden, though, since this rough kill mulch
won't make soil good enough for carrot-like roots...at least not for
The first manger
we built was flawed because the goats could jump up on the lid and it
only took a few days of that behavior before they broke the lid.
The word "shiitake"
literally means "oak mushroom," so it's no surprise that red and white
oaks are widely considered to be the best American trees to cut for
shiitake production. But what if you live in a low and wet area with few
oaks present? We've successfully fruited shiitakes on sycamores in the
past (as you can see above), but with another set of plugs arriving in
the middle of February, I wanted to expand our host trees. Based on
about a dozen websites, here's an analysis of the best to worst eastern
U.S. trees for shiitake production.
Nearly as good:
Some sites list these as excellent, some as only fair:
Good to fair:
Possibly to be avoided (although some sites list these as fair to good):
Definitely to be avoided:
In addition to species, you
should consider the growth habit and location of the tree. Fertile sites
produce good mushroom logs, probably because the trees grow quickly and
have little of the inedible-to-shiitakes heartwood and lots of sapwood
instead. Similarly, rocky hillsides and wet places tend to produce logs
lower in nutrients from a mushroom point of view.
Mark and I need about
eighteen logs for our upcoming mushroom-plugging day, and I'm thinking
of trying at least three or four species from the top of this list to
get an idea for which species work best here. I can definitely come up
with some ironwood and beech, and maybe even an oak within carrying
distance of our core homestead. Time to explore the woods with shiitakes
We got the fence portion of our kidding stall finished today.
any of you planted super-sweet sugar maples? Apparently, a scientist
went around and tested the sugar levels in the sap of a lot of maples,
gathered seeds from the sweetest individuals, tested the sap of those
seedlings, then cloned the ones that showed the most potential.
Unfortunately, Forest Keeling
is the only definitive source I've found for the super-sweet sugar
maples, and they don't sell to individuals online (although you can drop
by their garden center if you live in Missouri). On the internet, the Improved Sugar Maples at Garden Delights may or may not be the same type of sugar maple, and there are also supposedly high-sugar Silver Maples available from St. Lawrence Nurseries (although the price tag for the latter gave me a bit of a shock).
We made some modifications to
the Star Plate goat barn today.
"I must say, you've made selling my girlfriend on the benefits of having a small farm both easier, and more difficult. She is obsessed with having goats, and when she found out that they're about the only thing that eats Japanese honeysuckle and kudzu, she seized on that as her justification for having a couple, 'since you wanted a farm anyway.' You've been absolutely no help at all in that battle, what with all the pictures of your ridiculously cute and well-behaved goats. Couldn't you vilify them just a *little*? I dunno, maybe make a post saying how they broke out and committed arson or something?
"Otherwise, I swear, I'm going to come home from work one of these days and there's going to be a goat in my apartment..."
I lobbied hard for goats
nearly from the beginning, and even though I pouted at the time when
Mark said no, I can see now that we weren't ready for goats until the
last year or two. A new homestead is a huge time- and money-sink, and we
just wouldn't have had the ability to truly enjoy goats at that time.
So, I have to admit that I'm probably on Dave's side on this issue and
would recommend that he and his girlfriend not get goats quite yet.
People keep giving me soap. Do you think it's a hint?
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