The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Animal lessons

Keep pets out of the garden with small branches.We've learned a lot about animals this year too.  Strider joined our menagerie and has since become an indispensible purrer.  Now that our pet count has reached three, we've gotten a bit more serious about bad behavior.  Last year, it seemed like Lucy picked a couple of garden beds and lay on them every day or so, crushing all of the vegetables there.  Huckleberry would also pick favorite beds and tear up young seedlings in the loose soil.

This year, we've pretty much nipped that behavior in the bud.  When I see the first signs of pet damage in the garden, I loosely stack branches on the bed to keep all animals out.  The branch technique seems to be 100% effective, and branches can be safely removed once the veggies get tall enough to make a scratchy bed.

We've also added two new types of livestock to our farm this year --- earthworms and honeybees.  We're still learning how to make the best use of them, but I'm thrilled to learn that both are relatively easy and that honeybees aren't scary.  Probably by this time next year, I'll have something more to say about bees and worms.

This post is part of our Third Year of Homesteading lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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