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

Pasture plan

Powerline cut in the snow

Diagram of the powerline cut pastureOur top choice for a pasture is the powerline cut area down in the floodplain.  The electric company chopped a big swathe through the woods, and we can't let trees grow there, so we might as well put it to use.

This weekend, I did some measuring and discovered that the open area along the powerline is approximately one sixth of an acre.  It used to be farmed, long before we bought the land, so two ditches bisect its width (and so does our driveway.)  At the moment, I'm thinking of using osage-orange hedges to split the powerline cut into four paddocks along these obvious dividing lines.

If we ever feel ready to have dairy animals, I've recently been thinking our best bet would be miniature goats.  They're short, so fences don't have to be quite so intense, and they use less pasture per animal so we might be able to fit in two does and a buck.  With four tiny paddocks, we'd be able to keep the buck separate and still have room to rotate all the animals frequently to prevent overgrazing and parasites.  Of course, this is still very much in the dreaming stages --- I expect our hedges to take anywhere from a year to five years to be beefy enough to deter critters, and we still need to find someone willing to milk when we're away from home!

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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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Be sure the power company doesn't clear cut its right of way. They can if they want to, you know. The best substitute goat milker is a young kid (the goat kind).
Comment by Errol Tue Dec 8 08:31:19 2009

That's a good point. I'm hoping that if we keep the powerline cut low-lying, the power company will figure it's not worth their while to mess with it. After all, they clearly hadn't touched it for twenty years until we moved here.

I've heard some people saying you can put the kid back on the mother and some people saying you can't. Have you had firsthand experience with that? Did it make the mother stop producing as much milk?

Comment by anna Tue Dec 8 11:10:07 2009
I milked a goat in the morning and the kid did it the rest of the day. If anything that increased yield. That's my only experience. I've known plenty of folks who did the same with a cow and calf.
Comment by Errol Tue Dec 8 14:12:11 2009
That sounds really easy, plus cuts milking time in half!
Comment by anna Tue Dec 8 16:14:39 2009

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