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Homesteading and Simple Living Comments

Comments in the moderation queue: 13

View the most recent comments below. To join in the discussion (or see a comment thread in order), click on the title of a comment, then follow the directions on the subsequent page to add a comment of your own.

Laura Childs' Joy of Keeping Goats Very practical and open and with fantastic photos

Comment by JD Sun Nov 23 16:13:52 2014

I've lived on a farm where goat-walks were the norm (5-12 goats, 1-2 hr walks twice a day) and I found after being introduced to several lush spots in the woods, they will vary their feed and wander between them as nutrition and their tastes dictate, usually i find a spot in the middle and blow on my harmonica or carve sticks and sing goat songs. I have a detailed list of goat fodder/browse species by month (NorthEast specific) i could upload if folks are interested.

Comment by JD Sun Nov 23 16:08:23 2014

Nayan --- In my experience, cedar apple rust doesn't usually impact apple fruits. The fungus just weakens the trees so they don't grow well and don't have many fruits, but the fruits that do exist are just as good as on uninfected trees.

I'm not sure if you're used to eating non-grocery-store fruits (and if so, feel free to ignore this paragraph), but you really shouldn't expect beautiful, unsullied fruit from an unsprayed tree. There are all kinds of bugs and diseases that make apples look gnarled and blemished, and if you don't want to spray chemicals (which we don't), you need to figure out which is which and delve deeper into non-chemical control. In many cases, it's simpler just to cut out the bad spots!

Of course, fruit flavor will be impacted by many other factors as well. Thinning the fruits and pruning/training the tree to allow lots of light inside is imperative if you want big, sweet fruit. And the trees need full (or nearly) full sun to expedite ripening. Hope that helps you begin brainstorming your tree's problem.

Comment by anna Sun Nov 23 14:33:47 2014
Kathleen --- Hazels are the only nut trees we've planted that are currently producing, and they just barely started this year. We do have lots of wild black walnuts, but I never quite talk myself into harvesting them in the fall --- their shells are just so darn hard to crack! I'll be curious to hear how they do as rocket stove materials if you give them a try.
Comment by anna Sun Nov 23 14:27:19 2014

Lots of interesting comments I never quite found time to answer! (But be assured I read them all. :-) )

Eric --- Our property's basically not marked at all. I felt impinged upon the few times our neighbors put up no trespassing signs pointing in my direction, and I'd hate to make someone else feel the same way. That said, I would hope that people wandering around with guns would take the time to ask the landowners about boundaries --- I know that the few times we've let people hunt here, I've been very clear about where our property ends and someone else's begins. Technically, you're supposed to have the landowner's written permission to hunt on private land in Virginia, which I know isn't likely to happen, but should put the burden of knowing where boundaries lie on the part of the hunter (since the law clearly states that private wooded land isn't a commons).

Karen B --- I doubt a tree tube would last long inside a goat pasture where grazing pressure was high! The one baby tree we have in their pasture currently is firmly enclosed in remesh wrapped in chicken wire, staked down with two t-posts. You can't be too careful.... :-)

Comment by anna Sun Nov 23 14:26:01 2014
I've commented before on how I have cedar trees all over the place in my area. I have a Stayman Winesap tree that is about 10 years old and it's completely filled with Cedar Apple Rust. Yes it produces apples, but they're barely edible. Perhaps I should've fed them to my neighbor's pigs when he had pigs. Instead I'm looking at Stark Bros. catalog and thinking of getting their cedar apple rust-resistant trees Enterprise and Jonafree. Anyone have any experience with either of these two trees?
Comment by Nayan Sun Nov 23 10:12:06 2014
My own goat has done a number on some of my trees. Thus he's now banned from the orchard. He's stripped macadamia nut trunks and all kinds of citrus trees. The two apple trees were killed the day he decided to completely strip them. Funny thing is that he would peacefully coexist with those trees for months then one day I'd come home to find he debarked 5-6 trees!
Comment by Su Sat Nov 22 17:46:37 2014
Dog
That dog has so much personality in her face.
Comment by Yamila Abraham Sat Nov 22 16:58:40 2014

if you have any cheep fencing around (say snow fence) how would it work if you fenced off a large area of woods? Would the goats stay in there or would they escape right away?

I have my goats in a pasture where one side is cattle panels and the other side is 6foot concrete reinforcing mesh. So far no escapes.

Comment by BE Sat Nov 22 14:16:00 2014
I think your girls are proving the lore that "If your fence won't hold water, it won't hold a goat." They are crafty, motivated...and flexible!
Comment by Kathleen Sat Nov 22 11:11:18 2014

Thats the one thing you can count on with your goats; they'll always tell you when something is wrong. If some of them get out the other ones always tell on them by screaming their brains out. My goats are nice and quiet the rest of the time. Though, on the flip side, if they're all out getting into trouble it stays quiet. lol...

Comment by T Sat Nov 22 10:36:11 2014
We've got a Saturn station wagon that serves a similar function. The back seat stays perpetually folded down to make space for hauling stuff. But just the other week I finally vacuumed the all the dried compost and wood shavings out of the cracks, and now it looks like new!
Comment by Jake Sat Nov 22 00:43:31 2014
I was cracking walnuts and got to wondering if the left over hulls and shells would make good rocket stove materials. What do you think? Do you do much with nuts out there?
Comment by Kathleen Fri Nov 21 22:13:53 2014

You, and several other people in the comments, have mentioned larger breed goats being Houdini on steroids, but Nigerians being more docile. Not so!! I too heard this and got 2 wethers to start with. Since then I have spent nearly every day chasing them down and putting them back in our pasture. Trust me, they have plenty to eat. They love to test the fencing! Every day! I had 4' fencing (was told that was adequate), after multiple stages of reinforcing and adding height, I finally replaced all the 4' (150' of it) with 6.5' fencing (especially needed if any trees are near the fence). Our one goat can clear a 5' fence (going over), the other is an expert at going under. Most of our fencing has now been staked at the bottom or has heavy 2x6 boards attached to the bottom. I since learned because they are smaller they are much more agile. Houdinis!! The other issue with your plan is that they with destroy (smash, trample) much more than they will actually eat. A big herd is forced to eat everything. A few have the luxury of eating only the best parts and leaving the rest.
Hope that helps!

Comment by Farmer Becca Fri Nov 21 21:59:12 2014
This is how my moms car looks like also. But hey these Toyotas run for ever with little maintenance. To bad they do not make them like this anymore.
Comment by Olan Fri Nov 21 19:14:59 2014
This is how my moms car looks like also. But hey these Toyotas run for ever with little maintenance. To bad they do not make them like this anymore.
Comment by Olan Fri Nov 21 19:14:22 2014
I would not woory about them falling off , my goats use my tractor as a playground if i leave it where they can get at it (ruins the paint job ) "sure footed as a mountain goat " is very true !they can easily standing jump onto a medium size tractor wheel ( 5 / 6 foot ) , now getting their heads stuck in a cattle pannel is another thing , once or twice a year here in TX i stop on the road to untangle a goat from a fence , dehorning makes life a lot easier .
Comment by diogenese Fri Nov 21 18:20:29 2014
Hubby and I purchased 50 60" tree tubes from forestry-suppliers.com to protect our newly planted trees from deer predidation. They weren't that expensive, and the baby trees seem to be thriving in the protected environment. Could that help with your goats in tree pastures?
Comment by Karen B Fri Nov 21 17:27:50 2014
Brrrrrrrr. But Lucy is a cute "puppy".
Comment by Nayan Fri Nov 21 09:05:09 2014
I just learned that Elizabeth Bishop kept goats in Brazil...haven't tracked down what she wrote about them, tho. Carl Sandburg's wife, Lilian "Paula" Steichen, a Phi Bet from the U. of Chicago, kept goats at Connemara Farm, outside of Asheville, and there is a video of this (Goat Tell It). Also, I think she wrote The Year of the Goat which I haven't yet checked out.
Comment by adrianne Thu Nov 20 18:14:24 2014

Is there a lot of unnatural goat care?

Or are there artificial goats?

Comment by Roland_Smith Thu Nov 20 14:16:10 2014

Craigslist score! Thompsons banner root chopper. Close to home, working condition, cheap.

Comment by dave Thu Nov 20 09:46:45 2014

When establishing my backyard I covered it with four inches of sea grass that had been washed up on the beach during a storm. There was some seaweed mixed in with it. A self seeded peach tree came up which I allowed to grow. It grew five feet a year and got so big I had to prune it hard because I couldn't reach the peaches even with a 20 foot pole!

I live in a dry climate so it took about a year for the seagrass to rot down. Everything I plant in the soil it created does extremely well. Worms love it. I poured 10 gallons of undiluted sea water around the peach tree this year and it looks like I'm going to get a big crop of peaches - no negative effects. Worms are still there.

There was a patch of my front lawn that wasn't doing too well compared to the rest of my lawn. I dissolved 2 heaped teaspoon fulls of Himalayan salt in hot water and added it to a watering can full of tap water then watered the lawn patch. It's now the same as the rest of the lawn.

A certain amount of salt aids soil fertility. Consult "Sea Energy Agriculture" by Maynard Murray if you have any doubts.

Comment by Robert Wed Nov 19 20:04:18 2014

Hi Anna and Mark,

Sounds like the title of a new book :).

IF, you can learn from what didn't work and make it work!

John

Comment by John Wed Nov 19 11:40:41 2014
Our local farm store has collars for hunting dogs in reflective Hunter Orange. That might be an option to reduce the goats from be mistaken for deer should they wander afar.
Comment by David Hicks Wed Nov 19 08:44:50 2014

A friend of ours is a rock hound. He always has his rock polishing machine going. He has never had a mouse problem.

Another friend turns on her overhead fan when she hears mice in the walk. She says mice don't like the vibrations.

We don't have a rock polisher or an overhead fan so I will try a few standing fans letting them touch the wall as they spin.

Wish me luck.

Comment by mona Tue Nov 18 20:59:27 2014

my neighbors have their property lines surrounded with 3 strand electric fence to keep their goats in, and stray dogs, coyotes, tresspassers out. be sure to get a good fence charger. the cheaper ones are not powerful enough to deter wildlife with a long span of fence currently they have over 100 acres surrounded and cross fenced with electric fenceing

Comment by ron Tue Nov 18 20:00:41 2014

Don't worry about them munching the apple twigs. They will wait for either blossom set or fruit. They might even leave it alone long enough for you to dream of homegrown apples before they eat all the fruit, then girdle the tree sharpening their horns. I know mine do.

They got loose last weekend and ate 25 drying persimmons, all the amaranth seedheads drying, all the cabbage, broccoli, and most of the Chinese cabbage, trampled the carrots, and pulled most of the strawberry plants out of the sides of the rock wall. Gotta love goats.

Comment by Eric in Japan Tue Nov 18 19:16:57 2014

How well marked as far as property line and NO TRESSPASSING is your place? If someone is coming via other wooded/wild property they may not know they are on yours. Some folk I know (wife's anti-hunting vegetarian aunts in Lee county) complained of hunters coming on their land, but after I looked in my view their property line is not well defined and their no trespassing signs faded and few between.

But yes, I'd hate to think of your goats being mistaken for deer. They are about the size of deer down there in south GA!

Comment by Eric Tue Nov 18 18:47:26 2014

Here's hoping our goats aren't too capricious

Hee hee, nice one.

Comment by irilyth Tue Nov 18 13:01:43 2014
I envy the quality of your soil where you are able to shove the rebar into the ground so easily! Our quick hoop rebar supports involved a sledge hammer and a lot of cursing and sweating from Hubby to knock them into our stony soil securely. They will remain where they are for the entire year, rather than getting moved around or removed during the growing season.
Comment by Karen B Mon Nov 17 17:11:00 2014
I found two cabbage leaves halfway down a rodent hole in my garden. I think the mouse's eyes were too big for his hole, as they had gotten lodged! I was wondering what was stealing leaves from the cabbage. I also have a packrat which decided to build a nest from a bucket of electric insulators in the shed. the shed looks like a hurricane went through . . . clean it up and have no problems for a few months and then walk in one day and rodent mayhem again.
Comment by Charity Mon Nov 17 12:21:18 2014

Thanks Anna for taking the time to respond to my questions. Great idea about using the snags as insurance.

Our first winter we accidentally chainsawed down a living oak tree that we thought was a standing snag. Winter=no leaves on the oak trees (they ALL look dead!). We learned to mark the standing dead with colored marking tape in the summer so we can find them again later if we need them :)

Comment by Karen B Mon Nov 17 12:12:04 2014
A foolproof trap as well, is to use a 2 or 5 gal bucket put about 1/4 of bucket with water. If you have small children or pets you can cut a portion of the lid , then sprinkle bait on top of water,, peanuts , cheese and etc. Cover with lid and the mice can get in but not out. They will drown . Empty repeat. Rose.
Comment by Rose Mon Nov 17 10:36:50 2014

When we moved into our home (older trailer in the country) we had mice in the walls, under the house, in the attic, and worst of all, in the kitchen. I absolutely cannot Stand the idea of mice crawling over our dishes and cookware, and when they chewed into several items in our pantry I was livid. We had been setting out sticky traps with success, but when they got into our pantry items it became full fledged warfare. I sealed every crack I could find, put poison everywhere the cats couldn't get to (one of our cats catches chipmunks regularly, but none seem interested in mice), set out snap traps and sticky traps, and sealed up all of our food in plastic storage containers. It took several weeks before I stopped seeing signs of mice.

The weird thing is, I'm not sure What actually did the trick. They ignored the peanut butter baited snap traps and the poison looks untouched. The sticky traps did catch several mice, but we kept finding fresh sign for a while after the last sticky trap was used. Maybe they gave up and left since they no longer had a food source. Or maybe they actually did eat some poison and die. I'm not sure what got rid of them, but as standard practice now I keep traps and poison out, and store food in glass and plastic containers as much as possible.

Constant vigilance against mice is sometimes annoying and inconvenient, but when it comes to rodents an ounce of prevention is definitely worth a pound of cure.

Comment by Rae Mon Nov 17 10:36:39 2014
We found chocolate biscuits worked better than cheese in our traps, but eventually we had to turn to poison. Mice always seemed to come indoors in September here so now we bait the traps in later August and leave them down all winter.
Comment by Chris Mon Nov 17 09:39:54 2014

After our mouser, Pickles was run over early last summer, I worried that I'd be invaded. But at the same time I was really sealing up any cracks roaches could come in by, and liberally sprinkling boric acid around the perimeter of the front room, that is, concentrating on sealing between the wall and floor. So far, in spite of no cat, we have gone almost 6 mos without a sign of mice! I sort of wonder if they, too tried to get in and somehow got poisoned. The way for boric acid to work, there has to be a source of sweetened water, say in a jar lid, under the fridge or other stationary appliance. About bureaus--I think that becomes a way to trap them...to insert a baited trap in the bottom drawer, or under the bureau. Of course, you have to keep a list of places to check frequently! And maybe try to hang up clothes as much as possible. As for books, I think they head for the raggedy ones, so some books and papers that need to be saved might need to be in mouseproof boxes or even old trunks. Rats, esp. if they get into potatoes or sweet potatoes, of course are much worse. Good luck--don't give up!

Comment by adrianne@kitenet.net Mon Nov 17 09:28:12 2014
Can you possibly build a second wood storage structure? If you have two, and they are accessible front and back, you can fill and use from different sides. Just keep track of when the wood went in so you're taking the older out. It does take planning to avoid moving wood multiple times. We heat with wood and my husband insists on the wood being at least two years old - though we don't use snags, which would shorten the drying time a bit. Dry wood sure does make a difference.
Comment by Stephanie Mon Nov 17 08:37:17 2014

My philosophy toward wildlife is "live and let live", until they are interfering with my living. When they contaminate my food, destroy my belongings, that are rightfully stored in my personal home, then the gloves are off. I do not seek out and destroy their personal living spaces in nature, and I will not accept them intruding on my personal living space. I too believe in clean killing of mice, when the weather turns colder and they decide my home looks like a great place for a winter vacation. We use very large glass jars, and freezers to store food, so that there is little sustenance available to beings who do not respect the boundaries of our home. When they do enter we hunt them relentlessly. At the same time we continue to look for ways to block their initial entry, and have had some success there. Steel wool in even the tiniest openings will discourage them, as does steel mesh.

Comment by Maggie Turner Mon Nov 17 07:54:09 2014

Mark and Anna,

A couple of years ago I bought a battery charger for $50 or $60 at WallMart and it has been very worth it. The battery died in my car and I had to call AAA. The man brought his battery charger and suggested that I go to WallMart to get one. I keep it charged by plugging it in each month and, although I have only needed it a couple of times, it has saved me money and time.

Comment by Sheila Sun Nov 16 21:07:51 2014