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

32 critters

Dog in the briers

Red RangersI set out with the goal of taking a photo of each animal on our homestead. But I got sidetracked about halfway through, so no shots of our comatose cats (2), our busy bees (uncountable hundreds), or our happy hens (11).

Our dog usually gets top billing, but she wasn't particularly keen on playing along today. She'd had her head in a brier patch barking at a snake or rodent for about two hours, and she told me she couldn't stop working for the sake of fame. So I'm afraid all you get is a Lucy butt.

Our broilers, though, were more amenable to the idea since they're nearly mature and tend to nap through most of the afternoon. So far, I'd say Red Rangers seem like a good compromise between the scrawny heirloom broiler and the lazy Cornish Cross. They do eat like crazy, with sixteen birds going through about fifty pounds of feed per week. But they're also energetic enough to walk up the hillside away from their coop to scratch through the least from time to time. The real test will come in two weeks when we kill and pluck our first bird, but for now I'm happy with how Red Rangers act on the "hoof."

Goats picking through bedding

Tethered goatMeanwhile, in the goat barn, our ladies were busy picking through the fresh bedding I spread after stealing their soiled straw for the blueberries. Previously, I tethered our herd outside, which is always a bit of a puzzle. Where can I attach their leashes so the goats will have plenty to eat (which at this time of year means oats and honeysuckle), where they can't get too tangled, where they're close enough to see each other but not to get their leashes tied together, where they can't eat my perennials, and where Artemesia doesn't feel like she's so far away from me that she has to be on high alert rather than chowing down? My original hillside option was a dismal failure, so we compromised on the honeysuckle-coated fenceline right beside the blueberry patch.

Not counting the honeybees, that's thirty-two lives depending on our daily attention. Some days, it feels a bit like I'm running a kindergarten.

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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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I know the feeling. One of my brothers-in-law looks around our place and tells us "everywhere I look all I see are dependants" lol
Comment by Ned Thu Nov 5 10:03:38 2015

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