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

Pulling down honeysuckle for goats

Barn cleanup

About a week ago, Mark walked past one of my fenceline cleanup zones and pulled a bit of honeysuckle from the top to within goat reach. Why didn't I think of that? With a little bit of effort, I realized, we could double the amount of honeysuckle that goes into our goats' rumens while also cleaning up our fencelines twice as quickly. Brilliant!

Feeding goatsNow that we've worked our way around to the barn, the out-of-reach honeysuckle is much further off the ground. In fact, I need a ladder to get to some of it. Artemesia climbs up the lower rungs to grab the falling vines and Abigail joins in the fun. I just have to be careful not to step on goat heads when I come down.

The trick with this method of feeding goats is not to give them too much at one time. Goats are awfully ornery about not wanting to eat anything that's been sitting on the ground for too long. Better to pull down one set of vines for breakfast and another for lunch than to beg them to eat the trodden-upon leaves that are now off the menu. Yes, even honeysuckle loses its luster after a few hours if you're Queen Abigail.

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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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