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

Winter goat greenery: Kale

Goat eating kale

We've cut Artie down to two thiamine shots a day. She's not 100% healed --- she still spins when she gets excited. But she's able to eat and go about her daily business. So I've moved on to long-term rejuvenative care --- providing as much fresh greenery as possible.

The trouble with that plan is pretty obvious. It's early February. The world is brown. I've run through nearly all the easily accessible honeysuckle and have actually been scavenging more along my daily walk.

"Would they like kale?" Mark asked.

"Well, yeah, they'd love kale, but that's human food."

Mark gave me this look that made it clear he'd far rather have an angst-free wife than leafy greens with his dinner. So I started cutting the herd a bucketful of kale every day.

Bucket of kale

Aurora's having a hard time figuring out how to eat kale that's not attached to the ground. But Artemesia is older and wiser. "The leaves look tastier," she told me. "But if you start at the stalk, you can engulf the whole thing in one slow gulp."

Sure enough, the bucket was soon empty, my goat's belly rounder. Here's hoping a few weeks of fresh greenery will slow her circling a little more until this winter trauma is a thing of the past.

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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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