Edible “forest” garden “layer” example
It’s another rather cool & somewhat cloudy morning here on the homestead. Yesterday morning we had a bit of drizzle.
We didn’t do the hoof trimming on the goats as we had planned on Sunday because their hooves didn’t really need it yet with all the walking they’ve been doing. However, we figure sometime this weekend it needs to be done, since it’s good practice to get in a routine of hoof trimming every 6 weeks or so. Besides hoof trimming, the goats (and all the animals) have to be put on a regular herbal worming schedule. Blackberry was wormed before we brought her home; however, Fairlight was not and needs to be de-wormed, hence the cause of the runny stools last week. We were in such a hurry and exhausted on our“goat buying day/adventure” (see May 10th post), we just assumed that she would have been wormed. Unfortunately, this was not the case. Lesson learned: Next time we’ll have to make a note to ask the owner beforehand; we just figured it was (is) common practice. So, we’ll be administrating a de-wormer and have to watch her carefully for signs of anemia. Also, the whole animal enclosure and temporary goat shelter will have to be cleaned daily while she eliminates them. OK, enough of that before
I ruin everyone’s breakfast.
The goats like to play, so in the animal enclosure we’ve put two old chairs, an old metal bucket and three hay bales for them to do their gymnastic twists and jumps on. The love to leap from hay bale to the bucket and back again doing twists in mid air. As you can see, these kids are sure full of energy. The love doing tricks and keep practicing them until they get it right. They also enjoy sliding down the hay bales – just like human kids. Jordanne is keeping an eye out for an (free) old plastic kiddie playset – seems that goats kids like to play on them.
Our husbandry skills continue as we take on raising this small livestock in our own backyard. Our wisdom to date on how to raise goats is (as a fellowagrarian blogger recently commented about his experience with chickens): “First you get yourself a pair of [goats].”
Of course, he mentioned chickens, but we agree with his simple, yet wise, conclusion. As with any such “farm animal” fowl or livestock, to really learn, all you need to know about animal husbandry is to take the step in raising them. Such hands on experiences are valuable and will teach you more than any book would ever do. There are some things you just don’t learn by reading books or going to workshops.
We like to see our urabn homestead as a real life class room. Here we learn all sorts of subjects – the list is endless. We are “enrolled” in the school of life here on the homestead and no amount of fees or tuition could pay for the learning that we get each day. And what tells us that we “graduated” or “passed?” – not some piece of paper. It’s the fact that we are still here, today, and that our talents and skills get better each and every day. ” The proof is in thepudding” as the saying goes.
Everything in the garden is growing like gangbusters. The front yard looks like “forest garden” with its many layers of plants so close together, forming one massive edible forest. Almost everywhere you look in the front yard, you can see at least four (sometimes more) different plant layers.
Here’s an example of one section of the front yard’s layers:Canopy: Pineapple GuavaUnderstory (low-tree layer): Dwarf, weeping mulberryShrub Layer: Moujean tea, roseHerbaceous Layer: Collards, kale, eggplant, arugulaGround layer: Chives, thyme, mint, Rhizosphere: Burdock, onionsAbove the heirloom tomato patch in the middle of the backyard, it “looks like” we are also growing bamboo. We like using bamboo for trellising – versatile and light and, every so many years, we order in bulk.
With the constant flux of temperatures we experienced a few weeks back, there has been considerable fruit drop by the avocado tree.
Jules has been sketching up some ideas for the greywater system, but will wait till after roofing the house to tackle the many waste and water projects that we wanted to do this year. One of the many projects to tackle this week is fixing up our homemade solar oven we built a few years back. The reflector panels need replacing and the guys hope to get to construction of the new reflectors sometime this week. Unfortunately, the last few days it’s been too overcast to do any serious cooking in the solar ovens – but that’s about to change!
Jules has been working on a convenient feeding station for the goats. One down so far today, for their minerals, and two more to go for their grain and hay.