I planted buckwheat in the spot where I've had several unsuccesses at growing anything else. First summer it was a small vegetable garden. The next year I planted strawberries, an almond tree, and comfrey there. Unfortunately, wire grass all but strangled everything out. Last summer we covered it with black plastic, which disintegrated; what a mess. The buckwheat seems to be the best solution so far. In addition to the seed (groats), buckwheat makes good green manure, goat feed, and deer distraction because the deer love it (in fact I'm surprised they haven't found it yet.) According to Dick Raymond, planted thickly, it will choke out the weeds. We'll see if that includes wire grass. One thing, it certainly is better looking than the mess that was growing there before.
With all the rain, the front of the goat shed has been mud pit. I don't like that kind of situation, especially after Jasmine had so much trouble with hoof rot. It's caused by anaerobic bacteria which thrive in wet, muddy conditions. It's also associated with copper and zinc deficiencies. I finally thought of a tent gazebo we had packed away, and decided to see if I could make a "porch" in front of the goat shed.
I'm hoping this will keep the ground from getting any muddier. The straw is to give the goats something dry to walk on. Trouble is, the chickens love to rearrange this stuff all over the place.
With Jasmine gone, Surprise is not too crazy about having Gruffy for a companion.
She constantly complains about him and they've been going at it in the manner of goats, pushing, shoving, and head butting.
In one of their scuffles, one of Gruffy's scurs broke. Scurs are the remnants of horns that still grow after disbudding. He broke the other one in a tussle with our wether awhile back, so this is the second time it's happened. I don't know if you know this, but cayenne pepper powder is excellent for stopping bleeding. A good coating over the bloody scur works wonders. He was not cooperative however.
It takes two of us do do anything with Gruffy: vaccinations, hoof trimming, or treatments. I usually pin his neck between my knees (below actually because he's only 18 inches tall). That has worked well enough, except this time. He did not want that scur messed with. He tried to take off running, dragging me to the ground. I held on with my knees, but he kept running. He couldn't actually drag me away, but it didn't stop him. The best he could manage was running around in a circle, with me in the middle, my shoulder as the pivot point. After 2 or 3 turns Dan managed to grab him and we switched places.
Dan and I pretty much keep to ourselves. That's just us and besides, we're busy. One day though, he was out in the pasture playing with the dogs when a man in a pick-up truck stopped and commented on our fence. He wondered if Dan hired out to do that kind of work (which he declined). Anyway they got to talking and the fellow told Dan his wife calls us a couple of hippies. That really took us aback and we wondered why. Because we have a large garden? Because we do a lot by hand? Because I wear my hair in a long braid down my back? Because we're not diligent about mowing the lawn? Because we'd rather let the weeds grow than drench everything with Round-Up? ;) Back in the day, I would certainly fit the hippy description (a little of my story here). But Dan? Never. He's been as square as they come from day one. [Que background music, "It's Hip To Be Square"] We were kind of hoping to be an inspiration to others, you know, to do something similar. Then again, maybe not.
|"We'll get up when it's time to eat."|
I wanted to mention that the gelatin is still helping Kris, though he has set-backs on occasion. While Kody is growing at a slow, steady pace, Kris grows in spurts. We can almost see it. Those days he's mopey and limps, and I up his dose of gelatin. Usually the next day he's fine again, playful, happy and active.
Here's what I decided to do with that blind corner opening between the base cabinet and shelves...
|I covered my blind corner with a lacy curtain|
It's one of the lace curtains I'm going to use for the windows. Some of you suggested that the cat might find this spot and he has. He goes in through the curtain and then sits there and meows for me to let him out by opening the cabinet door. Like I have time for cat games.
I showed you how we got half of our harvest ("Winter Wheat 2012"). The rest was a problem. A lot of it was knocked down, by what(?). A lot of it was dragged down by vetch. It was impossible to scythe, so I used my hand sickle for some, then we decided to let the rest be. Á la Sepp Holzer, the stalks are forming a thick mulch mat and it will reseed itself. I'm interested in seeing how this turns out. There should never be a loss on a homestead, just a different purpose than originally expected. Successful permaculture seems to take some work to get established, but it certainly works for you once it is. Hopefully this will be one example of that.
I reckon that's all for now, except for this....