November 7, 2016

A Walk in the Woods

Down the hill from the Little Barn is a gate into a fenced area in the woods. We call this the doe browse. 


At the bottom of the doe browse is a place to put another gate.


Beyond that is our two-plus unfenced wooded acres. I used to have a walking trail down there, but in the past few years we've lost a lot of pine trees from pine bark beetle, so the area is thick with fallen pine trees and new undergrowth. Dan and I have been talking about trying to utilize it. It contains a lot of potential lumber and a lot of good browse for the goats.


"Come on, girls, let's go take a walk in the woods!"


With our pastures all dried up, this is prime foraging for the goats.


Goats are excellent for kudzu control




Trusty watch cat








When they've had their fill they head back on their own. I can come too if I want.

In the past few days the leaves have really started to turn. It's been so dry that I wondered if we'd get much color. We are, although the leaves drop quickly. We've had breaking-in fires in both our stoves, but our temperatures remain warm with no rain in sight. I'm enjoying the beautiful weather while I can.

23 comments:

Chris said...

Are you guys on municipal water supply, or do you have to collect your own? Just wondering how this extended dry is impacting on how you water the goats?

Lovely pictures of happy goats and doing what they love to do best. Browse. I know even poor plants are better than no plants, as testified by our chooks lately.

Dani said...

Your woods are stunning. Yes, we too are currently under water restrictions here. Rain is scarce - very worrying.

Leigh said...

Chris, yes, we have city water. So the good thing is that we have fresh water for goats, chickens, ducks, and us. (Definitely would have preferred to have our own well, but this place just didn't have one.) I don't use it on the garden or other plants, except for water bucket leftovers. The rainwater goes to the garden, but it just wasn't enough for everything this year. :(

Leigh said...

Dani, there's just no solution for no rain, is there.

Henny Penny said...

I love gates, and fences, and enjoyed walking with you and the goats through the woods. Sounds like you might be talking about our area...very dry with more dead brown leaves than pretty colors. The Oak trees are beginning to show a little red color but other trees are just dropping their leaves. Sure wish my Dan was more into living off the land. I want a milk cow or a goat to milk. Guess I will have to be content with two pet goats.

Jason and Michelle said...

Last year, my trees just dropped their leaves. This year, they are turning colors. People here are wasteful with the water. We have "canal water" for secondary. People will water the street, their fences, water during the heat of the day... The Great Salt Lake is at record lows. Next yeat I am replacing grass, just so we don't have to use as much water.

Bill said...

So do you just open the gate to let them into the woods, then rely on them to come home on their own? We can do that too and (believe it or not) I've never thought of it before. We also have a gate at the back of the pasture that opens into woods. Seems so obvious now that I've seen this post. As for dried up pastures, we're in that boat too. We haven't had any rain in over a month now. I've never known a fall to be this dry.

Leigh said...

Well, a milk goat can be a pet. :)

Leigh said...

In the past when we've had water restrictions a lot of folks ignored them. They would still water their lawns (businesses would too) and wash their cars. This has been an odd year. Last winter was way too wet, summer too dry. There seems to have been enough moisture deep in the ground to keep trees happy, but anything with shallower root systems has suffered. Sounds like xeriscaping would be a good idea for your lawn.

Leigh said...

No, I don't let them by themselves. We have stray dogs on occasion and even coyotes. Then too, I don't want them wandering into one of the neighbor's open fields and being mistaken for deer! I'm using the time to work on trying to clear the property line for an eventual fence. The goats actually stick pretty close to me when we're down there, until they're ready to head back to the barn. Then I'm on my own.

Mama Pea said...

We have a patch of heavily wooded land that we want to eventually turn into a hay field. Turning goats into that area first would be perfect. If you want to send your goats north for a vacation . . . ;o)

Ed said...

We've had a number of diseases and pests do a number on various tree populations here in the Midwest. It makes me wonder if there is something larger happening that I need to be worried about. I am replanting them and putting in a variety to eliminate a homogeneous stand but I wonder if that is enough.

Leigh said...

Probably in summer when your vegetation is thickest. :) I've heard of folks renting goats for brush clearance. They set up an electric fence and the goats take care of the rest.

Leigh said...

Ed, I've wondered the same thing. It seems that entire species of plants succumb to something and disappear. This summer I've seen how key rain is, heat too. So I suppose on the one hand we could point to climate change as a factor, but also it seems like things are as strong and healthy as they ought to be to fight off pests and disease.

I think that's a good idea to plant a diverse stand, it can only increase the odds of success. I've been struggling with my forest garden hedgerow, but that goes back to lack of rain - and chickens! It's amazing how much time and energy is spent trying to control the whereabouts of chickens.

Ed said...

I didn't think about climate change and probably should have. I grew up several decades only knowing about Dutch Elm disease. Now we have Emerald Ash borer, Pine Bark Beetle and Oak Wilt Disease. The latter one has absolutely decimated the hard wood timber up here. From my understanding, it is common here but when trees get really stressed, i.e. drought, it becomes deadly to them. We can't give away firewood up here anymore because it is plentiful and they are trying to prevent the spread of the two pests already mentioned.

Leigh said...

We also have depleted soil and an increasing number of air pollutants, so I'm thinking that natural resistance is down. The only treatments seem to be either poison or clear cutting, both of which don't really help and probably only contribute to the problems. Makes you wonder how things will look 30 years from now.

Jay said...

We have a similar set up on our farm and I so enjoy coming home from work to walk with the goats in the woods. It is so calm and peaceful with the goats munching away. Love to watch them play on all the downed trees as well, so athletic! Your herd is just lovely.

Farmer Barb said...

Joyous!

Chris said...

Does it cost you more, the more water you use? Not sure how it works in your State, but apart from paying the Council (County in your parts) a quarterly fee for accessing municipal water supply, you also have to to pay so many cents per kilolitre. The more water you use, the higher the price gets.

Which is one of the reasons I'm glad we don't have a municipal water supply. On the downside though, we're completely dependent on our own infrastructure.

Leigh said...

Thank you! Isn't it great to have some woods for recreation?

Leigh said...

Happy, happy!

Leigh said...

Yes, they charge us by gallons used. That's why I don't use it for irrigation, because it can get expensive.

We really wish we had a well. I would love not to have to pay for water, plus ours is extremely chlorinated. It smells so strong coming out of the tap that you don't even want to drink it! I hate giving it to our animals, but at least the chlorine evaporates out.

Jayne Hill said...

How lovely for your girls, mental stimulation as well as good browse. So natural for them to climb up onto logs, firtle around choosing which lea vets to enjoy.