THE OFFICIAL BLOG
Here we are on the third blog post and I already have to say it: Okay. New Plan.
And it is all because we don't fence our animals.
We fence our trees.
The disadvantage of letting donkeys, goats, pigs, chickens, geese, or some combination of those and others wander around our entire property most of the time rather than confining them to tidy paddocks or grazing areas, is that it makes it pretty difficult to start young trees or grow a garden. Sure, they have over 14 acres of untouched woodland to explore and munch on, but the little apple tree that Dave just planted just plain tastes better.
We figured all of that out rather quickly and made sure to wrap the bases of young trees with netting to prevent bark-stripping - and fence the youngest saplings entirely to preserve them. It is extra work and it is a bit unsightly, but we would rather do all of that than not give the critters the most room to roam with us every day.
We fenced our house.
We also installed a chain link fence around our house so that we could plant flowers and vegetable gardens that would not be turned into dust baths - and to keep the sidewalks free of poo. That has worked out pretty well for us over the last few years. We keep goslings and chicks grazing within the chainlink of our front yard when they are growing out, but send them outside once they are tall enough to reach the raised gardens.
Sending them out was a precautionary measure that I was sure we would never need as the geese have never shown any interest in our flowers or vegetable plants - preferring the bermuda grass and chickweed out in the open areas.
I used the word 'never' far too many times in that sentence above. I should know better. And I'm sure you have already guessed that the next thing I am going to say is: Until now.
This year I confidently decided to line the chain link fence with straw bales for a small straw bale garden experiment. The experiment was a success and the garden was thriving. I had visions of hundreds of straw bales in the future, teeming with food and flowers. Birds would be singing. Baby goslings and chicks would be running between the bales picking out sprouted grass and lying in the shade of the green plants. Weekends would be spent at the farmer's market selling our extra produce. What a great use for a front yard!
This morning that vision was shattered by four eight-week old graduates of our front yard gosling boot camp.
These little stinkers reached through the chain link from the outside and decimated the entire north side of my fledgling straw bale garden. The cucumber plant is almost completely gone. The cabbages were apparently a favorite. They took a swipe at the jalapeno plant just for kicks.
We fence our fences.
I was out front with a roll of poultry netting (Terrible for poultry, but great for everything else. The stuff is like the duct tape of homesteading.) before I even finished my first cup of coffee. The kids and all five donkeys came to help. (The kids were helpful. The donkeys - not so much.) The four adolescent goslings even showed up to test it for me. Ah. The little darlings.
I am absolutely determined to not give up on my dream of an enormous and bountiful straw bale garden next year, but the new plan will obviously involve both moving the bales out of goose reach on the inside of the fence (if that is even possible) and a neater installation of poultry netting from the inside as well.
And now I am off to figure out how to keep the resident raccoon out of the feed cans in the barn. I'm sure there will be a Lessons Learned: Raccoon Edition to follow. Stay tuned.
Posted by Anita
Stubborn idealist. Eater of zucchini. Raccoon hunter.