Friday, May 3, 2013

The grass eaters

One of the many projects slated for this year is fencing in the walnut grove so the goats can graze and thus, hopefully, reduce our mowing time. It's going to be a big project and I can honestly say nobody is excited about doing it. For one, it's about 2.5-3 acres and, two, it has to be goat proof. That means you just can't string a single line of electric wire and call it a day. It's lots of t-posts and wood posts, field wire, clearing overgrown trees and a lot of labor. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by all the projects I want to get done but then I remember the old saying "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time." So after the deck is done I'm going to go buy t-posts and slowly get all of those in the ground. One step at a time.

I know the goats can hardly wait. So for now I occasionally let them out in the back yard to go eat yummy weeds. This is doable now but as soon as I get the garden seeded, the flower pots planted, trellis with pole beans going and fruit trees leafed out it will be the end of the goats in the back yard. Have you ever witnessed a goat beeline for a fruit tree? I try to head them away but once they see them it's like a kid in a candy store. They don't just tenderly eat the leaves off of the baby trees, they eat the whole branch....until it's just a stick coming out the ground.  So I've made the decision to transplant the baby fruit trees into the front yard away from the marauding goats. That's on the agenda for this weekend (along with seeding the garden).

Very difficult to photograph friendly goats, one is always in your face.

After the frustrations of dragging three full grown nubians away from my fragile baby cherry trees I decided grazing time was over and tried in vain the get them back into the corral with the miniature horses. I had to enlist Sean's help and a small tub of feed. In the commotion Rocky, aka Satan the miniature horse from hell, decided to bite me on my hand. In the past when he's bit me I've been wearing heavy coveralls and the bites were on my thighs or upper arms and resulted in a purple mark on the skin. He's never broke the skin until now. The little punk got me really good this time, I could see him laughing as he pranced off. He hasn't been laughing this week though. He's been learning some respect from the whip whenever he gets too near me. I'm almost thinking it's time to enlist some professional help. I have no idea how to cure a horse from biting. I certainly can't have the kids playing around him. And no, I'm not Craigslisting him either. I'm not dumping my problems on someone else.

Since it was such a nice day I got the tortoises out in their enclosure. Cecil, the leopard tort, has gotten so big I can no longer pick him up with one hand. He got to ride outside on my hip. I figure it's only a matter of a year or two before Billy Bob is bigger than Cecil. BB is grown a lot over the winter. They did a great job off eating everything that has grown in their enclosure. My mother-in-law brought up some cactus pads for me to plant in their pen and only one made it through the winter successfully. I was so happy it lived and was thriving. Apparently the tortoises thought the same thing. Ugh.

Billy Bob getting big!

Cecil, the hip rider (don't mind my nasty painting clothes, we painted the south side of the house).

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