billabong gwen
valued member
User avatar
coastal southern washington

Spring Has Sprung at the Billabong Farm

28 Mar '09 4:33 pm
Today we started clearing one of the more soggy brushy areas in hopes of developing more summer pasture. What a great find to see the ducks had dabbled their way back into the woods and created a flowing stream approximately 16 inches wide and 6 inches deep. The goats had done their part and trimmed the ferns, elderberry, and other brushy growth down to the ground. The winter storms of this year and the hurricane force winds of December 2007 had knocked over spindly alders or their branches. The result: On this beautiful sunny , occasionally misty spring day we cleaned up and made 3 brush piles to discover another 1/2 acre of fairly flat potential pasture with a stream running through it. Those ducks are good little dabblers! I was amazed to find I could walk in most places without sinking. My BGB was quite handy with the 45 pound 18" chainsaw to clean and tidy low hanging alder branches or cut up fallen logs that I then added to the burn pile.

It feels like Spring on the farm with new twin baby goats that jump and spring into the air like corkscrews. They are inquisitive and delightful and it is only mildly disappointing that they are buckleys. The other goat's first try at it resulted in a breech birth of triplets with 2 dying as well as their mama and as insult to the morbidity and mortality- a hefty vet bill. We have been able to keep one little doeling alive. Betsy (butsy) the butt first breech I pulled out has done okay so far but spent 2 nights in the house until I was overcome with a sneezing fit. She is under a warming light in the barn, with a cozy surround of hay bales. We are feeding her powdered milk replacer which seems easier than fighting with the other remaining mama goat to milk off enough to fill the bottle. You can imagine what this fighting with the mama (she has horns) feels like at 3 am when one needs to be up and perky for a 10 hour shift in the morning at the real job! So far Betsy is doing well and our puppy Zelda is so excited when she sees any of the new goat babies she visibly shakes. It's all so new!

The next task is to complete the gate on the chicken mansion garden and move the chickens at night to their new abode. I imagine they may eventually be allowed to free range upon special occasions but I cannot tolerate having them roosting in the barn for any longer. Deadline for eviction , Sunday evening 10pm( pacific standard time). We have almost completed the drainage for this space, just a few more shovels of rock over the drainage pipe and its done. The climbing roses (Iceberg) have been moved from the front fence near the road ditch where they were continually nibbled on by local dear. I can see some new growth starting and they may be allowed to perform better behind the 8 foot fence that has been recently completed around the Chicken Mansion. I was waiting for the new raspberry starts, hazelnut bushes, rosa rugosa starts and espaliered apple roots to get a good grip before I put the chickens in there. The area is at least 45 feet wide by 110 feet long so it's very close to "free ranging". The difference between having the freedom and being assigned to an area is primarily that I just will be able to choose which plants to place at risk - instead of the chickens and the peacock deciding where (in my small fledgling attempt at a cottage garden) that they want to scratch and chomp. I am making stronger and more informed decisions and I am insisting that they lay their eggs where I can find them. I will keep you posted on whether this works out. I am also really struggling with the beauty of the peacock versus the complete destruction of pansies, primroses, tulips and other delights that are unsafe unless grown in a hanging basket. Usually I spend some time each week walking around the gardens and present BGB with the death toll and which animal I am assigning blame to as I lament over the losses. My BGB brought home 10 used hanging baskets the day after I lamented loudly that I thought the peacock "may need to be gone" due to the inability to grow anything if it wasn't in a hanging basket. Apparently he thought I meant death, not relocation. I have to admit that some days even death didn't seem harsh enough punishment for what he did to my precious newly planted flowers that were immediately destroyed. I am still mesmerized by the colors he shows , esp on days when the sun comes out even for a few minutes. I am wondering if he might like a move into the chicken mansion garden. BGB is wondering if he will fly over the fence if one wing is clipped. I am hesitant to do such a thing, Anyone know about peacocks??

Still trying to fit 10 pounds of whatever into a 5 pound bag

Canberra, Australia

31 Mar '09 7:50 pm
I'm sorry about the goats. Best wishes to Betsy.
I hope your egg laying instructions are successful. :)

Return to My Garden Diaries

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest