Borrowing a solution

Now, this isn’t like borrowing the solution to Question #27 on a chemistry multiple choice. I promise it’s not.

We have been mulling over our blackberry problem for a while now, and proposing various herbivores as appropriate solutions. But the actuality of an actual real live sheep/goat/alpaca/elephant has been offputting – all of that fencing, tethering, defending from marauding dogs that are sure to sniff out that we have a new takeaway on legs for them captive at our place, the possibility of vegie patches devastated by a quadruped on a rampage. It all just seemed too hard.

But then a friend rang, needing a place for her goat to stay while they gave their garden a rest for a while and built a suitable goat shelter for the coming winter. I said yes before I’d even thought about it. I must say I worried a little when I hung up. (What would happen if somehow I didn’t do something necessary and the poor goat suffered a terrible fate?) But I needn’t have.

Meet Coco, the solution to our blackberry problem that we’ve borrowed from some friends:

She is the tamest, most compact goat I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. We walk her around from place to place on the dog lead, tethering her on a nice long rope near impenetrable blackberries, and she EATS THEM. I honestly thought that she wouldn’t. However, it seems that she actually prefers them to almost anything else. (I wouldn’t trust her with the vegie patch or the orchard though…) When she is finished with a patch, she bleats for a bit until we move her to the next tough, spiky, prickly patch which she then demolishes in her delicate, nibbling way.

I think I’m in love.

(For all the worriers out there, we also have a couple of disused chook runs that have secure fences and gates, and she gets time off her tether in there. Ok?)

Lightening! And Thunder!

We had a storm a few weeks back. Not a huge, long one. Not one that was memorable in any really big way from where we were, inside, with our torches and candles, because in our part of the world if it’s even just plain old raining the power goes out. For a short while, it was a loud storm, with some impressive thunder, but nothing that I would have pegged as remarkable, or even that close.

We were therefore rather surprised to find this on venturing down the back paddock later in the week:

One of our pecans had been hit by lightening! Truly. We could see where the lightening had entered at the top, and traveled down the tree, exploding the base of each branch it came to. We’re still cleaning the tree up, and doing what we can, and we’re not sure whether it will need to come out or not. We really don’t want to lose it… but may have to if it will just up and die anyway. This below is just one of the split branches, taken when I shimmied up the tree to saw a few hangers off:

On the bright side, losing the tree could mean MULCH! Oodles of mulch. We’ll see.

Ooer. It’s a chestnut.

…or several hundred. The I-man and I were trying to plan the next couple of weeks this morning, because it’s the Easter School Holidays, which means Events! And potential Trips! Yippee!

Unfortunately, we kept being interrupted by two small fry who just couldn’t wait to show us things/tell us about things/ask us to play games Outside, In the Garden despite all entreaties that if we were left alone, we would be planning things that included having Fun. It was to no avail, so we sent them on a mission, expecting them to get distracted and begin playing, after which we would not see them for a good long time.

We were wrong. We sent them down to the bottom of the block with a basket each, and told them to check if there were any chestnuts ready for gathering. Well… within ten minutes they were back, with this:

The chestnuts had taken them a nanosecond to gather, and that was a miniscule portion of those already on the ground. Our children are terrific gatherers. We are very proud. Unfortunately, they haven’t moved on to the processing side of things yet.

The gathering of figs, melons and quinces were a later, collaborative project called, “Harvesting for All the Family: a mandatory, participatory workshop.”

After that, we mowed the paddock, tore out all of the tomatoes and hung them to ripen in the greenhouse, pulled out the spent cucumber plants, planted sugar snap peas and podding peas in their place and planted oodles (metric measurement) of spinach, silverbeet, pak choy and beetroot seedlings in where the tomatoes were. I can barely move, I’m so sore!

We certainly know how to spend a Sunday.