Ruffled Feathers and Spilled Milk

Farming with ducks and dairy goats, chickens and children.


Posted on | August 17, 2011 | 3 Comments

Don’t be fooled.  Farming is not as scientific as it is intuitive.  It takes sensitivity.  Attentiveness.  A discerning eye.  Not just everyone has this ability.  Take weeding the garden, for example.  Some people will say that weeding should be done a little bit every day.  At least every week.  I don’t know about you, but there’s a lot of things I like to do on a daily or weekly basis in the summer.  Like going swimming in my friend’s pool (All the fun, none of the work.  Bonus!).  Or taking the kids to the $3 matinee at the cinema.  Maybe even sitting in the rocking chairs outside the local dairy, eating fresh ice cream.  Weeding doesn’t even make my Top 50.  And I tend to think anyone who suggests such a thing as daily weeding simply doesn’t have a friend with a pool, a $3 movie theater, or a local ice cream parlor.  I’m just saying.

But even I have to admit there are some signs that it’s time to break out the gardening gloves.

Like when you go down to pick a sweet, juicy watermelon and you can’t find a pathway to walk down to the melon patch.

And when you do find the vine, you can’t even see a single melon for all the lush greenery.

Plus, you almost step on a guinea who is either hiding or trapped in all the overgrowth.

Yep, it’s time.  See how discerning I am?

So I milked the goats as soon as I put the kids on the bus.  I had a healthy breakfast of free range eggs and  a 1/2 can of Pringles (I had to eat the Pringles.  I am making goat milk soap tomorrow and need the can for a soap mold.  Really.  I’m not making that up.)  I filled my thermos with iced tea and headed down the farm drive with the wheel barrow and a small trowel for any stubborn tap roots.  3 hours and 3 overflowing wheelbarrows later, the job was done.

Now you might think the 3 overflowing wheelbarrows just demonstrates I waited to long to get the weeding done.  But I beg to differ.  So do these guys:

That’s right.  The whole herd waited patiently at the fence by the garden, with saliva dribbling down their chins, as they watched me pull up handful after handful.  Oh, they could already taste those delicious dandelion greens.  The scrumptious gooseberry vines.  The henbit!  The plantain!  When done properly (i.e. waiting long enough to weed), there’s enough for everyone to share, which means no kicking by Candy Corn and no head butting from Brianna.  Just peace, quiet, and chewing.

Charlotte even lucked into a corn cob tucked among the dried up stalks.

And little Chip managed to sneak a midmorning snack while Carmen was too busy noshing to make a get-away.

Some people call this biodynamic farming—where the outputs produced by the farm are input right back into the system.  I call it the best way to keep the herd happy.  In addition to being an awesome way to burn off the calories in that whole can of Pringles I ate for breakfast.  Whoops!  Did I say a whole can?  Don’t be ridiculous, I meant a 1/2 can.  No one would ever eat a whole can of Pringles in one sitting.  I mean, really.

After all that work, the garden was a wonder to behold:

Aaah, that’s better.

There’s the melons.

And the peppers.

Tomatoes still going strong.

Lima beans,too.

This eggplant has a little more growing before harvest.

We couldn’t stop the okra if we wanted to.

The last remaining zucchini plant refuses to fold.

Even the first crop of corn that has come and gone looked better once it was pulled up and turned into bedding mulch.

But nothing could compete with the glory of the zinnias once they were freed from the johnsongrass.

Now the guineas will just have to settle for hiding in the bean patch.

I admit I felt pretty good as I headed for the house.  Of course, I did take note of the fine job the goats had done last month in the pasture along the farm drive.  They took it from this:

to this:

It took them 3 weeks, though.  Amateurs.


3 Responses to “Weeding”

  1. Tanya
    August 18th, 2011 @ 5:12 am

    Cute!!! I personally have never eaten an entire can of Pringles in one sitting.. HA!!!!!

  2. Liz (Vic Aust.)
    August 18th, 2011 @ 10:53 pm

    I collect LGD like pringles one is just not enough. My goats used to love waitng for the annual branch trim and blackberry cull from the garden. They would spend days peletizing the heap in the paddock. Very efficient compost units.

  3. lisa d
    August 19th, 2011 @ 10:12 am

    Were the chips sour cream and onion? That would explain a lot….

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