Bridget

Posts Tagged ‘manure’

As Spring Equinox approaches.

In nature, sustainable living on March 19, 2012 at 1:57 pm

As Spring Equinox approaches we are spending lots of time in the garden. It’s that time of year when the green returns and we are enthused by spending time revelling in it. In the polytunnel beds have been dug and manured ready for the plants that are growing in the seed trays. The Peach tree is in full flower. This will need to be hand pollinated as there are few insects about this early. Some seeds are sown direct in the beds: Oriental Salad Mix, Rocket, Spring Onions and Spinach.

All the manure used in the garden is from our own animals. There’s also the compost made from vegetable waste from the garden,  vegetable peelings and teabags from the house. It is full of worms, beautifully dark and crumbly.

Spring Equinox is a day earlier than usual this year because of the leap year. The Equinox ocurs about 6 hours later each year, with a jump of a day backwards on leap years, hence 20th March this year. The Sun will be rising earlier each day now, 6.o5 tomorrow, and nightfall will be coming later and later.

Strawberries are already flowering in the polytunnel, very early this year. This is an alpine variety, small but very sweet fruits.

At the Vernal Equinox day and night are of almost equal length. The Sun rises exactly in the east, travels through the sky for 12 hours, then sets exactly in the west. I look forward to the budding trees revealing their beautiful new leaves, the wind becoming less harsh, plants sprouting and everything being seized by the vibrancy of the Spring season. For this is the real beginning of Spring.

Everything in nature is being revived, growth really takes off  and the Sun is gaining height and strength. A great festival of awakening.

Happy days to all. May you and yours revel in the joy and beauty of it all.

Keeping Goats at Prospect Cottage.

In Animals, sustainable living on March 28, 2011 at 9:54 am

Enid and daughter Bella in playful mood.

We have kept goats sice returning to live in Ireland in 1996. They are such characters, each with their own personality. All animals have their own personality really but if you are involved in intensive farming you won’t want to see that. You can’t eat your friends!

Enid, who provides our daily milk.

We are so happy not to be buying milk from the supermarket. Not part of the chain that kills the calves after birth to get the Mother’s milk. Not part of the chain that kills cows when they are past their peak production. Not part of the chain that routinely feeds antibiotics to the animals.

Andy and Smokie.

Keeping goats is of course part of our self-sufficiency plan. In return they are well looked after. They have a nice shed with a straw bed, this in turn provides manure for the garden when it rots down. They are part of the ongoing cycle of Nature here.

We will never kill them for food, they will be looked after in their old age.

Goats of course do need to be well-fenced. They will eat your shrubs, flowers, trees and vegetables. That is the nature of the goat so it’s up to the goatkeeper to keep good fencing, then all will be well.

Andy and the girls.

All in all keeping goats has been a good experience for us. Of course there is sadness when animals die, but their life span is shorter than ours so we must cope with that. C’est la vie!