Bridget

Posts Tagged ‘straw’

Autumn Equinox @ Prospect Cottage.

In Animals, arigna, Foraging., Gardening on September 20, 2011 at 10:35 am

The changing colours of Autumn are upon us, much as we may not like it, changes are afoot. Human beings do not much like change, we like other inhabitants on this Planet are creatures of habit. Although when change is forced upon us we are quick to adapt. At this time the Autumn Equinox is upon us, hard to believe it’s 3 months since Summer Solstice. It’s said time flies when you’re having fun, well time is certainly flying!

The last of the wild berries can be harvested on nice dry days. All sorts of Fungi are to be found in woodland and pasture. Nature’s abundance is still there for the picking. Still to come are the almost ripe Hazlenuts of which there are lots this year. Sloes, which are best after the first frost has softened them. Elderberries will be fully ripe soon too. They are great for jams, chutneys, cordials and wine. A tincture can be made from them which is said to be a wonderful restorative and immune system enhancer.

The animals also benefit for the abundance of the season. Daphne loves apples, not too many together though as they can cause bloat. Peelings left over from making jams and crumbles are always a welcome treat. Last week I collected a big box of windfalls from our neighbour’s orchard. They will provide treats for a few weeks.

The Goats too are fond of Apples. They also watch for falling leaves at this time of year and really enjoy them. Soon their bodies will be preparing for Winter by growing their Winter coats.

For us at this time when day and night are equal we must also adjust our minds to the coming of Winter. Enjoy the first frosts and the sunny days they will surely bring. Gather the last offerings from Nature. The larder is filled with the abundance of Summer, all is well. Who knows, we may be snowed in again this year! Soon we will head to Tipperary for the day and bring back a trailer load of hay and straw to bed and feed the animals over Winter.

May you all enjoy this time of adjustment. Enjoy the longer nights, make it a time for enjoying each other’s company. The frantic activity of the garden is now winding down. Think of some craft projects to work on over the Winter. Walk in the woods and enjoy the Trees as they too make their seasonal changes. Happy Equinox to 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!