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Are You Ready For Some Farming?

Sophie napping on the reclamation scene

You may or may not know that Sunday was the first day of the NFL's regular season. Prior to moving to the farm I can't remember a fall Sunday where I didn't watch NFL football. Literally. Every Sunday for as long as I can remember I'd at least watch a game or two, if not more. But out here we don't have a TV signal and there's too much to do to sit down and watch TV for 3+ hours anyway. 

Did I miss football this Sunday? Yes. Definitely. There was a nostalgia for sure. Would I rather have sat on the couch or at a bar and watched the game and drank beers with friends? I don't think so.

So what was on tap instead of football?

I spent my Sunday catching up on all kinds of little things that needed catching up on. It was 80 degrees or below all day, how could I miss such an opportunity? We haven't had weather like this since April.

No matter the temperature, the first thing I do during the weekends is move the goats. I move them once per week and it's almost always on a weekend morning. Big jar of water. Big jar of iced coffee, and I'm out. This past week the goats were fenced in an area with giant blackberry and honeysuckle brambles. We could see some junk inside the bramble, but we weren't entirely sure what was in there. 

After I put the goats in a new paddock and I headed back home to mow, weed whack and clean the barns. I was rushing through chores so I could get back out there an unearth the buried "treasures". Really what I wanted to do was get all that stuff out of there so we could graze the goats in that area with worrying about them eating something they're not supposed to. 

One week of goat domination we could see a lot of what was in there. Granted, it was still covered in thick layers of vines, but the old cedar fence posts, bent and rusted t-posts, phone poles (seriously), reels of fencing, tires, tractor attachments, and so forth all became visible.

Before the goats were here all you could see was a giant mass of blackberries and honeysuckle

Since goats are ruminant animals they have multiple stomachs to help them digest. The goats swallow forage, it goes into one of their stomachs called the rumen, the forage gets sloshed around and then the goats puke it back up into their mouths and chew on it some more. That's where "chewing the cud" or "ruminating on it" comes from. If the goats eat something they're not supposed to (i.e. a nail, a bag, a bottle top) it will sit in their rumen forever and irritate their digestive systems. In a bad case it could kill them. 

Once we saw what a disaster that junk pile was we got them out of there. Now comes the fun part. Digging through blackberry bushes to haul out a bunch of old iron and trash. Luckily, I think we'll be able to use a lot of it. Old fencing can be used to repair parts of our fence where trees have fallen. Cedar posts can be used to build a clothes line, or poles for a yard hammock, or posts for the garden. Metal can be sold for scrap. And whatever else can go to the dump.

These are the situations where you need some spare fence materials. Look at the size of that tree! It's fallen next to a 6' t-post, for scale. You can't even see the crushed fence underneath

Hmmm. Maybe digging through blackberry bushes in the heat of the day isn't as good as sitting on the couch and watching football...? Nah, it is.

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