I’ve decided that it is time that I share my plans for the property on which I reside. Right now we have a fair amount of work left to do to get it to where I want it to be, and we have what one might call a shoe string budget. The property that I live on actually belongs to my in-laws. Their idea of yard work is to leave everything be and call it “natural.” What that really means is that we have a ton of blackberries, a bunch of wild cherry trees, and crappy grass. The areas that are not blackberries have had a couple of horses on them for the last few years. To top that all off a large part of the pasture was dug up for a failed experiment by someone else. This means that there is no top soil in that area. The positive thing about their failed experiment though is that they accidentally made a seasonal spring, similar to the way Sepp Holzer did on his property. So that’s a quick summary of what I am working with. What I plan to do with it and what I have done is as follows.
When I first started working on the problem with blackberries I got pigs, and goats. As said best by Sepp, if you have a blackberry problem then you have a shortage of pigs. Well there is a lot of truth to that, enough pigs, or goats, or even cows for that matter will take care of all of your blackberry problems. My problem is that to own enough pigs to take care of this problem would kill the whole property and then I would still have to feed them up to the butcher weight. Therefore I decided that I must do part of the pigs’ work, so I got myself a scythe from scythe supply. I don’t intend to cut all of the blackberries down, but I want to cut them down to where I can put in paddock fences, that way I can focus the animals on small areas that need the work instead of them spending all of their time eating from the nice grassy part of the pasture. Also, every time I cut down the blackberries the pigs get excited to root around in that area, and dig up most of the root balls for me. This of course leaves more of my other problem. Mud. Given that this property has a history with horses, the top soil in the 50 or so yards surrounding the barn has sustained a significant amount of damage. Fortunately paddocks are one answer to that too. By limiting the amount of time an animal is allowed to be in an area, we will be able to rehab a lot of the land.
Now from here there are a million different other things that I would like to do; it’s probably enough to write a whole book. So I will instead just
give a short summary of what I think the important things are. But as with all plans, my vision will change over time. First off I would like to split the pasture land into 16 separate paddocks. This will hopefully allow me to keep enough grass for my animals that I will have to feed out minimal amount of hay. It will also help to cut down on the parasite problems so we can rely on more natural management methods. Plus, I hope to add small islands of trees within the paddocks and to to add in as many different plants as I can to the pasture and all the rest of the property. Before kidding season I would like to have a small holding area for the does to wait to be milked next to the barn, and to rebuild our milk parlor into something half-respectable. Where the pasture has been torn up and destroyed by an excavator, I plan to add swales and a small barley field so that I can start working on hand harvesting grain for our fodder system. The orchard will be moved more towards a food forest with the various layers and a great deal more diversity than exists right now. I will be doing plenty of experiments as well, and will keep you guys up to date on those as I get them off the ground.
Please leave questions and comments below. I would love to hear what you guys think, and checkout our youtube channel Dandelion Dreams Permaculture. I just videoed a walkthrough of the property that will be uploaded shortly. Thanks.