Meet Mary. She is the reason I left the city. Yes, you can have mini goats in the city. But you cannot have loud mini goats or you risk upsetting your neighbors. Mary is very, very loud but very, very lovable. She is learning to be milked this week and I’ll breed her in November. That means in April I’ll have more baby goat cuteness and hopefully more future milkers.
He is Mary’s wether, my children’s playmate. And although Mary has a forever home here, I’m not sure what the future brings for Starr. At some point Mary will have more boy babies and they may be even friendlier than Starr is. We cannot keep all the boy babies Mary will ever have so we’ll have some hard decisions to make in the future. Dairy is not easy. In order to have milk you need to continue breeding the animals. What I do know is, every animal I own will have the best life and the best death that I can give it. I owe that much to them.
Meet my frog pond. My friend Eric dug most of the hole for it. This is where I plan to experiment with edible water plants. I picked up two pond liners off Craigs List to cut my teeth on (training for the future aquaponics operation). They have taken up more time than I care to realize this summer trying to get the filters and pumps just so…and they are not yet just so.
Meet my future kiwi arbor. In addition to fencing and electrifying I am building a hardy kiwi arbor next to the frog pond. It will be a lovely place to hang out on warm days once it’s done. If it’s ever done.
This area is just north of what will be the kiwi arbor and it will be in part to full shade most of the time. I plan to create a keyhole planting there to experiment with part to full shade perennial or reseeding vegetables. This is where I will recreate the crummy shaded conditions many of you are trying to garden in back in the city. I also want to experiment with how much food someone who wants a garden but does not want to garden can grow. Wish me luck!
This area is just south of the future kiwi arbor and although it gets full sun most of the day it contains a full sized apple and fig tree which shade most of the 20′ x 20′ section. Rather than remove the trees I’ll be creating a guild around them with more perennial vegetables and fruits.
This area will be the entrance to the garden, flanked by hops and contain herbs, flowers, and children’s whimsy. I’m not sure yet how productive this area will be but it will be fun for all who venture inside.
This roughly 100′ x 20′ area of the garden will be intensive rows with a movable high tunnel where I can start warm weather crops early and grow vegetables for 5 families year round. Fingers crossed! So far it’s a lot of gravel walkways and I’ve been slowly digging it all out (thanks to Linda and kids who came and helped last Friday!) Then I bring in topsoil. Lots, and lots of topsoil.
This area and the 20′ x 20′ section outside the garden will be joined and fenced around. Here I will plant blueberries and black and red currants. And hopefully the goats will not manage to break the electric fence and eat them all.
This is chicken row. My friend Eric helped me consolidate all the asparagus beds inside the chicken area so the ladies can keep the asparagus beetles in control by eating the larvae that overwinter in the dirt. Next to the asparagus rows I’ll be adding summer and fall raspberries and marionberries. Next to them is an old orchard with varieties of plums, peach and apple on full sized tree stock. Come fall I’ll be removing them and replacing them with dwarf fruits: cherry, plum, peach, persimmon, quince, crabapple.
I’ve added a duck pond in the poultry yard. The filter clogs up twice a day and if I don’t use it you can close your eyes and imagine Green Lake in August. The smell, not so pretty.
The ducks, however, very pretty. Flip, Splish and Splosh. Flap refused to get out of the pool for the picture. He’s like that.
I spy with my little eye…Mary! She just needs a little lamb.
The next update will include the newly completed poultry shack and the return of my feral flock of chickens. Perhaps Nibbles and the rest of the buns and their newly completed rabbit shelter will even be included. Stay tuned to the continuing progress as I race to complete it before school starts and the book hits store shelves, all in just a few weeks.