It’s times like this that I feel like we are actually doing this. By this, I mean farming, ranching, homesteading…whatever label you wish to attach to it. I am reluctant, almost embarrassed to call ourselves, or what we do any of these titles. I have so much “city” engraved in every part of me that I cannot shake the feeling that although my soul lives and breathes here on these forested acres, I don’t quite belong here. I’m a misfit to this beautiful land that I meld into with every piece of me; I don’t have the knowledge it deserves. I don’t know how to do the farming things that I really want to do here. My feet have been girded in concrete for all of my life (well except for the sand of the awesome CA beaches) but this dirt, this dirt that holds so much potential and promise is a mystery to me.
Piece by piece, I find….no I actually stumble upon gems of knowledge that I drink in like a sponge. Literally, when a light pops on and one of the treasures provided in the natural habitat that surrounds us is revealed, it’s akin to sitting at a magnificent banquet table. You start to see things you haven’t seen before, but they were staring right at you the entire time.
I feel like what has gotten me so excited is so simple that I’m almost embarrassed (there’s that word again) to write about it. It has stared me in the face so many times, yet I didn’t see it. Why?? I think that my city mind interferes with my farming heart. A lot of the time, the need for solutions takes me to thoughts of, “Oh, I can probably find what I need online”, or “I’m sure “xxxxxx” the local feed store has one I can buy.” UUuuuggghhh!! In the city, we bought solutions to things….here on the farm, our income is much different, and ingenuity (a different type of ingenuity) needs to replace the commerce mindset. You know, I never thought I wasn’t in-tune to that portion of my brain…but truly, it is a muscle that needs more development. It’s a process, and it feels really good!!
So here is the brainstorm that came upon me this past week….it wasn’t even completely mine, yet I’ll claim it because, well, after 29 years of marriage, what’s mine is his, and what’s his is mine…RIGHT??!! Okay, so part of our forest management is cutting trees….dying trees, over crowded trees, trees with disease in portions of their trunks, etc. We need firewood, so this relationship is symbiotic…..healthy for our forest….which consists mainly of birch, oak, and douglas fir trees. We use a chipper instead of burn piles for many reasons… Timber Farming ..okay…light bulb moment….feed the leafy parts to the goats instead of feeding the chipper!!
Great nutrition from not only the leaves, but also the bark. AND (now here is my brainstorm)…..we can let them dry, because they love crunching on dried leaves….meaning, we have a longer lasting, sustainable food source that will allow us to use less hay (not a huge impact but something) as long as we can keep them dry and without mold. Yes, we have fed leaves to our goats before, but not as an actual, mindful food source from the little bit of logging activity we do…more as a treat from small branches we break off from the trees.
The next step is harvesting our own hay!! We have a plan….this writing is getting a little long so we’ll talk about that later. But for now, it is a rainy morning, Penni our Great Dane is doing this….
……while I sit on the bed in the guest room and write because Tony is using the log splitter in the barn to stock up our firewood for winter (well the stack he is working on will actually be for fall 2017/winter 2018 ’cause we like our wood cured for a year plus before using (burns so much cleaner) and I can hear the motor in every room of the house except this one. My solice is about to end, however, because the house needs vacuuming, and then there are the bathrooms. Ugghhhh….maybe I’ll just keep writing…did I mention how much I hate housework!!
Have a wonderful Saturday. Take a moment today and hug a tree….even if it is metaphorically….just enjoy nature somehow today. Even in the city, it is all around you.
Your friend from Oregon,
#dogoatsliketreeleaves #feedinggoats #cuttingtrees #whatcanidowithtreebranches #homesteadinginoregon