Senda Verde Permaculture Eco Center

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Animal Zen in puppy slippers

Dizzy and Mrs McGoo

Freeranging on the river bank

Isnt it great to be doing something you love. Even if you dont love it all the time, just now and again. Even if you have to do it 7 days a week during most of which your actually not loving it at all.

Shakin Stevens the new billy in the center of the photo

But then comes that special moment, the indescribable je nais cest pas of creative perfection. The rolling tight cast to a rising fish and dinner that night, a Eureka moment over some hard worried problem. It can come in many forms and the only commonality I can find in the absurd enjoyment I get from moments such as those, is that you appear to have to work, sweat, curse and sometimes hurt yourself in persuit of it.
Today was one of those days.

Josie, No6 and Crystal

Dizzy gives a litre of milk every morning

My morning routine starts with collecting up my milking gear, a bucket of grain and a milking jug, then bait for my fish traps and a sack or two for driftwood. Then its down to the goat shed followed by an excitable pack of dogs and cats.

Goat paradise

My Goats. Mrs Mcgoo the matriach and her daughter Spot. Dizzy and her kid Wings and little Annie the orphan. Not forgetting my most recent addition, Shaking Stevens a beautiful sturdy 1 year old billy goat.

Shakin Stevens the Billy goat

I milk on my river beach with a little grain to keep Mrs McGoo and Dizzy occupied while I take about 1.5 lts a day from them, Im only milking in the morning leaving the rest for the kids.

Crystal and her pack of puppies

The cats are going fairly crazy at this point as they know next job is fish traps. Im working with 3 traps at the moment baited with bread, dog biscuit, sometimes bones and im bringing them in every 2nd day or so. This morning was a good catch with 10 or so 5 inch barbel plus the usual collection of small minnows and 5 crayfish. The second trap was mainly crays, around 12 and a few small ones, the third trap didnt come out as the water was too high and my chest waders have a small leak, just didnt fancy it this morning.

Bitsy the kitten and her mum Itsy

The dogs eat the crays fresh just like biscuits, but somedays I stock up my small aquaponics operation ive got running up at the farm. Im holding up to 100 crayfish in a large tank and harvesting them every 3 weeks or so.

Once the dogs and cats have had a little breakfast and the milk and fish are hanging safe in buckets up a tree, its off for foraging with the animals.

Whiney whitey, DJ and No6 checking out Dizzy

At this time of year the river is up and down maybe 10 feet on the river bank every couple of days, leaving a driftwood tide line that takes just 10 minutes to get two good sacks of nice burning fire starting wood. I use far less hard graft logs this way and I like to harvest something every day, even if its just wood.

One of my favourite spots is a south facing lazy bend of the river just on the boarderline of my property that leads into a narrowing and faster water with towering granite cliffs rising either side of the river. The goats just love the fresh grazing and a chance for a little mountain climbing.

Little Annie the orphan maybe a little small for breeding this time but we will see

Wings going for some low hanging Mimosa on the beach

I watched fascinated as Skakin Stevens started to bark a bit like a dog and quiver, Spot was twitching her tail and showing interest and without more encouragement Shaking Stevens was mounted and doing his thing. He mounted twice and Id give it a thumbs up for precision and rhythm.

The morning sun caressed my face, the river gurgled by, Itsy clinch pawed my shoulder and purred in my ear at the delight of fish breakfast. Puppies nipped my fingers and my goats started to double infront of my eyes.

Creating in harmony with my tools and environment, walking away in every sense from the crazy that is overtaking the world, being happy with simple things that cost nothing apart from work, sweat, cursing and sometimes hurting yourself.

In Lakesh
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