Have you heard of permaculture? It’s a cultural movement, that has its roots in “older” practices. We’ve unintentionally accepted so many of the standard practices of permaculture because they just make good sense.
Though we most certainly don’t fall in the “doomsdayers” category, we appreciate and understand how people would want to take steps toward self-efficiency. This year, we made a point to introduce our sheep to the apples from the trees that have been on the farm for many years. That way, come winter, they will be able to enjoy the added nutrition that we’ve stocked away for them in our deep freeze. The same goes for the chickens: overripened produce gets split between instant feed for the chickens, with the other half stored in the freezer. We’re prepared to feed produce throughout the entire winter.
One of the benefits of permaculture is using the land and the animals without fighting either of them. For example, there’s a gate at the bottom of field 1 that goes to field 4 & beyond. There’s not a good way to get the tractor & bushhog down there to make precise cuts so close to the fence row. So, rather than mixing up a batch of poison and spraying (or getting the weedeater out, etc.) – we circled Francis around and let him take care of it. In a matter of a week, he tidied up our road and he enjoyed the various weeds and grasses that weren’t in his normal area.
We’ve also learned this year that an area that needs a lot of work from us for next year is our vegetable garden. We tried this year, but to be honest… we completely failed. I’ve referred to it as my “garden of good intentions.” But as is our goal, we didn’t waste! The produce that did come of it was either fed to the sheep (corn) or to the chickens (everything else).
We’re still working on figuring out how to make everything work together. And there’s always next year.