Stinging Nettles + Raspberries = Goat Food

18 08 2011

32 weeks along now. My next midwife appointment is next week! We are down to having an appointment every other week now.

We got a couple new-ish roommates here at the homesteadcommunefarm. They just moved back after a year in Mexico. It’s so nice having life and energy in the house now. I thought I was going to be overwhelmed with all the activity and craziness going on, but it’s been quite the opposite. No, it’s still crazy and lots of activity, but I have actually been enjoying myself MORE now. Having people in the house that are interested in cleaning it up, making it habitable, and getting it ready for Winter with me is so wonderful. It’s a big house, and it has felt empty and lacking since Mr. and I moved in. So far we’ve managed to re-organize the kitchen and dining room, get a new stove that has not two but six working elements, and get the goat pen ready to finish the barn.

Today C and P are vomiting the basement contents out onto the driveway so we can decide what is staying and what needs to go, as well as make space for them to actually MOVE in. While they were working on that, I wrestled the raspberry patch into submission. A couple things I learned: 1) Nettles can sting you with their stems, through your clothes. 2) Himalayan blackberries suck to cut back. 3) Blackberries are deceptively bulky; in the little patch I worked on, I got four armloads of canes to feed the goats. 4) Nettles love to grow right next to raspberry canes.

I decided that since the raspberries are done producing and the nettles are my new frenemy, that this years producing berry canes and nettles would get dried in the field like hay and stored to feed the goats over the winter. Both are great sources of micro-nutrients, but goats won’t eat fresh nettle because of the sting factor. They will however eat dried nettle leaves. So I got to clear out some field space and make some winter food for my caprine friends. Additionally, the raspberry leaves are great for the pregnant goats, so I don’t mind sacrificing some old canes to them.

We need to dig up this year’s canes and transplant them somewhere away from blackberries, stinging nettles and goats if we ever want to get any kind of sizable harvest. And I am sick of trying to protect the canes from the goats when they are out foraging, and I don’t know how I would even be able to do that next year with a baby in tow.




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