Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Internet is a Liar

First of all, Happy Halloween everyone!

Now back to the geese :)

Lena and Brown Goose having a conversation

So, as it turns out, the Internet is a Liar. In all the research we did about geese, the internet maintained that domestic geese basically are too heavy to fly very far, and therefore only needed a three foot high fence. I don't know about other geese, but White Goose apparently doesn't pay much attention to what the Internet says, as she easily flies right over that fence. Repeatedly. And then honks loudly to be let back in. She's like a cat in goose form, I swear.

Anyway, so we went out and extended the fence to be four feet high, hoping that the added height would keep her in her pen. (As a sidenote: I really don't mind per se when she's out of the pen, all she does is wander around the meadow. But I don't want to chance her getting into the road or being attacked by a predator, so it's for her own safety that we want her in the pen.) We spent two hours making the fence higher, only to finally finish, sit back, and watch her fly right back over it. Brat.

So White Goose got her wings clipped. I had wanted to avoid this, but it turned out to be much less difficult to do than I had thought. Clipping the wings doesn't hurt the bird at all if done correctly, it's basically just like cutting your hair. Except then you can't fly anymore afterwards. We just gently snipped off her ten big flight feathers, which she sat very patiently for, not struggling or stressing at all.

And now she stays nicely in her pen, safe and sound.

Friday, October 30, 2009

So, we've been in Indiana for about three weeks now, setting up house and getting settled in.

As our first foray into the world of mini farming, we decided to focus on getting a few farm animals established. I would have preferred trying to get a garden going first, but since it's late October and we don't have a greenhouse yet (I want to make one SO BAD), it's just not good timing right now. But establishing a small number of animals on the property will be beneficial when we are ready to start the garden, since animals make free fertilizer!

So after much research, we decided to get a single pair of geese. Geese are supposedly one of the easier types of poultry to raise, as they tend to be very weather hardy, disease resistant, good foragers, and self-protective.

We spent a day or two preparing a site on our property to house the birds. We picked the area directly behind one of our outbuildings (an older wooden garage), so that their free-range pen can be easily linked to the garage (which we now call the mini barn) to give them shelter from the elements, predators, etc. Most of their pen is essentially open grassy meadow, bordering on the edge of our forest to give them shade in the summer and let them play in the scrub. They have a little swimming pool, and we built them an outdoor shelter as well as giving them open access to the mini barn. We also put up a three-foot high fence, as per the internet's recommendation.

Then we brought home a pair of geese! We've had them three days now and already the experience has been invaluable. They teach us as we go. We have one white goose, of the Embden variety, and one brown gander which is a Chinese Brown. The white goose looks pretty typical of what you think a goose would look like, but the brown goose is really interesting looking, with wild-ancestor type coloration and a strange knob above his beak that I have no idea what it's for.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

From Suburbia to Countryside!

So I'm in Indiana now! Goodbye suburbia and hello rural country. I can't believe how much moving here has immediately affected me: I'm already so much happier. The air is so much healthier and I can see the stars at night and leave my doors unlocked. It's wonderful.

I have three long-term goals now, here:
1) Devote myself to turning my home into a homestead, using only sustainable, organic agriculture methods and living as much off the grid as possible.
2) Become more successful with my online tiny business to better support myself financially without relying as heavily on day jobs.
3) Go back to school for a Master's degree in Art Education, so that I can help little kids know that art is still important.

Anywho, welcome to my blog! I will be documenting my misadventures in self-taught sustainable mini farming, which hopefully should be entertaining enough... wish me luck!