I have considered using goats–even though I have had them before–a Nubian and a Swiss Alpine–but after those two got out of their pen and climbed through the open window of my car and ate almost all of the upholstery of the front seat, I swore never to have them ever again–this was in Oregon. But I have considered “borrowing” two goats–they can stand being tied up for short periods of time if they have a lot to eat, and I know people here do use them this way to gradually clear areas–they just move them around to a different area every day, and the goats gradually eat everything in sight. But I would need a shelter for them at night and during heavy Summer rain storms, and I don’t want to go to that expense if I’m not going to have them permanently. I’m also a hobby breeder of dogs, and any extra money that I have–and that is not a lot, as I am a retired teacher–has gone into my dogs for the past two years–building dog yards and shelters, vet bills, etc. This is why I don’t have chickens yet–the expense of building the hen house. My place is an old hunting and fishing camp, with three tiny buildings and three RV sites–kind of primitive–so there are not a lot of facilities yet–but the property at least is totally paid for–no mortgage. I have just started using “Cedar Cide,” an organic, cedar oil based, insect pest repellant, in both my dog yards, and on the ground just around the house, and I noticed on their website that they offer a vinegar based natural “herbicide.” Has anyone used any of their products? They are online at: www.cedarcide.com

I did try a natural “herbicide” recipe that used vinegar and detergent–I believe to help it adhere to the leaves–and something else–ammonia?–but it didn’t work. But Cedar Cide advertises that their vinegar based herbicide is a stronger strength vinegar solution than the vinegar that can be bought in the store.

I would much rather use something like this very selectively—rather than go to all of the trouble of keeping goats–as I really don’t want to clear out the natural areas all over the whole six acres–just an acre or two around my “compound” for the dogs, the ornamental garden and the veggie garden and fruit trees–and eventually the chickens and the guinnea hens. Oh, a friend just brought over some freshly layed eggs this morning, and the difference in the appearance and the taste of a fresh homeraised egg and a store bought egg is astounding!

I’ve also had pigs before–very intelligent animals–but I wouldn’t consider such a large animal–I am a rather small woman in my 60’s, and I just can’t handle these types of animals any more. I once had a 1,500 lb. Golden Guerney cow–and that is very small for a milk cow–that I struggled to milk twice a day–her goal in life was to kick over that bucket–and I also had a pack of large sight hounds–even a Borzoi–but that was 30 years ago, and now I can just barely handle a Cocker Spaniel due to some joint problems, despite years of exercise from gardening. So I am thinking small here.

I completed a Permaculture design course several years ago, and one of the principal components of Permaculture is that the outcome of one system should be an incoming component of another system, and I decided even before I bought this property that I would limit myself to only two types of animals–dogs and chickens–due to my age and my interests. So the outcome from the dogs fertilizes the ornamental garden and replaces the scat that the forest floor would receive from the larger wild animals that are fenced out. And the chickens will furnish the fertilizer for the veggie garden, and furnish eggs for both myself and the dogs. And the occasional sale of some pups will defray some of the expense of the dog’s and chicken’s upkeep, so almost everything goes round in a circle. Now I know that I won’t be able to avoid buying dogfood or chicken feed–if I could grow or catch all of their food, that would ultimately close all of the loops–but that is not practical for me. Still, by recycling this much I am at least refurbishing the soil organically.

My grown son wants me to resort to Roundup, as he is also highly allergic to poison ivy, and he gets it very badly when he comes to visit, but this is anathma to me. And I studied this chemical on the internet and was very disturbed by what I read, as Roundup is used everywhere in our food supply. By the way, witch hazel is a good treatment for poison ivy rashes on the skin–it was used by Native Americans for skin problems, and they boiled the twigs and leaves to make a tea to treat internal bleeding.

And as for preferring Florida to Oregon, I was born and raised on the Mississippi Gulf Coast–which was “ruined” by the largest recorded hurricane to ever hit the US–a Class 5 in 1969 named Camille–with a 23 foot high storm surge–and now there are casinos there–but this area of Florida is very reminescent of the place where I was raised, and I now feel very comfortable living in this climate.

I found Oregon to be extremely dark and cold for very long periods of time–not to mention the incessant winter rains–to me it was dreary–and having frosts as late as June 9th definately put a dent in getting our Spring garden going–we were at almost 2,000 feet altitide in the foothills of the Cascades, kind of near Crater Lake. But many people feel that Oregon is heaven–just not me–and I spent six years there trying to adjust to it, but never did. And I really, really, really hate snow.

But I just love Northcentral Florida–zone 8b–and my new community–although this is a traditional Southern rural area and not very wealthy by Florida standards. Here 4H and the county fair, rodeos, and old fashioned country ways–growing winter greens like collards, and having chickens, horses and packs of dogs–are still considered “normal.” But when the mosquito fogger truck goes down my dirt road early in the Summer evenings–West Nile has everyone here very freaked out–I huddle in the house with the dogs, trying to escape the pesticide fumes, and wishing that both the county and I could find more organic ways to battle mosquitoes.

Bacillus thurginus isrealiness is the ticket. comes both in liquid and donut shape dried rings. The rings are for ponds and slow moving water and target both the adults and the larva exclusively with out hurting any other organism the spray is the same. You achieve a 98% kill off. The rings will treat 100 sq.ft. area and will last from 3 to 5 months depending on the flow of the water. Concerning the vinigar, the stuff in the grocery store is diluted to a 2% on average grade and the the stuff the herbicide producers use is in the 5% or stronger. You can make the stronger stuff real easy just go to the store and by a bottle of that “Fortified” Rot gut wine the stuff winos tend to buy and is usually the cheapest stuff in the store and crack the seal and let it turn to vinigar. Takes about 2-3 weeks. Cows; have you ever heard of a “Dexter”. They are about the size of a St. Benard and produce about 1 to 3 gallons a day. Real sweeties, gentle disposition, and a real novelty to have around the yard.
Goats, I have to agree completely with you on those critters. Like dealing with teenagers and some times worse. Mine had the IQ of a retarded sheep. Tried selling her and they brought her back and wanted thier money back. Finally ended up having to shoot her when she attacked my neice when she was going out to feed her. Talk about biting the hand that feeds your.. Argh I still get hot just thinking about it. So no goats good. At least out of pigs you can get a couple of hams ribss and lots of bacon and sausage.

Your son should get vacinated before his visits. They have shots that last for up to 4 months that will prevent him from catching it. My younger brother gets them before he goes camping cause hes
allergic to all that stuff. Well Lu this will give you something to wag your head over. Probably the worst sentence structing and punctuating you seen since you retired. But what the hey, I’m a gardener who pretends to be and urban farmer, and tries to eek out a living tweenst the two.

Have you considered keeping fainting goats? They do not climb fences, due the the fainting problem and are MUCH easier to contain then regular goats, of any size.