Here are our two pygmy goats Poppy and Lily. Poppy is the brown one that is heading out of the picture and Lily is the grey one. I had to be quick to take the photo because they are so inquisitive that they won't just stand still and wait to have their photo taken, they have to come and see what you are doing. Lily can be quite naughty at times and likes to try and break things, particularly the fence and her shed. In fact I have had to do a temporary repair on their shed today where Lily had destroyed the plastic window! I need to buy some clear plastic so I can do it properly, but in the meantime I have propped up a sheet of plywood to cover the hole and keep out the rain.
The goats are just pets and don't contribute to our self-sufficiency efforts at all, except I suppose a bit of manure for the veg plot. When we got them I had grand ideas of milking them and making cheese - until that is I realised that we would have to obtain a male goat and the girls would have to have baby goats in order to produce milk. I quickly went off that idea.
I have downloaded a new blog template, but I want to make some changes to it to customise it a little. So please bear with me while I try and make these changes. Hopefully, this blog should have a brand new look within the next few days!
Previously I have said that this year has been a complete disaster as far as growing vegetables is concerned. This is due to a mixture of a lack of motivation, lack of time, lack of forward planning and being distracted by other projects. So to make amends for next season I am determined to start early for next year. Despite the fact that this weekend has been warmer than much of the summer, we are actually entering autumn. So this seems like a good time start. You can see from the picture above that our vegetable plot has been completely overtaken by weeds, so I really have my work cut out to get on top of it.
This weekend I did make a start. I have decided to start with the edges as these have become overgrown in different ways; on one side there is a budlea that from a nearby flower border that has grown out of control, various other bushes and shrubs that are starting to encroach on the vegetable plot and at the back (as you can see from the picture) a hedge that has grown too high and spread too much so robbing the plot of sunlight. This weekend then was spent cutting back the hedge. I cut it right back, so I hope I haven't killed it off! I now have a large pile of hedge clippings to "process". Some of the larger pieces I can chop up for firewood, but I will probably have a bonfire with the rest.
Actually thinking about it I could have the bonfire in the veg plot and this would help kill off the weeds. It's good to have made a start, and I had forgotten how much I hate cutting hedges as they always turn my hands and arms into a blotchy mess! I presume I must have an allergy!
Unfortunately, after having made a good start, we are going away this weekend so I won't be able to do any until the following weekend. Let's hope I don't loose the momentum!
The previous couple of weeks have seen the last death throes of summer with some warm sunny days, which were unfortunately lacking over July and August. Within the last few days though the weather has certainly changed and there is definately the feel of autumn in the air. It is certainly noticable that the swallows and swifts have left us some weeks ago. Where we live, we tend to have a large number of lapwings around during the autumn and winter months. They seem to be most active at night when you can hear them calling and you catch a glipse of them flying up precariously in front of headlights when driving along the local narrow lanes. Although the text books will tell you that lapwings are not strictly migratory or nocturnal, that is how it seems to be in the little bit of Lincolnshire in which we live.
So when I heard the first lapwings calling a few nights ago, it definately signalled beginning of autumn for me. Not many yet, and I haven't seen any diving in front of my headlights, so we're not quite there yet.