Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Rio Chama: Abiquiu

The goats have hit Abiquiu! 
And they love the Bosque!!

We are camping next to a beautiful pond which beavers have also found to be a sweet spot.
The goats have enjoyed rubbing on the beaver marks... 
But have not met any yet. It amazes me the ingenuity and hard work of the beaver.

The goats enjoy browsing along the pond's edge.

Dog enjoys dozing under the trees.

And Doonie enjoys thinking about grass on the other side...

On this job we have Yolo with us showing Dog the way of the Maremma on site.

The goats have been hired here to work on a section of the bosque which has not had herbivores in it for a long time and has grown up some Russian Olive trees.
So the goats have thinning, and tilthing and weeding to do here- and they are digging it!

Dog stays close to her goats while they are off the clock. 

The Rio Chama is a lovely river. 
Pleasant working conditions!

Makes Happy Kids!!

On the left is land worked by the goats intensively, 
on the right the land has had the herd pass through a few times.

We have seen a few wild creatures here.
This pair of Geese just hatched their gozlings and have been touring the pond the last few days.

And this is (I think) my first vole.

Guppy is curious about the new element on the water, but she is a good stock dog and knows her place.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

May Days

There have been more coyote noises lately. 
Yesterday something distracted the dogs in the opposite direction while this chunky canid poked around the trees to watch the camp. It disappeared when the dogs returned, though they did not see it (Casper the friendly goat did). It sat invisible behind the screen of trees along the fence line watching longer while Casper watched back.

Doonie likes this pen full of happy tall Rice Grass.

Found an old bird's nest in a short Elm tree...

A few minutes later a mouse ran by and scurried up the tree until it found hooves and a surprised looking goat staring at him. 
He ran down this branch then hopped off and dove into some Tumbleweeds.

Guppy is well on her way to professional goat herding...

She is also making good friends with Dog,

And together they are working the goats...

Dog is getting some good moves down

What a team!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Take us to the River!

The goats have been working in Medanales, NM the last week and have another few days to go.
They have been clearing out farmland that has been left fallow for 6-10 years. 
Trees and other weeds have sprung up where a new orchard will go.

We have some good dogs helping to herd and guard from all the great creatures that roam along the Chama River. Here are Curly and her pup (my new dog-in-training) Dog.

After just a few days the goats got the routine down again moving from pen to field and back.
Bucky and Guppy help maintain order.

It turns out the nest in the front yard here is occupied by a Great Horned Owl.
She is a beauty, quietly watching our dog and pony show below. 

We use electric netting to enclose the goats in areas where concentration is needed. 
We can also herd them around to other areas on horseback which don't need as much pressure.

The goats have been quite pleased with the number of lush elms on their menu. 
They will eat elm any day of the year with gusto!
The tallest reach up high into the tree and bring down the tops, 

But it is the stripping of the bark that does the damage to the elms. 
With the outer bark removed the energy transfer system is broken and the tree will send all the juice up to the top and will not get any solar energy back down to the roots. Cutting the tree now would save it and it would come back from the base. But leave it stand as is for a few months and it is toast. 
You are then closer to reclaiming your space from the opportunistic invaders.

Goats are safe to use. Do not fear an out of control fire with goats. 
And breathe easily without smoke in the air. 
Nor is there a danger to water or any of the many small creatures (and the great) as with chemicals.

Goats are part of a holistic approach to landcare, and are a whole lot more enjoyable to watch!