Saturday, March 12, 2016

Young GoatScapers

The herd took off on a search for fresh green in the hills... The excitement of spring coming..

Then the herd took a steep trail and left three kids and a lamb behind.. The little GoatScapers had been distracted by a green leafy Mointain Mahogany.

Once they realized they were alone the herd as long gone...

All four herding dogs had gone on this walk and all four stayed back with the kids, concerned for their safety.

The babies just wanted to eat, and when they finally began to move had to be turned back away from the disappeared herd back toward home..

Across land they had never traversed before...

The kids and lamb got a lesson in herding pressure without the influence of their parents and older herd mates...

They also had frequent snack breaks, especially when they came across sage..

The land is very rough in this section and the kids enjoyed the hillsides, jumped on rocks and danced along the way...

Bucky and Guppy were very serious about moving the little goaties on along toward home...

It was a little tricky keeping all four dogs in position to herd the young goats and lamb, but the pack is gentle and serious about babies, so they worked it out with some sometimes constant reminders...

While the Aussies worked closely with the little herd, Great Big White Guardian Doggo kept watch over us all...

Zuli kept extra close track of G-Man, the lamb...

Gorgonzola enjoyed hopping on rocks...

Gilroy enjoyed the salad bar..

The dogs enjoyed doing their job...

The going was slow at times and the dogs had to know when to release pressure, waiting for the little ones to be ready to move again...

It was a beautiful walk across some steep terrain...

Badger did little, keeping a general eye on things... But did lead the lamb up the hill a time or two back to the bunch when he got scared by over pressuring Zuli..

Hart II's SunStar Buck really enjoys challenging work...

Zuli loves working young stock...

The kids Love rocks.

The lamb, not so much..

It took awhile, but once back on familiar trails the progress was easier and all babes made it safely home- the lamb wagging his tail behind him..

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Changing Seasons

As the grasses begin to turn green and the snowbanks recede across New Mexico, I daydream in the saddle of the coming season...

Much snow has fallen in some places and that ground is happily saturated.

The growing season holds promising starts, in fact starting they are! Along with greening grass the Scorpian weed and multiple versions of the Mustard have already begun to raise their heads. And around the house Horehound also begins to green.

Chimaja still hides below the surface, their carrot-like roots carefully tapping the rising and falling water table. Soon the wild parsley tops will push through the top-crust and invite the esoteric palate..

The sun stays longer in the sky; the daylight beginning earlier and the end time pushing longer. Activity begins to expand beyond the mere necessity to the anticipation of expansion.

Time to plant seeds and prepare beds... Time to plan for a harvest... all the hope and anticipation begins to translate through tangible growth.

The water begins to flow along the dirt: flood irrigation, from the ground, from the ditch, from the sky.

As I sit in the sun imagining the coming season I see in my mind's eye goats, happily munching weeds in the field, in town in a park, around the facilities of farms, homes, communities and public utilities...

The goats arrive on the job at hand and quickly go to work mowing the overgrown, over abundant and over balanced weeds.

Their mouths make quick work of sun-kissed, sugar-filled tips and devour the tougher stalks.
Together, making all the difference.

Their small sharp hooves create divets in the soil where rain water and seeds are caught and sheltered. The topcrust is opened, improving water infiltration. Manure and urine, the building blocks of life, are deposited providing food-energy for symbiotic desert plants. And carbon in the form of old plant material is deposited into the top strata where it is sequestered and helps grow microbial communities.

Each visit from the goats improves the soil, creating balance, establishing communities of symbiotic plants which out-shoulder the opportunistic plants that even without the ties to mycelium networks can take over in degraded/droughty/damaged lands.

Plants and Animals evolved together and without the one the other is lost. As domesticity was thought to civilize the land a new frontier has emerged within the soil.

Chemical warfare became the fashion, (on all fronts) but the war is now exploding, threatening without hope as imbalance and indiscriminate death become the way. Time to step back and re evaluate the equation.

Step back to see that spiral as it currently is, downward. Changing perspectives are needed to see the potential for powerful renewal and rebirth. The spiral that curves upwards and into a fruitful future. The spiral that begins with a choice from each of us to do least harm and supply the most support.

I sit with my horse, with the goats and the dogs as each separate species works closely and carefully together, all aimed at the same purpose: to bring everyone home safe in the end.

Life is more about cooperation than competition. Competition is a force that creates disparity and distrust. It divides more than it ever unites. It is an imposture for the unification that comes from combined forces.

These are some of the thoughts that pass through as I watch the first signs on the land that herald another change in season.

The signs are not so predictable as they were once, the whole earth is in a time of change. Not one can predict what form that will take, how easily it will transition, or even how soon, or if ever we will see the change even out.

The only constant after all is change

BE the Change you want to See.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

NM Guinea Hens at Dawn

Our recent arrivals: African Guinea Hens 
A good bird to have around,
Sharp eyed and Fleet footed

Yard birds extraordinaire 
Grasshopper hunters, aphid pickets
Easy on the garden

Waiting for the sun, 
After a light, early morning snowfall... 
Guinea helmets on their perch

Shy birds, dislike camera attention
Especially Ms White, the Ivory Queen
But they will follow you home when lost..

Desensitizing Guineas to 
Photo Capture...
Playing with Filters...