This is a picture of the garden. I know, I can’t see it either. It’s a massive jungle of weedy plants, with some yuca poking bravely out. The roselle is there, too, somewhere. I’ve been working on my fall/winter garden now, fighting the jungly chaos with scythe, wheelbarrow, and pitchfork. I have four of the usual beds – they just look like hay on the ground at the moment. This weekend I will be starting seeds.
Most of the garden is so hopelessly overgrown, I know that without a bushhog there’s just no getting through it. The problem is that the rabbits hide in the weeds and will eat all my fall garden if it isn’t knocked back some. You would think they would eat the weedy stuff, but no. They prefer my garden. If there are no weeds, they can’t get across because a big, old owl comes out of the forest and hunts around the garden every night.
I had an idea – that the goats would LOVE to be put in the garden to eat down the weeds. It’s all stuff they like and eat through the fence anyway. Bidens, tall grasses, a wild sunflower, wild melons. The only problem was if they got out and ate what was left of the garden. The roselle is just about to bloom, and I know from experience how they like to strip it to bare sticks.
Now that the weeds are well over my head, I realized I don’t care so much about the five roselle plants. I would like to be able to get to the table where I started my seeds this spring and move it to a more accessable spot, and not have to machete my way to the site of the fall garden. On Tuesday I moved their electric fence over, setting it up around the most impenetrable part of the garden. The goats watched me with trepidation from where they were waiting around the milking paddock. I kept saying to them, “Just wait, I’ve got a treat for you.” I thought they would explode in when I opened the gate – after all, they are always leaning through the fence to nibble stuff in the garden and get in whenever they get the chance to wreak havoc.
To my surprise, they were not at all sure about the whole being-allowed-in-the-garden thing. Only May, the bravest and bossiest now that Nougat has found a new home, poked her head in. She sniffed around while the other goats went around the open gate and nibbled through the fence. I had to coax and shoo them in. Once in, they crowded around the gate and looked pleading. “Go eat!” I told them. They wandered slowly in and got lost in the greenery.
Next day when I went out, I was greeted by the saddest, most pathetic sounding bleats. I had obviously cruelly abandoned them in the jungle. They looked particularly fat, but they were not happy. It’s just not the same when they’re allowed. When I tried to put them back after milking, they took off running as fast as they could towards where they had been stationed before, by way of a strong hint. I was heartless and made them go back in the garden where they disappeared among the towering weeds again, bleating pathetically. I guess I still just do not understand goats, even after all these years with them. Perhaps no one can really understand goats!