Victoria Balentine

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since Sep 01, 2018
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forest garden goat trees
Woodstock, NY
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Recent posts by Victoria Balentine

hey permies,
my current site (moving in a couple of years to a bigger site) has been completely overtaken by stilt grass (zone 6a catskills ny).  I had planted white and red clover and it did really well for two seasons and then this summer BOOM totally overrun by stilt grass.
does anyone know if stilt grass is edible forage for goats/sheep?
does anyone have any ideas of how to get rid of it?  I tried using a scythe to cut it down before it went to seed but that only seemed to bring it back more robustly.... I tried cutting it over the clover and ditto... still more...
I am considering burning and starting over with white clover.  
I have also tried cardboard with soil on top but the area I am working with is now way too big for that.
thank you!!!
4 months ago
dan thank you so much this is very helpful.  I am definitely aware of the browse until it's gone habit of goats and am planning to silvopasture on rotation.  I have not decided about fencing yet but your system sounds great.  I will probably do something similar... just deciding how much of the forest I want to use for them... I have a lot of space so maybe all or maybe not... (I will also be fencing in an area for fruit and nut trees/veg garden that will not be available for goats!).  I also did not know about the goat grazing seed.  thanks!
I will probably still burn the stilt grass areas of the pasture as it really takes over...
then again... does anyone know if goats/sheep eat stilt grass?
thanks Tyler!  I just bought the Bio integrated farm and look forward to reading it!  
5 months ago

Roberto pokachinni wrote:HI Victoria.

If you tell us all a little about the general direction that you want your farm to take, then it might help others to make suggestions.  What about Falk and Lawton do you like, or more specifically, what are you tending to consider for your space based on what you have learned from them?  A little more information about your plans or about what inspires you will allow people to be more helpful towards your end goals.

SURE! :)
our neighbors in the catskills are permies/homesteaders/small farming and have totally inspired us.  I love the idea of restoring the land and growing our own food.  I hope have an orchard, some livestock (goats for milk/cheese, chickens and pigs) and a veg garden.  I have already planted a fruit and nut orchard on the land we have now and the trees are growing very well... so hopefully I can do it again.  
whenever our neighbors 'process' chickens, ducks, pigs I always participate so I am learning how to do that (and that I can do it).  
I did have two permaculture consults on our current property and both were very frustrating... one consult the guy seemed to have done a course and gotten a certification but didn't know much more than I did.  the second consult they basically pitched me for an hour asked for $500 for the sales pitch and the finished design would be an additional $8000 which seemed insane for our tiny current acreage.  so I am a little burned on a consult.
that said I actually reached out to Ben Faulk and I may have someone from the WSRF come down to prevent me from making major costly mistakes.
we will build structures... a home, and a barn for overwintering goats.  we will do chicken tractors and most likely mobile egg layers but maybe a coup for convenience.  
the property has pasture about 1000 feet down a mountain from where we want to put the home.  right now I am thinking of having the home/garden/orchard/barn all up the hill in the forest doing silvopasture with some tractoring/grazing in the pasture when appropriate.
I have read Farming the Woods, Silvopasture, Resilient Farm and Homestead, the guide to country living...
we eventually would love to have a greenhouse and try to produce as much of our own food as possible but will not go crazy about it.
we will be retiree farmers (in 4 years) ages 52/62 so we also need to have a long term design that accounts for what we can reasonably do over the next 20 years at which point we will be 72 and 82 and likely less spry.  
how is this for a start?
thank you in advance!

5 months ago
hi all
i just bought 50 acres and am getting ready to do a master plan/farm design.  i am in new york zone 6a.  i have read Ben Faulk's book multiple times and watched hours and hours of Jeff Lawton... any other planning specific books or DVDs you all like?
5 months ago
thanks guys.  anyone know if the red oak leaves on the forest floor will be any danger to the goats?
I just bought 50 acres and plan to have a fruit orchard, homestead, garden and goats to start (chickens, guinee fowl too and probably pigs and sheep later). I have about two acres of overgrown pasture and the rest is a pretty unhealthy forest that needs a lot of love. My plan is to thin the trees to let in light and increase browse in the forest and create a few large paddocks for browse so i can rotate the animals.
As i start prepping the site i have a few questions:
Any suggestions of what to plant under the trees for browse/silvopasture?
I might just burn the open field pasture and start fresh... any suggestions of what goats might enjoy pasture grazing wise? (i know they don’t love grazing but want some variety for them).
The forest has some red oak and i have read this is poisonous to goats... is this a problem or if i give them enough room will they avoid it?
Thank you in advance!