Friday, February 1, 2008

Goat Love

I fell in love with a goat about 5 years ago. It was at the Michigan State Fair. It was hot, late August. She was a pretty dairy goat. (Note: goat in picture is not said dairy goat. I just happen to have lots of pictures of me with goats. What?) I stopped to scratch her head for a few minutes, and then I walked away. But she called out to me in goatspeak- *meh, mehh, meh*- so I did what anyone would do- I turned around to go scratch her head some more. Her expression changed. The look on her face was, "Oh gosh, it worked! I get more scratches!" It completely stopped me in my tracks. Right then, I knew I had to be a farmer.

Stupid, huh?

Reality: City girl. City job. No yard, no land. Haven't even had a pet in, oh, 20 years. But still, pretty good with houseplants. A decent cook. I sew, I weave. Still- HELLO, reality.

Fast forward a couple of years. I've married a saint. A saint with a condo. He wants me to move in to it. It has a huge deck. That first Spring, I suggest a growing tomato plant, maybe some herbs. Just basic stuff, you know, like lettuce. I have no idea what I'm doing, but still, the tomatoes turn red, the lettuce is delicious.

Never one to go half-way with, oh, anything, I start searching the web. Container gardening. How about that, there's a name for it. You can grow lots of different vegetables. I start planning the next season's garden.

So, what the heck, now I'm a GARDENER?

Ok, now I want to compost, because the next garden has to be organic. How can I compost without a yard, though? One word- red worms. Saint-husband is somewhat less sure of this. Eww. Worms. Won't it stink?

I get a worm bin and a pound of worms that fall. There is definately a learning curve, but I persevere. Not too many stinky days in the bin.

The next year, I plant the container garden of my dreams. Three kinds of tomatoes, spinach, chard, kale, Genovese basil, Raven zucchini, yellow squash, chives, tomatillos, lettuce. A giant pot of Cramer's Celosia, my new favorite flower-- I know nothing about flowers, but this is the flower for me. Suddenly I see hummingbirds on my deck, in freaking downtown Detroit. And honey bees. And cabbage moths, which I learn about the hard way (as in, "Ooh, look at the pretty white butterflies!"). So what, live and learn. And Saint-husband loves the fresh produce. We don't buy grocery-store vegetables for 6 months.

At some point in the middle of all this gardening stuff, I get a couple of rabbits. A school nearby that keeps rabbits has had an accidental litter- would I take a couple of them? How can I POSSIBLY say no to baby rabbits? Come on, have you SEEN baby rabbits? Ok, great, now my maternal insticts are awake. And after I've done such a good job at supressing them, too.

Discover about a year into living with house buns and worms that worms REALLY love rabbit poop. In fact, they go together like PB & J.

How about a bigger bin? Could I also reduce the waste stream, say, of a nearby restaurant? Or my neighbors? Saint-husband has long since stopped questioning any of my desires.

So, I find a bigger bin on-line. The Worm Wigwam. It needs to start with 20 pounds of worms.

This is how it happens, folks.


Wicked Gardener said...

As I wrote on Bean Sprouts, the idea of a blog about worm compost is something I find quite interesting for some reason. I look forward to seeing what you come up with! (BTW, you are so cute, you make me want to cut my hair!!) I'll be back!

ilex said...

Gosh, my first comment! *blush*

Go ahead sister, cut your hair- it's terribly liberating. I use one product. Takes two minutes in the morning!

heather t said...

Great first post! I saw your comment on Beansprouts, but the title of your blog is what got me, lol.

Hey, I'm not that far from you, geographically speaking. About an hour west. Funny how the internet has no geographical boundaries, but still I am thrilled to find a fellow Michigan blogger with similar interests.

ilex said...

Oh heather t, come on, there's lots of us in MI. Granted, we all live, on avarage, about 100 miles apart from each other.

Where do you knit? I'd love to come and join an event sometime.

L.Bo Marie said...

I love it! (found my way thru house of rabbits)

We're starting our first compost adventure this spring.... (we've just moved into a tiny house in town) and have space for our very own garden.... last week we were talking worms!

Brian said...

Hello from a former Michigander. We lived in Plymouth, but moved to Florida a couple of years ago. It rains alot, but no more snow. Hooray!

I've been thinking about getting a WigWam. What has been your experience with it after you've had it for a year?

If you had it to do over, would you buy it again?

I'm thinking of making a flow through out of a big trash can I already have, but I like the idea of a hand crank on the WigWam versus the three prong garden fork technique I'll have to use with the homemade flow through.

Maybe I'll just save my pennies (lol). It might take a while.

Do you have difficulty accumulating enough material to keep your worms happy?

Are you planning to sell the castings?