Barncast 72 — Using your Lawn as Pasture

This week we revisit an old topic, our portable electric fence. It’s been a little over a year since we started using it and I think we’ve learn a lot so we look at what mistakes we made and what worked well. We do a lot of review but if you’re new to show and want more about the fence check out some back episodes from last year when we talked about buying it and setting it up for the first time.

In this weeks show:

  • Rain update
  • Farm Phone 206-202-GOAT
    • Linda from chicago, all about strawberries and garlic
  • Geek Section: New Laptop
  • Round up: Quick round up
  • Farm Section: Electronet fencing after one year

Picture of the Week:

Comb being drawn, first tomato, home made Dulce De Leche:

  1. Ellen Bloomfield’s avatar

    Do you guys have problems with selenium levels? In the Midwest (in general) it is deficient in selenium. Other sheep owners in this area (NE Illinois) have noted that they have had some problems with their animals getting too much of it because it is so mobile in the environment.

    Misty! So happy surgery went well. I just got 6 boxes of roving in and will be going through that tonight ;) Stand by for an email later this week.

    Jer and I are going to Midwest Geobash and will have some time in the area (for a change). Perhaps we can meet up. This would be at the end of July.


  2. misty’s avatar

    Hi Ellen,

    We give selenium shots a few times a year. It always seems to “perk up” the sheep and goats. I’ve never heard of having too much — weird.

    *sheepish* I have not sent my wool off to be processed yet! I planned on using soap money to pay for it this year, and sales have not been as good as I have hoped. Hopefully I will be able to send at least some of it off soon!

    It would be great to get together! Please let us know. :)


  3. andrew’s avatar

    Hey Ellen!

    Selenium is something we seem to be a bit short on so we give BoSe shots every now and then. The animals seems to like it, and it’s about time for another round.

    I’m going to be out of town for Dad’s wedding during the weekend of July 21-22 which I see is the same weekend as Geobash. You’ll have to talk to Misty if she wants visitors or not, it can get really busy when you have to run the whole place by yourself. Just a thought. Noble county is within a hours drive so it’s not too far away at least.



  4. Valeriec’s avatar

    Misty glad that your surgery went well, and hope you have a fast recovery. Sorry about all of those baby animals dying. Rec’d the soap I had ordered from you and it smells so good! I plan on using it tomorrow. I know that you drink your goats milk and also use it to make cheese and soap. But if you have any left over what do you do with it? Have you ever made cottage cheese? Of course that might be really complicated to make.


  5. misty’s avatar

    I hope you enjoy the soap, Valerie!

    The truth is, we almost never let any milk go to waste. In the height of the “season” Andrew makes butter or cream (for ice cream!!) once a week, and cheese once a week. With both of those, he can use as much milk as he has to use up. As I understand it, they both take a minimum amount of milk, but the max is just however much your pot can hold.

    We have made cottage cheese. I don’t think it’s very hard. Alton Brown also has a “fake” cottage cheese recipe that is really really easy. It’s basically just curds. The problem with fresh cheeses and yogurt is that they do not use up much milk at all! Also, my soap doesn’t really use that much milk either. I use 40 oz for a whole recipe of soap. That’s over 1 oz per bar, but still not that much in the grand scheme, when we are getting more than 6 pounds from just one goat, per day.


  6. Sherry W’s avatar

    Now I want cottage cheese and strawberry jam!

    I wonder if I could grow a small amount of garlic in a small perennial flower bed? Nothing else is going on in the winter. The green stems would blend in with other spring bulbs, wouldn’t they?

    BTW, since you didn’t get any feedback, I never minded the long roundups! Poor Andrew sounds like he’s running a race. How about a medium roundup so you don’t hyperventilate? ;)

    Let us know about the Gateway lappy. They used to be the Dell of the PC world, but they took a horrible turn as you know. I’d personally be afraid to go back to them. Toshiba’s make reasonable lappys now.


  7. Sherry W’s avatar

    Oh, and get well soon Misty!


  8. Libbye’s avatar

    Hope you’re feeling all hale and hearty very soon Misty!

    On the selenium question, you can have either toxicity or deficiency, it depends on where you live. Very generally speaking, toxicity is more of a problem in the west due to seliniferous plants like locoweed with deficiency more of a problem to the north and east of the US. So you have to know what the levels are locally before making recommendations for supplementation.


  9. misty’s avatar

    You are so right about the round-up, Sherri! I was cracking up, then when I talked slower for my part, he gave me “the look.”

    As for Toshiba laptops, that’s all we use for work. For the most part they are OK, but the one that I have at the moment is a total lemon. I’ve had two of this model, and had to send them each back 3 or 4 times (in less than 2 years) for repairs. The whole model had so many problems that Toshiba extended the warranty for the model by a year, because of a class-action settlement. So I will steer clear of them for personal use!

    I’m divided between Gateway and HP for laptops. Andrew’s is really nice thought (he got it yesterday). He can’t stand HP because of one computer that he didn’t like how it worked. Ah well! ;)


  10. Libbye’s avatar

    Love long roundups and my Toshiba laptop. The Dell I had previously was the seventh circle of hell.


  11. andrew’s avatar

    Hey Guys, sorry for the delay in comments I’ve been having too much fun playing with this new latptop.

    Libbye, thank you for the voice mail(s)! Sorry we didn’t mention your comment on the show last weekend, I totally forgot about while we were writing down the show notes. Organized is something that we aren’t that great at. ;)

    Thanks for your comments about selenium. You’re right it’s important to know your local conditions.

    wrt to cottage cheese, it can be easy or hard to make depending on what you want. There’s some very simple reciped out there that taste pretty good. Thought I’m not we’re not huge cottage cheese eaters so don’t make much. I think I made t once. :)



  12. Jen’s avatar

    Hello Misty and Andrew,

    I love your podcast! I grew up on a similar farm and I love hearing your stories – they remind me of home! When I was a kid we had goats, rabbits, horses, chickens, and cows, pigs, and turkeys when the supply of meat in the freezer got low.

    We have a garden in our back yard now -in suburbia- it is on the smaller side, but we have lettuce, radishes, eggplant, peppers (5 or 6 kinds – my husband loves peppers), a couple of kinds of tomatoes, basil, cucumbers, and probably a few other things I’ve forgotten. My question is, how do you clean your veggies? Some of them are easy, like the radishes, cucumbers, and eggplant, but how do you wash your lettuce and herbs. My mom dumbs hers in a salty bath in the kitchen sink and that’s how I’ve done it in the past, but I don’t feel like I’m being very scientific or through about it. Tonight for instance I was trying to wash our broccoli and the more I rinsed in the salty water, the more little green worms fell out of the broccoli. I ended up throwing it out, because I thought it might be a little past ripe and because of the worms. I don’t think if I got a bite of worm that I could ever eat broccoli again.

    Again, I love the podcast, hearing about Andrew’s cheese making and Misty’s spinning and knitting is great! I spin and knit and it is great to hear about someone else spinning. Do you know of any other spinning podcasts?

    Thanks for the awesome show!

    (a fan in Omaha, NE)


  13. Jen’s avatar

    more for Misty –

    I’m definitely interested in some of your corriedale roving and possibly some of your soap. Does all of your soap have honey in it or just the ones that have honey specifically listed? Have you had anyone allergic to honey use it, that you know of? I’m super allergic to honey and am a little nervous about experimenting with it. Obviously you don’t eat soap – like honey – but I’m allergic enough that I’m not sure I’d want to find out what happens. So I was just wondering if any of your soaps are honey free.

    I was also wondering if you had considered making a fiber wash with some of your soap making equipment. It might make a nice compliment to your fiber/soap biz. I’d love to be a test customer if you decide to give it a try. I’d give it a go myself, but I’m pretty sure my husband would freak if I took up another fiber related hobby.


    PS. I have a Mac laptop. It is my first and I love it!


  14. misty’s avatar

    Hi Jen,

    First of all, for washing the veggies. We usually just use water, but withb roccoli, cauliflower, cabgnything else with layers, I’ve always been told to soak in very cold salty water for 1/2 hour, then soak in cold plain water for a few minutes to get the salt out. We have not been successful with broccoli very often in the past, but have never had issues with many worms in the cabbage or cauliflower (you always get a few). We don’t use any of those fancy vegetable washes because they seem like a waste, especially when you are not using harsh chemicals.

    As for the soap, all of my soap so far has included honey. It’s a very small amount (about 1/4 cup for 40 bars). I have never had the issue of allergies come up. I am really unable to stock a honey-free version of each variety of my soap, because the demand is so low. But I’d be happy to make you a custom batch, if you could commit to buying at least half of it (that has been my policy in the past). Alternately, I can send you a sample bar and you can try it out. I’m not sure how strong your allergy is — do you have a reaction if you get just a little honey on your skin, or just if you eat it? Also, is it a true allergy or a food intolerance? We may be able to work something out.

    As for making a wool wash — you would be surprised at the harshness of the soaps used to wash wool. They are all ‘detergents’ and really not possible to make at home. True soap reacts strongly with water that is not very very soft (like rain-water) and will cause the lanolin to turn into a gummy goo, instead of washing it away. So I don’t think it’s practical for me to manufacture a wool wash. Things that might be possible are cedar, lavender, or pennyroyal sachets to put in with wool, to keep bugs away. What do you think?


  15. Jen’s avatar

    Hi Misty,

    Thanks for the info on washing veggies. We don’t use any chemicals on our garden either and for similar reasons I’ve never tried a veggie wash either. After listening to your podcast I’ll probably do some soil testing next year.

    As far as the soap and honey … I’ve never tried putting honey on my skin, so maybe it is just a food thing. I’m not sure I’m ready for 20 bars of soap without having tried any of it … I’ll place an order for some fiber in soap in the next couple of days to give it a try.

    I didn’t realize that wool wash was a harsh detergent – I still have a lot to learn. What do I think about selling or buying moth deterrent sachets? I think it is a great idea! I could easily buy lavender at the local health food store, but I wouldn’t know where to get small portions of cedar or pennyroyal. I would get a few for my stash. I just got plastic tubs to keep my fiber in, but I don’t think it would hurt to have some deterrent inside the tub too. So as far a buying a few, I definitely would. Is this something you’ve had others ask about and have been considering for a while? I’m wondering if you would be able to put these together soon and I should wait a while to place my order … I’m not really in a hurry.
    Do you know anything about mothproofing with urea? I just got some to treat my spun yarns with.

    I’m looking forward to this weeks podcast!


  16. Jules McWyrm’s avatar

    Hmm. I just stumbled across this podcast via Google.

    You all sound very nice and your operation sounds lovely, but I’m quite tempted to flame you both over your discussion of nutrients on pasture.

    You say “For the animals to grow … they’re taking more out than they’re putting back. They can poop and pee some out but obviously they’re keeping some of it so that they can grow.”

    That would make perfect sense if your pasture was a closed system and your animals subsisting entirely off pasture (no supplemental feeding). In reality the vast, vast bulk of the mass produced both by your pasture and by your livestock is made up of carbon which is taken directly out of the atmosphere by the pasture. In addition nutrients are constantly being added to the system via supplemental feeding.

    In fact if your livestock are being fed supplements all the nutrients that might conceivable be applied to your pasture will increase over time – even to unsafe levels in the case of nitrogen and phosphors.

    Whether or not a particular pasture system would benefit from additional fertilizer is a fairly straightforward question (test your soil) but your erroneous and facile handling of the issue reflects rather poorly on you.



Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>