Last winter, we borrowed a pair of goats. Our chickens are allowed to roam about 2,000 square meters (half an acre) of land, which is much more greenery than they can ever eat. Part of that greenery is brambles, which would be cool if there was actually enough water in the summer to allow the blackberries to grow to something edible. But even if there was, brambles tend to run riot when given the space, so something needs to be done about them from time to time.
Enter the goats. A friend of a friend needed to move house and was looking for a place for her goats to stay over the winter. We were looking for someone to mow the grass and cut back the brambles, which goats both do. It was a win-win!
To make them welcome, I built a little shack from leftover wood.
Nothing special, but they were outside most of the time anyway. Our winters aren’t very cold – officially, we are in hardiness zone 8  – so they just needed something to get away from the rain.
So mid-October 2021, we received two house guests:
We never planned for them to stay for more than the winter, but the arrangement worked out so well for everybody that they’ll be coming back in about two weeks time and staying for the next winter. It does mean some extra work for me: they’ll need real gate. The one that’s currently preventing them from wandering the village instead of our garden is just a piece of metal fence. It’s never been meant as a gate and quite inconvenient to move. The choice, as usual, was make or buy, and for a gate of about 1,80m (6 ft) square, buy sounded like an expensive option. Fortunately, another friend pointed me to a sawmill where I could get some raw boards directly from the source, at a very reasonable price.
So now know how I’ll be spending some of my time this weekend.
Here’s to having some more brambles removed (and not having to do it myself).
 USDA scale