We have introduced 4 four month old geese to our farm. Two males and two females. They are already twice the size of our ducks but still babies in age! We are hoping that the geese will assist with lawn maintenance in our orchard and vineyard as well as contributing manures as they go. I’m excited to watch them integrate in with our already established flock of ducks and our growing brood of chickens.
They are very beautiful birds with a very impressive wingspan. They hiss when feeling threatened but make a very beautiful cooing sound for the most part. They have been quite timid as they have sussed out their new home and are always on high alert but they are a very welcome addition to our place.
As we learn more year by year about soil health and its huge and often times underrated importance for health of plants, planet and us, we make adjustments to our thinking, world views and practices. When we first bought our home 7 years ago the orange orchard was already an established one with some of the trees being planted a good 50 years ago. We followed a regiment of fertilising times, baited for fruit fly and whilst we didn't continue on with the spraying of chemicals to keep grass clear of the trees we didn't look at that piece of land through the lens of soil health and ecosystem health.
We now look at our orchard and the property as a living, breathing organism and we are ready to encourage all manner of lifeforms to make a home here too. We integrated sheep a few years ago and now alongside the geese and freeranging chickens and ducks (as well as the wild life of kangaroos, bandicoots and whatever other animals pay us a visit in the night) the land is getting a range of nutrients from them. We are going to set up rotational grazing spaces as well as integrate cover cropping programs, continue to plant a diverse range of fruit trees within the orchard and surrounds and we are looking into biodynamics for further intense soil activation. We should do soil testing too - note to self.
Our orange trees survived the hot and dry of 2019 and we are looking to have a beautiful, bumper crop of sweet oranges this coming winter (2021). This is made all the more sweeter knowing that we are doing our best to keep learning, that our minds are open and can change when we know better. Know better - do better as they say. Our trees will let us know if we are on the right track. We just have to pay attention.
Keep growing and so will we! x