Goose Valley Farm

Sept 22, 2018

Messing around in the field with Bacon and Chorizo!


Sept 13th, 2018

So, it's been a weird summer. In the end, our gosling supplier let us down. He assured us he would have the birds for us toward the end of May. Then he ran out of goslings. By this time, it was too late to get goslings anywhere else. (Yes, I understand the irony of Goose Valley Farm having no geese.)

In hindsight, with the drought we had, I'm not sure what the geese would have eaten given the fact that all the grass died. Perhaps it was a blessing in disguise. The goose shed stands ready to go next year.

The drought had a number of adverse effects. It killed approximately 50 trees in our forestry - fortunately we have about 2,100 left. It also killed one cherry tree in our little fruit orchard, which had to be replanted. While the fruit trees mainly survived, there certainly was not much fruit.

The positive of all of this is that any trees that remain standing are probably fairly robust, and unlikely to give up the ghost from now on. A few of the trees in the forestry are over 12 feet high, which is pretty neat for year 2.

I planted 90 berry bushes earlier in the season; half raspberry, and half a mixture of others (see below). Many of the raspberry bushes died, but some which looked dead have sprouted back to life. I suspect we will know what he have in the Spring. 

The one real positive from this year is the pigs. They are very easy to keep for a number of reasons. Firstly, foxes will not attack them. As a result, they do not have to be put away at night, and we do not have to worry about them (unlike the geese). I built a shed approximately 8 feet by 8 feet, but it only has three sides. The girls come and go as they please. 

In addition, they have been tilling the land as they dig for roots - it now looks like a WW1 battleground after just a couple of months. And, oh yes, they will eat just about anything. We have been experimenting. The only things they have turned their noses up at so far are citrus fruits and onions. I collect a bucket full of expired fruit and veg from a local supermarket everyday to feed to the girls. How's that for recycling!

Here's a picture I took of them today. Their shoulders come up to my knee (I am 6 feet tall). I suspect we'll be off to Healy's abattoir in Banagher in the near future. They did a great job with the geese last year. 


















Also, while not strictly farm related, my son and I caught a few fresh mackerel in Galway Bay a few weeks ago with a friend. We pan fried a few of them and froze the rest. They were delicious.




































June 1st, 2018

So to make use of the remaining space (about .5 acres) in the field, we decided to get our own little piggies. I told the kids not to name their food, so they ignored me and called them Bacon (spotted) and Chorizo (pink). I must admit, it is nice for a change to have livestock that won't be targeted by foxes. We plan to have them until about January, at which time they should be about 30 stone (190kg) each. That's a lotta bacon.













May 2nd, 2018

Last summer, we planted nine fruit trees in the south-west corner of the field, which is particularly fertile and strangely stone-free. Here, you can see the blossoms coming up.

We planted five variety of apple trees, two plum and one cherry, so that they would all come to fruit in different months. The current plan is to use the fruit to make fruit wine! Any drops will of course go to the geese.



































April 27th, 2018

We are getting 75 geese this year, so need to expand the goose shed. I am making it big enough to house over 100 geese. Here, I am beginning to lay a gravel bed which will sit for a couple of weeks. Then, I will lay a concrete floor (for easy cleaning) before putting walls and roof back on.

Time is of the essence as we plan to have our goslings arrive around May 21st.













April 22nd, 2018

Building work begins. Here is our new pig shed for our remaining free space (approximately 1/2 acre) in the field. Never raised them before, so should be interesting. We are expecting them to arrive in the next few weeks.



































April 20, 2018

On a non goose-related note, me and Bob take a short break while planting 90 berry bushes near the bee hive (to be fair, I seem to be doing most of the work).

We have 45 raspberry, 9 gooseberry, 9 josterberry, 9 tayberry, 9 worcesterberry and 9 blackcurrant plants. They are mainly to support my childrens' growing smoothie addictions, but any 'drops' will go to the geese.



























March 6, 2018

Christmas dinner preparation starts early at Goose Valley Farm. I am taking advantage of fine weather to move last year's "fertilizer" to strategic points around the field, while Alex locates our water hose from under the grass.



































December 2nd, 2017

The fellas enjoying the sun on a rare bright December day.













November 2017

My oldest son helps me collect 'drops' from a neighbour's back yard. The geese love them!






















October 2017

Bob and Craig inspect the goose shed just before Hurricane Ophelia hits. 


Aug, 2017

Here's a quick video of our son putting the lads to bed.


July 2017

And by the second week of July, they had turned white with beaks starting to turn orange...


June 2017

By early June, they had already grown considerably...



































May 2017

Here are our new goslings, just a few days after their arrival...




































May 5, 2017

Here I am, the proud new owner of a goose shed in early May...















April 2017

I somehow got it into my head that building a goose shed mainly from used pallet slats would be a good idea.