Thursday, October 2, 2014

Corn Stalks and Goats

 The corn that towered above our heads and had just barely tasseled and tiny cobs had started to form when the 17 inches of snow buried us, well, I've found a good use for it...
goat food. Waste not want not. It saddened me that all that fertilizer and effort came down to goat feed. Not that the goats are worth their feed but I could have had corn and goat food too.
Lessons don't come easy. I'll have to try another kind of seed next year. I've been trying kinds for years but not found my niche. Too sweet of a corn and the roots aren't broad enough for the high winds we get and they lay down flat on the ground. This corn had roots like I've never had before and where as I can usually pull it out of the ground with some heave ho, I heaved and hoed and nothing happened.
This is where being married to a knife maker comes in handy. I was going to use a hatchet but my husband volunteered this hefty knife. It works like a dream. I especially like the lime colored piece on the lanyard as the knife blends in nicely with the ground making it hard to find once you set it down.
That is why they recommend that all your equipment in your bug out bag or survival gear have brightly colored Para cord attached. It is imperative that you find it in that situation. Your life depends on it. This winter I hope to get back to our bug out bags and work on them. I'm thinking we won't be bugging out but bugging in and that leaves me with far more plans to make.
This is a special knife. It was Kirk's journeyman smith test knife. The first part of his testing he took this knife to a mastersmith and chopped through a free hanging thick rope with one swipe. Then he chopped through a 2x4 board twice and could still shave the hair on his arm. I don't remember this part but I looked up a recent test and they had them cut through the rope twice more. After this the knife was bent to a 90 degree angle without damaging the blade. Design, thickness, taper, and heat treating are critical components to the success of the test. This knife was made of 5160 steel from a ball bearing. I showed you the process a few blogs back. Remember the ball that was heated and pounded out into a strip of metal. Successful forging is the only the first step. There is more testing to become a journeyman and it has to do with design, clean lines, etc. but we won't go into that now. Kirk has been ranked a mastersmith for years now which involves a different test.  
my I got off track. I was talking about a corn chopper and this is a jim dandy. Just like the rope, one wack and it easily chops through the stalks.Not nearly as bulky as a hatchet either.  
You might have noticed the fancy sheath. LOL It is a cardboard, duck tape affair. Hey, it works. We have lots of knifes with sheaths like this. Most are in our meat cutting supply box.
I'm thrilled to now have my goats next to my garden. Yes, I have to keep the plants planted a ways back because it is amazing how far they can reach through the fence to devour them. In our previous home, the garden was a mile and a half trip and the corn stalks never made it to them.
With such success with the corn stalks, my husband started looking around for other dead or dying plants to feed them. I had to stop him, he was going to feed them tomato plants. Keep in mind rhubarb leaves, potato plants, and tomato plants to name a few have poisonous parts.
Squash seem to be okay so I'm going to try giving them some today and see if they like them. I read where they sell the leaves in Asian markets.
What do you feed your animals from your garden? I'm wondering about trying to give my goats zucchini next summer. Don't know why I didn't try this summer. Have any of you fed zucchini to your stock? My chickens don't like them and my sister's don't either. Could be a universal dislike. Not being fond of zucchini bread it leaves me without a good way to use up the large sized ones. Then after I'd put the last of the zucchini in the compost heap, my mother-in-law gave me a slice of some awesome chocolate zucchini bread. Alas, I'll just have to keep that in mind for next summer. Then again there might be some zucchini in the freezer from last year but it is still in a complete disastrous heap after the move and I couldn't even find the frozen pumpkin I was looking for.

Just came in from the garden for a drink. I'm pulling dried bean plants and digging potatoes. My goats don't like the bean plants. Alas, I guess they will become a part of the mulch pile.

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