domingo, 14 de outubro de 2012

Cabras - Goats

Long haired goat at home, compost starters.

Humans work with goats to sustain themselves and our shared (goat)culture in the mountain, of which they are a intrinsic member.

Because we don't have other way of taking care of them outside (our terraces mosaic patches are not properly fenced), most of the time they are kept in their warm home, as if in a rock cliff cave...

They trample fresh biomass (this biomass is fresh cut plants-food that they don't eat completely) that is added every day, they pee and poo on it. A compost pile builds up in the proccess, reaching more than 1 meter inside the shed. It does not smell, but it keeps a gentle warmth. This is because high carbon content coppiced shrubs are added / Erica and Genista spp mostly, and sometimes Cystus and Cytisus-Broom.

As we live in a rather "brittle" environment (uneven distribution of humidity throughtout the year - dry summer and wet winter - see Holistic Management) goats function as "humidifiers", bio-digestors, so that the annually grown biomass needed for fertilization and building of soil on soil depleted steep rocky slopes, to be used on mountain terraces, thus proccessed in the gut and enriched biologically under their feet, nutrient and mineral cycle can occur, and along carbon will undergo its final cycling in the growing of annual crops.

As mentioned in previous post, the decomposition of this trampled and manured biomass happens to occur under the tilled soil. Creating a sponge that holds Spring time rain water and summer "once a week" flood irrigation.

They also eat everyday some hay or dry corn stalks. All food is obtained/stored/collected locally by the keepers. No food is bought. They eat kitchen scraps, early fallen fruit, prunings-tree branches.

Through Autumn and Winter, when is not raining they graze outside for a few hours on meadows or on rye patches sown just after first Autumn rains. They do this everytime in a different spot, so that rye grows back.

They are milked every day. Milk is used mostly to make cheese for home comsumption and some for special local traditional produce market, via direct relational marketing/sale.

Some people take them to the mountain everyday to browse on more than those same species that are cut and brought to them everyday.

Older goats and younger ones are butchered every year, and their meat is eaten during feast days when relatives and family come together during holy-days, specially for Easter and the Village Patron Saint Summer Feast.

Three goats in the old shed, whose 2 walls are built with dry stone only, and is partly embeded in the rocky slope. The goat at the back stands on this mother rock nearly vertical slope. Mimics the goat cave on the cracks of rocky cliffs, reminds me of Mallorca (Spain) "wild goats" hiding on this type of shelters.

Chão Sobral hamlet. Steep slope at the back with natural regeneration after 2005 forest fire. At the front: olive trees and dry grass, terrace with corn for animal fodder (light green) in between vine rows.

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