Planning a Permaculture Goat Sanctuary

These are some of our notes in preparing to construct the most ideal goat sanctuary using permaculture design. The goal of this sanctuary is to provide the goats the happiest healthiest life possible, while at the same time reducing the amount of management through proper planning and strategy. This is not a comprehensive guide, if you have any personal experience, advice, or corrections you’d like to point out we would love to hear what you have to share! Permaculture is all about using as much information as you can to make decisions that benefit you for a long time to come so we have more research to do!

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Location

An area with diverse conditions is ideal, with a more densely forested section, and a more open sunny field. This will give the goats a wider range of plants to forage, as well as provide shade for varying temperatures for the goats comfort. There should be enough room for them to comfortably roam with the protected space.

Happy goats are less likely to attempt an escape. As long as there is ample and diverse foods that they like they are less likely seek food outside the fence. Rotating more frequently or planting more forage plants can save on time chasing down escaped goats.

Ideal Plants for Fodder

(These plants were selected for Zone 7, in NW Arkansas)

Key:

Nitrogen Fixing

Storage for Overwintering 

Attracts Pollinators

Self-seeding Annuals

  • Red-clover – leaves, and flowers
  • Amaranth – leaves, stalks, and seeds
  • Yellow Dock – leaves, stalks, and seeds (in moderation)
  • Buckwheat – leaves and seeds
  • Lambsquarters – leaves, stalks
  • Thistles – leaves, stalks, flowers
  • Alfalfa – Leaves, seeds

Perennials

  • Maximillian Sunflowers – leaves, root tubers, and flowers
  • Sunchokes – leaves, root tubers, and flowers
  • Rosa rugosa – leaves, flowers, and rose hips
  • Lilac – leaves and flowers
  • Blackberries – brambling, leaves, vines, flowers, and fruits (plant around established fruit trees to protect them from hard grazing)
  • Siberian Pea-shrub – leaves, flowers, seeds 

Trees

  • Black Locust – leaves, bark, and flowers, coppices well
  • Honey Locust – leaves, bark, and flowers, coppices well
  • Willow – 13% leaf protein, coppices well, easily grown from cuttings
  • Apple – leaves, twigs, fruit, flowers; a good use for crab-apple varieties
  • Poplar – fast growing, 17% leaf protein, coppices well
  • Tagasaste – Leaves, Flowers, seeds high protein
  • Loquat – leaves, twigs, fruit
  • Seaberry – leaves, fruits, twigs

MATERIALS NEEDED

  1. Additional seeds and tree saplings
  2. Permanent Secure fencing for main grazing area
  3. Portable Electric Fencing for short grazing rotations
  4. Shelter for goats to be protected from the elements and sleep
  5. Water trough that can be filled from the secondary spring or pond.
  6. Goats

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Written by Tas Zinck

Sources

https://permaculture.org/demonstration-site/grazers-and-browsers/

https://www.milkwood.net/2016/10/31/closed-loop-cheese-the-goat-forage-system-at-melliodora/

https://plants.usda.gov/plantguide/pdf/pg_caar18.pdf

https://permies.com/t/61866/critters/permaculture-goats

http://ceres-permaculturedesigncertificate.blogspot.com/

Our lives are so rich!

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Chase Jones, one of our permaculture specialists, works to build yet another hugelkultur bed.

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Aren’t poblano peppers beautiful? Robert loves them, and Trish loves to nurture him by growing the lovely plants.

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I love the unexpected pleasure of meeting a kind soul on the road.

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These marigolds make me smile! They are the happiest flowers I have ever experienced, planted from seed by Tas and Chase, our wonderful permaculturists.

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This hugekultur bed retains water better than any raised bed. I hardly water it at all, whereas I am watering the plants in pots every few days.

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One person said that this is the best view in the Ozarks. I’m not sure of that, but I do know that this beautiful Prayer Lake and the surrounding community of Living Springs which we are a part of us is such a blessing. We feel safe because we know all our neighbors and they are wonderful people

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Blanca is the daughter of a feral cat that Robert was able to tame. She was an indoor cat for a good part of her life, but now out in the country, she has chosen to be mostly outdoors, and I love to see her jumping over rocks as agile as a mountain goat.

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God is such an artist! This is another view from our upstairs deck.

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I was in Berkeley visiting my friend and co-founder of Jesus Vegans. I can’t wait til she is able to move out here! I know she will love it, and we will love having her. here as part of our community.

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Moringa is a super food that you can buy in powder form. I decided to try growing the plants from seed, and now we have about 25 plants. I put fresh moringa in my smoothies as the greens. The plants are thriving! This may be a community business some day.

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I absolutely love working with my son, Chris, who is multi talented​ and fun to work with. I feel grateful to have had him for many months so we can really gain momentum. He will be leaving us soon, and I will miss him. And I want the best for him!

We Prayed for Rain and….

Journal entry Sunday, July 23. I’m hoping to start writing a daily journal of things that happen at Jesus Vegans Community to give those who are potential community members a taste of what is happening here. This will also serve as a reminder for me about all the miracles that happen, and the way the Lord is moving here.

 

Prayer lake: a view from JV Event Center

The tension mounts. Robert and I were praying for rain, but it looked like the storm was going to pass.

Yesterday Robert (my former husband, and one of the co-founders of Jesus Vegans Community) listened to worship music in the morning. I also journaled,  we prayed, and read from inspiring books including the bible. The atmosphere was so joyful. I also texted a friend who I had met online, sending a recording of part of the beautiful Hillsong United songs, and giving her messages of encouragement. We texted back and forth. I felt connected to Jessica,  as if we were together in community.

 

Robert felt inspired to make a nice vegan lunch. He loves to meditate while he prepares food. He made a falafel burrito! It was delicious.  Sharing meals is such an important part of community living.

Rain was in the forecast, and we really needed the rain after a week of dryness. I gathered up a bunch of buckets to take to the food forest which is away from the water supply. A good rain can fill up buckets enough to be able to water for the next time. I was singing and praying for rain. Robert was looking at the computer forecast and said that it looked like the rain was going to miss us. He prayed as he looked at the visual on the computer, and I prayed as I worked in the hugelkultur gardens and the food forest.

I’m not sure if it rained because of our prayers. But we did hear from people who live about twenty minutes away from our place that it didn’t rain there. I would have trusted the goodness of God if it hadn’t rained.

But when the rain started coming, I was so grateful and I sang praises to the Lord! I put on my bathing suit and kept working in the garden, planting some marigolds in a cool place that I had been wanting to beautify for a while. I loved the warm rain and walking in my bare feet on the grass. Getting my hands in the dirt was nourishing as well. Robert tried to get Alexa (Amazon Prime’s version of Siri) to play a worship song about letting it rain, but the only one he could find was Eric Clapton’s “Let it rain.” Oh well!

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Trish is dancing in the rain with joy! Our prayers were answered.

Cliff Mikkelson, my other former husband, and also a founding member of Jesus Vegans Community, (I know–two former husbands is kind of unusual–but we all get along really well!) stopped by. We were happy to see him and say goodbye because he was leaving the next day for a month long trip to California.

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Can you tell that Cliff is SO happy to be going to California? He loves our community, but he hasn’t been back to visit his family in San Diego for many years.

Time flew by and so I had to hurry to make a salad to take to the gathering at Faithful Servants ministries where we fellowship with other followers of Jesus. We just started attending this wonderful event, where our daughter and her husband attend as well. We feel right at home because everyone is very unique and accepting of our uniqueness. The hours flew by, and before we knew it, it was 11:30 PM. How could 5 hours go by so fast? The combination of fellowship, sharing worship, discussing topics like how can we walk in the Spirit was so fulfilling. I even was able to clear up some conflicts with two people in a loving way!

When we arrived home at midnight, we were so energized. But each of us, in our separate bedrooms, was able to sleep like babies and wake up refreshed.  Something about this gathering is so healing. People accept my veganism, and there are vegan options at the potluck. I accept their carnivorism. We are building trust.

Thank you, Father, for all of our blessings. What. wonderful day at Jesus Vegans Event Center and future community.

 

 

 

Surprises come in all sizes!

Tas Zinck and Chase Jones of Biodesic Strategies

They get excited about little things–like beautiful mushrooms. Their enthusiasm spills out into everything they do at Jesus Vegans.

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Trish found this little guy while she was taking a walk. He didn’t want to come out for a picture even though she talked to him very nicely.

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This sunflower growing out of the cracks between rocks under our deck reminds me of the resilience and persistence​ of plants. We can learn from them!

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Jesus Vegans and Biodesic Strategies give Faithful Servant Ministries a Permaculture Consultation

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Rick Dignan, co-director of Faithful Servants Ministries in Huntsville, Arkansas, tells Tas and Chase of Biodiesic Strategies what the problems were with water run off on the site. Trish takes notes.

 

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Tas and Chase work for Jesus Vegans, and we decided to give back to the community. We paid them for the consultation, and Rick was really grateful.

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There is so much potential to make a permaculture paradise on this land. Rick envisions people who come and get free services at the rink, regaining their dignity by having an opportunity to work in the gardens and other projects. Permaculture has endless opportunities to enrich the land and the people.

 

 

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Everyone is happy because we came up with some good solutions. I pray that this can be the start of some beautiful projects and that Tas and Chase will be able to help Faithful Servants Ministries further.

OKJA: A Netflix Movie That Is Inspiring People to Be Concerned About Animal Rights

I feel encouraged by the reviews about this amazing movie because it is getting loads of positive attention from reviewers and increasing numbers of people are reporting that they or their friends/family are becoming vegan.

I enjoyed the movie immensely as did my former husband,  our daughter and son-in-law. As a follower of Jesus as well as a person who just does not like profanity in general, I felt uneasy about the abundance of F-words that were sprinkled throughout the film, and we almost did not watch the whole film. But we sensed that we should  we gave Okja a chance. I am so glad we did.

If you are a Christian and a vegan, it could spark some good discussions among your church-going friends that might help them to understand your concern for animals.  That happened after my family watched this amazing production.  Jesus concern for the least of these, the innocent, and the oppressed shines through the theme.

The reviewers speak so eloquently about this movie that I want to share their words with you. I hope these excerpts will inspire you to watch Okja and share this film with your friends. Okja_02-1024x480


While watching the heartfelt Okja, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry and you’ll definitely rethink that next piece of bacon.” Brian Truitt. Full review at USA Today

The human performers are all brilliant, but the movie belongs to its title character and her digitally conjured, genetically modified ilk. Okja is a miracle of imagination and technique, and “Okja” insists, with abundant mischief and absolute sincerity, that she possesses a soul.” A.O. Scott. Full review at New York Times

“… the film is far more notable for being the best pro-vegetarian film in over a decade.  Jacob Oller. Full review at  Film School Rejects 

“Deftly blending genres, humor, poignancy and drama, Bong Joon Ho (Snowpiercer, The Host) begins with the gentlest of premises–the bond between man and animal–and ultimately creates a distinct and layered vision of the world that addresses the animal inside us all.” 86% liked the movie. Full review at Rotten Tomatoes

Okja movie poster

“The ambitious screenplay includes discussions of corporate responsibility, the ethics of meat consumption, the acceptable threshold of animal cruelty, and other matters that you might not expect to see find in a film so simply told and lavishly produced.” Matt Zoller Seitz. Full review at Roger ebert

From the anthropomorphic sentimentality of Babe to the slaughterhouse realities of Shaun Monson’s 2005 documentary Earthlings, Okja combines the holistic man-and-nature themes of a Studio Ghibli animation with the alarming food-industry revelations of Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret.” Mark Kermode. Full review at The Guardian

“The power of Bong’s film is that it never lets go of Mija’s purity of spirit, holding it up as a lesson many of us (particularly the meat-eaters) could stand to re-learn.”
David Sims. Full review at The Atlantic
“A pot-bellied fable unlike anything else you’ll see this year. Not since Babe has an adorable porker inspired such peculiar joy or unexpected heartache.” John Nugent. Full review at Empire Online
This, at its very centre, is a tale of the purity of friendship found in childhood pets. In a similar vein to last year’s Pete’s Dragon, Okja relies on the conjuring of a CGI creature that blends just enough dog-like traits into its fantastical features as to be utterly irresistible to audiences. The blind loyalty, the effusive affection, a touch of goofy clumsiness; for anyone whose childhood was accompanied by a beloved pup, it’s hard not to feel the sweeping touch of sweet nostalgia here.” Clarisse Loughrey See full review at The Independent

Questions for thought
Did this article inspire you to watch OKJA?
Have you seen it?
What are your thoughts?
Did this influence you to become vegan?

 

 

Why Shared Values Are So Important In Community Living

 

One of the passions of my life is conflict prevention and resolution. I love the satisfying feeling that comes when I can talk with someone with whom I am having a disagreement, and come to a place of harmony and connection. Many times, this has been scary in the initial stages because the other person got defensive, and I wondered, “how is this ever going to be resolved.” Thanks to my skills that I developed through practicing Nonviolent Communication, I had many successful experiences in this arena.

But then there are the conflicts that I have had with people that just don’t seem to ever be resolved. Almost always, the cause is having a difference in values. If I value honesty, but I am constantly dealing with someone who tells untruths or withholds the truth, we can’t ever resolve that conflict..

I value the teachings of the Bible which I understand tells me through the example of Jesus that there could never be a place where God sends us where we are eternally tormented and separated from him. Thus, I have a value of trusting in a God of love who can figure out how we can all be reconciled to him. Yet if someone values a God who is willing to predestine people to hell and heaven, there is always going to be conflict between us because our view of God is so different.

One of the reasons I think I resonate with vegans so much is that they share many of my common values. My experience spending time with many atheists and agnostics who shared my value of treating animals with love and respect gave us a great deal of  harmony. When I met Christian vegans who valued community when I was at the Creature Conference in London, I felt as if I was in heaven.

I know that just having shared values is not going to prevent conflict. However, when I was listing my values, I included things like a willingness to use tools like Nonviolent Communication.

I am in the process of writing down my values and determining which ones are non-negotiable. I am trying out an experiment to see if I can be a magnet for people who share my values and want to live in such a way that we can be so harmonious and connected to each other, to God, to animals, to plants, and finally to our neighbors and the whole world that we can then be a powerful example to others of what really works. We demonstrate a life that is truly fulfilling, and people will want to learn from us because they want the same thing we have.

The early Christians spread the teachings of Jesus in this way. They were so loving and full of light–people yearned to be in their presence. How many churches are like that? How many communities? How many organizations? How many families? I have yet to experience any group that exemplified the fullness of Christ’s teachings to the extent that I wholeheartedly wanted to join in.

People told me over and over, “there are no perfect churches or people.” I believe they wanted to encourage me so I would be willing to settle for less than what I valued. I understand that they wanted me to be content and not continue to search for an ideal that might never manifest. They saw the pain I experienced in my searching for a community where I could really fit.

I now realize that unless I identify my highest priorities of life–my values–and determine which ones are non-negotiable–I will never be happy. Perhaps I will not ever find one person who shares these values. However, I am committed to only have values which I believe that Jesus, Abba Father, and Holy Spirit share. So then I can feel connected with the divine community.

And where does that leave me with the people who I perceive are not sharing the values of the divine community. Does that leave me in the position of believing I am better than them because I have the “right” values? In the past, that has been my position, and I have felt tormented because of this stand.

In fact, I confess that I still don’t know how to relate to people who have different values, except to do my best to understand why they have come to the place they have come to in their values. Then I will pray for all of us that we will know without a doubt the values that God wants us to share. I will do my best to live in alignment with my values with God’s help, and confess to God and to friends when I fall short.

I will ask God to help me develop a deeper compassion than ever before. I will yearn with all my heart and soul and mind to love like God loves–to be like Jesus. Oh, this seems so impossible. Yet we are called to do even greater things than Jesus. To be perfect like our Father in heaven is perfect.

I have two choices. Throw out the hard passages in the Bible that call me to discern and then practice values that Jesus would have me value. Or just give it all up and be an agnostic.

I choose the former. I choose to be an apprentice of Jesus, and learn from him how to be a powerful healing presence in this world.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this matter.