The wetlands police, overstocking and husbandry issues

Not too far from us is a property on a major road we checked out but rejected due to the house being a structural mess and the five acres being true wetlands (one of the local rivers runs through the middle).

Anyway, in the last few months someone bought the property, which had turned into a mold palace and is currently overstocking illegally.  Due to the river issue, very few animals of any kind could be raised on the land.  But there are currently more than a dozen sheep, half a dozen alpacas, two dozen or more poultry, five calves, a dozen or so goats, and a few llamas, all on five acres of wetlands. There were some fencing issues, although the loose animals did not make it out to the street.  They did get hay for the animals, but it’s of poor quality and the sheep are wool breaking due to stress.  And the sheep are not a breed that sheds, so it’s pretty bad.  The calves are very skinny and so are the alpacas.

But they fixed the fencing and the animals have hay and water.  It’s not a situation where you can file a cruelty or neglect complaint.  They’re just bad at “having animals” and some might die, but the animals just might not.  Sometimes animals can get along for years on bad hay and generally poor forage.  And overstocking is a relative thing to most people.

The reason I’m finally writing this up even in passing is that the wetlands police are pretty ostentatiously not shutting them down or taking their stock away.  Even though with the overstocking literally in the flow path of a river, there is an actual case for wetlands policing.  Things are changing in this county, I guess.

I’m not sure what it means for the future.  And we’ll see in a few months if it’s just a delay in processing.


Sustainable urban farmer Will Allen is coming to Snohomish

This is just a fangirl post. Will Allen is the Joel Salatin of urban farming, often cited/referenced, never duplicated.

He brings a wonderful sense of practicality to his desire to help support his community that is simply amazing in the urban farming space, which is laden with, well, impracticality.  He is pretty neat and he is going to be in MY TOWN WOO.

Sadly, I can’t go tomorrow or when he’s at Focus on Farming.  But it’s so cool to know he’s come down to visit us in Northern Cascadia.

Growing Power, site describing their work, including their non-urban farming efforts.

He’ll be keynoting at Focus on Farming.  There is the poster for his day tour, with all the locations, yay!

He’s worth seeing!

We’ll be learning to kill and butcher on-farm

Since the goats decided to start acting crazy during hunting season, we can’t find anyone to butcher them for us until Thanksgiving or later, so we’ll have to do it ourselves.  My main concern is cutting wrong and spoiling the carcass.  But it is a bridge we’ll be leaping in the next week or so.  It was certainly on our list to learn to process goats, sheep and poultry for personal use– it is worth knowing how to do all the small animals, as they can easily be done solo with enough practice.  We just didn’t expect to *have* to do it ourselves or else have no goat meat.

This is partially a regulatory problem, separate from the goats’ bad timing since we got the big mean sheep that make them fretful.  At least right now they are finally staying put instead of scampering around taunting the neighbors’ giant dogs and dancing in the street.