Redwater, ticks and old grass [Ireland]

Ute Bohnsack sustag at
Fri Oct 9 17:47:13 EDT 1998

Thank you, Gib & Dan!
That bamboo idea sure is inspirational. I have been contemplating bamboo for my
own [little] site. Which species did you plant in Oregon, Gib?
As to the average West of Ireland farmer [major big sigh]: tell them about
Guinea fowl and they think you are away with the fairies altogether (I did a wee
test run, Dan, on an enlightened fella). If you tell them to plant willows or
hawthorn they reply that they've been trying to get rid of the stuff for years -
sure why would they go and plant it?
The current cattle culture here is a classic monoculture in a way. At present I
am working on a small study about grazing management on calcareous grassland in
the Burren karstic region in the West of Ireland. Most of the farms used to have
a flock of goats, until about 30-50 years ago, which kept scrub encroachment at
bay (hawthorn, sloe, brambles but mostly hazel). The goats were milked and the
kids were eaten. Now the dispersed goat populations have become big feral herds
which do not do a good job on the scrub due to their sporadic browsing. They
have become a pest to the farmers as they compete with the cattle for grass
(even though goats browse more than they graze, 200 of them can quickly nibble
down a couple of acres of nice grass). In the entire region of about 700 sqkm
there is but one commercial dairy goat herd! The equilibrium is gone. The
farmers cry out that the scrub is taking over their land and what can they about
it (bulldozing has recently been outlawed in certain designated areas under EU
conservation legislation). Farms have become much larger and there is less
manpower around, most farmers have gone part-time. What used to be one holding
is now just part of a bigger dispersed holding, so herding of goats is mostly
out. What do you do? I should also mention that from the conservation point of
view a mosaic of scrub + limestone grassland/heathland + limestone pavement is
the most valuable.
Neither the goats or the scrub are seen as a ressource. It's a classic case of:
"I want to do this. How can I do it at all costs?" instead of "What has nature
to offer in this area and how can I make the most of the ressources that are
here." Not that the EU agricultural policy is helpful in changing those

Any furniture makers out there? Does anybody need blackberries, hazelnuts, sloe,
yarrow, St. Johnswort, marjoram, thyme, hawberries? Kid meat? Hazel coppice?
Come to the Burren, it's here for the taking...

Greetings from the sodden place.


ps: nice site about the Burren by Ms Comber:
and if you got hooked like she did also check out
> Subject: Re: Re: Redwater, ticks and old grass [Ireland]
> Date: Thu, 8 Oct 1998 10:05:24 EDT
> From: Permacltur at
> To: bambugib at
> In a message dated 10/7/98 2:36:54 PM, you wrote:
> <<In Oregon we have a similar scenario but I have never heard of a tick
> problem. One scheme has been to plant harvestable timber bamboo on private
> lands between the fence and the waterway. On the Coquille River, landowner
> Barney Amdahl, purchased 3 bamboo species and using the State of Oregon's
> program for riparian improvement had the fence and bamboo planted with the
> state crew. This was 3 years ago. We are monitoring the progrees of this
> planting.
> Perhaps the planting of bamboo or willow on the otherside of the fence
> would ease this stockman's fears. Perhaps he will appreciate another
> marketable crop?
> Sincerely,
> Gib Cooper
> Secretary, Oregon Bamboo Association>>
> Nice suggestin, Gib:
> Much of the best work in hybrid willow was done in Ireland.  I don't know what
> species of bamboo they would use--Maybe Phyllostachys congesta?  Bamboo is
> less tolerant of seasonal flooding than willow, particularly Phyllostachys spp
> which is about the only genus they can grow in Ireland, I'd think.   Both
> plants are suitable as emergency or supplemental fodder, though willow
> produces more and is more resiliant.  Basket willows can be a nice touch.
> Geese will keep the grass mowed without breaking down the banks.  Hawthorns
> can be used as a partial barrier to cattle and the fruit used as fruit or
> medicine.  Possibly some species of Mayhaw, the large fruited hawthorns, will
> grow there (I don't recall the part of ireland we are talking about.)  Some of
> the chinese species also might suit and might be better climatically adapted,
> though in any case I'd use local wetlands species as rootstock.  (I've seen
> them in ireland, as well as a crab apple growing in standing water that would
> make a dynamite root stock for apples in that sodden place.)
> For Mother Earth, Dan Hemenway, Yankee Permaculture Publications (since 1982),
> Elfin Permaculture workshops, lectures, Permaculture Design Courses,
> consulting and permaculture designs (since 1981), and annual correspondence
> courses via email.  Copyright, 1998, Dan & Cynthia Hemenway, P.O. Box 52,
> Sparr FL 32192 USA  Internships. YankeePerm at
> We don't have time to rush.
> A list by topic of all Yankee Permaculture titles may be found at
> Elfin Permaculture programs are listed at the Eastern Permaculture Teachers
> assn home page:

Ute Bohnsack
Co. Clare
mailto:sustag at

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