Redwater, ticks and old grass [Ireland]

Permacltur at Permacltur at
Fri Oct 9 21:56:46 EDT 1998

In a message dated 10/9/98 5:45:28 PM, sustag at wrote:

<< 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
am working on a small study about grazing management on calcareous grassland
the Burren karstic region in the West of Ireland. Most of the farms used to
a flock of goats, until about 30-50 years ago, which kept scrub encroachment
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
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
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
"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,
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.


Hey Ute:

The only reason for growing hawthorne is to make shitloads of money--well
really one of a zillion reasons but the only reason for people with only two
or three values.  One you wouldn't want to undertake in hawthorn and the other
is threatened when you explain that you first soak the berries in perfectly
good alcohol.  Been there, done that (try to explain wealth vs. debt to

Speaking of getting rich, if you can breed goats to eat gorse (instead of
cultivate it, amost efficiently as pyromanical people do), you'd own ireland
in a week, and could then move to annex New Zealand.  

We see it in Georgia, USA, where I lived a short while back, around kudzu.
Probably one of the three or four most useful plants int he world--lets see
there's also neem, coconut, sweet potato, and of course gorse.  That's 5.
Gorse isn't quite as useful as the others, though, unless you live in a cold,
raw, rainy climate where firewood would be desirable.  It is a phenomenal
fuel.  Smart, since fire favors it.  People wouldn't use kudzu because they
hated it.  Kind of like not taking a present from hitler or somethng.  It was
real personal, that hate, and they couldn't see a plant just having its own
nature and being something that could fill their bellies and their wallets.  I
gave up on the Kudzu utilization project, though I still have the info if
anyone wants to revitalize some rural economies and fatten his/her own bank
account at the same time.

Probably you don't charge enough for your advice.  I'm beginning to believe
that the more one charges the more effective one is because the payers take
the advice seriously.  it costs too much to ignore.  Never mind if it is right
or wrong!

Have fun.  I don't try to convince anyone of anything unless they ask my
advice or mislead people I'm in discussion with.  There are enough people
looking for actual solutions to keep us all busy.

But hey, maybe you can find a way to help people get rid of that pesky peat.
I understand there is 3 or 4 percent left you haven't been able to eradicate!
Folks  will listen to advice on how to get the very last bet, you can bet on

Best regards

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