Animal Corner with Charles: Animals Trying to Beat the Heat!

As we enter high summer, our animal husbandry program is on the look out for heat injuries among our animals.

Our fowl and waterfowl can often be found flopping in the shade with their wings held up to let heat escape their bodies.

Our goats and sheep are usually lying in the shade or in front of the industrial fan during the hottest parts of the day.

All of our animals “pant”. Their mouths open and their breath hard to exhale heat from their bodies. The ability to sweat is rare in the animal kingdom. Only horses, monkeys, apes (including humans), and hippos can sweat to cool themselves.

Heat injuries are extremely dangerous for animals and are often a sign of neglect. Like all other injuries, the prevention is preferable to the cure. The garden takes the following steps to reduce the likelihood of heat injuries.

  1. The garden has shade in each and every habitat. Lack of shade structures and/or foliage can easily injure or kill animals.
  2. Clean water is abundant for both drinking and bathing. Both mammals and avians can dehydrate quickly in the intensity of Maryland’s summers.
  3. Our goat barn has a ventilation fan running 24/7 throughout summer and autumn. The goat play area has a large industrial fan during the hottest hours of the day.

Each week we carefully monitor temperatures and often check the cameras for signs of heat exhaustion, heat cramps, or heat stroke in our animals.

The Production Garden Abounds!

With help from our Internal Relations Coordinator and Master Gardener, Shira Goodman, Filbert Street Garden has successfully launched the production garden for the 2023 season. The production garden is a smaller fenced off area, located in between the bee yard and the shade area. The garden has 12 raised beds, all of them dedicated to growing vegetables for the community. In the spring, the production garden produced radishes, peas, spinach, lettuce, carrots, scallions and arugula. Now that summer is in full swing, the garden has pivoted to all of our favorite summertime veggies, including tomatoes, green beans, cucumbers, zucchini, eggplant, beets, okra, peppers and tomatillos.

Shira makes it a priority to visit the production garden at least three times a week, and spends her time weeding, pruning, trellising, tackling pests, planting, and most importantly, harvesting. The garden’s produce goes to our Little Free Pantry! The stewards also help keep the production garden afloat by watering daily and taking on additional tasks as needed.

If you’re interested in expanding your vegetable garden knowledge and skill set, the production garden could use your help! Please email Shira Goodman at [email protected] to coordinate a time to volunteer. You’ll be able to learn from an experienced gardener, and help contribute to feeding the Curtis Bay community.

News from Coordinator Chrissy

The garden is buzzing with activity, and there is so much beauty this time of year! Our community gardeners have planted all of their spaces. With a lot of time, effort, and tons of volunteer help, we have planted our native garden! Everything has truly come to life.

I recently had the opportunity to go on a tour with our new grantor Nature Sacred, to some local urban gardens/farms, where we were able to see how these green spaces in the Baltimore area are supporting the needs of their communities. The folks that I met have the same or similar missions: to strengthen food security and to teach urban farming/gardening, so generations to come will know how to be self-sustaining.

Chrissy at Filbert Street Garden with Twinkie the goat

That morning, we met in the parking lot of Stillmeadow Community Fellowship on Frederick Avenue, to visit with Pastor Mike at the adjoining property known as Peace Park. The majority of their property is forest area, but they are still growing and teaching sustainability through gardening.

Stillmeadow Peace Park

Our next stop that day was at Strength to Love II Urban Farm. This farm is a 1.5 acre site with hoop houses for growing. Must see: their absolutely gorgeous murals!

Strength To Love Farm II

Next on our tour was BLISS Meadows, a 10-acre urban farm and teaching site to help reconnect BIPOC people to nature. They have a great property that gives them room for growing veggies and other plants, animals such as their chickens and goats, and a really cool mud-kitchen in their wooded area! Fun fact, our goat Twinkie is the uncle of two of BLISS Meadow’s goats!

Goats at BLISS Meadows

The entire day was great for connecting with community leaders, networking, and sharing what works in certain situations. We are all anticipating the work coming up with Nature Sacred on our upcoming upgrades and additions. (See the invitation to our Open House on June 28.)

Join us with Nature Sacred and Floura Teeter for an Open House on Wednesday June 28 from 4-6pm!

We’re also looking forward to seeing everyone on July 8 at Filbert Fest, our annual anniversary celebration. It’s sweeter this year because we’re celebrating acquisition of our land deed, and presenting our Protectors of the Garden awards. All welcome; always free.

Filbert Fest is July 8!

Animal Corner with Charles: The Nigerian Dwarf Goat

All 11 of our goats at Filbert Street Garden are Nigerian Dwarf Goats. The breed is a “dairy breed” of domesticated goat that comes from the West African Pygmy Goat. The breed hit American shores during the Great Depression in the mid-1930s as a milk alternative that was less expensive than cows, but did not become widespread. The breed has been popular in American zoos.

Here are some facts about the breed!

1. Nigerian Dwarf Goats and their Pygmy Goat cousins are the two miniature goat breeds.

2. The Nigerian Dwarf Goat has been cross bred with shaggy Angora goats to create “Nigora” goat. They produce a cashmere-type of fabric.

3. All goats typically have twins, but among the Nigerian Dwarf Goat breed triplets and quadruplets are common.

4. Nigerian Dwarf Goats are among the most popular livestock show breeds and are a popular companion animal.

5. Only miniature breeds are allowed in Baltimore City. Goats require a permit.

6. Cheese is currently the oldest goat at 6.5 years old. They can typically live up to 15 years.