Monday, December 10, 2018

Comparing Wintertime Water Containers For Fowl

I recently had water run down to the horse barn and boy has it become a game changer!  Instead of hauling hoses from the basement and running them across the yard I have one hose hanging from the barn rafters so that it drains after use and I take that out to fill horse trough.  The water spigot puts me right beside the pig pen and filling their water dish has become a breeze too!  

But... I don't have water (nor electric) to the chickens and so I haul a bucket of water out to them every morning and evening to refresh their frozen water dish.  

Over the years, I've used many different kinds of water dishes and my current favorite is a metal pan that I get at the feed store.  It gets terribly beat up from being picked up and slammed on the ground to get out the ice.  But the ice comes right out and the dish is inexpensive to replace.  

A beat up, but functional, water pan of the type used for chickens, turkeys, and pigs

 I spent years using the traditional plastic chicken waterer in the wintertime.  I would have to haul a bucket of warm water down to thaw the container enough so that I could twist off the top and break out the ice inside.  You can see from the handle the amount of torque that was sometimes used to pull off the top!  Many a time the plastic itself would give way and destroy the container.  

Traditional plastic chicken waterer

Second, to metal water pans, I like to use heavy rubber pans.  They don't get as beat up, but they tend to have these little threads in them that make it more difficult to get out the ice.  Over time, the sides will split after being jumped on and manhandled in the process of getting out the ice chunks. 

Heavy rubber dish

I think everyone has their favorite way of handling their frozen water situation.  

What's yours? 

Friday, November 23, 2018

Winter Came With A Vengeance

The snow came early and hard to our little part of north-central Pennsylvania!

We won't talk about what fall cleanup chores remain undone!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Horse Talk

You have to love when you live in on a street where there can be a stray horse.  Not a dog or cat, but a horse!  

The mare outside the fence lives in the pasture next to ours with six other horses and she is a real Houdini at getting out of her fencing.  Luckily, we live on a dead end road and people don't drive too terribly fast.  We've become accustomed to her antics and she's rarely on the road.  Most of the time she goes to the lush grass in the field beside her pasture.  She is a chubby girl!  We either put her back in her pasture ourselves or her owner, who checks on her and his other horses multiple times a day, puts her back.  He constantly works on the fences to try to figure out where she's getting out.  

She loves to come up to visit my horses and the other morning I watched my two gelding boys "show off" for her.    

It's really funny how Sassy, the 30-year-old mustang, walks between them as if to say, "knock it off, boys!"

Yesterday was a super windy day and when I moved the horses across to their 10-acre pasture they were all wound up and running.  I got a few seconds clip of them running until they ran into the trees.  It's a lovely sight!

My husband always says that these horses hit the "horsey lottery" when they came to live here!

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Just A Couple of Funny Tidbits

I returned from visiting my daughter, who is in the Air Force stationed in Germany, last week.  What a great trip and how awesome it was to spend time with her!  While I was gone, I talked to my husband and asked if he was taking care of the garden - mostly, keeping it watered.  He said he was.  And I asked if he was enjoying all the fresh tomatoes.  He said he didn't know why, but they just weren't ripening!  The weather had turned cool and rainy, so I suggested he put down the sides of the high tunnel to make it warmer inside.  Which he did.  Still no ripe tomatoes!

I came home from my trip and went out to the garden and this is what I picked...

Never ask a man who is color-blind and can't very well tell between red and green if the tomatoes are ripe!

A day later I was brushing down the horses and our dog, Ladybird, a young Viszla with boundless energy, was right behind my horse Loch and he pooped on her head!

Add dog bath to the list of chores!  

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Chicken Killer

You know there's something wrong when you go out to the chicken pen and there's a vulture sitting on that back tall fence.  Then, another vulture flies up as you walk towards the chicken yard.  

Sure enough, the vultures were after TWO chicken carcasses - I found the third one later.  Sometimes death comes quickly to the chicken yard and it's usually easy to guess what it might be....

...Skunks don't usually eat chickens - just the eggs.
Opposums usually eat only the chicken's head.
Raccoons eat everything.

We, thankfully, haven't had experience with rats, weasels, or bears.  (My neighbor had a bear tear apart his chicken coop and kill six chickens - all that was left were piles of feathers and a lot of building damage!) 

Something had eaten almost the entire chickens and I was pretty sure it was a raccoon.  We put out two live traps - one in the chicken pen and the second in the turkey pen...

...the next morning

Rocky Raccoon will be relocated far, far away from everyone!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Bee Sting? Here's What To Do.

This weekend I went into the side door of my horse trailer for a lead line that I had stored.

I didn't notice the big grey ball right beside the door.  Then realized I was getting stung!!!  I ran for the back door and quickly realized I would get stung a LOT more times while I fiddled with getting it unlatched.  So I quickly turned and ran past the hive again to get out the front door.


They got me three times: on the wrist, hand, and upper arm.  You could see right where the stinger went in and it was swelling fast.  

The first thing to do (after getting away from the bees - and losing your glasses in the process while you run madly like a wild woman!) is to look for broadleaf plantain.

This plant is magical.

"Plantains have wide-ranging antimicrobial properties besides being anti-inflammatory and analgesic. It can not only soothe insect bites and superficial wounds but prevent infections and accelerate healing. An active biochemical aucubin is mainly responsible for the antimicrobial action of the herb. Another substance allantoin in the herb helps with skin tissue regeneration."

If you look around any untreated lawn you'll find plantain.

Pick a couple of leaves and rub them around in your hands until they're kind of mushy (I've heard people will chew them and spit out the mush to use - I haven't done that.  Blecch.).  I rub them around until they look kind of wet.

Lie the leaves flat over the stung area like a poultice.

Leave them on for ten minutes or so.

I iced the area for five or ten minutes after I removed the plantain and by the end of the day there was a tiny mark where the stingers had gone in with no swelling at all - and by the next day, there was no sign of being stung!

I've done this with honey bee stings and other insect bites with the same excellent results.

If you're a person who likes to work and play outside, the broadleaf plantain is a very good plant to get to know!

Friday, August 3, 2018

Bees and Berries and Mow and.....

What do you do when you realize it's been a looooong time since you last blogged?  You just start blogging again!

So much to catch up on and it won't happen today because here is my "tentative" plan for the day....


So I hope to take a look at the bees, pick the bursting crop of blueberries and raspberries, mow some of the yard, pick up and vacuum the house, and brush and ride my horses.  Not much.  I know that it's not really realistic that it will all get done either.

The blueberry bushes are loaded! 

This is my "fight the Japanese beetles" plan.  Every year the beetles show up just about the time the berries are getting ripe and decimate my crop.  This year a put the sheerest row covers I could find over the plants and had no beetle destroyed berries.
(The dark shape is my labrador retriever, Daisy.  She finds a little shade by the row covers.  She has to be close to me but the old girl is really suffering from the heat)

I wait until the berries are bursting with sweetness and sometimes there are berries that get mushy.  Those go into a bucket for the chickens... or they're pitched over my shoulder into the turkey pen as the turkeys gobble at me and wait for these little treats to fall from the sky.

Time to get to it!