Friday, May 25, 2012

Guinea Update

Well, I got the phone call yesterday letting me know that there were guinea keets available to order. Unfortunately, I had to tell her I was no longer interested.

You see, we are having increasing problems with raccoons and other predators such as hawks. A few weeks ago, my adorable little Aracaunas were accidentally left in their chicken tractor over night. I had to leave for work, and when DH went to lock up the chickens for the night, he forgot they were in the tractor. I ended up coming home to two torn apart Aracaunas, strewn through the yard. :( Two Buff Orpingtons have also been the victims of predators. We think they decided to be adventurous and "flew the coop" and got picked up by hawks. Their bodies were never found.

So, my conclusion was that, although I could keep the guineas locked up in the coop at night, it was not going to prevent the many hawks that circle the house from picking up some fast food! I am disappointed, but I realize this is just how farm life is. We did have our chickens free ranging on the property until they began dwindling in numbers.

I was also beginning to think that my parents (mostly my dad), although they would appreciate the reduced tick numbers, would not appreciate the loud noises guinea love to make!

How does everyone control the predator population around their homesteads? We did have an amazing Great Pyrenees/Anatolian Shepherd named Whinny that did an amazing job keeping critters away from the poultry. Unfortunately we lost him to bone cancer several years ago and have not replaced him. Well, my parents tried to, but he ended up being the biggest scaredy cat there is, and is now and indoor dog... We may end up looking for another livestock guardian dog (LGD), although keeping one simply for guarding poultry is hardly cost effective.

I am very interested in hearing your methods and ideas!

Friday, May 11, 2012

May Goals

Well once again, I am late with my goals for the month. I always seem to do well with making the goals, not so much with actually completing

Some of April's goals that I completed include, till and plant the garden, plant herbs (some have finally sprouted!) and letting the chicks in the tractor.

And once again, those goals that didn't make it consist of the household chores. Can you tell where my priorities are? I also didn't plant more trees, I decided that I will wait until this fall to plant more. We actually planted 40-50 small White Pine trees around the property, and I didn't want anything to become neglected.

Although it wasn't on my list, fixing the chicken coop fencing and run door was very high on my mental list! DH and I fixed that a few weeks ago. Although it doesn't quite work if while you are sick, you forget to close the door... because of this we are now down to 6 Buff Orpingtons. Two were snatched in the night. I also lost an Aracauna for no apparent reason a couple of days ago. My guess is she was squished beneath the others?

Soo, some goals for May are:


  • Mulch the garden

  • Finish planting green beans

  • Try an Epsom Salt weed killer recipe inside the greenhouse. I decided against the rock in the greenhouse for now. The weed killer is more frugal.


  • I have actually changed my mind (that never happens...) about the vertical fence extension project, also. In the end, it would have ended up much more expensive than it is to simply clip the chickens wings to keep them in the chicken run. 
  •  Build better roosts in the chicken coop and REMEMBER to close the door!

  • Hmmm... Is it even worth repeating myself on the household goals that I haven't met for the last two months?? 
I have to say, keeping up with the two puppies and the incontinent German Shepherd has kept me pretty busy indoors.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

All Natural Homemade Dog Treats

It's been awhile since I've posted. I have been keeping busy with finishing up this semester's finals and preparing for this weekends canoeing and camping trip! I wanted to share this with you before I leave though. I have been making these for the last couple of weeks for the dogs, and they LOVE them! They are a much better alternative to the store bought treats that have been associated with so many recalls lately. I feel so much better giving them something that I made myself, than having that thought in the back of my head questioning the safety of the treats.

I have been trying to find alternatives to store bought items. This weeks experiment involved replacing the dogs treats with an all natural, wholesome alternative. They already LOVE fresh fruits and veggies (carrots, apples, asparagus), but I wanted something crunchy and that would last a little longer than fresh fruit does. Both in storage, and the length of time it takes for them to eat it.

I found a recipe for dried sweet potato chews. You can buy these at pet stores, but you will pay dearly for them. Instead, I got a bag of sweet potatoes and started slicing! While I was working on these, I noticed the pile of apples on the counter that were getting a little old. They love fresh apples, so why not dried? I sliced those, picking out the seeds, and added them to the cookie sheet as well. I put the oven as low as it would go and left them there for about 12 hours.

Here's what came out of the oven! (Please disregard the horrible photo camera is MIA so instagram photos were substituted.)

Dried sweet potato and apple dog treats.

And what did the dogs think of them?

Chewie and Boomer approved!

This post is linked to:

Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways #26

Barn Hop  #62

Simple Living Wednesdays

The Country Homemaker Hop