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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

It already feels like a long day

The ground is slowly drying up here, but rain and snow is in our near future. I am hoping for a moist summer, but nothing like last year. Between the flooding and the cool temps, only got 350 lbs of produce. I lost all my sweet potatoes and peanuts, my melons and half my tomatoes. I need a typical Kansas summer please. If any of you can do that for me, I will be grateful.

I am itching to get out to the farmstead. The closer summer gets, the more I feel nothing has been done. I have a question for all your herbalist out there, I did some info. I could do some research, but I would like to hear your opinions on the matter. Here's what I need:

Natural way to be rid of ticks, mosquitoes, fleas and spiders. Something that doesn't hurt bees. Chickens can't do everything. (for animals, and for land)

Rodent control. I have lavender and geese as well as cats. Anything else?

Fly (horse fly and heel fly) Camphor is expensive, is there something else I can use on the cows?

Thank you in advance. I have some thoughts on a few things, but what I need is on a much larger scale. The farmstead is over ran right now because no one has been there for a few years. I really don't like ticks.

I also wanted to know if anyone was attending their local tea party? I am thinking about attending the Wichita one. Maybe some of us can meet up.

I am having a little difficulty with this whole separation from my husband thing. We make jokes about it, But I haven't been apart from him for very long. The longest was the Myrtle Beach bike rally, and then the Sturgis rally. But this is longer in terms of months passing and only see him for 2 days a week. I am sure we will get use to it, but to be honest, I don't want to be. I just keep thinking that we will be able to keep him home before long, or maybe open a bike shop in the nearest town. In the summer that town gets 8,000 bikes through it, and there isn't a single wrench to help anyone.

Ok, no more depressing thoughts. Today should be warm, and the air dry. I need to go plant some more cool weather veggies. You shouldn't plant in the mud, but if I don't get them out soon, I might not get them out until late summer for a fall harvest.


Anonymous said...

Guineas hens do wonders for ticks and fleas, while cowbirds (African egrets)are good for flies.

SkippyMom said...

No advice on ticks, sorry...but I feel for you with your husband being gone so often. Remember that it is all for the best, tho', right? In the long wrong the small sacrifice will make for a happier bigger picture.

And you always have "us" :D! [small consolation, I]

SkippyMom said...

***that should say "RUN" not wrong....early morning, sorry.

Phelan said...

It would have to be a lot of guineas. I slept out there in a tent once, and you could here the ticks falling on the canvass like rain. We have egrets, but they only seem to help so much. Those heel flies really bother the ladies.

Skippymon, right!

Katie Z. said...

I get to see my DH everyday, but our girls sometimes don't see him for more than 15 minutes, and then sometimes he's not even home on Saturdays - more than you get, I know, but I feel for you! This, too, shall pass.

Shelley said...

I would sure like to know more about what the Tea Party is. I have heard about it many times on Talk Radio but always seem to catch it in the middle. It's protesting the ridiculous government spending right? Do we actually get out with signs and all? What happens at the tea party?
I see we have many I can choose from!

Kelle at The Never Done Farm said...

help with part of your question on herbals that help, well for lice on birds, cows, horses and sheep/ goats you can dust them with DE Diatomatoes(sp?) Earth. It's a fine ground volcanic dust and when the lice crawl across it it cuts them and they then die. Just be very careful not to let the animals breath in the dust or let it get into their eyes. You need to wear a mask and eye protection as well.

I'll check on herbals that retard ticks. Flies and miquitoes are a problem here and we have yet to find something that works well. I make up a tea with lemon balm, peppermint, camphor, garlic and rosemary which seems to deter them somewhat, but not 100%. I just brew and steep and then strain out herbs and put the tea in a spray bottle. Again be weary of getting it in their eyes.

Hope this helps. BTW. DE is avaliable through most organic coops or even organic seed companies and can be used on produce as well( works wonders for potato bettle larva and for cabbage worms), just wash produce well before using.

Annette said...

Flies on cattle? My dad used to talk about using Basic H, sold by Shaklee, to control flies. Just a drop to alot of water and that seemed to do the trick.

Keep us posted on what you find!

ChristyACB said...

In some places, no matter what you do the ticks, mosquitoes and flies can't be completely controlled.

BUT, for ticks I wholly second the Guineas Fowl. They will gobble them up some ticks like you wouldn't believe. A good number would be needed for any significant size just because of how fast ticks breed.

I use BT dunks and water as bait for skeeters. I put a bucket of nice water in the shade during the summer so it totally entices the skeeters. Of course, there is a BT dunk in it so..hehe..breed away!

There are some herbs you can use. I planted Fleabane and it does appear to have worked. For some reason, they just don't come near it. I use Frontline or Revolution but other animals don't so this keeps them pretty clear of my front yard. Pretty too.

DE is super stuff too but you really do have to be careful of getting it into your lungs or the lungs of your animals. They are microscropic shards of opalized silica from old diatoms. If you've ever seen it under a microscope it looks like bundles of razors. Oh whif won't hurt, it is a congromeration of it that does cause problems.

Looking foward to hearing what others may have out there. I'm always looking for more ways to kill off the skeeters that plague me here.

jc said...

I think that Guineas are probably your best bet for ticks...they can eat tons of them. Beside that, they are excellent watch dogs. Nothing, and I mean nothing, will come around that the guineas will not let you know about. For flies, I have heard old timers around the mountains of western NC say that ducks, especially Muscovy ducks, work well on keeping the fly population in check. They are also supposed to all but eliminate slug problems. For mosquitos, you can try attracting some Purple Martins. A few birdhouse gourds or one of the pre-fab houses may do it. I was also told that bats love mosquitos, so maybe a couple of bat boxes are in order. Diatomaceous earth (DE), in my estimation, is the absolute best "natural" flea control that can be had. I dust my goats and the goat pens in the barn with DE on a regular basis. No problem with fleas or mites or barn lice and I swear I think it helped with the flies as well (cut up the fly eggs and larvae). For mice and rats, other than a good cat, I have been told that rats detest the smell of catnip. I bought a pack of seeds and plan on planting some near the barn and feed room to see if it works. It may make a cat a little loopy, but it would be worth a try. Hope that little bit of info may help you out.

Phelan said...

If anyone is interested, Patriot Depot has T.E.A. Bumper stickers for $0.87

I have used the BT dunks before. I am just concerned about the bees. I don't want to harm them. Guess I need to do a little more research on it.

Carolyn Evans-Dean said...

Be careful with the diatomaceous earth... It can be hazardous to bees. It is great for using directly on your animals or in their bedding, but you wouldn't want to use it in areas that are outside in order to protect bees.

alrescate said...

Contact your conservation department about building bat boxes. If you can encourage some bats to move into your area that will help with the mosquitos.

Sandy@American Way Farm said...

I've used tea tree oil in water, then sprayed it on with a sprayer bottle, as a bug repellent. You can get the tea tree oil at any health food store. Stinks like turpentine. A little goes a long way when spraying it on. -Sandy

Kelsay said...

If you use a flea and tick drop for your dogs and other animals, I would suggest you stay completely away from anything from Sergeants. We put it on our dog and it started to rot away his skin. Very nasty.

I remember a cap full of vinegar worked wonders for ticks on our dogs, although a vet will completely deny it.

Keep us updated on this. I'm very interested to see the ideas people have.

Anonymous said...

I have horses, cow and goats and have had GREAT success with organic sustainably produced citronella oil as a wipe.

Anonymous said...

For rodents you might try the Mother Earth News peanut butter cookies. Use plaster of paris as a substitute for the flour.
The recipe should be in their CD's. I am still reading the first CD so have not gotten that far.

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