It’s a heat wave, heat dome or whatever… it’s just freakin’ hot!

It’s hot folks. Really hot. The kind of summer heat that is usually reserved for August. I just got back in from doing morning chores (the earlier we start the better!) and at 8 AM it’s 80 degrees with a heat index of 85, ugh. We’ll likely top 100 today with a heat index well above that. It would be nice if we could kick back in the shade (or air conditioning) and sip on lemonade all day BUT the heat means more work. Watering the gardens and fruit trees, making sure all the critters have plenty of water and monitoring all of them to make sure they aren’t getting overheated takes most of the day. Continue reading

Chicken Coops & Duck Tractors

Chicken coops & duck tractors? I know what you’re thinking… what’s a duck tractor?! It’s like a chicken tractor but for ducks! If that still doesn’t answer it, a tractor is a floorless coop that can be moved. Why is it called a tractor? I really have no idea. Some people say it’s because it’s moveable but I’m not sold on that answer. What it does though is it allows for the benefits of free-ranging your flock but provides shelter for them and keeps them safe. My dad built a tractor for his ducklings and baby turkeys. He plans to build a second one so that as the turkeys and ducks grow he can separate them into two tractors. Continue reading

There Are Beetles and Then There Are Japanese Beetles… MUCH Worse

Japanese beetles…. one of the most destructive and hated of all garden pests. If you don’t have to deal with them where you live count yourself very lucky but be warned, they’ll probably move in eventually. Just as their name implies, the Japanese beetle originated in Japan but they’ve been in the US for approximately 100 years. They gradually spread but many areas of the country weren’t infested with the little devil buggers until the last 10 or 15 years. We didn’t have them on the farm until the last 7 or 8 years and the area I lived in for the past 20 years (which is approximately 200 miles from the farm) doesn’t have them at all… yet. Continue reading