The Next Generation

Source: The Next Generation

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USPS talking about raising shipping / handling fees on live animals

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USPS wants to add from $9 to $12 per box shipping / handling fees for poultry. That would make the purchase of chicks ridiculous.
My answer isn’t going to be to complain to them, even though it would seriously impact the replacement cost for new pullets.
Nope, I’ll simply become my own breeder. I have roosters. I can find more roosters. I can buy an incubator.

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Thank you, Uncle Sam, for making me more self sufficient and less reliant on the government and its agencies.

Nana might be a redneck!

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Ant Season! Time to make bait.

It’s ant season at Nana’s Ranch. What that means is; we have ants picking up and moving into the house. There are a few things going on here:

  1. As it gets hot outside, some ants look for a cooler environment to move their eggs and larvae to. *The same thing happens in the rainy season when ants start leaving flooded subterranean homes and move their little ones to dry ground; our house.
  2. As their eggs hatch, hungry babies need to be fed and a well stocked but loosely guarded kitchen and pantry are excellent places to grab a meal to-go.
  3. The ants may be looking for something as benign as water.

The first step to keeping the ants away is cleaning. I wipe down all surfaces, change the trash and compost daily, and put food away ASAP. I also check the pantry often to make sure they haven’t found my honey or any other sweet syrup. If they have, I rinse it off and put it in the fridge until the problem is gone.

When I find ants milling about,  I spray them with a diluted mix of Dawn Dish washing liquid and water. It’s a 5% solution and is about as non-toxic as you can get. If you prefer an organic liquid dish soap, by all means use it. You may have to make the solution a little stronger. Rinse surfaces when the ants die. If it takes more than a couple of seconds for the ants to die, your solution is too weak. Add a little more soap.

The next step in erasing the problem is finding out where they’re coming from. Sometimes it’s a crack in the foundation or through a window sill. The ones in my kitchen right now are coming in through the sliding glass door at the dining room.

I hate using harmful chemicals @ Nana’s Ranch. I want every surface to be safe for food prep, pets, and grandchildren. That’s why I choose to make my own ant bait. Not only is it cheaper than store bought (never mind the trip to town to make the purchase) but it actually works. Now a days, you’re lucky if the ants even look @ the commercial products, let alone go in and take the bait.

When you make your own ant bait, you can adjust the recipe to fit your ants. They’re either going after sugar or fat. If a sugar recipe (jelly, jam, syrup, honey, sugar) doesn’t work, add a little oil and see if that works. I’ve used bacon grease in the past.

RECIPE FOR ANT BAIT

1 TABLESPOON WATER

1 TABLESPOON HONEY

1/4 teaspoon Boric Acid

Place all ingredients in a glass jar. Stir (heat honey if that helps) carefully. With a hammer and nail, bang several holes in metal lid to the glass jar. DO NOT DO IT WHEN THE LID IS ON THE JAR or you’ll shatter the glass and have more to worry about than an ant problem. 😛

Use glass, not plastic to protect pets. Some dogs would chew right through a plastic container to get to the sweet treat inside.

I lay the glass jar, lid screwed on tight, on its side just outside the door where the ants are traveling. Pouring just a drop of mixture onto the patio helps bait the ants.

Change out your mixture every few days – or just add a more honey / water / BA mixture to what’s already there.

It will take a couple of weeks to kill the ant colony. Have patience! The ants love this mixture and they will take it back to their babies. As it’s being consumed, there will be thousands, possibly tens of thousands, of ants swarming the jar. This is a good thing! It means they love your offering. If you don’t see a lot of activity, change your ingredients until you find something they seem to love.

CAUTION: Boric Acid is a caustic agent. Please read about it so you don’t put yourself or your family at risk.

Boric Acid can be purchased at most drug stores in the First Aid section. It is used as an eye rinse. Some pharmacies have stopped carrying it due to liability issues (at least they have here in pathetic California). I find it’s more available in rural than urban areas. Check on-line sources if you can’t find it near your home.

I put a second bait station under my kitchen sink. If the ants continue to be around the compost bin, I’ll place a small dish next to that (by the coffee maker). I don’t have a cat to worry about so an open container will work for me. If you have pets or children who might get into trouble, please safety first! Use a covered glass jar for all bait stations.

If there is no risk to children or pets, finding the nest and dusting around the opening with a little Boric Acid can be helpful. I also place it in the ant’s trail. This dusts their bodies with the caustic agent. If the ants are only going after water, this might be the only way to kill them.

Bentley Sings 1

Catahoulas are known for their singing. This isn’t a whine or a cry for attention or a potty break. Theirs is different. Listen to how his vocals seem to vibrate at times.
Bentley, our Catahoula / Weimaraner cross, likes to sit / lie / stand at the front windows and watch for squirrels, gophers, cats, and rabbits.
When he sees one, he starts to sing. When he sees squirrels and cats he get really excited. Gophers get him mildly excited and rabbits get some attention but not too much because he’s terrified of rabbits. We’re not sure why.
This video is of him watching a ground squirrel. Those evil little rodents walk around right in front of him sometimes. They have to know he’s there and can’t get to them.