Yep, that's me...
standing in the middle of our hayfield.
Which, by the way, is way overdue for harvesting.
Mother Nature has a way of making these decisions for us.
With the weather being the deciding factor,
and the schizophrenic weather patterns we have been having...
well, we just have not been able to get this hay mowed, dried, and baled.
Hopefully, later this week [crossing fingers].
Mother nature throws a lot of curve balls at those of us who try to live off the land
(as much as possible).
Weather is something we deal with...we have no influence on it.
Pests, however, are a different subject.
And Mother Nature offers us many pests....
ones that drive our animals crazy,
and ones that would devour our harvest if they could.
Luckily, we are not unarmed when it comes to pests.
However, practicing organic farming limits the weapons in our arsenal.
In my sustainability studies
(and also in my current read Farmacology)
I have come across the philosophy of Integrated Pest Management several times.
The principles of IPM are ones of utilizing techniques to keep pests at bay
rather than eradicating them altogether.
Past history has shown us that when we try to chemically destroy pests,
the strong ones survive and eventually develop resistance to those chemicals.
Those chemicals, sadly, are also toxic to us and to our friends the honeybees!
We have adopted some of the principles of IPM here on the farm.
We plant certain herbs and flowers around our gardens to attract the pests away
from our vegetables and fruits.
For example, sunflowers attract stink bugs.
Tansy, a non-edible herb is also an insect attractant.
Planting marigolds around your tomatoes is another example.
In areas of standing water, such as our rain barrels,
we use these Mosquito Dunks, which employ a bacteria to kill mosquito larvae.
This bacteria is harmless to our environment.
Fly control is always a major concern with farm animals, as flies can make life
almost intolerable for our critters.
We have invested in several of these solar fly catchers.
(available from Arbico Organics....see my side bar)
They are the most effective fly trap we have ever tried...
utilizing a stinky yeasty bait mixture to attract the flies, which then fly upward into the metal trap.
The sun, shining on the trap, desiccates the flies; which can then be composted.
I cannot recommend this fly trap enough (it catches flies by the hundreds)!
We also use this apparatus to attract and catch horseflies.
Seriously, it does not discriminate, and catches all types of flies.
We have found that it is most effective when we hang these traps beneath it.
The combination of the two are better than either one alone.
Utilizing beneficial insects that destroy destructive pests
is another principle of IPM.
Beneficials are insects like ladybugs, who will attack and destroy other insects.
I ordered 100 green lacewing eggs
and sprinkled them all over my garden boxes.
These tiny larvae have voracious appetites and will devour aphids and other pests
before the pests get a chance to devour the garden.
I wanted to give you an update on the bird re-arranging that we did a week ago.
The chickens have all settled in to their new homes quite nicely.
The turkeys, however, are still a little confused at bedtime,
and need a little guidance back to their new roosts.
And when a little guidance is not enough,
well, we just pick them up and carry them home.
Usually carrying one is enough, as the second will tag along.
After all, these two never let each other out of their sights!
And of course, every task has a few extra helpers...dogs, cats, guineas...
whoever happens to be in the area at the time.