Saturday, August 19, 2017

Rural Delivery: Some Summer Days


by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 1997. All rights reserved.

There are days in summer that are dry as a bone and blistering hot. There are days when the sun burns and the wind peels and lightning starts wildfires that race out of control. Summer skies can be brown with soot and thick with allergens, or they can be broiling with a violence that strips and drowns and washes away.

But there are other summer days, such as today, that open like the bloom of a colorful flower. Scented with the sweet fragrance of fresh-cut alfalfa, they arrive with a kiss of dew and the enveloping warmth of dawn.

There are summer days sweet as a crisp apple that beckon bite after bite down to a core of contentment. Their still mornings lie across the countryside like a Maxfield Parrish painting, lustrous and idyllic.

Continued at... Some Summer Days

Rural Delivery
Outgoing
The Nature Pages
Artwork: A Summer's Day by Alfred Sisley


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Here's How To... Control Yellow Jackets


Late summer is the season for yellow jacket wasps, one of  the most common stinging insects homeowners encounter. There are steps that can be taken to control them.

These social wasps build their nests underground in abandoned rodent burrows, under compost piles, in voids of wood and sometimes in trees or shrubs. The nest is constructed out of paper and holds the queen and her many workers.

Yellow jackets are an important health risk due to their aggressive nature when disturbed and the fact that individual wasps can sting multiple times.

Follow the link to... Control Yellow Jackets.

Here's How To...
How To Do It
Artwork: Yellow Jacket Eating a Bee


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Home Grown: Stopping Squash Bugs


Squash bugs (Anasa tristis) feast on squash, melons, and pumpkins. Adults and the younger nymphs suck the sap from the plants and feed on the fruits, causing moderate to severe plant damage. The feeding damage causes spots, yellowing, and browning of leaves and fruits. The pest can destroy the plant’s runners or side shoots.

Adult squash bugs are similar to stink bugs, but emit an odor only when crushed. Plant debris and leaf litter left in the yard provides shelter for overwintering squash bug adults.

Starting in the spring months, they begin to lay orange-colored eggs on the undersides of squash leaves and stems in a very precise pattern. Nymphs, which resemble spiders, will begin to hatch in 1 to 2 weeks. When first hatched, they stay clumped together.

Continued in... Stopping Squash Bugs

Home Grown
Home and Garden Center
Pest Control
Artwork: Squash Bugs

Monday, July 31, 2017

Growth Spurts: Grain Bin Maintenance


Before grain harvests begin, it is critically important to check the condition of harvest equipment and bins before bringing in the crop.

Your grain crop is a major investment that needs to be protected. Grain quality does not improve in storage. At best, the initial quality can only be maintained. If you take the extra time to make sure conditions are good for storing grain, then you are protecting that investment.
   
Proper storage begins with the condition of the harvested grain, including moisture level and how it leaves the combine and then is transported and handled.

continued in Grain Bin Maintenance

Growth Spurts
Farm Supply
Farm Magazines
Artwork: Grain Bin model 1/64 scale

Rural Delivery: The Dog Days of Summer


by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 1997. All rights reserved.

These are the dog days of summer, a time of year when creeks run dry, the air stands still and the sun beats down relentlessly, day after day, or so it seems.

These are the days when we rediscover shade, pools, and the contents of our freezers. Cooling off becomes an obsession.

Over-heated hounds do lounge beneath porches and trees on hot afternoons, but it is not for them that "dog days" were named. Instead, this parching period pertains to Sirius, the "Dog Star," which rises and sets with the sun from mid-July until September. Sirius is also called "The Scorching One." Its lurid presence on the horizon evokes desperate memories of withered crops, raging wildfires and infernal droughts.

Continued at... The Dog Days of Summer

Rural Delivery
Out There
Nature Pages
Artwork: Dog Days of Summer Garden Flag

Farm Direct: Raising Meat Goats


Increased market opportunities have led many folks to consider raising meat goats, but many are unfamiliar with modern production techniques. And because the interest in meat goat production is new, there are few experienced goat producers in most areas to help newcomers in their desire to learn as much as possible.

In addition, importation of new breeds has stimulated a breeding industry which needs herds to produce purebred breeding stock as well as animals for exhibition.

The commercial goat meat industry is almost entirely ethnic, (Muslim, Hispanic). It is affected by the dates of various religious holidays shown below plus others. The dates for most holidays change from year to year. Islamic holidays change by 11 days each year.

Continued on the Tip Sheet: Raising Meat Goats

Farm Direct
Husbandry
Chevon
Artwork: Boer Goat

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Husbandry: Controlling Varroa Mites in Bee Colonies


Varroa mites are a voracious threat to honey bees in some areas. If left untreated, they can build population levels that will destroy a populous colony.

"There is no chemical or management procedure that will completely eradicate this pest, so individual treatment regimes must be developed," writes James E. Tew in The Beekeeper’s Problem Solver. "One method is drone brood trapping. Drones require approximately 23 days to mature, while workers require just shy of 21 days. Apparently due to the longer development time, Varroa mites preferentially seek out developing drones. You can therefore use drone combs to attract mites away from other areas of the brood nest."

Once the comb is filled and the drone brood is mostly capped, it should be removed and placed in a freezer. Both drones and mites will be killed, and the comb can be reused.

During warm months, Tew suggests performing this eradication procedure about every 18–20 days.

Artwork: Beehive Kit
Husbandry
Animal Husbandry and Livestock Books
The Beekeeper's Problem Solver