Spring, Finally

After the most amazingly wet and cold spring ever, the sun is shining. Beautiful weather. I spent Thursday in the Bay Area on business, and got home late Friday afternoon. I put the rotary mower on the back of the tractor after 7 PM and got almost two hours of mowing done before the sun touched the western hills. These long days come in handy.

The grass was over knee-high, even though I had mowed it once or twice before it became too wet to mow again. Never seen a spring like it. Normally, my neighbors would be almost done cutting hay by now. They haven’t even started yet. Strange year. read more...

Coccidiosis on pasture? Impossible!

Man, I thought I’d seen everything. But this one’s weird. The life cycle of coccidiosis is interrupted if you move the chickens to a new patch of ground every day. Coccidiosis is a in intestinal protozoan parasite, and it depends on infecting and reinfecting the victims through feces. Not just any feces, either — feces that has been aged enough but not too much. The coccidia in the poop aren’t ready to reinfect the birds until they go through a life-cycle change, which takes about three days. With daily-move pasture pens, you leave yesterdays poop behind before (to get technical about it) the oocysts can sporulate. read more...

Sweet, Sweet Compost: The Hydrated Lime Trick

Here’s an old trick that might help you: if you sprinkle hydrated lime on top of your compost heap, pets and wildlife won’t dig it up, flies won’t land there, and there will be no smell.

Not that compost heaps are supposed to smell if you do it right, but our compost heap has broiler-processing waste in it — such as blood, feathers, and offal — which are mighty tempting to your average raccoon. Trowel on some hydrated lime, and voila! Problem solved. read more...

Rural High-Speed Internet

My satellite TV signal is going south on me, so I’ve ordered a new antenna. The old one is an ancient Hughes “DirecPC” antenna, which got me thinking about rural high-speed Internet.

When I first returned to Oregon, I used dial-up. It was painfully slow and consumed a phone line. I quickly switched to DirecPC (now HughesNet), which was a huge improvement. No comparison. I got satellite TV at the same time, using the same antenna for both.

Satellite Internet works in places that have no phone service, which is useful for people who are way out yonder. This doesn’t apply to me, though. read more...

Keeping Track of the Blog: Email or RSS?

Several people have asked me if they can get email notifications for new blog entries, so I’m trying a third-party notification service called “Bot-a-Blog”.

Just click the “BOT ABLOG” button near the lower right-hand edge of the page and sign up for an account. (Let me know how you like it.)

Another, probably better alternative, is get your feet wet with RSS, as follows:

1. Go to http://www.igoogle.com and follow their “Create a home page in 30 seconds” instructions. read more...