Disgusting fly trap-my version

Now that the hot weather is here to stay ,I’m having a major battle with the flies.I started out the season using fly predators. It was hard to tell if they were working. I have a feeling they were at least helping some, but they just weren’t cost effective.  I got some of the really gross smelling plastic bag type traps. They work great, but once again, cost was an issue. So I decided to make my own.

received_10154087912690219

 

See, isn’t that gross?  I grabbed some juice jugs that had plastic handles on them. I tried several things for bait-including store bought stuff. The thing that seems to work best is scraps of raw meat. I throw that in and add a little soapy water. The down side of these jugs is that the opening is big enough for the flies to fly right back out. To remedy this you will need some sort of funnel. I had party hats left from a project. I cut he end off so that the whole was about the size of a dime. I put it in the opening and the trap was ready to hang. They are working just as well if not better than the store bought version.

Next time I will go over my home made, non toxic ant traps.

 

 

Busy!

Things sure have been busy on the feathered end here! I’ve had new birds hatching weekly. The brooder has been full of lavender amerecaunas, euskals, goslings,Ancona ducks, and midget white turkey poults.

First came a ” where did you come from” batch of chicks.

 

 

Then came the chickens

Next were the ducklings and a gosling. I brood everybody together in a wading pool

For now I am considering the amerecaunas sold out for the season. I may have more towards the end of the season. I currently have euskals chicks available. A limited amount of Ancona ducklings will be made available later this summer. Let me know if you are interested.

A little help

Geese can be a bit difficult to hatch. I’ve had fairly low success rates in the incubator. Letting the mom’s set improves hatch rates, but brings it’s own set of problems. They frequently need a bit of help. It is not uncommon for them to refuse to leave the nest. I bring my mommas food and water to make sure they stay in good condition. If you have multiple females they may fight over the nest. This can lead to broken eggs or eggs that get pushed away and die from the cold. You can also end up with mom’s who aren’t quite sure what to do with them once they do hatch. I heard peeping while I was out doing chores. I looked and found this egg about 5 feet from the nest. I had been outside and didn’t hear any scuffles, so I am guessing mom was freaked out and pushed it away. The little one got most of the hard work done and is still nice and lively, so I put the egg in the incubator. Looks like I better set up the brooder!IMG_3480

Finally Spring

 

It seems like spring took forever to get here. We have still had  scattered storms, but for the most part it’s been nice. There are so many projects I can’t wait to get going on.

I have a decent start going on the garden.It will be my first time actually planting in the ground. I have always done container gardens. The fruit tress are starting to blossom. It is interesting discovering the variety of plants that are on the property.  The birds are all settling in. I have been getting plenty of eggs. Everybody wants lavender amerecaunas, so I have a long list for those. I should have plenty of euskal oiloa chicks and Ancona ducklings. If anyone would like to be placed on the waiting list for any drop me a line at werecatrising@hotmail.com

IMG_2050
Anconas
FullSizeRender-16
My American buff geese
IMG_2620
Some of the euskal’s
FullSizeRender-18
My lavender roo

 

Home

Everyone is finally home. Dogs, cats,birds and rabbits. All here together. I feel like the previous chapter of my life is over. It’s time not to forget, but to take what I’ve been through and grow.

The property is beautiful. There is ample room for all the critters, a huge garden, and other projects I may choose to delve into. Various fruit trees are scattered around the grape vines. I will be adding to the trees come January.

 

 

 

 

IMG_4487

Here are two of the many apple trees; they are in the poultry yard

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_4483

A few of the many fruit trees

IMG_4484

These were loaded with grapes our first trip up

IMG_4481

Big empty spot. Shetland sheep?

IMG_4518 IMG_4517 IMG_4501

We had snow on the second day here.

I look forward to utilizing this space to it’s fullest and seeing where life leads me next.

Change

Within the space of a few weeks my life has been tossed upside down and right side (sort of) up again. It started with the devastating Butte fire, and is finishing up with a new place to call home.

As far back as I can remember I have had a fear of a house fire. When I  was a child I worried about the loss of treasured possessions. As I grew older I worried about the lives of my precious pets. Moving to an area where wildfires are a constant concern intensified this fear. If I was driving home and spotted smoke I knew it was my home. The sound of helicopters became closely associated with the threat of fire and was enough to cause an anxiety attack.

We had one evacuation several years ago. It forced us to come up with an evacuation plan for future emergencies. First we grab the cats. They tend to hide at the first sign of trouble. Next we confine the dogs so they can be out of the way and quickly loaded when ready. Step 3- round up whatever livestock is quick to catch and easy to contain. If we have time, run in and grab a few personal possessions before getting the hell out of there.

We dealt with a few semi close fires over the years and I started tp panic slightly less with each one. Then the devastating Butte fire hit. The whole thing was an emotional roller coaster. We heard word that we may need to evacuate on  that Wednesday. We knew how long it could take to get everyone rounded up, so we weren’t taking any chances.  We loaded everyone into the vehicles. Things were looking safe, so we spent several hours sitting on the porch waiting it out. Late that night things were looking good so we unloaded and started to relax. Turns out that was the last normal night for us.

I woke up early the next day. I had a friend coming to pick up some rabbit cages from a neighbor. We chatted and we loaded the cages into the truck. Just as we were finishing up the landlord came over. He heard things were getting bad and given the amount of animals we had I should probably think about heading out. Levi was at work, so I called him and he hurried home. We loaded everybody up as we had the night before. This time I grabbed a few extra things: my art supplies and the cremains of our pets that had passed.  I was heartbroken over the fact that I had to leave the birds behind. They are a challenge to catch on a good day. The smell of smoke and sound of helicopters seemed to have them in a panic. Even if I could catch them there was no way they would fit. I told myself since we were leaving before any official evacuation I’d have plenty of time to make a second trip for them. We hurried everyone off to a friend house who generously offered shelter for us and the entire crew. Things stayed steady overnight as I made plans for evac round two.

I headed back early that afternoon. I had barely arrived at the property when I got word that we were officially evacuated and had an hour to be out. I tried to wrangle birds, but quickly realized there was no way in hell I was getting them out of there within an hour. I made one trip inside to retrieve some medications and a picture I was working on for my Dad. I double checked that nothing was plugged in, grabbed various chargers and surge protectors and left in tears. I was leaving my beloved birds behind.

The next few days the real roller coaster hit. The fire grew out of control at a terrifying rate.  The entire town of Mountain Ranch was burning. Rumors were flying as well hateful remarks towards those who left early, or those who refused to leave. The fire kept creeping closer and closer to our home. As the days went on I got more desperate to find somebody to check on my flock. I was also desperate to get home and back to my routine. After all, I had spent most of the past year nearly house bound. If I did leave it was short trips and I never was able to go out more than a couple of days a week. Just as I was beginning to think I couldn’t take it anymore things started to get controlled. Rumor had it we would be able to return home in the next day or so. It had rained, not much, but enough so that my birds would have water. I went to bed that night feeling both relieved and guilty. It’s hard not to feel survivors guilt when so many had lost everything.

Then my whole world came crashing down. I woke up early and was bored so I decided to look on facebook, something I had been avoiding since I was overwhelmed by all the rumors and somber news. The first post I saw was that their is a structure fire at the corner of Winton and Bummerville. Our house was one in a little cluster in that area. Levi told me he had a co worker checking on the area. After the longest half hour of my life he told me it was not our place, but a neighbors.  The relief lasted a couple of minutes before the landlady called saying she heard it was our place. Levi went to see for himself. I felt sick, dead inside. I hadn’t had confirmation, but knew in my heart our house was gone. I did find some solace when Levi told be that although there was nothing left of the house, my birds were alive and appeared to be doing well.

The next few days were a blur. The one place I had felt at peace was gone. There were so many things to do and deal with. I was able to round up my birds with the help of friends. I spent a good deal of time dealing with redcross and their fair for grief ridden refugees. I also learned I was not nearly as alone as I had recently felt. Offers of help, kind words, and donations came pouring in. Several friends and strangers made a perfect area for my birds to roam. My dogs were well cared for until we could be reunited. Things were good for the present, I just had no idea what was in store.

The Future

I am excited to say that one of the Angels we were blessed with made it possible for us to buy our own home. Not only to I get to keep all of my precious animals, but I will be able to rebuild my little ranch bigger and better than before. I will have plenty of room for the birds, enough space to expand my rabbitry, and plenty of space left over for a big garden. There is a work shop that will allow me much more space for brooding young birds. I am very excited to increase the numbers of my endangered breeds; my basque hens, ancona ducks, and midget white turkeys. I will continue breeding my french angoras but will expand to include the endangered beveren rabbits.

Thanks to the love and support we have received, my worst nightmare is turning to a dream come true. Now it is time for a new Begining for Starlight Feathers ‘n Fiber.

Introducing,

Aslan

FullSizeRender-15This young man is our new LGD in training.  He is a 14 week old pyrenees/anatolian mix. I have been considering a new pup for a couple of years. Between the increasing boldness of the local predators and the increasing age of our current big white dog,  Darla, I decide there was no better time than now.

Part of my reason for hesitating is that I found the entire concept of raising an LGD pup a bit daunting. My other two came do me as adults after they were determined unsuitable for a typical household pet. I was extremely lucky in both cases. Both dogs took to their jobs with no help from me.

The Guardian breeds in general are more difficult for me. They don’t tend to be people pleasers like the working breeds I own. They seem to have a different language, a different currency. Still, I eventually got things worked out with the other two, so I felt confident that I could with a pup.

The majority of the training is being done by Darla. She has always been excellent with puppies. I take Aslan out of the pen a couple of times a day and let him hang out amongst the flock. He is a puppy and comes to bounce around and say hi, but already he is an independent little soul. He is fluid in his movement with the flock. The geese are obnoxious and like to yell at him, but for the most part nobody else pays any mind to him. He is part of the flock and not a reason for concern.

Of course I realize he is still a work in progress. It will be quite some time before he is considered trustworthy. All pups go through phases. I’m sure he will get into his rough, playful phase soon. For now he will train under the watchful eye of Darla and myself . I’m sure soon enough he will have the experience and know how to raise a future big white dog.