“A day in the country is worth a month in town”Christina Rossetti

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

The Secret to White Pants and Getting Skunk out of the Dog!

 OK. Its not a secret as I am about to share an article with a recipe. Strangely enough it is close to the recipe I have for getting skunk smell off a dog, cat or human!

I didn't change the amounts from the article, but the last time I used this recipe it was for a 10 pound cat so I made about a gallon in a milk jug. The Dawn portion was about a tablespoon. Proportion to the size of the offended animal or person!

Skunk Smell Removal

  • 1 five-gallon bucket or a large bowl
  • About ⅓ cup of Dawn dish soap
  • About a quarter of a bottle of hydrogen peroxide
  • Something to scrub with (a sponge or just your hands)
  • Water to rinse, and rinse and rinse!
Pour the ingredients together and mix. Gently pour or sponge over the animal/person till every bit of them are sudsy and slimy.  Let it sit as long as you can stand it and then rinse away. I had luck with one good wash.

NOTE: The green pants I wore to do this have fade patches from the recipe, so be careful what you wear. But they didn't smell!

So back to the article. Here you go for white pants for Fair showing and your basic summer attire! 

How To Get Stains Out of White Clothes

There are many different tactics to achieve a pristine pair of white pants, but some tactics work better than others

GREENWICH, N.Y. — "Keeping white clothes white can be a difficult task regardless of whether you are an adult or a child. Whether it is a pair of white jeans you are wearing in the dairy show ring or a pair you are wearing on the baseball field, they are going to inevitably get dirty. Leading us to the question, how do you get stains out of white clothes?"

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Right to Repair Legislation

"Farmers just want to get their machine going again."   Rep. Brianna Titone (D)

Last month, John Deere and the American Farm Bureau Federation signed a "memorandum of understanding" the ensures farmers and ranchers the right to repair their own farm equipment. 

Why is this important or even needed? 

At this time, the software, tools and manuals for equipment is not available to the owners or repair shops, even with hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in ownership of these machines. Farmers have to wait sometimes days for an authorized technician to make the repair.

Because of the warranty on farm machinery, it has cost farmers loss of work days and loss of ideal planting and harvesting conditions.

Bills are being introduced in Colorado and ten other states that would force manufacturers to provide the tools, software, parts and manuals needed for farmers to do their own repairs.

 Manufacturers argue this will expose trade secrets and allow illegal tampering among other arguments. 

For more on this story: 11 states consider 'right to repair' for farming equipment | Morning Ag Clips

Monday, January 23, 2023

Why the High Egg Prices?

 For my own benefit, and yours, I'd like to pass on some articles here and there to keep us informed of agriculture news and facts.

I am amused when I see comments of people calculating how much money they can save by having their own hens, not realizing the cost of mature pullets ready to lay, the cost of feed and the need for a safe (from predators, weather and disease) facility to keep them.

Its almost ten years since we left On the Pond Farm. At some point 17, 18 years ago, I calculated how much feed my hens used, their egg production and how much I would need to charge for a dozen eggs to break even. Yes, I was a small scale producer with free range brown hens, so my costs would be a bit higher. The cost was about $2.00 a dozen in a day and age when people were used to going to the store for .99 cent per dozen white eggs. How egg production cost the mass producers more than a dollar less so there was any profit is a mystery to me. I always felt the real cost was absorbed by the grocery shops as a "come on". That I don't know.

Again, we have a problem that comes and goes regularly - avian influenza. The following is an informative article from Oklahoma State University Extension. 

Higher egg prices are the new normal in 2023 | Oklahoma State University (okstate.edu)

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Working Sheep

Sharing information laden with a touch of humor today. 

Lancaster Farming had this post on Facebook.

Solar power installations make row crop production challenging, if not mostly impossible. But a lot of grass — pasture — can grow under those panels. A Penn State webinar that aired during the
Pennsylvania Farm Show
explored the ways solar and ag can coexist. One way is to let livestock graze the land between panels. But not goats, because they climb all over everything, and not cattle because they knock stuff over. But sheep — they pretty much just want to eat.
A report on the webinar Solar Energy and Agriculture: New Opportunities will appear in our Jan. 16 edition.


Thursday, December 17, 2020

Working Goats

 I hope there will come a time when using sheep or goats for landscaping our home lawns and woods is a norm. Those of you who followed On the Pond Farm eight years ago and more, know how effectively the goats could cut a straight line in the field or on the pond hill.

The fear for people who haven't had the up close experience, including one of my old neighbors, is smell. At least for goats, unless you have a breeding age buck (intact mature male), the smell you will find is in a dirty barn. Grazing and "fertilizing" on pasture, or in my suggested case, on a lawn, spreads the wealth and there is little to no smell. You don't believe me? That's okay, but when your neighbors decide to give goat landscaping a try, wait to judge. 

This week an old Ligonier friend posted this WSJ article and I'm glad to see the positive comments within the article. But best of all the good news to one neighborhood in California.

Well-Employed in Pandemic Times: Landscaping Goats - WSJ

"And they leave no cut grass behind. He credits their appetite with saving his neighborhood from a 2018 blaze called the Woolsey fire, which destroyed more than 1,500 buildings on 97,000 acres and took several lives. Mr. Gerstel said the flames reached the edge of the area the goats had grazed on, then stopped."

Sheep grazed on the White House lawn in 1919.


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Seed Libraries - A Win In Pennsylavnia For All Of Us

Such good news has to be shared.
I first saw the announcement this morning on The Small Farmers Journal site that I'm not even sure how I got to. I'm so glad I did.
Yesterday one of my favorite organizations,  PASA (Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture), along with Grow PittsburghThe Pittsburgh Food Policy Council, and The Public Interest Law Centerreleased a statement with this heading:

Seed Libraries in Pennsylvania Allowed to  Engage in Free Seed Exchange
PA Department of Agriculture
Clarifies that Seed Act of 2004
Does Not Apply to Non-commercial Seed Libraries

"In providing this clarification, Pennsylvania sets a precedent to protect and encourage seed libraries throughout the commonwealth."...

"The Act was originally applied to a seed library at the Joseph T. Simpson Library in Mechanicsburg, PA, which severely limited its operations as a result."...

"PASA Executive Director Brian Snyder issued the following statement: “We need regulation in the seed industry to protect farmers and other, more casual consumers. But we also need communities working together to make our food systems more accessible to all people. Seeds are a basic element of human life and wellbeing. Without this kind of informal cooperation among neighbors, that wellbeing is very much at risk.”"

This Simpson Library story was a frustrating one, so it is wonderful to see a fairly quick and sensible resolution from the PA Department of Agriculture. Lets call it a win for the "little people", the home gardener and the heritage seed savers of the past 10,000 years of seed saving. Woah!  That's huge!
Last year's lupine seedlings from a neighbor's seeds.
Many states have seed libraries within libraries and other community places. If you want to learn more, you can start at the Seed Library site and see all the ways you can get involved.

I'm also attaching the links below so that you can read the related articles to their fullest and be thankful of the work the mentioned organizations accomplished.
P.S. Plant your peas tomorrow for St. Patrick's Day. No "two feet of snow" excuse this year for us.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A New Kid - Owen Riley

December is a big month for our family, as it may be yours, with all the holiday madness. In the past few years its gotten even bigger and busier here, with grandson Jacob's birthday on the 4th, mine on the 11th and between the two of us now is Jacob's baby brother Owen Riley, born December 9th. With the hereditary lack of promptness, Owen was able to spend his extra time growing to 21 inches and weighing in at 8lbs. 3 ounces at 8:27AM when he was delivered by Cesarean section.

Once again the labor and delivery area was a madhouse, and the nursery short staffed for the flurry of activity that morning. I was lucky to be waiting in the visitor's room when Owen was rolled up the hall for a visit before he went to the nursery for his "bath".  Because of the lack of staff to prepare and supervise the rooms, I felt like I was at the airport with three peoples worth of "carry-on", sitting there with bags and cameras and reading materials.
Jacob holding his brother for the first time.
My daughter Kristin and son-in-law Andrew were able to bring Owen safely home during one of the warmest December days in history. All the grandparents and Auntie Jess have taken a turn at burping and changing, with some cooking and big brother entertaining on the side.

Now that I have these two December birthdays around me, I am planning my future getaways with my boys. Oh! What fun we will have!
(And I am dreaming of the next little goat farm for the future 4-H duo!)