Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Be Warned

I have always hated spam but compared to what others have told me about how much they receive everyday, I figured we were pretty lucky. We use MailWasher Pro located at to filter, sort and preview our mail before downloading it. This has always worked well for us.

If an email is suspicious we can view is safely in MailWasher to determine its legitimacy, then download or delete it. We used to blacklist email addresses with it as well but spam email is mostly cloaked and there is no reason to penalize an innocent mail server.

As of October 19th we were receiving about 70 spam emails per day, that was normal for us. Then we listed a mare on Craigslist, we got several serious inquiries on her or at least they seemed serious.

Some of the inquiries were just: "Is the mare still available?". When we answered them back, "Yes, she is still available.", we never heard anything from them again.

The flood gates were opened. As of today, we are receiving about 300 spam emails per day and climbing. These inquiries are nothing more than a way to get you to respond and reveal your email address. It is then put on a spam list as a current and active email address.

We thought that if we used Craigslist again, we would just list a phone number and say that we will not respond to emails but my Son listed an item on there and actually got a spam phone call. It's a dangerous world out there...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Poison Mushrooms

Yesterday I posted about hunting fall mushrooms, the reason that we got interested in hunting them was because of a mushroom incident that happened to our Pastor.

He recently took his little dog out for her morning walk in the yard when she grabbed up something white in her mouth in a playful way. He realized that it was a mushroom and yelled at her to drop it, she did drop it but I guess she didn't drop it quick enough, the damage was already done.

Within 15 minutes she was vomiting and then the bloody diarrhea began. He rushed her to the Vet. They immediately started an IV when he walked through the door with her, she was obviously dying.

They managed to save her life but she certainly would have died if he had not seen her pick the mushroom up and realized how serious the situation was. They later identified the mushroom on the Vet's computer. She was at the Vet's office for a week and doesn't seem to have any long term affects from her experience at this time.

The Vet was concerned that with the rainy weather that we have had this year, these mushrooms are in everyone's yard. He said that it is rare that pet owners actually see their pets eat or play with the mushroom or toadstool. Most of the time people don't know what makes their dogs sick or why they just get sick and die suddenly.

I am not a mushroom expert, so I won't try to educate anyone here on my blog but it would probably be a good idea to do a little mushroom research to familiarize yourself with some of the things that you commonly see in your area. There are some mushrooms that are only mildly toxic and others that are deadly.

As a matter of fact, one of the spring mushrooms that I have enjoyed from the time I was a child is mildly toxic. You would have to eat a lot of them to make you sick. But some of the summer and fall mushrooms that I have never thought about eating are said to be safe and delicious. I have tried eating giant puffballs that grow like pumpkins here in the fall but didn't think that they tasted all that great.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Tough Kids

Country kids are so much fun. Our two Granddaughters, ages 5 and 6, were on fall break Thursday and Friday, they spent both nights with us. So they were here all day Friday and Saturday.

They entertained themselves by herding the chickens. They kept them in a tight little group, running and chasing them while screaming and giggling. Finally the sounds of shear joy brought Mamaw out of the house to see what they were up to. They got a stern warning about why they should never chase or otherwise annoy chickens. They took the lecture like they take most other lectures, with sly little smiles on their faces. Sometimes I have doubts that I am getting through, other times I know I'm not.

They enjoy simple pleasures when they are here. I was called upon to take them for walks on both Friday and Saturday. All of my Grandkids love for me to take them for walks for some reason. I think they like the sounds my lungs make after climbing steep slopes and crawling up mountainsides or maybe the different shades of color that my face turns.

It had rained most of the day on Friday, so the mud was just the right consistency to be super slick. They both had on black rubber boots with cleats but I had on my worn out Crocks which have no sign of the tread that used to grace their bottoms.

I managed somehow to stay upright, though it was difficult at times. Both of the girls nearly fell a couple of times with one of them finally getting the job done.

What they love to do on these walks is hunt mushrooms and arrowheads. We have done some study on fall mushrooms and while we haven't eaten any yet, we have found some. As for the arrowheads, we haven't found any complete or good ones for awhile but they still collect the chips and broken pieces. They also collect any rock that they think is beautiful.

On Saturday night after grilled chicken, baked potatoes and smores prepared on an open campfire, the two girls and I settled in around the fire for singing and scary stories. I had their baby brother bundled up in a warm blanket on my lap. He didn't last long, it was too dark and comfy, he was snoring within minutes.

The girls sang a few songs then took turns telling scary stories. I pointed out a ghost light in the woods but that didn't interest or scare them. Then I pointed out the fact that their Daddy would probably sneak around in the darkness and try to scare them but that didn't interest them either. He does that so much that it has lost it's affect.

While they were busy trying to outdo each other with their stories, the coyotes started singing nearby. Now this would have added to the general atmosphere of the evening for most young children but not my Granddaughters. I shushed them to listen and they listened for maybe 3 seconds and resumed their stories. Then another pack of coyotes started their howling on the other side of us, very close. I shushed the girls again, to which they deep sighed and immediately started back with the stories.

I gave up, I realized that these country girls just don't scare easily. They have heard coyotes before, so what's the big deal? They have been outside after dark before, so what's the big deal? Their little sister who will be 3 in December, is much more fun. She is terrified of Pirates and Chicken Poop.

The only thing that I have been able to scare these two older girls with is Gobblezilla, he is a giant Turkey who only comes around at Thanksgiving time. He rides on top of their car and is always waiting out there in the darkness ready to gobble them up.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ladybug Wars

After the first year of welcoming Ladybugs into our home as carriers of good luck, I found that this was just a myth. The following years have been all out war. I found that spraying my windows, outside and inside walls with Raid "Ant and Roach" spray was fairly effective. But last year only a few Ladybugs showed up on our doorstep in October, so I thought that I was either winning the war or their numbers were just dwindling.

I was wrong, as usual. This year they came back with a vengeance. They caught me totally unaware and unprepared. Their numbers have greatly increased and their immune systems are in top notch shape. Someone needs to be studying their immune systems instead of developing all of these wacky flu vaccines.

The first day of their return was in swarms of Biblical proportions. My Grandchildren were here and had planned to spend that beautiful, sunny, Autumn day in the great outdoors. They eventually gave up that dream and complained to me that the Ladybugs were being overly annoying to the point of aggression. I went out with them a few times and we had to stop at the door to scrape them off of one another's clothing before coming back into the house.

I jumped online with my speedy dial-up to see what to do since I had no Raid available. The article that I read suggested Lemon scented household cleaner, any would do. I tried it and it seemed to work as well as the Raid. But even Raid couldn't have kept them out in these numbers and with this determination.

When my DH got home from work on the second day of the attack. He had heard from others who were experiencing the same battles, that Lemon scented candles burning inside one's home could turn away these invaders. He also heard that Wasp and Hornet spray would kill them. I have never tried this but desperate people have desperate ways.

Of course, I had no Lemon scented candles but he had also heard that they don't like Blueberry candles. Believe it or not, I did happen to have one Blueberry scented candle in my candle drawer. With a feeling of this being our last great hope, I triumphantly lit the Blueberry candle in our only bedroom window which happens to be the weak point of our defense.

It really did a great job, I am not saying that it was 100% effective but it was about 89% effective and that is really good when dealing with Ladybugs. Next year I will be armed with both Lemon and Blueberry candles. I will also have Raid "Wasp and Hornet" spray on hand just in case things get ugly.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Secret Stash

We have been bad mouthing our hens for a few weeks. Some of them have been busy molting, that has been obvious. But the others had no excuse for not laying any eggs at all. We have gotten a couple of eggs every two or three days which was pretty bad for around 18 hens.

I was looking around the barn the other night, this was not the first time that I had looked for a hidden nest but this was the first time I found one. Underneath the big piece of cardboard that my DH uses to lay on under the truck when he changes the oil, I found their secret stash. This was on the same night that my DH was talking about getting rid of all of them and starting out fresh in the Spring.

It was a small but deep nest. The eggs at the very bottom were all broken. There were 18 unbroken eggs. The funny thing is that since I removed all of the eggs and cleaned the nest, they have not used that nest again. So we are back to getting one or two eggs every other day. I know that it is getting colder but we got eggs all during last winter.

I have slipped back into my non-blogging habit again, the truth is that I have been reading books. I bought several Tony Hillerman books last Christmas for my Step-Dad and for myself but hadn't read but a few of them. My Step-Dad gave me all of his when he was done with them.

I picked up one of them a few weeks ago and I have been obsessed ever since. I am on a reading marathon. It was really nice while I was sick to lay in bed and read but now that I am better, I can't get out of the habit.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Great Blog Posts

I am really doing good, I have actually been posting to my blog for the last few days. I hope to keep it up but make no guarantees. Since I am still not feeling on top of the world, I have even taken a little time to read some other blogs that I try to follow.

Here are just two great posts that I have found:

Animal Cruelty

Think this can't happen in America?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Blood and White Stuff In Eggs

This blog is in answer to my Daughter-in-law's question about the things that she found inside her Grandmother's farm fresh eggs.

A chalaza is a white threadlike structure in an egg which helps to keep the yolk in place inside the shell, like an anchor. Sometimes, there are two of these visible on opposite sides, other times only one is visible. Over time this rope can get twisted as the yolk moves around inside the shell, making it look thick and bumpy.

The chalaza is perfectly safe to eat, although it can be removed if you wish. The more visible the chalaza is, the fresher the egg. This is why they are not very noticeable in store bought eggs. If you are reading this post without ever getting eggs fresh from the farm, you probably don't even know what I am talking about because you have never seen one.

Blood Spots or Meat Spots that are sometimes found in eggs are caused by ruptured blood vessels during the formation of the egg.

Candling methods can reveal blood spots in eggs, if you wish to go to the trouble. However, as the egg ages the yolk takes up water from the albumen and dilutes the blood spot making it vanish, so blood spots actually indicate that the egg is super fresh. Again, this is the main reason that these meat spots, like the chalaza are not normally found in store bought eggs. Eggs with these spots are perfectly fine to eat or the spot can be removed with the tip of a knife.

Finding chalaza or meat spots in your eggs do not reflect the quality of the eggs. They only tell you that your eggs are fresh. The color of the yolks are the real test of quality. The lighter the yolk the less nutritional value.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Conspiracy Theory

Wow! Two blogs in one day, can you tell that it is raining outside?

I was talking to my eldest Son this morning and he brought up this attack that we made on the Moon today. He is a pretty deep thinker and tends to be skeptical about most things. If you didn't hear or read about it, NASA crashed an empty rocket hull into the moon. Then followed it up with another crash of a probe loaded with cameras. The probe was suppose to send us pictures of the crashes, so that we could see if there was any ice anywhere.

My Son told me that he didn't really think that this was a fact finding mission. He believes that since we successfully landed on the moon in the 60's and didn't stay there for any length of time, that we were probably run off by the aliens who live there. He also believes that the powers that be figured out that those aliens were getting ready to attack us. This talk of finding water or ice was just a cover.

I listened to his theory, thought about it and came up with my own theory. I believe that he is probably right in his thinking but what hadn't occurred to him was that they brought one of those aliens back to Earth with them to study. This alien ended up escaping and becoming President of the United States.

This little stunt today was just another cover-up. They were destroying his long lost birth records so the truth will never get out, he won't risk losing his Presidency or his Nobel Peace Prize. I am not sure that you have to be an Earthling to win the Nobel Peace Prize but I do think that you have to be one to be the President of the U.S.

Ark Building

I know that I haven't blogged in quite awhile, which is what happens when you are so busy that you don't have time to turn around. I have been so busy building this ark, but the good news is that it is nearly ready. We are suppose to get a bunch more rain this morning and afternoon, so we will see if this thing will float.

I have had some type of flu-like thing again. I have had a really, really sore throat, fever, cough and pounding headache. I have been a good girl and have stayed home so that I do not spread the joy. But my Grandkids have all been here and I, of course, kissed them all good-bye each time they left. I felt terrible after they were gone and I realized what I had done. The truth be known, they probably gave it to me in the first place.

My two milk does have been moved into the barn stall, since they have completely quit respecting their goat lot boundaries. We asked a neighbor who was borrowing one of our electric fence chargers if we could have it back. Now we just have to get the thing hooked up on the goat lot. Our main fence charger is just running too many miles of fence to be effective.

I have lost two hens, one of my Rhode Island Reds to old age and one of my Silver Laced Wyandottes to our Grullo Stallion. The chickens always hang around where Badger is eating his grain. They like picking up the grain that he drops with his sloppy eating habits. He probably just accidentally stepped on the hen but since I wasn't there I don't know for sure what happened. She was just laying dead beside his feeder.

Other poultry news is that my hens have nearly quit laying. We are only getting one to two eggs every other day from 17 hens. This is pretty hard on us since milk and eggs are our main food source. My summer hatches are all D'Uccle bantams, who won't be laying at all this winter anyway even if they were mostly hens which they aren't. We do have some really fancy Mille Fleur D'Uccle Roosters for sale though.

My husband's sister called us up a few weeks ago, her neighbor had two bantam Cochin pullets to give away, sure, I would take them. When I got there to pick them up they were Frizzles, all the better. They were sweet and friendly but after a couple of days I noticed that my D'Uccle Cockerels were picking fights with them, then I noticed that the Frizzles were picking fights with the D'Uccles. Then my DH mentioned that my new pullets were trying to crow. Never take free pullets, chances are they aren't pullets at all.