Wild Moon Cottage is a small working homestead in the pristine Ozark Mountains. We have dairy goats, poultry, organic herb and vegetable gardens, a start of a tiny fruit orchard, several black walnut trees, wild berries and fields of wildcrafting goodness. We raise our own milk, our own eggs, much of our own medicine and food. I do laundry by hand, make my own vinegar, candles, soap, bread, cheese ........ For a living I am an artist and herbalist. My goal for myself and our homestead is to be as self sufficient and self sustaining as possible.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Snake Repellent, Clawfoot Tubs & Hazelnut Trees

To find bliss, we must become bliss.
                  (Juli - Wild Moon Zen)

It's been soooo bloody hot here but I know it has been everywhere and it could certainly be a lot worse so I will just say it's hot.

We had 2 black snakes in the henhouse for about a week. They were eating all the eggs and the larger one (4 to 5 feet) killed two of our Buff henlets. I tried all sorts of things to catch them (I have a strong fear of snakes) but nothing worked. It got to the point that I was considering killing them but I thought to look up herbal or natural snake repellents as a last try. I found nothing at first, no herbs to deter them ... but then I cam across one posting about using borax. It's worked wonderfully so far! I sprinkled it in every crack and crevice, under the nest boxes and under the nests in the boxes (be sure the chickens can't eat it and clean their water bowls etc.). I also added some under the henhouse in case they're living under it (very likely).

I cleaned the henhouse about 2 weeks later and swept out any that was with poop ... I left what was under and in the boxes and just replaced the old hay with fresh put fresh. Another week or so went by and still no loss of eggs or henlets, so over 3 weeks on that one batch.

Yesterday Nik found one of the snakes climbing up to a nest, I couldn't think what to do so I came with the borax and, like magic snake dust, I sprinkled some on his midsection (careful not to get it in his face) and to my surprise he backed out quickly and came right at me *o* I got out of the house and he turned and headed out the hen door to the forest. I would say they don't like it at all! I added more under the nests and under the boxes and a little along the wall they seem to travel along. We'll see but I do think it's working.

Some most excellent news ... we have a wonderful old claw foot tub :) :) :) :) It was 103 to 107 the day we went to pick it up but it was soooo worth it. We have the solar shower for summer and it's working perfectly but now we can also bathe in winter :) :) after we get the bathroom torn apart and the tub in but why worry about the little things.

The bathroom plan is .... tear out the shower completely and block off the drain. Remove the water heater. Leave the wall beside toilet or build new one. Figure out how to get the tub in, run the drain pipe out to Queens bridge. Hook up the water and bathe :) I will also figure out a way to create shower with ring for curtain, probably fed by a barrel as well. Then, redo the sink drain to also run to queens bridge. Eventually put in door to lead to solar shower and build deck outside bathroom and as shower floor. Easy!

There is a small new shower in the bathroom now but it does not drain at all, nor does the bathroom sink. The kitchen sink drains into the bathroom shower *-* the plumbing is a crazy mess.

Speaking of decks and floors and things ... Sunday we went and picked up 30 more pallets for some of my many pallet projects. I think these are going to front and back steps for the house and stalls for the barn.

And now I'm working on fleas and mice of all things! We have never had bad fleas, ever. thank goodness. Until this year. I have been very lacking on keeping everyone regular on their flea remedies (biscuits for dogs, cookies for goats, yum for the cats), and borax once a month on the carpets, vacuum often etc etc etc... But the year has been so busy that it got away from me. which is no excuse since the animals suffer most from it. Hopefully the flea problem is close to an end now tho and I'll keep on it so it doesn't happen again.

We are also infested with mice! Using a cheap plastic walmart live trap we've caught 6 of them! The little bastards got into the pantry and got food, which can Not be afforded to feed mice with. It has really freaked me out. They don;t take or eat much but all the food they got into has to be thrown out. It hurts my stomach to think about it.

I have Pennyroyal drying, mainly for fleas etc but I think it may also help keep the mice away some. I'm also hoping I didn't kill it when I harvested. In my desperation i harvest way closer than I ever do and I may have taken to much. It's pretty hardy tho so hopefully not.

I have quite a bit drying right now. Hanging in the stonehouse and kitchen, drying on racks everywhere ...
cinquefoil - many uses
sassafras - tonic, flavoring
raspberry leaves - mainly to go into Berry leaf tea to treat diarrhea and boost immune system.
black walnut leaves - drying and drawing salves etc
dock and curly dock - mainly to treat anemia and build up the blood, food
red clover - many uses, detoxify and cleanse
queen anne - food, many uses, detoxify
grape leaves - berry tea to treat diarrhea
plantain - food, burns, bites, allergies, allergic reactions
mugwort - salves and worming
wormwood - worming, pain
pennyroyal - external parasites
tomatoes - food
peppers - food and medicinal
daylilies - food
sumac berries - food
catnip - medicinal and cats
oregano - food and medicinal
thyme - food and medicinal
lemon basil - food
feverfew - medicinal, fever, headaches, swelling
mints - food and medicinals

The elderberries are starting, if the birds don;t eat them all we should have plenty :) I didn't get all the raspberries picked in time this year and we ate them all, even what i had frozen.

There won't be any apples, blueberries or red raspberries this year because of the goats eating them, and killing on of the apple trees. Poor apple trees survived so much but couldn't survive Ivy. I miss her but she was a very destructive creature, much more so than the other goats and goats are pretty destructive regardless.

We're going to be moving the last apple tree, the blueberry, red raspberry and the sour cherries to another area this fall. I was gifted with 2 Hazelnut treelings last week and we started a new orchard are with them.

Speaking of the hazelnut treelings, what a most excellent gift! One of the guys who sets up at a market with us asked if I liked hazelnuts, I said I Love them! so the next week he brought me 2 from his greenhouse :) :) :) Most excellent!

I was also given a bag of tomatoes saturday. A friend was at the market and had gotten tomatoes and shared them with me. mostly Romas, my favorites :) and all my romas died this year, I'll be saving seed from these as well.

We've been seeing the numbers again. It started a couple of weeks ago. At first one of us would see them every few days but now it almost every day again. And I've had an incredible experience with the numbers.

I have a small recorder that i use to keep notes etc with. I keep it with me in bed in case I remember something important ... The other morning I woke at 5:55, went about my business until around noon when I stopped to eat and work on the computer. That's the time I generally check the recorder as well. I started through the messages and got to the first one of the night before. My voice, clear as ca be, saying "wake in the morning at 5:55". I won't say more on it for now but it was Very Very unusual.

1 comment:

the wild magnolia said...

Living natural and from the earth is a real challenge, but it is the journey, not the destination.

Always and interesting and fun read!

Thanks for sharing.