Su Ba

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since Apr 18, 2013
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books forest garden rabbit solar tiny house woodworking
Retired from veterinary medicine. My second career is creating a homestead, aiming to be self reliant.
Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
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Recent posts by Su Ba

Without being there to witness the interactions, it's really difficult to assess the situation. But having had decades of experience showing, breeding, working Siberian Hudkies, I'd say that your dog has claimed the ducklings as his personal property. You see, huskies are born with the word "mine" on their lips. My toy. My food. My chewy. I've often seen my own dogs try to lay claim to my rabbits, "protecting" them from the other huskies. But that doesn't mean that the dog is truly protecting them. Rather, it's a claim of ownership. Dead rabbits is the most likely their future intent.

That your dog is growling at you and your husband is a serious sign. With your dog being just about a year old, he is a serious full-fledged teenager. Teenage huskies can be a total handful if they don't have an established place in the social pecking order, and just a just pain in the neck if they do. He's already established bad habits, so it's going to take some extra work to get him back in line. Huskies are very, very aware of social ranking. And strong personalities like to be near the top of the pack. But humans must be at the top, otherwise you have a potentially dangerous dog living in the family.

I'd suggest neutering him ASAP if he is not neutered already. This is real important with a growling husky. Then he needs formal obedience in order for him the accept that there are rules in life that he has to follow.

Letting your dog "adopt" them may not be a good message to send to a husky. I strongly suspect he sees them as scary animated squeaky toys, but because he is still immature, doesn't know exactly what to do next with them. The ducklings must be owned by you, and you only. He doesn't need to be away from the ducklings, but he only gets supervised visitation rights. Having said that, now that he has already claimed them without challenge, you may have difficulty getting him to unclaimed them and acknowledge your superior position. Since his growling at you worked, from his point of view, you may have some issues regaining control. He is already getting the feedback that he ranks above you, thus giving him say in what to do about the ducklings.

By the way, huskies aren't LGDs. While there might be the dog here and there that lacks the kill instinct when it comes to livestock, by nature they are small animal killers. Not with anger, hatred, bloodlust, or hunger......its just a centuries old survival instinct.
4 days ago
Throw away in the trash? Gasp! But person's trash is another person's treasure. 😄

When I lived in New Jersey, we saved the rendered fats for mixing with birdseed for feeding to the wild birds on harsh winter days.

Nowadays a beekeeper near me uses oil traps under and in her beehives to trap mites and beetles. She often uses old used corn oil.

I collect non-contaminated cooking oil from a local restaurant which I use in my homemade chicken and pig feed.

I've used dirty, rancid oil (from a different restaurant) as a weedkiller, painting it on the foliage of a stubborn weed, on a hot sunny day. I'll also pour a little onto the root zone. Heating up the old oil first really fries those weeds. By the way, I use an old paintbrush. Don't try this with a sprayer. It gums up the works.
5 days ago
I haven't seen any adverse effects using coffee grounds. Between crops, I normally till in 1/4" to 1/2" layer of grounds along with an inch or two of compost, plus any residual mulch. That means that I have coffee grounds being tilled in every 30 to 120 days for most crops. I don't always have enough coffee grounds to add to all garden beds, therefore I have the opportunity to observe any differences between beds getting grounds and those that don't. As I said, I haven't been seeing any negative effects.  Right now I'm using a bit more than a 5 gallon bucket of grounds a week. I'd love to have more!
6 days ago
Let me explore how many methods I'm using. To tell you the truth, I never looked at this before.

... Drying. I dry quite a variety. Turmeric, macadamia nuts, tomatoes, peppers, squash, assorted greens, assorted herbs, pineapple, banana, beans, peas, corn, fish.
... Root cellaring (I don't have an actual root cellar. Instead, I store the veggies right in the ground because I don't have freezing to worry about.) Sweet potatoes, potatoes, onions, daikon, carrots, turmeric.
... Pickling. Pipinola, kohlrabi, turnip, radish, cabbage, beets, beans.
... Smoking. Some meats, mainly pork.
... Canning. Fruits in the form of preserves and syrups. Honey.
... Freezing. Just about everything.

I don't actually need to store much excess. Just some abundance here and there, and mostly seasonal crops.
1 week ago
I collect feed bags from the cattle ranchers in my area. I use them when I sell my homemade compost.

As for storage, I stack them flat putting some heavy boxes atop the stack to flatten them out good. Once the stack gets around 2 foot thick, I tie it up with baling twine. Then I stack the tied up stacks in a pile in the barn. That's the best method I've come up with so far. It still takes up space. I haven't figured out an easy, simple way to compress the stacks further.
1 week ago
Just a couple comments......

1- back then most homestead farmers actually put in a couple hours work first thing in the morning before breakfast was ready. A traditional breakfast needed to be cooked, thus the woodstove or cook fire needed to be made ready before it reached cooking stage. That took time. Then the food needed to be cooked, thus more time. By doing chores while waiting for breakfast, it probably did something to their metabolism that we don't experience nowadays with our quick meals.

2- Foods were more fiber rich back in the "olden days". High fiber has an effect on weight.

3- Staying warm. The body burns a lot calories staying warm when there is no central heat in cold climates. This effect might not have a huge bearing, but it contributes.

4- I suspect that physical activity was by far the biggest influence. In my own case, when I started homesteading I lost 60 lbs over a 2 year period without even trying. In fact, I was eating a lot more. I went from working an 8 hour job in a veterinary hospital to a 12+ hour day building a house, cutting down trees, brush removal, weedwacking, fence building, etc. I went to bed really tired every night.
1 week ago
We are totally off grid and use solar panels/battery bank/back up generator. While I don't need to be concerned about snow, I do have issues with the panels accumulating volcanic dust. So rather than having roof mounted panels, we have them on a ground rack. They are far easier to clean and otherwise maintain on the ground.
1 week ago
I was at Red Bank Veterinary Hospital (New Jersey) with a referral patient, watching Animal Planet when a vet tech ran into the room and changed the TV channel just in time to see the airplane plunge into the second tower. It literally dropped me to my knees.

9/11 was the impetus that resulted in my retiring early and moving the Hawaii to create a homestead farm and build my own house. It really hit home that one could die at any moment. I realized that I could die without ever getting the chance to retire, and worse yet, I was never going to do what I really wanted to do in life. I had always wanted to be a farmer since I was in the 6th grade but was never allowed to go that route. After 9/11 I decided I was going to change my life and become that farmer I had always wanted to be. I sold everything and bought 20 acres. Life progressed from there.
1 week ago
As the flip side of the discussion of what folks might be giving up during their permaculture or simplification journey, I thought I'd list things that I'm not personally ready to give up.....and why. It might be interesting to see what it hear people are doing and thinking.

... Soap. I'm not ready to go soapless or poo-less. Reason? I get really dirty, sweaty, and greasy working on this farm. A good hot soapy shower at the end of the day works wonders for my mental health, and physical health considering how easy it us to get skin infections in the tropics.

... Hot water. I think one of the last things of civilization that I want to give up is a hot shower. Washing in cold water isn't my idea of fun.

... Cooked food. While I do eat plenty of raw foods, I not yet interested in an all raw diet. I really like soups and stews. Cooked foods taste different than raw, and I like the taste of cooked in many cases.

... Meat. I not only enjoy a good steak or pulled pork, I also physically feel better including some meat in my diet.

... Gasoline. While I've drastically cutback my use, I can't foresee voluntarily eliminating it. Using a horse and wagon or bicycle to get to town might often be enjoyable but the traffic here wouldn't allow for that.

... Internet. In today's world, I want Internet.

... Living rural. Although some day I may need to move to town due to my age, for right now I enjoy have elbow room around me. I don't want to live right next door to another person. I like open space. I like to be surrounded by nature.

... My animals. I'm aware that others think it is nuts to have lots of cats, dogs, sheep, chickens, etc. But I like it. They make me part of nature, part of the world, part of a rural life. I'm not interested in eliminating them yet.

... Plastics. While I've reduced my dependency upon them, I still use plastic items.

... Sugar. While I no longer buy packaged sugar or foods with sugar in them, I still enjoy a daily small glass of fresh cane juice and a weekly cherry soda. And if someone were to offer me a Sees butterscotch lollipop, I surely wouldn't turn it down.

... Shoes. Some people here are going shoeless, but I'm not willing to do that. My feet are tender and I don't want to put up with constantly treating cuts.

... Motorized tools. While I do prefer to work with small equipment (atv, tiller, chainsaw, weedwacker, drill, saws, etc) vs heavy equipment,  I'm not the least bit interested in giving up motorized tools.

... Electricity. I'm not a big user of electricity. I've reduced quite a bit. But I'm not interested in totally eliminating it. I really like having a water pump, refrigerator, freezer, and a light on at night.
2 weeks ago