Virginia Ratliff

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since May 18, 2014
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duck rabbit chicken
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Bartow County GA
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Recent posts by Virginia Ratliff

Hi, Aaron...just found this...sorry for the delay! It has been a rough couple of years for us around here. If you are still interested please call me at 404-697-0298 and let's see what we can work out! If I don't answer please leave a message and I will call you back as soon as possible!
6 years ago
I have a small backyard...not sure this would work for a large area...but I strung fishing line overhead to make sort of a spider web...that stopped the hawks from stealing my birds.
7 years ago
I start with a "boundary" barrier of the ground cinnamon and then work my way toward the nest. I do not have a large garden plot...just several raised beds and hugels. Every year they invade a lot of my containers(and I have many)...I have noticed that they do not come back to the same spot for several years. I haven't had ants in the house for many years now...anytime I had an "ant line" I would interrupt it at entry point both inside and out with the cinnamon.
7 years ago
Cinnamon...I have moved many a mound with a couple of cheap Dollar store bottles of cinnamon.
7 years ago
Welcome Michelle! Looking forward to talking to you more! Sorry for the delay in medical crisis. Nice to meet you!
7 years ago
I just realized I have never posted in here…trying to become more active and less of a lurker! I have learned so much here and plan on learning a lot more!

I am in Acworth, GA on almost an acre in a residential neighborhood. And, I have recently started working the neighbors acre!  

I have had a garden and plants pretty much all my adult life…over three years ago I saw Joel Salatin on a TV show…and that is how I found permaculture! And, I have been hooked ever since. I probably spent the first year studying, watching videos (Geoff Lawton, Bill Mollison, Sepp Holzer, Paul Wheaton, etc.) and observing (we had taken down the last of our pine trees and I had a new sun pattern)…the second year I really started building my soil…my poor hubby…he came home one day to no grass in our front yard…I had smothered it in mulch! That was our first “seek forgiveness” instance…there have been several since! Now…he has bought me a nice spreader for the tractor and insists on doing most of my mulch spreading! That was a great success!

I installed two hugel beds by the road with that pine…my first experiment! One I planted in asparagus (they are about 4’X6’) and the other in a mix of old veggie and flower annuals. I was amazed! My asparagus has gone crazy and all of it has been so tasty! My first shift from decorative and smelly plants to edibles! Now…in the front yard I have green and red apple, plum, pomegranate, cherry, almond, blueberry, raspberry, fig…no harvesting yet…everything has been in the ground for less than a year and some of it is still sitting in pots waiting to be put in the ground! I am so thrilled!

Critters…I have rabbits, ducks and chickens. The rabbits are pretty mobile and can “float” all over the yard…their poop has been instrumental in building my soil. The chickens were added last year and they changed my composting methods! The eggs are such a blessing!

I am learning so much! Zones, stacking functions…I am beginning to interact “differently” with my world! Phasing out the grocery store and processed foods! We have occupied this property for over 30 years…we live in a double wide close enough to walk to the lake…we have been pretty blessed! Now, I want to retrofit this double wide to be as off-grid as feasible! (The new tin roof is installed and just waiting on solar panels and gutters!) I want to grow most if not all of our food. I have big plans and big dreams and am an old woman who knows how to get what she wants!

I am always interested in meeting/working with “like-minded” people! I can do occasional short day trips…with 50+mouths on the property that need tending, I stay pretty busy but I am always open to visitors! I am looking forward to meeting everyone and to hopefully cultivate some great friendships, relationships and maybe even some partnerships here! I would love to have some cows, pigs and chickens on free range…my little acre says they will never fit! Maybe a goat some day…but I push my luck with chickens and a rooster as it is!

Looking forward to meeting and I hope everyone has a wonderful day!
7 years ago
Welcome George! And, Family!

I agree, I love these forums! I spend a lot more time learning than participating...I feel like a "lurker" most of the time! I usually find multiple answers to any question I, I just implement and experiment and combine until the result I am after is achieved! I learn so much here and look forward to being more active as I get experience and established!

I am always open to visitors and any help is always appreciated! You are always welcome here! I have actually met and just love Steve S. and Ev! We are supposed to be doing a once a month get seems to constantly get in the way! As embarrassed as I am to admit this, I have been meaning to strike up a conversation with Laura...for almost 2 years now...I have been wanting to visit her...another one of those that life seems to be constantly in the way!

I am glad this thread was bumped up...any more "lurkers" around like me? I would like to meet!
7 years ago
I have a mixed flock...14 hens, 1 rooster, 2 drakes and 2 female ducks (I had 3 female ducks...lost one last week to unknown causes, she was a present from my daughter and always was a little "off"...will replace her this spring). I started with a mixed flock of babies...they grew up together...that was easy! Then I wanted more ducks...tried to integrate 2 "teenage" female ducks...that was not so easy! One of the drakes and the rooster honed in on one of the female ducks and it was on! The drake and the rooster didn't fight near as much as the hens with the ducks. Sometimes I still hear/see a duck running for its life with a hen attached to a tail feather! And, vice versa! There is a definite pecking order. And, the rooster tries to mate the ducks and vice versa...that at first was extremely disconcerting to me! Now, everyone seems to have their place and they all run together on about one eighth of an acre. We had our first baby ducks hatch in October from a duck...her first first...we didn't do very well. Only 3 hatched and 2 died from being smothered by the Mom and one made it to get big enough to be integrated...I got sick and the dogs got bored and "played" that baby duck to death. Lesson learned the hard way...the dogs cannot now reach the birds. I have not experienced any bird on bird attacks to the death...thank goodness! So far I have integrated a single adult duck, baby ducks and baby chickens to an established flock.

I will say it is a pretty slow process introducing new birds...I keep mine in "covered" runs...similar to a chicken tractor in with the other birds for weeks...they can see each other but not touch! The first day of actual release I stand around with my "chicken catching fish net"...all my birds know what that is...and they are more worried about who I am out to catch than mess with the new babies! I clip wings regularly. And, my rooster has learned if he gets aggressive with me I will pick him up and carry him around until he is quiet, but I have had him since he was a baby...he was supposed to have been a Integrating any birds successfully takes time and patience...the chickens are handled a lot more than the ducks and are a lot more friendly because of that handling. The ducks will eat out of a bucket I hold but not my hand...and I have a couple ducks several years old. They are very different and a whole lot messier but I love to bake with their eggs! And, I am learning when and where I can use them in my established beds for pest control.

There is a youtube video..."True Facts About Ducks" is very explicit in detail...for those with children, I would watch it first and then decide if you want to share. I am not sure how to link. I love my birds and as long as I am physically able I will have chickens and ducks! Day see ducks but no adult chickens...they really do not like my net!
7 years ago
If you are interested in central Georgia, I am looking for help and/or a business partner. Right now, I outright own one piece of property(Bartow county, close enough to walk to Lake Allatoona 8/10ths acre with doublewide), have almost paid off another(Bartow county 7.5 acres that is undeveloped) and have taken on the next door neighbor's yard(also on Lake Allatoona) of an acre to make money on. I have a pretty good starting foundation, but I am a 52 year old woman and looking to help anyone who wants to help themselves. I have been incorporated in Georgia since 1998 but I am in an industry that is fossil fuel dependent and I am looking to change that! I need a young like-minded soul who shares my philosophy of a balanced lifestyle and who wants a life with security and as stable as humanly possible! This is a very laid back household but we play as hard as we work...and we work hard. It has paid off for us.

Right now...I have chickens, ducks, rabbits, cats and dogs...they are the love of my life! LOL! And, I am looking to add more animals as they can be accommodated. Apple, plum, pomegranate, cherry, lemon, avocado, almond, pineapple, raspberry, blueberry, fig, grape, muscadine...just a partial list of what is here. Plus, quite a bit of annual vegetable and flower seeds...I have been an avid collector for years. I have one hugel with asparagus...and another hugel that usually accommodates annuals, several more raised beds and now almost the whole yard is covered with mulch to help build the soil with the animals. The greenhouse is in the living room...the wind really took a toll on it this year and I will be thrilled to get my living room back!

I hope I have peaked an interest...I have big plans and I live out of a spirit of abundance! Not scarcity! There is always more than enough to go around and I believe more in actions than words. At this point in time...I am overwhelmed...I will admit...trying to get the infrastructure in place...we are retrofitting a 30+year old doublewide to be has a new tin roof, but the water catchment still is not in place and solar is next. It still needs windows...but it is a beautiful piece of property and I have been here for over 25 years! I am also in the process of setting up the farming side of the business on the internet...that leaves me with more or vlog? Setting up a website with shopping cart...etc. Establishing a web presence...I have a limited customer base that I am looking to grow...but, I do not dare until I can accommodate the demand. I am a big believer in value adding...Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms has been instrumental for my moving to a web presence...I like his "Metropolitan Buying Club" setup. And, that should work for all the customers I have now and plan on acquiring in the future.

It is nice to meet you and I do wish you all the luck in the world with your future endeavors! My biggest advice would have to be for you to realize that life comes at you with "seasons" will have a spring, fall, summer and the winters...just do your best to prepare for those winters, know that they too shall change and that ultimately you will reap what you sow!
7 years ago
I have 2 blue heelers and a dalmation/lab mix, they are all over 2 years old. I have rabbits and ducks and chickens...I have lost one rabbit and 2 ducks to the dogs...they "play" them to death. The rabbit got loose and the dalmation brought her to me...after it was played to immediate reaction was pretty much blood curdling...she dropped that rabbit and hasn't "caught" another one (It was a favorite rabbit...and a human had left the door to its cage open.) My male heeler given a chance chases the smaller birds and holds them down...I have lost 2 ducks to him. The chickens are pretty aggressive and I haven't lost any of them. In my experience...even the best trained dog will go after perceived prey if the motivation and the mood are just right. So, I pretty much do not leave my dogs unattended with the birds. Because a dog is a prey animal and a bird can be fun to chase! Even if they do not eat them...they can "play" them to death. I wish you luck...and IMHO...tying a dead animal around the neck for days could set you up for some pretty disgusting infestations around the decomposition of that body. And, my dogs would just LOVE to be rolled in dead rotten stuff! They roll around in every foul smelling pile of everything they can find now.
7 years ago