Marissa Creston

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since Sep 28, 2015
Flathead, Montana
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Recent posts by Marissa Creston

> I'm looking for off grid 100-200 acres, or more. Cheap land.  
> I am looking to spend between $200k-300k,  I want to put a
> double wide or single wide, then build a large shop (40x60),
> and frame in one area as an office(12x20).  I want timber land,
> with slight hills, but enough area for growing and animals.  

The timber companies usually have a number of quarter sections (160 acres) available for sale in various locations across northwest Montana (Lincoln, Lake, and Flathead counties). You ought to be able to find one that meets your criteria, although the better sections, particularly those with water, tend to be over your price range.

> Are there property taxes?

Yes, but they are very low for timberland (you will need at least 15 acres to qualify) and agricultural land (you will need to gross at least $1500 per year to qualify).

However, they will tax the house and the surrounding acre at a much higher rate to pay for local services. (We had a huge increase last year because the State cut back on the money it normally gives the schools. Mine went up nearly 10%!)

> Do the regulators hassle you over small stuff like permits?  

There is no building department and thus no building permits are required for Flathead County (outside of incorporated cities and towns); however, you will still need to get permits for any mechanical, electrical, and plumbing work.

> What's the freezing level in the soil?

Depends. Four feet is a good average around here.

> Whats the grow season like?


> I see that the temperature in September starts at 90, and ends at 30.  
> Is the grow season basically over on Oct 1st? Is it basically May 30-Oct 1st?

In the Flathead Valley, we can usually plant out hardy crops around April 15th or so. Unfortunately, we can only count on a 90 day frost free window starting between June 1 and June 15 and ending between September 1 and September 15.

> I need to be within 45minutes or an hour from a area with Walmart, because I need access to scrap metal and motor oil.

There is a Walmart in Kalispell. But I don't shop there, so I can't tell you more than that.

> Are there harbor freights in Montana?

There is a brand new Harbor Freight in Kalispell. But I don't shop there, so I can't tell you more than that.

> How is the post office, do they lose your mail?  

No, but you may have to go into town to pick it up, particularly in the winter. According to the clerk I spoke with the official post office policy is: the carrier will not deliver packages to your house if 1) there is snow or ice blocking the driveway, 2) there is a loose dog in the yard, and 3) if your house is more than 1/2 mile from the mailbox. But in practice ... well, let's just say the old adage "neither snow nor rain" is not so true anymore.
2 years ago
I'll second on that being a Black Swedish drake. Or, at least, predominantly so. The black body, white chest, green head, olive bill, and black/orange feet are certainly all consistent.

At any rate, he would blend in perfectly with my own flock

Mr. Lucky, my Black Swedish drake, front and center:

Mr. Lucky, my Black Swedish drake, rear and center:
3 years ago

how in the heck do we keep them happily swimming in the winter without building a heated pool room over them?!

Ducks are very hardy. They do not need a heated shelter. I keep my flock in an insulated but unheated coop and they do just fine. And our winters are quite cold with temperatures that frequently dip below zero and can drop as low as -40F. Obviously, they don't venture outside much when the weather is particularly bitter, but give it a few degrees or a little sunshine and they are happy to spend all day outside. Nor do they need a pool. They can manage with a bucket. They just need enough depth to clean their bills out. But if you wish, you can keep them swimming for a bit longer with either a pond aerator or a pond deicer.

One slightly different thing I am wondering about is how likely it is that they will hear the call of the wild and head south the first time a few mallards fly over in the autumn. Any stories on that front?

Most domestic duck breeds are too heavy to fly, much less to fly south! So unless you purchased actual mallards, you should be just fine
3 years ago
Figures that after posting on this thread that I would have my first eagle attack I just lost a Blue Swedish duck to a pair of bald eagles. I saw them swoop in, and I ran over immediately, but it was already hopeless by the time I reached the scene. (I'll spare you the grisly details.) I think they may have been emboldened by a number of factors. First, we have had a lot of flooding this year so the ducks have been ranging out further and further. Thus, the ducks were far from cover. Second, none of the geese were out in the field with them; the geese have been brooding, so they spend most of the day on their nests with the ganders standing by on guard. Thus, the ducks had no protection. Third, none of the chickens were out in the field with them; they tend to return to the roost well before sunset and long before the ducks. Thus, the ducks had no alarm. And lastly, even though the sun had not yet set, it was already quite dark due to the thick cloud cover. Thus, the ducks may have had trouble spotting the eagles. At least, the rest of the flock made it to the pond in time. But I will be certain to put out some additional cover for them. And I will be sure to herd them back early.
3 years ago

I went off the description that said it was specifically for geese and other "wild birds" and assumed it was the correct amount for their feed. What I don't understand is why a product would be marketed as such that could cause harm to the bird?

Not to worry Advertising can be very deceptive. It gets us all sometimes. Last summer, I bought a new gardening hat. I didn't bother to read the label because it was just a hat. Unfortunately, obvious isn't obvious anymore. That hat came treated with permethrin!

According to the current theory, angel wing is caused by a combination of genetics and diet, specifically an excess of carbohydrates and proteins coupled with a deficiency of vitamin D, vitamin E, and manganese. Pure speculation, but perhaps the high protein levels are not problematic as long as the feed is heavily fortified with those vitamins and minerals. Anyhow, if you remember the brand, it would be interesting to know their take on it.
3 years ago
Good point about angel wing. However game bird feed generally has even more protein and energy than chicken starter feed. Most game bird feeds are around 22% - 24% protein and game bird starter feeds can be as high as 30% protein while most chicken starter feeds are around 18% - 20% protein. I have had good results starting my ducklings and goslings on "flock raiser" feed (18% protein crumbles) then switching them to an "all flock" feed (16% protein crumbles) at five or six weeks, once their growth rate has slowed and they have mostly feathered out. And, of course, I supplement their diet with fresh greens. Goslings love dandelions in particular. Anyhow, good luck with it! I'm sure with your care she will be just fine
3 years ago
Sorry to hear about the sibling

It's hard to know without a recording of the actual vocalization, but a distressed gosling will peep loudly and constantly.

How warm do you keep your home? And does she have free access to a heat lamp? Generally, it is recommended to keep the warming area for goslings at 90F for the first week, 85F for the second week, 80F for the third week, and so on until they have acclimated to ambient temperatures.

The water dish should be deep enough for her to submerge her bill in it. Geese tend to be messy feeders (although less so than ducks!), so they need a lot of water to clean out their bills. If her whole head fits in, that is fine as well. That should help her keep her face, and notably her eyes, clean.

I should have mentioned that you will need to cut the greens into tiny pieces. Geese normally feed by tearing at the grass, cutting it with the serrations on their bills and tongues, but if the blades are not firmly attached to the roots, they will not have any leverage to do so. As for the feed, there ought to be plenty of vitamins in the starter mix. And she will get plenty more as she transitions to a more natural diet. As long as she has access to many food sources, she should have the instincts to pick the correct balance. Just keep her away from the scratch grains! That is just goose candy
3 years ago
Are you keeping her in the brooder all alone? That could explain the constant peeping. And might explain, in part, her failure to thrive. If so, could you find her a companion? A duckling would be a good substitute and they are readily available at the feed stores right now. As for food, the starter mix should be adequate, but you will want to add some greens into her diet. Geese are primarily grazers so that would be a more natural and nutritious diet. As for swimming, you should keep her out of the water until she feathers out. (Goslings do not produce their own oils; they rely on their mothers to coat them.) She may enjoy the water, but a wet gosling is a chilled gosling. And that could explain the runny nose and lethargy.
3 years ago
Any domestic duck of mallard descent will do perfectly well in a cold climate. Yes, their wild cousins do migrate south for the winter, but they are just following the food not fleeing the cold. You will need to provide them with some shelter, at the very least a place to get out of the wind, but they are easy keepers. Mine do just fine in an insulated but unheated coop. And it gets plenty cold here! Sometimes down to -40F. The ducks, of course, don't come out of the coop much once it gets well below zero. But give it a few degrees or a bit of sunshine and they will be back out bathing in their water buckets! And yes, ducks and chickens can be kept in the same coop. This works best if they are raised together. Otherwise, you will need to introduce the ducks into the flock gradually just like you would with any new bird.
3 years ago
Montana does NOT require a building permit for houses or outbuildings. The state does however require permits for electrical and plumbing (optional for owner-builders). Many counties, Flathead included, have no additional requirements except in incorporated towns. Anyhow, there certainly are plenty of alternative structures here from geodesic domes to earth-sheltered homes.

Montana Electrical Permits

Montana Plumbing Permits

3 years ago