Leslie Russell

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since Aug 06, 2017
Hot, humid, sometimes hurricane drenched west central Florida
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Recent posts by Leslie Russell

I've wanted one for a long time but just haven't gotten to the point where I'm ready to tackle the back field. I can't remember where I found out about this company but you might want to take a look at their website http://www.themaruggcompany.com/products.htm
1 month ago
Thank you!! Yep, me and alcohol had to part ways some years ago, so no bitters for me 🤪
2 months ago
I always thought bitters were an alcoholic drink, maybe because the bottle was kept in the liquor cabinet when I was growing up. So my question is, is this an alcoholic beverage?
2 months ago
I lived in the West Midlands for awhile where hedges and dry stonewalls made a beautiful patchwork quilt of the rolling countryside.  Dotted with white sheep, it'll brings tears to your eyes.
I bought books on both the art of the hedge and dry stonewalls, equally fascinating and inspiring.
2 months ago
Just wanted to post a quick update. My neighboring farmer had a big pile of dead leaves and said I can have it so I take my card over there every other day or so and load it up. There are tons and tons of grubs in there! Bonus!
I put up the baby pool, found some duckweed and just like you said they ate it all. I replenished it twice but it was gone by the end of the day. I may keep a little on the side in a separate pool to give to them a little at a time. It's free, after all.
This is as far as I've gotten but I thought I'd post a pic anyway.
3 months ago
You guys are amazing. I want to do all your suggestions, but I'll control myself and start with a few.
I already have 2 spare portable raised beds I built. 4x6'x12"so I'll cart them over to the run today and buy seed. I've got spare cage screens that go over each bed frame that I can use to keep them out till there's good growth. Whoa.
I have a kitty pool that all used for the duckweed. I use those flexible pipe misters to fill the water bowl. Keeps the water fresh. I just pull out the mister and use the pipe because it shapes to the side of the water bowl. Now I just have to locate some duckweed. I know I'll find it around here somewhere. Whoa.
I can move the long section of the fencing closer to the tree line and try to replant the dirt. Leaves are hard to come by here in Florida and I've been keeping an eye out for yard waste. I bought a little chipper shredder a few months back and it's pretty sad but it's something. I've got an awful lot of trees around here. I've also got several rotted wood piles and I can throw those in there. Whoa.
I have 4 foot high poultry wire to hook up for temporary fencing and create sections. A lot of people think I'm crazy because my fencing isn't a fortress. The tree line fence is chain link and while the chickens can't fly out, anything can climb over the top. It isn't to keep the foxes out, it's to keep the chickens in. Varmints are dealt with another way. And in my experience no amount of fencing no matter how sturdy will keep something out if it really wants to get in. The coop on the other hand IS a fortress. Not a mouse or a snake can get in there. I'm home 90% of the time, and the dog keeps any daytime predators away.
I have steady customers for eggs and have to hoard some for myself. They'd be very disappointed if I cut the herd down lol. I really do have enough room for 12 or more birds I'm just having a hard time trying to figure this out. I have a very good mechanical brain but this thing has me in a twizzle. That's why I asked for help because I just can't wrap my mind around it.
Okay, off I go! I've got my work cut out for me today! I can't thank you all enough. But thank you thank you thank you.
3 months ago
I have 12 hens in a run about 30'x75' for the past year-and-a-half and they've scratched down to bare ground. I need to give them more foraging space so I moved one part of the fencing the other day but it's not nearly enough. I need to keep a long tree line enclosed inside the run for shade and shelter from rain. And my other concern IS rain - I'm in West Central Florida hurricane territory and last season it got really muddy in there so I'm trying to be proactive by moving the fencing now before May.
Problem is the area I can move them to is really just crunchy brown weeds and no grass. Florida soil is really just sand and dust. I'd be surprised if there were any bugs in there.
I don't know what to do. I've spent a good couple of months thinking this through and I still haven't come up with a good plan. It's not like I can sow seeds and grow some crop or something for them to eat. Paul talks about the ideal system being one where you can move the fencing in rotation. I can move my fencing, but to where?
Can anyone help? I'm not desperate, but I'm getting there.
3 months ago

F Agricola wrote:Today (Saturday) is a hot one - 30 C at 9am inside the house, at 11am it was 44 C (111F) in the shade outside. About 40% humidity.


Holy hellfire - where do you live?!!?? Your post is from Feb!! I live in West Central Florida and it gets bloody hot here too but you've got us beat. I have to chime in because keeping the chickens cool is a high priority here.
I ordered these cool flexible mister tube things from Amazon and while they don't sit under it like I hoped they would they do like the cool ground after I move it. I took the other one and pulled out the mister, twisted the flexible tube over the side of their waterer and I just leave it dribble all day long. Keeps it from getting algae build-up too. I have a well so the water is usually pretty cool.
I didn't realize that some chickens are just too stupid to come in out of the sun. I chose breeds that do well in the heat and so far it hasn't been an issue. They're all under the trees inside the run where it's dark and cool all day long. That's got to be heartbreaking, though. I'm very sorry you lost one of your girls.
3 months ago
I've been using the "automatic chicken coop door" for 3 years. I have a very long outdoor extension cord ran to the timer. I even expanded my coop and moved the door from the old to the new and it was a piece of cake.
I have to set the clock twice a year for daylight savings. I adjust the time about once a month or so to accommodate light changes. They're not out until I get up in the morning AND the sun has fully risen. I've seen foxes here at 7 am.
i often go out for supper at 6:30 and back around 8. I have the door set to close about 15-20 minutes after sundown. When I get home I double check and make sure it's closed, and that's a good habit when I've recently changed the timer. I've screwed up and found a hen or two sleeping under the ramp 🙄
I can't say enough how wonderful this thing is. Before I got it and the reason I got it it is that I would leave the coop door open for them and then go and close it at night. Except when I forgot and came out in my whole flock was dead. All it took was once.
Downside. A heavy string pulls the door up. I've had to replace it several times so to be able to get at the motor I've just put hinges on the cover so I don't have to unscrew the panel every time. I've found 100 pound test weight fishing line to be the best. It took a lot of experimenting and frustration and a bit of a learning curve to set the actuators because I kept snapping the line.
The guy that owns the company is really helpful and very nice and patient. And I'll be darned if the things aren't made in the US. Our very own Indiana.
3 months ago
"I feel like crap 50% of the time. I force myself to work when I don't feel well."
...Okey dokey, Ryan, slow down. I'm old, I've been through alot and sometimes tact is a waste of time. So here goes.
Admit to yourself the limitations on what you are going to be able to do homesteading-wise. You sound fairly accepting of your mental illness, but double check that. It sounds to me like you're looking for a work-around.
I am a recovering alcoholic. I have type 2 bipolar disorder and lots of other fun things. My best friend has dissociative disorder, anxiety, manic depression, PTSD, alcoholism, and drug addiction. She suffers terribly. Some days she can't get off the couch. Most days she can't take a shower. Medications that she has been on for 25 years have caused a tremendous amount of damage to her internal organs. She is grateful for an hour she can do anything.
Many recovering alcoholics remind ourselves every single morning that we are alcoholic, because our default setting is to forget that (that's a bad thing - shit goes south pretty quickly). Many of us have experienced trauma and have mental illness to manage in addition to addiction. We take life 24 hours at a time. That's all. We are not whiners, we are admitting to ourselves we are not like other people. Boy, people that don't live inside our heads hate to hear that.
90% of people don't understand. They come up with a lot of pablum and lighthearted hopeful advice but unless they walk in our shoes, God bless them, well, we just have to wait for them to stop talking.
There's no magic bullet answer. When you have a complicated mental and emotional life, it's important to design your life to accommodate that. Sure, you can make a check list and prioritize tasks, but when shit goes south smack in the middle of the day and you can't work anymore, that to-do list can become a source of shame. It doesn't mean a list is a bad thing, it just might be a bad thing for you. Pay attention to that. Walk out the door and do what you want to do.
And treasure the times that you feel good, for they are precious. Please try not to forget that (that's a tape it on your mirror thing).
8 months ago