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Mike Turner

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since Sep 23, 2009
Upstate SC
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Recent posts by Mike Turner

Earthworms, the whitish ones have been in the water long enough to start decaying.  During rainy weather earthworms will crawl around and get into all sorts of strange locations such as  watering troughs, rain gutters 2 stories up that have accumulated soil in them, etc.

Hookworms are pale white and less than 1/2 inch long, attached to the inside of the small intestine and aren't found in their adult form outside of the host's body as is the case with roundworms, whip worms, and tapeworm segments which can be found in the feces.
3 months ago
That African beehive fence is designed as a deterrent for elephants to keep them from breaking through the fence.  Any efforts to break through the fence jiggles the attached hives, bringing out the highly aggressive African bees in droves to attack the elephant, whose trunk tip is very sensitive to bee stings.
3 months ago
The golden garden spider makes an egg sack that looks like that.  I have a lot of them hanging in my hoop houses.
4 months ago
The non-AKC border collie (registered by the ABCA) is one of the few landrace breeds still to be found in the United States since the ABCA only registers dogs that can show herding ability or are the offspring of dogs that herd and refuses to register dogs that belong to registries that promote conformational showing.

Another past use for dogs is pulling small carts.  An advantage that dogs have over other draught animals is that they are able to guard the cart's contents if the owner has to step away for awhile.
4 months ago
My 2 citrumelo trees had a bumper crop this year, the fruit starting to ripen in late November and I am still harvesting fruit as needed in early January despite several episodes of temperatures in the low 20's F.  That's the nice thing about citrus, unlike most fruit that must be harvested when ripe or it drops and rots, citrus will hold on the tree until needed for a month or two.  Citrumelo fruit are the size of an orange and taste like a tart grapefruit.  It can be eaten as mini-grapefruit halves with a bit of honey/sugar/maple syrup to cut the tartness if desired, used in cooking as a lemon, or can be juiced and made into a great tasting citrumelo-ade. Also had a first year yield of a dozen yuzu fruit from my yuzu tree in early December, which made a flavorful substitute for lemons in cooking.  Also got a few citrange fruit this year whose juice was added to the citrumelo-ade.
4 months ago
Bears love to raid and destroy beehives, so beekeepers in areas with bears need to maintain a highly effective electric fence to keep them out and remain in business.  Google "electric bear fence apiary" for a lot of good ideas on bear proof fences.   The best ones alternate hot and ground wires over the height of the fence so they aren't dependent on a good ground connection to give a good jolt to the bear, which can be a problem in areas with bone dry soils.
4 months ago
Wethers have the smallest appetite of any group of sheep.  Breeding ewes are the heaviest feeders, especially near the end of their pregnancy and towards the end of their lactation cycle, followed by weaned growing lambs.  Rams are heavier feeders than wethers since their high testosterone levels and one track minds keep their activity levels higher than that of a lazy wether.

Calm 2+ year old wethers are better for training young herding dogs than flighty younger wethers since they can be trained to stay with you and to come back to your feet (knee knocker sheep) as the young pup circles around you and the sheep in the earliest steps of their training.
If you are running a sheep breeding operation, it's most efficient if you run almost 100% ewes, selling the ram lambs in the fall, and keeping a ram just through the fall breeding season or for a couple of years between replacements.

But wethers can have a purpose on a sheep breeding operation.  If you maintain a ram sequestered from the ewes outside of the breeding season to keep a short defined lambing season or for safety reasons (potential aggression), then keeping one or two large skittish wethers are a great help in managing the ram.  Choose large wethers so the ram is less likely to try to beat up on the wethers, and skittish so the ram maintains its fear of you since its herd mates are obviously afraid of you.

The other place that a wether is useful is when you wean lambs.  Putting a calm wether in with the newly weaned lambs gives them a calm older herd mate who " knows the ropes" and keeps them calm and handle able by providing a calm role model.  

In both of these situations try to pick wethers who are leaders rather than followers so that they have a stronger influence on the rest of their herd.

If you are training herding dogs, wethers are better training companions than either small, skittish yearling ewes or breeding age ewes that are either pregnant, with lambs, or have large udders that can be easily injured by young puppy you are training.

Have you ever noticed how the grass growing underneath trees in a savanna remains green while the grass growing out in the open turns brown in a mild drought. It's not just because the grass is growing in the shade of the trees.  Tree roots pump water up from deep underground 24 hours a day.   During the day the tree's leaves are using this water, but at night the leaves don't need this water so the roots release the water pumped up from deep below into the top soil around the tree.  The next day the tree's roots would reabsorb some of this water for use in its leaves, but this water is also available for any grass growing in the tree's root zone to use.  So a pasture set up as a savanna uses water from a wider range of soil depths and is more drought resistant than a pasture with no trees growing in it.
6 months ago