Sandy Cromwell

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since Sep 29, 2018
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goat dog homestead
Growing up, we did a lot of gardening and canning. We also did a lot of moving around as my step dad was military. Ended up trapped in cities for years, but now I'm firmly planted in a rural area and happy as it's possible to be.
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Recent posts by Sandy Cromwell

Penny Thrussell wrote:Hello,

We have them everywhere!!!    I assume they are fruit flies...tiny,black with wings, very quick and very loud when they whizz past my ear!!! I am putting vinegar,bicarb, etc down the drains and my compost toilet (the urine part) just in case they are hiding in there. Do they lay eggs in damp spots like under the sink where pipes meet??? I'm rnning out of ideas where they could be bt want to get rid!!  All my fruit is in the fridge and I have traps around the kitchen.
Any advice gratefully received.

Penny (France)

Have you tried trapping the adults?
You can place about 1/4 - 1/2 c apple cider vinegar in a jar/bottle on the counter. Roll a piece of paper into a funnel, fit into the jar/bottle, tape to hold it's shape and possibly around the rim as well to prevent escapees. Apparently they are attracted to the vinegar, go down the funnel, and because they aren't really smart, can't figure out how to come back out. To assist the drowning of these nasties, drip a drop of dish soap onto the vinegar before blocking with the funnel. Make sure not to get the paper funnel wet, as this defeats it's purpose. Place these traps anywhere you see the flies and wait. Once you have them inside the liquid, you can either pour them out and reset the traps, or wait another week to make sure any hatching eggs that mature are also drawn in. Not sure how long their life cycle is, but like any nasty insect pest, always account for eggs already laid, and wait for them to hatch. Once adults are consistently trapped and killed/removed, their life cycle should be effectively halted. Yes it takes time, and vigilance to prevent a recurrence, but if you want them gone, it's effort and time well spent.

If you bring any fresh fruits/veggies home you may consider quarantining them in a corner of the room with a trap or two just in case they came infested with any flies - it happens, and isn't necessarily because of any bad practices, these things are just awful. This would just help ensure that any new adults that hitched a ride in get taken care of before they can start a new infestation.

Houseplants can also be a place for them to breed!!
If possible, try to allow any possibly infected pots to dry out as much as possible between waterings, keep the top of the exposed soil in the pots covered with a dry layer - think something that dries quickly after watering the plant. If you think the bugs are coming from the bottom of the pot, it may be a good time to re-pot that plant, and make sure to close off any openings underneath to prevent them from getting in. I like using coffee filters in the bottoms of my pots, as they keep the dirt in and other stuff out (at least as long as they last anyway).  If your plants need humidity, try a tray underneath filled with appropriate sized rocks - place the pot on top of the layer of rocks and have the water in the rocks. This will help boost the humidity, and hopefully keep nasties from using it as breeding areas. Yes, I've had to remove and wash the rocks and trays before, so regular checks not only keep things clean, but give you an excuse to spend time with your plants, always a relaxing experience for me. Side note, if you use a strip of wicking material and lay it inside the rocks, then run it up into the pot, you've created a self-watering pot - two for one solution as now the plant will be watered, kept humidified, and mostly safe from bugs using it as breeding grounds.

Also, on composting toilets - I discovered that they will definitely lay eggs underneath the seat ON the seat... first time I saw this freaked me out.... My solution was to make sure the top layer inside stayed as dry as possible, and if I noticed ANY flying anything near it, I checked underneath the seat daily, cleaning, emptying out and re-starting, etc until the issue was resolved. Yes, they do seem to be partial to urine.  During the warmer months when it seems inevitable for them to be in this area, I keep a sticky fly trap hanging nearby - not only to catch them, but also as a monitor - I may not always notice an infestation until it's a pain, but if I see larger numbers of them getting trapped, I am alerted to do extra maintenance to prevent further issues.
5 months ago
You are exactly right, Dan! They make terrible lap dogs.. ha ha ha!! My two girls are about the size of your big baby, and if I got into a position they could get in my lap they would. Currently, they do a great job of taking over a queen size bed, meaning I wake up stiff because I couldn't move all night.

One amazing thing about LGDs raised properly (with discipline, care and love) is that even those that have never seen livestock can learn to guard it and bond with it. When they bond with their shepherd first, they protect the things they see as important to their shepherd. So if you decide to get livestock after they've already grown, do some proper introductions of dog to livestock, use a leash the first few weeks, maybe even tether them near the livestock pen for short periods during the day. The idea is for them to get to know these new creatures in THEIR space, learn how important they are to you, and discover what "normal" is for that livestock (the rooster isn't attacking that hen; yes, goat do that weird thing; pigs smell funny and look weird; etc.)

If there is a failure (dog chases/kills/otherwise harasses said livestock) consider it a trainer mistake. LGDs have been know to watch the shepherd chase lose animals back to their pens and perceive that they should do the same if one gets out again. It's OUR JOB to teach them to Wait, Watch and Alert....Once alerted, it is also OUR JOB to RESPOND. If you have livestock birthing in the spring, have the dog on a leash/tethered nearby to observe and learn. Sometimes they forget they are the protector, and the mom is the one that should care for the littles.

Always set them up for success, troubleshoot what you did wrong for the failures, and remember that they think almost as well (or better) as small children - and even if they do fail (kill their chickens for instance) they can learn that was wrong and become excellent guardians despite the failure.

Honestly, I think my dogs are smarter than my ex!
7 months ago

Nicole Alderman wrote:The thing that worries be about livestock guardians is that (from my understanding. Correct me if I'm wrong) they are trained- to view the livestock as their family, no us humans, and that's what causes problems like in the story I posted. If that training was modified to them being family to ALL of us, and not just the livestock, would they be safer?

We also don't have that much money, and I'm going to assume that feeding a very large breed like a livestock guardian dog would cost quite a bit of money...

What about breeds of dogs trained to be "shepherds," like Australian shepherds? Their tendency seems to be to herd everything, rather than attack it. I can imagine them stressing out ducks by herding them constantly, though...

The myth that LGDs bond exclusively to their livestock started here, in America. Where they have been bred and used for hundreds of years they start out in the villages, as the pregnant mother isn't able to keep up with the roaming herds of stock and shepherds. They are given their first training at home - basic house manners, gentleness around the children, family and close livestock like chickens. Once they reach an age where they are able to keep up with the herds and shepherds, they begin training with the familial pack that goes with the shepherds. Yes, they bond with their livestock, but they bond primarily with their humans if raised properly.
There is a group on Facebook that promotes the actual traditional training values these dogs were bred for, starting with 90 days in the home and doing everything with their human shepherd, graduating to being tethered short periods of time alone with the stock. The premise being that we give them every chance to succeed (be safe with stock and people) and as few chances as possible to fail (chasing, harming livestock, being aggressive with people).

These dogs THINK. As an owner of 2 of them myself, I've seen that in action. Like children, when punishment and praise are used properly they turn into wonderful partners. My girls are nearly 2 years old, and I didn't even have my goats until after they were 1 year old due to the weird circumstances I've been living in. Not only are they 100% safe with the goats, they have learned not to chase the chickens (which they have definitely killed a few of as puppies) and are 100% safe with the chickens free ranging as well. Meeting other dogs, with proper introductions, is always fun for them, giving them new friends to play with. I have no doubts whatsoever that any dog or person who comes out here with ill intentions would be given plenty of warning to turn around, and appropriate force used if they present a threat. The multiple packs of coyotes are no longer even within hearing here, even though their "song" was prevalent in the past. They have killed rats and possums that came too close to their home base areas, and frequently still sleep with me. Despite popular belief, their recall (coming when called) is 100% as well.

Yes, they do generally come with a high price tag, but in the long run they are definitely worth it! Whether you want a general farm dog to protect everything and be around the family full time, or your end goal is to have a dog that mostly lives with the livestock to protect them, I wholeheartedly recommend the LGD. Check out the tendencies in each of the breeds, as they do vary with some being more stand-off in their approaches, and some being more aggressive. Yes, rescues can be trained, but it's a crap shoot because you have no idea what the quality of their breeding was, or what their life experience has been.

Good luck in your search for the dog you need.
7 months ago

paul wheaton wrote:Sandy,

I asked devaka to help you.

Devaka did an amazing job!! I am so grateful. Thank you so much.

paul wheaton wrote:

Bruno Baker wrote:

paul wheaton wrote:To get access to the private forum, you all should have received an email from permies with instructions.  Did you get the email?

You mean the Kickstarter update #17 Paul?


Look at raven's post here:

That is the offiial invitation to that forum.  The reason why that is so important is that if your kickstarter email address is not found on permies, then it sends you a slightly different email - with instructions on a couple of ways to mend the issue, including adding your kickstarter email address to your already existing permies account.

Yes, got that email... apparently I am supposed to 'merge' my accounts. However....the 'account' I used for the kickstarter that is supposed to merge with mine - doesn't exist as a Permies account at all. Every attempt to add this email to my permies account is followed by this merge instruction (and failure) and tells me that I will be sent an email on that non-existent account, to give permission to merge - which of course I don't, because I never had a Permies account with that email.

Not sure that makes sense.... so here is a step by step
Received email from the bot
Clilcked the link, not working, and asked to merge accounts (one of which does not exist)
Attempted to merge, was told email would be sent (never was, no matter how many times I tried, yes, checked spam)

So I'm still locked out.
Number one is to make sure there is no food out, no wet spots on the counters, and pour boiling water down the kitchen drains to kill off the baby fruit flies (yes the nasty things breed down there).
Any fruit, or veggies on the counter? Get them put where the flies can't go. They are also breeding areas for them.
Used the sink for something? Make sure to wipe everything dry. Any bits of moisture encourage them.
Washcloth or sponge.... Make sure whatever you use to wash things with gets thoroughly rinsed out, wrung out, and hung to dry. Again, wet things draw them in.
If you drink beer - leave a bit in the bottom of the bottle, leave that out for several days and watch it fill up with drowned fruit flies. Wanna up the stakes? Drop a small piece of banana or strawberry (think soft sweet fruit) into the beer in the bottle.. shake well then add just one drop of dish soap - you aren't looking for bubbles, you just want the soap there to break the surface of the liquid so they can't dance around on top!

It's late now, and my brain is not coming up with anything more... although I'm sure there IS more.
Good luck!
8 months ago

Catherine Carney wrote:How do I save this to my computer for future reference?

Not a big fan of the cbook format as it loads slowly, and pages have to reload if you're going back and forth. Much prefer pdf formats, and I wish you'd go back to them.

Also, there are apparently supposed to be links in the document, and they do not work!
Please, PDF is much simpler... <3
Well, the site I was planning to use is no longer an option. I'm moving!

Now I will need to find a site on the new property to build on, and may end up having to purchase all fill materials since the new place is pretty flat. Fortunately there are some good resources in the area, so I feel confident this idea will still come to fruition.
10 months ago

Erica Wisner wrote:The version we've added to this thread should be defect-free.  Please let me know how it works for you!
Erica Wisner

Is it supposed to start at Chapter 4? What happened to the first 3 Chapters?
11 months ago
LOVING this topic! Really fits into what I'm trying to do.
I have 15 acres of wild property, all sloped, but enough of it is a gentle slope that I can work with it. I plan on eventually building some swales - for the food forest, and to help hold more water up there over the summer. There will be a LOT more clearing that needs to be done, some of that wood can be used for construction, fire wood, and hugel beds (which I hope to have LOTS of.)

Because funds are extremely limited, over this summer my plans are to clear a bit more woods, put electric fencing up for the goats, build them a shelter, as well as start on an earthbag barn with a loft.
Due to deer pressure, I also plan on working on food forest guilds that will be fenced in on their own.

The site I've chosen for a home, the most level spot, will be further cleared, any possibly dangerous trees removed, and kept mowed throughout the year to keep saplings from coming back and taking over again. Once I get the driveway, well, septic and electric up there, real construction can begin, and by then the site will be ready.

Eventually, there will be a large amount of silvopasture, multiple 'clearings' that will be part of the rotational grazing system, and hidden gems of food forest all over. None of this is visible from the road, but I will still have a great view of the valley around me.

In the image, the home site is up just beyond view...

11 months ago