Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Good Friends

Yesterday, I spied Pamunky, our chow/rottweiler mix, and Sniper, the star of last Tuesday's Black and White Texture Tuesday, enjoying the warm weather together.

Pamunky and Sniper Photo by Tori Beveridge AHWT

I grabbed my camera and as quietly and slowly as possible slipped outside.  I didn't want to disturb the moment.

Pamunky and Sniper Photo 2 by Tori Beveridge AHWT

Pamunky started licking Sniper.  Try as I might, I couldn't capture the times when her tongue was out and I was snapping continuously.

Pamunky and Sniper Photo 3 by Tori Beveridge AHWT

Sniper didn't seem to mind too much.

Pamunky and Sniper Photo 4 by Tori Beveridge AHWT

I left them in peace to enjoy the rest of their afternoon.

In all of the above I used Kim Klassen's 1402 Magic texture, set to soft light.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Buffalo Gnat Update

We lost our Silver Laced Wyandotte, Lacey, to the buffalo gnats this afternoon, despite all of our efforts.  She died in Mr. B.'s arms.

Lacey's first time outdoors when she was about 3 weeks old.
Her back was quite bare due to the attentions of our rooster.  She was wearing a saddle, but the flies could get underneath it.  Casualties in chickens who have poor feather coverage is apparently higher; as it's easier for the flies to get to the skin.

Lacey out foraging about two weeks ago.

The flies are bad here right now with our hot weather and all the rain and flooding we've had in Illinois.

We're trying everything in my last post about buffalo gnats plus whatever we can think of, to keep the rest of the flock alive.  Fingers crossed we don't lose any more.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Protect Your Chickens Against Buffalo Gnats

It's Buffalo Gnat season.  They arrived yesterday much to our chickens' dismay.  The poor girls and Ringo spent the day snapping at them in the air, eating them off themselves and each other, and trying to hide from them.

Running for cover.
I had been dreading the three week invasion of these nasty little biting flies after I had heard of all the damage they had done to chicken flocks here in the past few years.  I dreaded it even more than the fox that managed to get one of our Rhode Island Reds one early evening while she was free ranging with the rest of the flock.  We can watch and take precautions and action against the fox and other predators, but these teeny tiny flies are a different story.

Buffalo gnats can kill chickens. The gnats arrive in swarms.  The swarms can kill chickens and small mammals by biting and sucking their blood, much like mosquitoes.  Many chickens who survive the bites have fatal allergic reactions.  The flies can also block the chickens' nostrils and asphyxiate them.   There have been reports of people losing whole flocks to the blood thirsty little flies in one day.

What can you do to protect your chickens if you have buffalo gnats in your area?

Make sure your chickens have shade.  Dense dark shade is best.  If you don't have a shady spot, you can create one simply by leaning a large board against a fence or tree.

Our make shift lean-to.  It provides dense, dark shade.
If your coop is large enough, you could keep them inside.  Keep it dark inside.  Turn off all the lights.  You may want to add some fine screening over any windows or vents.

Buffalo gnats do not like wind.  You can use a  fan to create wind in your run and/or coop.

Check for standing water and remove it and keep it cleared away.

Some people apply vanilla or Skin So Soft to the chickens heads, combs and wattles.  You can burn citronella torches around the run.  There are a few people who hang fabric softener sheets around the coop.  The vanilla does work.  I use it on myself and sprayed our chickens with it yesterday.  It didn't last very long.  You have to reapply it quite often.

EDIT:  Editing in from my comments below:  We did find something that provides instant relief for them but you do have to catch them to apply it. It's 'Skeeter Skidaddler, a 100% natural bug repellant. It from Gentle Breeze Farm http://tremblingleaf.com/ . We used the furry friend formula. We have applied it a minimum of twice a day to their combs, face and waddles and any exposed areas on their body. The bugs left them alone for 2 to 3 hours each time. 

Pray for hot weather.  Buffalo gnats do not like temperatures over eighty degrees.

Hiding in the shade of the tree and lean-to.

If you have any other tips on how to protect your chickens from buffalo gnats, please share.

Linking up with: 


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Redbuds and Note Cards

We have a redbud tree outside our guest bedroom window.  
It was truly spectacular this year;  the most beautiful I've ever seen it.

Redbud In Bloom Photo by Tori Beveridge AHWT

I use the room as a craft/paint studio and this was inspiring to look out upon.

I took a couple of close ups.

Redbud Photo by Tori Beveridge AHWT

I can see myself sending this as a card to someone with a little note inside.

I spied this little sprig of buds shooting forth from the trunk and had to shoot it.

Redbud Sprig Photo by Tori Beveridge AHWT

I love the contrast of textures and colors.

In keeping with this spring flower theme, I am borrowing an apple blossom photo from last week's WW post, as my final note card, because I like the quote I used on it.

Apple Blossom Motivational Quote Photo Art by Tori Beveridge 2013
It says:  "What if you have seen it before, ten thousand times over?  An apple tree in full blossom is like a message, sent fresh from heaven to earth, of purity and beauty."  ~ Henry Ward Beecher

Linking to A Haven For Vee's May Note Card Party

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Black and White Photo

Meet Sniper, one of our six cats.

In reality she is orange (red) and white, but, seeing as the theme for Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday is Black and White, you'll have to imagine her coloring.

I used Kim's Unleashed and Paper and Paste textures on this.  Both were changed to gray scale.  Paper and Paste was laid first set to Burn @ 100%.  Unleashed is on top of that set to Soft Light @ 72%.

Linking to:


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Apple Blossoms

Apple Blossom Motivational Quote Photo Art by Tori Beveridge
"What if you have seen it before, ten thousand times over?  An apple tree in full blossom is like a message, sent fresh from heaven to earth, of purity and beauty."  ~ Henry Ward Beecher

Apple Blossoms Photo 1 by Tori Beveridge

Apple Blossoms Photo 2 by Tori Beveridge

Linking to:

Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday, The Pop Edition.  Textures used were Cora (top and bottom photos) and Return (middle and bottom photos).

and to:

Wordless Wednesday