Beating the Heat

IMG_6185Man, has it been hot lately! I’m so glad that my family has a few methods for beating the heat when you don’t have air conditioning. We have to live with that sometimes. We saved our money a while back though and did ourselves a huge favor by installing an attic fan. We’ll open all of the windows around the house and turn on the attic fan at night. Then, in the earliest hours of the morning, we close the windows and turn off the fan. Most of the cool stays in the house for most of the day thanks to the insulation.

Unfortunately, living on a working farm, you can’t stay in the house all day. So, what do you do to beat that obnoxious heat then? Well, we homestead in Oklahoma where it’s usually hot and humid. So, a trick that we’ve borrowed from the cowboys and improved on is this. Cowboys will soak a bandanna and tie that around their necks to help keep them cool. We one up that. We soak the bandannas the night before and freeze them. Voila! You will be wearing your personal air conditioning unit. The bandanna will thaw around your neck and drip nice cool water onto your shirt while you work. Make sure that you have lots of these bandannas frozen because they will warm up over time. Also, make sure that you drink lots and lots of water.

At night, aside from the attic fan, we will also, if it is really really hot, take a cold shower and put a fan on facing your bed. It will help you be able to sleep. This last tip will probably make you chuckle. I’m a dog person and I was trying to get ready to take my boxer and terrier to go test for their Canine Good Citizen titles. As I was preparing to go test, I investigated what I could do aside from shade and water to help keep the dog that was crated cool, on a hot Oklahoma summer day. I found that there are cooling mats for dogs that run about $45 for a medium sized mat. I picked one up to try with my dogs. I did some training in town and tried the mat with the dog that was not being worked at the moment, The dog wanted nothing to do with that mat! Shoot! Okay then! I am not one to waste my money. I noticed that the mat was indeed nice and cool if kept in the shade. It’s also gloriously squishy. Uh huh! You guessed it. On the really hot nights, the dog cooling mat has started ending up on MY bed, and let me tell you, that it works wonderfully!

So, do you have any tips for beating the heat that you’d like to share? Tell us about them in the comments!

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A Discovery

Yesterday, I made a fun discovery. I had just gotten back from riding my horses, and they were a sweaty mess after getting their every other day work out. As I went in search of the end of the hose to be able to hose horses off, I found something by the duck pool. It was a tiny pullet egg.

This is the pullet egg next to a full sized chicken egg.
This is the pullet egg next to a full sized chicken egg.

Pullet eggs are significantly smaller than a regular egg because they are the first egg that a bird lays. They are still good to eat, despite their tiny size. Sometimes, they don’t even have a yolk in them. After that first egg, all the rest of a chicken’s eggs will be much larger.

Speaking of interesting egg facts, did you know that there is a breed of chicken that lays blue, green and pink eggs? I first found out about this breed when I was a kid. My dad helped with a program that raised them. The chickens are called Ameraucana. There is one other breed of chicken that also lays coloured eggs. I think I’ll share a link that I found very interesting that talks about those two breeds and talks about the Easter egg chicken itself.
http://www.ameraucana.org/faq.html#ONE
Oh, while I’m on the topic of eggs, there is a recipe that I love to make for breakfast that you might enjoy. You’ll need:
1 egg per person
1 teaspoon of sugar per egg
1 bowl
1 small bowl or shot glass

Step 1
Crack the egg and separate the yolk from the egg white
Set the yolk aside in the shot glass or small bowl

Step 2
Beat the egg white and the sugar together until they are quite frothy

Step 3
Add in the egg yolk and whip them together well

Step 4
Fry them up

Enjoy!

A Predator’s Nightmare

A Komondor/Pryranees Livestock Guarian dog. Llana is our big, gentle, babysitter.
A Komondor/Pyrenees Livestock Guardian dog. Llana is our big, gentle, babysitter.

One of the things that people first notice if they even drive past our farm, are our big fluffy yellow and big fluffy white dogs. I’ve talked to a few people who have put two and two together that I’m from that farm. Most of them sadly have no idea exactly what those big white dogs are for. I’ve even talked with a few who have admitted to trying to hit big white dogs when they see them out on country roads. That really will make me mad. I have to admit that those people got an education and scolding on the spot! Those dogs have a special job to do on a farm and they take a long while to get fully trained and trust worthy despite being bred to do that job. It takes from 8 weeks old until 6 months old for them to begin to really take an interest. Then, they really start to be a help on the #homestead at 2 years old. They are in their prime at 4 and unfortunately, they don’t live long. Sadly dead by 5-7 years old.

My family’s big white dog is a great Pyrenees and Komondor cross. The big yellow ones are Anatolian and Pyrenees crosses. They are breeds that are specifically bred to protect the animals from predators.

One of the Anatolian crosses doing what livestock guardian dogs love to do! He watches everything.
One of the Anatolian crosses doing what livestock guardian dogs love to do! He watches everything.

We originally bought our first livestock guardian dog because one morning, my dad went out to the barn to feed the goats and there was a coyote staring into the barn, just drooling over the goats. After that, we decided that for the protection of the goats, we needed at least one livestock guardian dog on our #homestead. Now, where we live, we have more predators than coyotes. We also have bears, mountain lions, hawks, owls and eagles.

This young fellow was our very first Livestock Guardian Dog. He was a purebred Great Pyranees.
This young fellow was our very first Livestock Guardian Dog. He was a purebred Great Pyranees.

Later, after our first dog was dealing with lots of big predators, we decided that we needed at least two livestock guardian dogs because our local mountain lion started visiting our farm regularly.

The dogs are a good way to protect the flock, especially with two or more dogs. After we had a pair of livestock guardian dogs, the pup we acquired, found a big kitty to chase. Thankfully, the older livestock guardian dog wasn’t too far behind the pup when it caught it’s big kitty. The poor pup still ended up really beat up by it’s encounter with the mountain lion. That was a visit to the vet for our puppy. Poor fellow got a broken leg in the fight. He had to be kept on rest for a while and his leg had to be checked every bit to make sure that it was still ok, not too cold to touch.

He healed up nicely though and he’s back out in that field with the older dog and the Komondor mix, doing what they love. They do have access to several buildings on our property but usually prefer to be where they can see the flocks of animals.IMG_5889