For the birds: Attracting Orioles

More fun facts from Olsen Farm

Olsen Farm

Orioles are beautiful birds with an amazing song and bright, sunny plumage. These stunning birds LOVE sweet blossoms and fruit, particularly oranges.

To attract these beauties to your yard you could simply stick orange slices out on posts in the yard, or you can make a decorative treat with sliced oranges with these simple steps.

What you will need:

fresh oranges

sharp knife

2-3 inch twigs

string or twine, cut in 12-15 inch lengths

a skewer or knitting needle (I used a knitting needle)

1. Slice oranges in half

2. Cut a few 2-3 inch twig bits

IMG_3317I used willow trigs because they are plentiful in our yard and are flexible

3. Use a sharp knife to cut a small nick in the center of each twig, as shown below

4. Wrap string or twine around nick in center of each twig and tie securely

5. Use skewer or knitting…

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A Pretty Long History of Personal Humiliation

❤️ My lovely and talented daughter Hannah!

Adulthood is Terriffying

Back in elementary school, 94% of the time I spent with my friends was occupied by dressing up as and/or pretending to be theSpice Girls(it was the late ’90s and I was 12, okay??!).

I always wanted to be Scary Spice, the “wacky black one,” who I related to on account of her wackiness, and whose blackness didn’t really seem like a good enough reason to disqualify me from playing her inliving room reenactments of scenes fromSpice World.

My friends never reacted the way 12-year-olds pretending to be sexy British pop stars seemed like they should react when I volunteered to be Scary Spice. And by that I mean, they didn’t giggleand/or throw up a peace sign and/or pop on a British accent for a forced “Girl powah!”

There was something discernibly awkward about the laughter from the visibly uncomfortable psudeo-Spices around me. Or at least,I felt

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Joey the Draft Horse: Farming before technology

More from Olsen Farm

Olsen Farm

Great Grandpa Olsen used his draft horse, Joey, for all his plowing and field preparations on Olsen Farm for decades. In the early to mid 1900’s farmers all used hand tools and animals for plowing and heavy farm work. By the 50’s motorized tractors became available and were ‘the next big thing’ in farming- if you didn’t have a gas tractor you were falling behind.

Great Grandpa preferred to stick with what he knew worked- Joey was steadfast and reliable. He loved Joey like a child and trusted him like a friend. Great Grandpa had a way with animals, he passed this love of nature and compassion for living things on though the generations.

We still have the remains of the first motorized tractor Great Grandpa was given by the agricultural department as an incentive to expand his farm, and produce more. In the late 1950’s more and more farmers were…

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Beneficial Insects: Praying Mantids for Tick Control

More from Kriten at Olsen Farm

Olsen Farm

Ticks are a serious problem in Berkshire County. Not a day goes by when we don’t find them on ourselves and our pets and we are always searching for ways to manage these horrible pests without the use of toxic chemicals. Our chickens and guinea fowl offer great tick control but can always use some help in their daunting task- we discovered these little helpers in praying mantids, a beneficial insect and natural predator to ticks and other small insects.

Mantids are native to our area so there is not risk of introducing one invasive species to manage another. Be sure to check your area before purchasing and releasing beneficial insects to be sure there is not risk of introducing invasive species. 

Two years ago we bought a few egg sacks and hatched them in a clear cup. There are about 300 tiny mantids in each egg sack- we bought the egg…

View original post 285 more words

Beneficial Insects: Praying Mantids for Tick Control

More from Kriten at Olsen Farm

Olsen Farm

Ticks are a serious problem in Berkshire County. Not a day goes by when we don’t find them on ourselves and our pets and we are always searching for ways to manage these horrible pests without the use of toxic chemicals. Our chickens and guinea fowl offer great tick control but can always use some help in their daunting task- we discovered these little helpers in praying mantids, a beneficial insect and natural predator to ticks and other small insects.

Mantids are native to our area so there is not risk of introducing one invasive species to manage another. Be sure to check your area before purchasing and releasing beneficial insects to be sure there is not risk of introducing invasive species. 

Two years ago we bought a few egg sacks and hatched them in a clear cup. There are about 300 tiny mantids in each egg sack- we bought the egg…

View original post 285 more words

DIY Chicken Saddles, protect your hens from over mating

What a great idea!

Olsen Farm

Chicken trouble: bare backs

Spring is for the birds and the bees- and this means our rooster is working overtime. Sometimes he can get a little carried away with his ‘rooster duties’ and end up pulling feathers from the girl’s backs. Once the other hens see bare skin on their sister’s back they can’t resist pecking and pulling out more feathers.

When a rooster mates a hen he climbs on her back, standing on her wings and holding her neck and back feathers in his beak to get in position for transfer of sperm. Sometimes he pulls out a few feathers during the process. Over mating, or aggressive mating, can lead to hens with bare backs and at risk of further wounds and infection if not cared for. 

We tried using Blu-Kote Antiseptic spray, which we have had success with in the past when chickens had skin exposed,  on our…

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Book by Book

My brilliant daughter

Adulthood is Terriffying

I know that I’m good at writing, but I also know that being good at writing doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve always got something worth writing about. But Anne Lamott says writing is like playing tennis, meaning that sometimes you just go to it and don’t worry about doing it well but still do it because it feels good and also you’re Anne Lamott and grew up in Marin, CA surrounded by insanely liberal, insanely wealthy, insanely creative insane people in the sixties.

Because who else plays tennis and enjoys it?

(For the record, I really respect Anne Lamott and enjoy her work. But she’s kind of a self-righteous asshole.)

Speaking of assholes, Kurt Vonnegut wrote in Slaughterhouse-Five that “what we love in our books are the depths of many marvelous moments seen all at one time,” and I’ve gone searching for those moments to marvel at countless times throughout my…

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