Category Archives: Mike’s Journal

Entries in Mike’s Farming Journal

Sage Brush Mulch

As we continue to try to build up the fertility of the soil at Quail Run Farm, we are trying to find creative ways to find mulch.  Utah is not know for it trees, and that is even more true in the valley that Quail Run Farm is located in.  The one thing we have plenty of is sage brush.  And we try to use that as much as possible and not let it go to waste.

As we clear our land and bring in new uses for it, we end up cleaning up areas that are covered in sage brush.  We do plan on leaving some of the areas on the farm as native plants, and leave the sage brush.  But some areas we have to remove it.

 

As we do so, we find ourselves making large piles of sage brush.  Sage brush has a bad reputation, and is removed as soon as people move into an area.

 

One of the many heavy lifters we have on the farm is this chipper/shredder.   I purchased this one because I felt it was the best for the amount of money that I had.  I would of liked to of purchased a larger one, but the funding was not there.

Sage brush can be turned into some pretty nice mulch, if you are willing to get dirty and dusty in the process.  Sage Brush tends to collect dirt and dust as it grows, making it hard on cutting tools, but this chipper/shredder makes pretty quick work of it.

 

This pictures shows some of the mulch that was made from the pile of sage brush in the first post.  We are constantly finding ways to turn discarded green waste into mulch to help us retain water, and increase the fertility of the soil.

Badger Wars

We have mentioned before Quail Run Farm at one time was home to a den of badger.  A couple years back, we found a badger den on the property.  It was a ways away from the house, and in an area that was not being currently used.  After some research we found that the badgers would help us with a couple of problems we may have on the farm.  They eat gophers, and also are know to kill rattle snakes.  So we left it alone and told the kids to stay way from the area.  Badgers have a large area they cover, and move from den to den.  They moved from our property a little while later and we have not seen them since.

Well, until we went for a walk just west of our property.  (We were taking some pictures of the flax that was in bloom.)  Then we found a badger battle zone.  We took some pictures to show that there was another active badger den, and that it declared war on some of the local pocket gopher mounds.

Here is the badger den.

Here is the badger den.

When also found some claw marks that were left close by.

IMG_6473 IMG_6477We then started looking around, and found several gopher mounds that had been dug out by the badger.

IMG_6479 Here is one where you can see the gopher has refilled its hole.

IMG_6481The battle was pretty massive, there are a lot of mounds that were dug up by the badger.

IMG_6482We have found that at times, the best approach is to wait and see what happens.  We try to keep a balance between nature and farming.  Unless the wildlife interferes with our farming, or causes a danger to our family or livestock, we will try to leave it where it is, and let nature take its course.

I don’t know if this is the same badger that was on our property a couple years back, but if it is, I am glad that we let it do its thing.  Anything that will help us take out the pocket gophers naturally, is a friend of ours.

Autumn

Autumn or Fall as some people refer to it is one of my favorite times of the year.  To me it is like the Earth taking in a deep breath just before a long slumber.

Even in a person
most times indifferent
to things around him
they waken feelings
the first winds of autumn

Saigyo

 

Everyone feels the pull of Autumn.   Plants and trees make their final push to grow, dig deep, and get ready for a long sleep.  They then blanket the ground with their leaves, knowing that they will help them survive and produce for another year.

Autumn is a time for reflection, and a time for thanksgiving.   It is a time to look back over the year, applaud your accomplishments, and to learn from your mistakes.  It is a time to reflect on what worked on the farm or in the garden, and what did not work.  A time to make goals and plans for the next planting season.  It is also a time to slow down, to enjoy, and rest.  Autumn issues in winter, and winter is a time when the Earth sleeps, and gets ready for the wakening of Spring, and the hard labor of Summer.

I enjoy Autumn, the change changes in the color, the changes in the weather.  It is the time of preparation for the next planting season.

I hope that everyone will allow some time in the next few weeks to look at the Earth, what it has given us this year, and be thankful for its bounty.   And to also reflect on next year, and what we will do with the partnership we have with it and nature.

liddy

Front Yard Spring

998130_10151736568511584_589948297_nThis is one of the views you get when you travel the roads that lead to our little piece of heaven.  To get to our farm, you have to drive on a gravel road.  Being isolated like that gives has advantages and disadvantages.  This year has been the year of replacements.  We have replaced our water heaters, air conditioner, furnace and who knows what will happen next.

When I got home from work on Monday, I noticed that there was a nice sized puddle at the end of the driveway.  I did not think much about it at first, but then after noticing it again a little later I started to ask what caused it.  We had rain the night before, but not enough to have generated that puddle.  So I asked if the kids had been playing with the hose, etc.  After eliminated everything that could of caused it, my oldest said, “Dad, come look at this.”  We walked out and she showed me a little spot in the puddle that had water bubbling up from the ground.

I am like YEAH, we have discovered a new spring.  Maybe it will be high in salt content so we can start harvesting our own salt. (Like what Eustace does in S5:E15 of Mountain Men).  Or we now have a way to water the livestock without having to use city water to do so.  But of course, the new found spring was related to the higher water bills, low water pressure, and the noise the pipes in the house would make on occasion.   We had a main water line leak.  From what I could tell, the water line between the house, and the city water meter had sprung a leak, and had finally saturated the ground so much that it had stated to surface.  And of course, the leak was coming from under the concrete portion of the drive way.  I just wanted to sit down a cry, a repair like that can be very expensive.

So I called a friend of mine to see what he would suggest we do.  This friend owns a company called Mr. and Mrs. Handyman.  Jeramiah has helped us with a few projects in the past (Finding the Septic Tank, Installing the Wood Stove, New Bathroom, and the list goes on), and I figured I could pick his brain for a minute to see what he would do.  Within 20 minutes he showed up with his mini-x and we started digging to see what was going on.  (He had just finished up with another client, and had replaced their waterline, so he had everything he needed already loaded.)

14444776_10154612486261584_549593418792284411_oYup, we found that the water leak was coming from under the driveway, so we then went to work on the side closest to the house.

14358845_10154612563171584_6850956663760246985_nIn a few hours, we had both ends of the driveway excavated down to the pipe and knew what needed to be done the next morning.

14470487_10209336788369839_8300368970339853482_nJeramiah showed up early in the morning and the work really started.   We wanted to avoid digging up the driveway, so Jeramiah came up with the idea of using a connector and hooking the old water line to the new water line, and then pulling the old water line from under the driveway and keep pulling so that the new water line replaced it.  It worked well, we were able to pull the new line under the driveway without having to cut any concrete.

We then dug the trench from the driveway to the meter box by the street through our gravel driveway.  Hooked the new line up to the house, and the meter, turn on the water, looked for leaks.  And verified that the meter showed no new usage (after everything refiled in the house).   At that point, we started to back fill the trench, and compact it in layers as we backfilled.

14522815_10154614469316584_6025915480877168592_n

You can see Tom having a fun time playing in the dirt, and watching as the trench was dug.

14440671_10154614468796584_1457433882002849893_nAfter everything was said and done, we had 80 feet of new water line ran, and the driveway was now usable again.

I am just very grateful that we found it now, and now during the winter.  I am also very grateful for my friends, and their willingness and ability to help do things like that.  If you EVER need a handyman, I suggest you contact Jeramiah and see if he can help you out.  Our house has given him the ability to try a few firsts.  Like extending the neck of a septic tank that the home builder buried under 8 feet of dirt, to pulling a new water line under a driveway without having to cut the driveway.

Jefferson’s Canons of Conduct

Official_Presidential_portrait_of_Thomas_Jefferson_(by_Rembrandt_Peale,_1800)As a lot of people know, I like to study the writings and documents that were created by the US Founding Fathers.  I find their insight refreshing, and their forward thinking an inspiration.  This is not a political post in nature, but a post of some good advice that Thomas Jefferson has given.  These are some canons of conduct that he has given in two different letters.  One of the letters was to an individual named Thomas Jefferson Smith (only contained 10 of the 12), and the other was to his granddaughter Cornelia Jefferson Randolph. I have combined the two letters and created one list.  This is advice that I think everyone can use, especially if you are trying to start a farm, and you need to focus your resources on it.  I think that Benjamin Franklin gets a lot of credit for his single line advice because of the Poor Richard’s Almanac that he published, but I think that there are a lot of good tidbits of knowledge from the other founders as well.  Here are some from Thomas Jefferson.

1. Never put off to tomorrow what you can do to-day.

2. Never trouble another with what you can do yourself

3. Never spend your money before you have it

4. Never buy a thing you do not want, because it is cheap, it will be dear to you.

5. Take care of your cents: Dollars will take care of themselves!

6. Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst and cold.

7. We never repent of having eat[en] too little.

8. Nothing is troublesome that one does willingly.

9. How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happen d!

10. Take things always by their smooth handle.

11. Think as you please, & so let others, & you will have no disputes.

12. When angry, count 10. before you speak; if very angry, 100.

 

[Source]

Unwelcome Visitor

We try to live with nature as much as possible.  We will tolerate a pest until it becomes a danger to humans, pets, live stock, or our gardens.  And when it does become a problem, we try to relocate and discourage it, before we dispatch it.   We had such a visitor the other day, one that I would usually watch slither away, but because of the location of this visitor and because it was not letting itself be known, I felt it was a safety issue, and had to dispatch it.

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I am by no means a snake expert, but I believe that this guy is a Great Basin Rattlesnake or Crotalus oreganus lutosus.  Aimee and I stumbled on this guy when we were getting ready to get into the van.  Aimee noticed the pit viper head immediately and I verified it by looking at the tail.  I later identified it as the Great Basin Rattlesnake by it’s coloring and other pictures on the internet.

The color pattern usually consists of a buff, pale gray, pale brown, olive brown or yellowish brown ground color, overlaid with a series of 32-49 dorsal blotches. These blotches are dark brown to black in color, with pale centers and pale borders, and are often irregular in shape and wider than they are long. There is also a series of lateral blotches that are indistinct anteriorly, but become more distinct posteriorly and eventually merge with the dorsal blotches to form crossbands. Older specimens sometimes have a faded pattern, or they may have uniformly black blotches, with the dorsum of the head also being black [Source]

As noted above, I  would usually relocate snakes, but this one was within 10 feet of our front door, and was not using its rattle.  So I instantly felt like I needed to dispatch it, instead of herding it to another location.

It surprised me that this guy was not rattling.  He was coiled, just sitting there looking at us.  He was sitting behind our chipper/shredder, which I moved to take this picture and to figure out a way to get him to uncoil so that I could take care of the threat.  After doing a little more research, I came across an article (“Rattlesnake danger grows as more serpents strike without warning” July 22, 2001) that explains that rattlesnakes are now not using their rattles and are more likely to attack without warning.  The Great Basin Rattlesnake is also more timid.

The quickest, and best way that I have found to dispatch a rattlesnake is to put a shovel blade just behind its head and decapitate the snake.  But you NEVER want to approach a coiled pit viper.  They have the ability to spring and attack the distance of their body when they are in a coiled position.  So you want to get the snake to move on, so you can dispatch it while it is not coiled.  And this guy was not going to uncoil for me.  And he only rattled once, and that was for a second after I poked him with a sprinkler pipe to get him to uncoil and move off.

So, I figured that vibration/noise would make him move.  So I fired up the chipper/shredder.  He only looked at it, did not move an inch.  So I then turned the shredder so that it was now blowing at him.  This did the trick, the uncoiled and started to move away from the shredder.  I then walked up behind him and with a shovel decapitated the snake.

The problem with snakes, is that they still can move, rattle, and bite after they have been dispatched.  This one was no different.  After I removed his head with the shovel, I went to pick the head up, with the shovel.  His body-less head then bit the shovel.  Never, try to pick up a snakes head, even if it is removed from the body.  They always have the ability to inject venom through their fangs.  I then dug a hole, and promptly buried the head.  I then removed the rattle, and then put the body of the snake away from the house to let nature take care of it.

The Utah Department of Wildlife Resources in an article titled “Rattlesnake safety tips – DWR” lists several things to do when you encounter a rattlesnake and how to protect your property from them.  Rattlesnakes are actually illegal to kill in Utah (R657-53).  The law does have an exception for “reasons of human safety.”  -28(6)(a) “Great Basin rattlesnakes, Crotalus oreganus lutosus, may be killed without a certificate of registration only for reasons of human safety.”  I agree that they should usually be left alone, and would usually leave them alone, especially if it was in the wild, but because it was a safety risk for me and my family I dispatched the snake.

 

Interesting Visitors

Over the last few days we have had some fun visitors of the insect variety, they were unique enough that we had to investigate further.

Solifugae

The first one is called a Solifugae, or as some people would call them a camel spider, wind scorpion, or sun spider.

IMG_0416

There are a lot of urban legends about this guy.  Everything from them being big enough to eat birds, run at really fast speeds, and that they are deadly to humans.

Well, they are all false.  This guy eats ground-dwelling arthropods, and other small animals, does not pose a risk to humans.  It can run fast, but only at a top speed of 10 mph.  It does not have any venom glands or any type of venom-delivery apparatus.   But they can give you a very powerful nip with their mouth parts or their chelicerae, but it is nothing medically significant.  They like to avoid the sun, and will move to get away from it.

Carrion beetle

This visitor is a Silphidae  it is also called a carrion beetle or burying beetles.

IMG_0419This guy is one of natures cleanup beetles.  Specifically, it is know for taking care of dead animals.  These guys have wings but no longer use them.  They can be found worldwide and belong to a family of 183 species.  I have to admit, these guys, like the camel spider are also a pretty misunderstood visitors.

The Silphidae adults feed in a saprophagous manner: they colonize the carrion during all four stages of decomposition, which are fresh, bloated, decay, and dry. The main areas of decomposition for adults are during both the bloated and decaying stages. The Silphidae larvae mainly inhabit during the decaying and dry stages of the carrion. The primary food source for the subfamily Silphinae is the maggot mass present on the detritus. The Nicrophorinae will colonize the body earlier in decomposition in order to avoid competition with maggots. If there is a sufficiently large maggot mass they will not colonize the carcass. The parental care exhibited by this subfamily is that the adult beetles regurgitate food into the mouths of the young larvae until they are mature. Silphinae colonize later in the decaying process and the adults eat the maggot mass, sometimes leaving little maggot evidence left to estimate a post-mortem interval. In the case of the sexton or burying beetles, Nicrophorinae, the adults will bury small animal carcasses and lay their eggs on it. In some species, a slight depression is made on the detritus for maturing larvae that the adult beetles feed and protect. In both subfamilies the larvae are observed to eat the decaying organic material while the adults mainly consume the maggots. Flies are the major competitor of Silphiade for detritus. If a carcass is infested with maggots, many of the Nicrophorinae will abandon the carcass while members of Silphinae will feed on the maggots.[Source]

Sounds like something that Gil Grissom would really like to find during one of his Crime Scene Investigations.  These guys are not considered a nuisance to humans, they also have a large distribution.  They have been know to become pests to farmers and will use crops as a secondary source of nutrients.

An interesting side note to this guy.  I found him next to our garbage can as I was taking it out to the street for pickup.  In the garbage can, there were several gophers that I had trapped during the week.  Looks like this guy was just trying to find a new place to lay its eggs.

 

Own it, Fix it, Move on..

instagramMKIEFF

As an IT professional, I can tell you that the more systems you work on, and the more power you are given over those systems, the more likely you will mess something up.   And I have also learned that the quicker you accept the fact you messed up, and concentrate on fixing the problem, the faster people forget about it, and the quicker you can let it go.

There was one time when a junior systems administrator (SysAdmin) did something that caused a group of people to lose some data that they had been working on for a while.  When the mistake was discovered, everyone kicked into fix-it mode.  We started looking into backups and other options to restore the data.  In the end, we found that we could not restore the data, that because of a simple mistake, lots of time and money was lost. While we were trying to find a solution, I looked over at the junior SysAdmin, and noticed what he was doing.  Instead of owning the problem, and trying to fix it, he was looking through the logs to see if he could shift the blame to someone else.  He knew what he had done and had not told anyone about it. The sad thing with this situation, is that if the SysAdmin would of owned it, and started fixing it in the beginning, the data would not of been lost.  But because he was trying to hide his mistake, a time threshold passed, and the data was no longer available for restore.

I once also had a similar situation happen to me, I did something similar to the above example.  Once I knew what I had done, I owned it, called my boss and explained to him what happened.  Then we worked on finding a solution.  The solution was to call Tech Support and see if they could fix what I had screwed up.  I called and explained to them what had happened, and I remember the tech support guy saying, “Yup, you should of not of done that.  Why would you…”  I interrupted his next sentence and said to him, “Yup, I know, but we can’t change that now.  What do we do to fix it?”  Lucky for me, about an hour later, we had rebuilt the array and no data was lost.  But, if I would of spent time trying to hide, or deflect what had really happened, then there would of been no way to restore the data.  The issue we were working on was only fixable because we were able to concentrate on fixing it before a time threshold was reached.

I learned the philosophy to Own it, Fix it, and Move on fairly early in my IT career.  But I have found it harder to apply to other aspects of my life.  It is an essential lesson and I think that society needs to learn and apply.  You can just ask Aimee, and she will tell you that this is something that I have not perfected, and still need to work on.  I have also found that by writing about something I need to work on, it helps solidify that concept in my mind.  That is the main purpose of this post, this  is to help solidify the Own it, Fix it, and Move on mentality in other areas other than in just my IT career.

First, I am sorry.  But life is not fair, and it was never intended to be fair.  Everyone has their problems that are unique to them.  That is one of the things that makes life so interesting.  Imagine a world where things really were equal and fair.  It will never happen, and why?  Because of human nature and our ability to choose. But the other side is also true.  Because life is not fair, there are people who can excel in areas, by their example and experiences, they can make society a better place.

I know at least two people that because of medical issues could throw up their hands and scream at life.  Life has given them some trials that would seem unfair.  They have had to fight some very significant health battles.  But they both have been an inspiration to me.  They both have their hard days, but instead of complaining about how hard life is for them, they have used their struggles to help pull people along, and to share their light.  I am not going to mention them by name, because I know that they would feel uncomfortable if I did.  But they are a perfect example of how life can be unfair, but you can take that, and turn it into a positive and make society better.

Second, people make mistakes, and do things they know they should not do.  You can be the best parent in the world, and your child will still push boundaries and do things that they know you have taught them not to do. Most of the inventions that have brought society forward, have been because someone has made a mistake.  They have learned from that mistake, and have tried to fix it.  And in the process of fixing it, they have help to make society a better place.

Third, taking responsibility is hard.  And a lot of times taking that responsibility or having others take responsibility for their actions does make you look the fool.  But you know what?  Everyone at some time looks the fool.  It is part of life not being fair, and people messing up.  The lesson to learn is how to shake it off when you do look the fool, because everyone at some point will, and then move on and make society better by the lesson you just learned.

I am a father of nine children.  And being such I have a unique prospective.  I can tell you that all nine of my children are completely different.  Sure, they have the same parents, but each of them have their own struggles (yes, they are not equal), they have made mistakes in different ways (yes, even after we have taught them not to do it.), and they have all tired to avoid responsibility.  And they have all done it at different times, about different things.

But one thing I have tried to teach them all, is that no one is responsible for your actions.  You are responsible for your actions.  Yes, life is not fair, get over it.  Yes, you will screw up, own it and take responsibility for your actions.

The news lately has made me so mad.  I am so tired of society always trying to assign blame to something besides the person who has done the wrong deed.  In my opinion, not taking responsibility for your actions,  is one of the worst things that we are teaching the future generation.  We are teaching them, that it is okay for them to identify as they wish, act as they want, and to blame it on something else.  Society is teaching them to avoid responsibility and to blame something else for the way they behaved.

Sorry, your actions are your actions.  They are not caused by your Race, Sex, Genetics, Childhood, etc.  Those things may influence who you are, but the should NEVER be the reason for bad behavior.  And yes, society is telling you that you are not responsible for your actions, it is because of how unfair the system is, etc.  Ultimately, you are the one that murdered, raped, bullied, or destroyed property breaking laws in the process.  No matter how much society will try to give you a way out, it was your actions that caused it.

I think that taking responsibility is a sign of maturity.  Anyone who has kids sees this evolution over time.  At first the child will try to avoid responsibility, lie and all costs to avoid responsibility and the negative impact that action may cause.  But over time, they see that responsibility is a powerful tool.  Responsibility has the ability to make one better, give confidence, and build up that person in the eyes of others.  I think our society has taken a step back in regards to maturity.  The previous generations knew what responsibility meant, and worked to gain it.  Society now, is like a two year old, that has not yet learned that responsibility is power, and they are still trying to not look the fool, or to get in trouble for their mistakes.  Society needs to mature, and put the blame where it should be placed.  It should be placed on the individual, and that individual needs to take responsibility for their actions, and stop allowing society to give them a scape goat.  I say it does take a village to raise a child, and that village is currently raising a bunch of narcissistic brats.  But it takes the individual to transform from child to adult.  It takes the individual to mature and own it, fix it, and move on.  And in the process learn the true value and power of responsibility.

People need to Own it, Fix it, and Move on.  My question to you is this.  When you live in a society that suggests that you take no responsibility, rely on others to fix the problems, and encourages you to play the victim and to not move on, how do you teach your children those values?  Instead of society maturing, and growing, it plays the part of the two year old and tries to avoid responsibility in all forms.  How do you think we can turn things around, and have people mature, so that people own their mistakes, find ways to fix those mistakes, and then move on with the maturity the experience has given them?

What is all the buzz? – Cicada

IMG_6669Cicada are an interesting insect.  And they are not something you see or hear very often in the high desert.  We have a couple of willow trees in our front yard, and they have been buzzing with the sounds of cicada.

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I guess the cicada like the sap of the willow trees.  You can hear them coming from other parts of the yard, but the number in the willow trees overshadows the other locations.  The cicada feed off the sap of trees and other plants.  They don’t usually don’t cause harm to the trees.  They don’t bite, or sting, so they are harmless to people as well.  I think the birds on the farm are going to find them very tasty.  I am tempted to capture one and see how well the chickens like them.

Here are a couple of interesting facts that I found out about cicada that I did not know until I started to research them.

IMG_6665

1- There are several different types.  There are the type that you only see every 16-17 years (periodic cicadas), and then there are a type that make their appearance every year or annually.   I believe that is the type we see here in Utah, because we hear them every year, but not in as great a number as this year.

2- They don’t rub their wings or legs together to make their buzzing noise, but they have special chambers that they have in their body that they then vibrate to create the buzzing noise.  The expand and contract these chambers which make a special adaptation of their exoskeleton vibrate.  The males are the ones that are making the noise. You can listen to their buzz or song here.

3- They regulate their temperature using a form of evaporation.  They will excrete the sap, in the form of water, that they feed on.  This makes them pretty unique because they are doing the same thing that mammals do, they are in essence sweating.

4- They also have a rich history in old texts, and lore. “Cicadas have been featured in literature since the time of Homer’s Iliad, and as motifs in art from the Chinese Shang dynasty. They have been used in myths and folklore to represent carefree living and immortality. Cicadas are eaten in various countries, including China, where the nymphs are served deep-fried in Shandong cuisine.” [Source]

Adult_Cicada_Emerging_from_Nymph_Skin

Adult cicada emerging from exuvia

Things that attract

IMG_40231At some point you may want to try to attract a specific animal, insect, or plant to live on your property.  I have heard people talk about wanting to have more birds, butterflies, and other things visit, and or live on their property.  Many times, people will plant a specific plant, put in a bird house, or a water feature in the hopes that they will attract wildlife.  But then they are disappointed when over time the visitor does not come.  I have learned that it can be tricky to attract living things to your property.  But there are some things you can do that will greatly enhance your ability to attract animals, insects, and birds if you first understand the living organism first.

Every living thing needs three things to survive.  Insects, animals, and plants all need these three essential things to thrive and live in an environment.  If you want to attract specific insects, animals, or plants to your property, you need to supply them with the correct, water, food, and shelter.

First, every living organism needs water.  If you can provide the water that the living system needs, you have over come the first obstacle.  Not only do they need water, but they need the correct, amount, type, and source of water.  Some animals need running water, while others need standing water.  When you research what water the living organism needs that you want to attract, you have to keep in mind the depth, flow, temperature, mineral content, and a number of other things. To make the environment livable for a specific creature, you need to supply the correct amount of water.  It is not about making water available, but about making the correct amount, and type of water available.

For example, if you want to attract bees to your property, one way to do that is to give the bees a shallow pool of water that they can stop in and drink from.  Most people only concentrate on the flowers or the food bees need of attract them, but water can also attract bees. This article talks specifically about bees and how to provide water for them: Thirsty bees

Source: Root Simple – low tech home tech

Purple-throated carib hummingbird feeding.

Second, all living organisms have a need food.  Everything has to consume some type of food to survive.  For plants it is not only minerals from the ground, but also energy from the sun.  If you can supply the correct type of food for the living creature, you can attract it, and encourage it to stay on your property.  Food sources could include plants, insects, and other animals.   If you want to attract certain types of birds, you may need to also attract the insects that they use as a food source.  Food sources can very drastically from one species to another.  It is very important that you research what food source, and types of food the organism needs that you are trying to attract.

For Example,  if you want to attract a specific type of bird to your property, you would need to research the type of flowers, that those birds are attracted to.  Birds are so varied in their food sources that research is key.  Hummingbirds enjoy different flowers than a swallow would enjoy.  And if you are trying to attract birds of prey, it is not the flowers that will attract them, but the animals that are attracted by the flowers.

Apiary in South Carolina

Third, all organisms need some type of shelter.  Shelter serves several purposes.  It allows the creature to stay out of the elements if it needs to.  It can keep snow, rain, sun and other elements away when they could become to harsh for the creature to survive.  But it can also provide a place for the creature to hide from predators as well.  Shelters will be different for most living creatures.  If you want to attract a specific type of bird, you will probably need a specific type of nesting box.

On thing that we have tried is to create an area where insects can find a home on Quail Run Farm.  We have created our Fairy Hotel to try to encourage insects to take up residence.  We have also encouraged Kestrels to take up residence on the property by having a Kestrel nesting box put in place.

CONCLUSION

If you want to attract a living organism to your property or yard, you need to do some research.  If you can find out what type of water, food, and shelter the organism needs, you may be able to get it to take up residence in your yard.

You will also want to eliminate habitat for the predators of the creatures you are trying to attract.  Pets can also keep certain creatures from finding your property a place they want to habitat.

The opposite is also true.  If you have a pest that you want to get rid of, you can declare war on that pest by eliminating one or all three of the things they need to survive.  For example, you don’t like snakes around your yard, then eliminate the food source, or the shelter for the snake.  You will find that you can do things to convince almost any living creature to move on, and find water, food or shelter in another yard.