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Cattle Ear Tag Fly Control Fail

Summer flies are a nuisance – both for cattle and for people.

In the past we have always had fairly good fly control in our cattle by spraying them every morning with a permethrin based insecticide spray.

This year we decided to try ear tags instead.

 Fly Tags On Collar

2 Fly Tags On A Collar

Insecticide ear tags are usually applied in pairs to cattle at the beginning of fly season. The ear tags are attached to either a collar or placed in both ears.

This past weekend we put ear tags on some of our older cattle.
We also tested the ear tags for effectiveness.

We placed two ear tags on a young Kerry heifer’s collar and left the tags off another Kerry heifer to see how much difference there would be.
So far both my husband and I have been unimpressed.

There doesn’t appear to be any difference between the heifer wearing an ear tag compared to one who isn’t.

I’m just guessing, but I wonder if horn and face flies are becoming resistant to the insecticide that is impregnated in the ear tags?

Face Flies On Young Kerry Heifers Calves

Face Flies On Young Kerry Heifers Calves

If anything, the heifer with the fly tags in the above photo seems to be more troubled by face flies.
For now we’re going to keep spraying every morning and forget about ear tags for fly control.

Current Homestead Happenings

Planting A Fall Garden

Cabbage & Broccoli Plants

I started my “second season” garden this past week. The fall garden went in the space that used to be a rose garden. I planted cool weather crops like broccoli, cabbage and peas. In many ways a fall garden is less trouble than a main season garden. Disease and insects seem to be less of…

Hardwood Ashes Grow Tall Asparagus

Tall Asparagus

Asparagus grow tall and healthy in my garden. I think it’s because the rows of asparagus are never weeded. And because they are top dressed with up to 8” of hardwood ashes from my wood fired stoves all winter long – year in and year out. Hardwood ashes are a rich source of potassium and…

Back In The Sheep Business


I changed my mind and decided to “un-retire” from sheep. In April I had an opportunity to buy back some of my old ewes . So I did. I also bought a few yearling ewes from another breeder while I was at it. So for now, I’m back in the sheep business again. Nothing too…

Speckled Sussex Chickens

Speckled Sussex Hen

Now that there’s just the two of us, I don’t keep as many laying hens as I use to. These days six to eight good hens supply my kitchen with more than enough eggs. In May I culled all of my old laying hens because they had stopped laying dependably. I wanted to start a…

Did You Know?

The Best Time To Make Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut In A 8-Gallon Crock

Sauerkraut In A 8-Gallon Crock

The moon’s monthly cycle and its effect upon the earth is more important than most modern people realize.

For many hundreds of years, folk wisdom has instructed us to make sauerkraut only during the time when the moon is new and up until the first quarter. That’s because when you do so, there is  plenty of juice in the crock and the top layer of sauerkraut will not dry out.

I've Got A Strong Opinion

Hot Water Bottle

Hot Water Bottle

People tell me that hot water bottles are making a big comeback. I’m surprised really because I didn’t know that they ever went out of style. It seems that in the last 20 years or so, rubber hot water bottles have been replaced by electric heating pads. Popular too, are funny looking pads that are filled with all kinds of stuff and are heated in home kitchen microwave ovens. I even think there’s some kind of disposable plastic pack heat thingy that warms up when you squeeze it. I expect all those newfangled hot pads are well and good. But…

Preppers Versus Tradition

Fall Grasshopper

Just in time for “National Preparedness Month” – here’s September’s ASK GRANNY.  Granny Miller, I’ve recently been exposed to your website for the first time.  I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen so far.  I actually found a link which led me to you while I was visiting the Rawles survival blog. I’m interested to know why you seem so hostile towards preppers or the prepper movement. Perhaps I’m misinterpreting what I’ve read. Recently, my great-aunt and uncle (in their 70s) were making fun of a prepper show they’d seen on TV.  While some of the “preps” are doomsday-ish and hopefully unnecessary,…

Preserving The Goodness Of Summer

How To Can & Freeze Sweet Corn

Fresh Picked Sweet Corn

Sweet corn like most vegetables, is a low acid food and can only be safely and dependably processed via a pressure canner. If you understand the basic principles of pressure canning you should have no trouble canning corn. I use the raw pack method when canning corn because it saves time and energy. That’s the method I’m going to share with you in this post. Here’s how I do it. CANNING SWEET CORN – GET…

A Guide To Canning & Freezing Tomatoes

Canned Tomatoes  In August

There are 2 bushels of tomatoes on my front porch lined up like soldiers on the on the railing. I began canning some of them Sunday, but most of the porch tomatoes will not be ready for processing for at least another couple of days or so. They are in different stages of ripening. The vast majority of this year’s tomatoes will go for tomato juice or maybe some tomato sauce if I’m feeling particularly…

Off-Grid Living

The True Cost of Heating with Wood & Coal

Starting A Fire

I live in rural northwest Pennsylvania and in my house we heat and cook with wood and coal for about 8 months out of the year. We don’t burn much coal and for the most part wood works well for us. Only during the hardest and coldest part of the winter do we use a bit of bagged Anthracite coal for heat. Solar heat or energy is not possible for us because we have too…

How To Use A Butane Clothes Iron

Butane Clothes Iron

I’m an avid home sewer and sometimes quilter. I use an iron and a sewing machine almost daily. Most days I use an electric iron and an electric sewing machine. But some days (during the heat of the summer) I prefer my treadle sewing machine and a cordless butane iron. Many people are familiar with treadle sewing machines. But not everyone is familiar with butane irons or how they work. A butane iron is a…

Advice About Oil Lamps

Early Morning

Granny, The oil lamps in the background of your pictures are beautiful! Do you have any advice on what to look for in an oil lamp? Aladdin? Thanks, Christine Why thank you Christine! As far as oil lamps go there are basically 3 or 4 kinds. Mantle lamps, flat or round wick lamps, floating wick lamps and pressurized lamps. Your personal family needs and economic considerations should influence the type of lamp that is best…

How Many Of These Weather Proverbs Do You Know?

50 Old Time Weather Proverbs & Signs

Amish Weather Vane

After years of experience I can usually predict rain just by walking on the morning grass, watching the behavior of my cats, sheep, cows, pigs or chickens or opening my dresser drawer. What follows below is a list of my 50 favorite weather folk sayings. And like most folk proverbs you’ll find more times than not they have real merit and value. In fact for the most part, I’ve found the weather wisdom below to be more accurate than a meteorologist using computer models or satellite imagery. Hornets’ nest built in the top of trees indicate a mild winter is…