pumas, banjos, blood and cancer
1. A catamount has been sighted in Cambridge, 6 miles from Cold Antler!!! I heard it from the horses mouth (err, Julie Dugan's mouth) when her and her husband Dennis stopped by the farm today to check out my Bun Baker wood stove and sit for tea. They told me they both saw what was certainly a catamount, a tawny brown cat about 3-4+ feet long with a tail easily 3 feet long, at close range to their farmhouse. And for those of you certain "It's not a puma!" (I hope you said that with an Arnold Schwarzenegger accent). These are educators in the community who know wildlife and exactly what they saw. They are the fourth sighting in the last few weeks around this area as well, I am told. They have since bought a rifle, air horns, mace, and set up a gamer camera! Suddenly my backyard has turned into a place of mystery and concern, as silly as that may sound. But I sure did look up in the trees when I did my night rounds tonight!
2. Julie agreed to come instruct and play at the Mountain Music workshop! This is a HUGE DEAL! She's a nationally known clawhammer player, and has taught all over the nation at banjo camps and festivals. She's amazingly talented and said she'd bring her whole music group and old mountain instruments too (she has over 30 banjos!). This is a great treat to any banjo folks coming to the workshop this winter! And remember, farm food and a fiddle giveaway happen that day too!
3. A reader emailed me about blood in her hen's eggs. More than the usual little red spot. She asked what to do. I tried to email you darling, but Comcast blocks itsafarwalk.com as spam, so no dice. Here is my best guess: red spots (more than usual) mean a vitamin A deficiency. Put a teaspoon (no more!) or it diluted in a cup of warm water and mix it into an entire gallon of feed every day for the flock (depending on flock size, the ration of liver oil to feed is 2%). If the yokes are blood red, like the whole yoke, DO NOT EAT THE EGGS and know this might be cholera. Research both of these online and be mindful of the symptoms! Remove any infected birds from the flock by culling. Don't get the hatchet out right away though, most of the time it's the vitamin A thing.
4. Test results came back from the lab. My mole was not cancerous, and melanoma has been defeated, at least for now! I'm okay! It's not a puma!
Everyone with a backyard flock should pick up The Chicken Health Handbook. It is like having a poultry vet on your bookshelf (you can actually afford) and understand!