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Discovering your flock has a pesticide problem usually leads to a mad scramble to eradicate it immediately.  But that may not be the best solution. Whether you have a small or large flock permanent eradication is not possible, but what is possible is to manage the parasite population.

There are risks in unchecked infestations, make no mistake about that.  Diminished egg production, weight loss, or even significant die-off can happen, and it can happen in a short period of time.

Attempts to permanently eradicate parasites can leave flocks more at risk because they are not developing natural immunities that are developed with low levels of infestations.  Sounds strange, I know.

Birds that live outside, scratching in the dirt, chewing on bugs, grubs and other crawlers are building natural immunity, while birds that are raised and housed in wire floored areas are not coming into contact with the elements that help them build natural immunity.

The most common poultry parasites, common to most areas of the U.S., fall into two broad categories—common internal parasites and external parasites.

INTERNAL PARASITES

Common internal parasites include roundworms, tapeworms, cecal worms, and capillaria.

To manage internal parasites, keep birds on clean ground.  Parasites drop eggs on bedding and coop litter, which can then be picked up by the birds. Keeping the litter dry and fresh hinders the growth of the parasites. Giving the birds adequate roosts and a larger area in which to roam, means they will not be walking on their own manure which will also help. Keep in mind, though, that birds wandering outside can then become victim to birds of prey or feral cats.

Non-organic treatments for internal parasites can include: piperazine, phenothiazine, or dibutyltin dilaurate.

Organic treatments for internal parasites can include diatomaceous earth mixed into the feed.

EXTERNAL PARASITES

Common external parasites include poultry lice and mites.

To manage external parasite infestation, flocks should be checked regularly. Nesting boxes and floor litter should also be cleaned and changed regularly. Any detection of mites or lice should be treated early to prevent more extensive infestations throughout the flock.

Lice can be treated topically with nicotine sulphate, malathion 4-7% dusts or stiros.

Organic treatments for lice can include dusting poultry with diatomaceous earth and sprinkling it onto nesting box bedding.

Rather than eradicating parasites, the goal should be to create conditions that limit the parasite population, while also allowing birds to build up natural immunity. Sanitation is key to preventing an infestation of both internal and external parasites.

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Bananas seem to be a staple in any home that has (or had) children in it.  It is the “go-to” snack for toddlers, a vitamin packed boost for after-school activity crazed grade-schoolers, and a perfect addition to the health conscious meal for older kids and adults.  Like I said…it’s a staple in most homes.

In our home they were cut up into oatmeal for breakfast, whirled into smoothies for a cool refreshing drink, or dipped into melted chocolate for decadent treat.  But, with all those bananas hanging around there were bound to be a few that didn’t get eaten quite fast enough. And, once they get past their prime they’re not so popular anymore.

When bananas were too soft for fresh eating I would make banana pancakes on the weekend, so they didn’t go to waste. Frugal moms can get very creative when they live on a budget and don’t want to waste food.  

We are fond of banana pancakes, but how often can you eat a thing before it becomes boring.  I had to find other ways to use up the spotted yellow and brown skinned tropical fruit. When no ideas came to mind immediately (scary I know) I threw the now very ripe bananas in the freezer until I could think.

 That’s when it happened. That ah ha moment when you find what you’re looking for without really even looking. I was flipping through a cookbook, looking for a completely different recipe, and there it was, bold as day…a banana bread recipe for a holiday breakfast.

Now, why didn’t I think of that?  In my defense…I can’t be “on it” all the time!  Cut me some slack, please:)

 I read over the recipe and mentally checked off the ingredients one at a time (it’s so nice having a well-stocked pantry). The recipe called for slightly softened fresh bananas, but I only had the one’s I had thrown in the freezer a few weeks earlier.

What the heck, I’ll give it a try.

I thawed the banana’s, reread the recipe, making a few adjustments, and the end result was a soft, moist, dark-colored nutty bread with the most intense banana flavor I had ever tasted.

It was, in fact, the best banana bread I had ever eaten.

So what makes this banana bread so different?

 My gastronomically uneducated opinion is…the sticky, sweet, intensely flavored syrup that is given off when the bananas defrost; that and the combination of brown sugar, applesauce instead of oil and the addition of pecans rather than walnuts.

 This recipe has become a favorite.  We have eaten it toasted and buttered for breakfast, grilled it like French toast, and cut off chunks and taken them on hikes.  We have even taken it on airplanes when traveling.

 

The Ultimate Banana Pecan Nut Bread Recipe

INGREDIENTS:

½ cup butter, room temperature
2 eggs
1 cup light brown sugar
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cinnamon (sometimes I use pumpkin pie spice, which is nice too)
1 cup mashed very ripe bananas (toss in the bananas and the syrup if using frozen bananas)
½ cup applesauce (any kind)
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup chopped pecans

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Cream together butter, brown sugar, and eggs.
  • Sift dry ingredients and combine with the butter mixture. Blend well.
  • Add the bananas, applesauce, and vanilla; stir well, but don’t overwork the mixture.
  • Fold in the pecans and pour into a well-buttered loaf pan.
  • Bake one hour, or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Turn out onto a rack to cool. Makes: 1 large loaf.

TIPS:  This is one of those full proof recipes. It’s hard to screw it up, so be a little adventurous with it. I have used different kinds of applesauce from plain to chunky homemade to cinnamon. If you do try it with cinnamon applesauce, reduce the cinnamon in the recipe by half.

The Ultimate Banana Pecan Nut Bread Recipe

INGREDIENTS:

  • ½ cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon (sometimes I use pumpkin pie spice, which is nice too)
  • 1 cup mashed very ripe bananas (toss in the bananas and the syrup if using frozen bananas)
  • ½ cup applesauce (any kind)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup chopped pecans

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Cream together butter, brown sugar, and eggs.
  • Sift dry ingredients and combine with the butter mixture. Blend well.
  • Add the bananas, applesauce, and vanilla; stir well, but don’t overwork the mixture.
  • Fold in the pecans and pour into a well-buttered loaf pan.
  • Bake one hour, or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Turn out onto a rack to cool.
  • Makes: 1 large loaf.
3.1
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Livestock panels, sometimes called cattle panels, hog panels or sheep panels are not only a God send to fencing for a variety of animals, but have many other uses as well. Panels are 16-feet long and made of heavy gauge galvanized welded wire and vary in height from 36-inches to 54-inches. With a few panels and tee-posts, a sledge hammer and some fastening wire a single person, or two people, can create a sturdy pen for their animals.

As a single shepherd, I had no time for repairing fences or chasing escaped sheep, so livestock panels became my “go to” supply not only for fencing, but for a variety of other farm projects, from trellises for climbing peas or beans, to supports for espaliered fruit trees and berry canes, to outdoor pens for growing meat chickens and ducks.

What I especially like about these panels are their many uses around the farm or in the garden. They are more than just fencing, they are a multipurpose necessity, even on a small suburban homestead.

Check out these inspiring uses for livestock panels, or let your imagination run wild.
  • Storage or Firewood Shelter
  • Hog Moving Panel
  • Greenhouse or Potting Shed
  • Trellis for Climbing Crops & Flowers
  • Support for Espaliered Fruit Trees
  • Portable Chicken or Rabbit Tractor
  • Arbor for Climbing Roses, Berries or Grapes
  • Livestock Housing or Shaded Area
  • Livestock Alley
  • Livestock Hay Feeders
  • Hanging Tool Rack
  • Livestock Transport Box for Pick-up Truck
What great ideas do you have for using livestock panels on your suburban homestead?
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I’m notorious for cobbling recipes together—seriously—no kidding!

I rarely—if ever—follow a recipe from start to finish without looking for ways to make it different (ah hem, giving it my touch, I mean).

So, when I visited the newest addition to our culinary scene I just had to try one of the dishes at home.

It was a work lunch.  Someone had suggested we try the new Cuban restaurant in town.  Being the foodies we all are we couldn’t resist.  Well—let me tell ya, we were not disappointed…not at all.

It was a fun, lively open air place with long wooden tables where you, and the strangers sitting near you, could ooh and ahh over the rich, spicy aromas wafting in from the kitchen.  It was like one big beach party, rather than a stuffy business lunch with colleagues.

As is our want to do, we ordered different dishes so we could taste many different items from the menu.  Sounds strangely unsettling for a biz lunch, but when you are friends as well as colleagues, business lunches take on a whole new meaning.  We love to share.

There were Cuban style taco concoctions, black beans and rice; a Cuban-style shredded beef; mojo-marinated pork shoulder roast; a Cuban-style chicken Stew; and, the Cubano Sandwich, piled high with ham, pork, pickles and cheese.

We ate, stealing tidbits from each other, laughed and talked as friends and colleagues, with as little business as possible being conducted.  The one business-like discussion we did have revolved around which dish was our favorite.  Hands down the fan favorite was the Cubano Sandwich, the perfect combination of savory slow-cooked pork, the bite of dill pickles and the creaminess of mayo and Dijon mustard all held together by two layers of melted Swiss cheese. YUM!!!

So—in true to me fashion I asked the restaurant if they would share the recipe.  After a bit of friendly girl talk…okay…a lot of girl talk…well… some would call it serious flirting…the darling restaurant owner gave me the basic rundown of how to make a Cubano Sandwich.  Armed with that info and with a bit of time combing the internet for recipes I cobbled together a few that I liked.

Knowing that this would make a lot, I enlisted the help of my family to be guinea pigs for my latest culinary creation.  We served our sandwiches with black beans, white rice, and coleslaw. The results were amazing and no one went away hungry, or disappointed.  SUCCESS!!

To try your own island creation check out the recipe below.

A word of warning, though, these are the perfect dripping, gooey flavorful sandwich, so break out the dish towels, folks, ‘cause a napkin ain’t gonna cut it!

Slow Cooker Cuban Pork Roast

INGREDIENTS:

To Make Slow Cooker Cuban Pork:

  • 2 Pounds pork shoulder
  • Kosher salt & ground black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
  • 4 Cloves garlic, peeled and gently smashed with the side of your knife
  • 1/4 Teaspoon dried red chili flakes
  • 1 Medium onion, sliced thin
  • 1 Cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 Lime, fresh squeezed
  • 1 Cup chicken broth
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 4 Cuban bread rolls or other firm bread like a Telera Roll
  • Mayo
  • Dijon mustard
  • Dill pickles, sliced
  • 8 Thin slices Swiss cheese
  • 8 Thin slices deli ham
  • Butter

DIRECTIONS:

Trim pork shoulder of excess fat. Season with salt and pepper. Place in the slow cooker.

Mix remaining ingredients and pour over pork.  Roll the pork around in the mixture to coat well.

Cook on low for 6-8 hours (meat should be fork tender).

Remove meat and set on cutting board, cut from bone and slice or shred.  Remove any excess fat from the pot.  Return meat until you are ready to assemble the sandwiches.

HOW TO BUILD YOUR CUBANO SANDWICH

Slice rolls in half and butter the outside of the top and bottom.

Smear both sides with a little mayo and Dijon mustard.

Starting on the bottom half, layer with 1 slice of cheese, a slice of the pork roast (at this point you can drizzle with a little of the cooking liquid), the deli ham, the pickle, and then another slice of cheese.  Put the top on.  Stack um high, folks.

Place on a hot Panini maker and close the lid.  Apply slow pressure to compress the sandwich.  It will shrink to about 1/3 of its size.  You can also use a skillet or griddle, but will have to weight down skillet in order to compress the sandwich.  Another heavy skillet will work.

NOW—pop open a beer, crank up the Caribbean music, and break out your dancing shoes…its party time!

Slow Cooker Cuban Pork & Cubano Sandwiches

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 Lbs. Pork Shoulder
  • Kosher salt & Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
  • 4 Cloves garlic, peeled and gently smashed with the side of your knife
  • 1/4 Teaspoon dried red chili flakes
  • 1 Medium onion, sliced thin
  • 1 Cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 Lime, fresh squeezed
  • 1 Cup chicken broth
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 4 Cuban bread rolls or other firm bread like a Telera Roll
  • Mayo
  • Dijon mustard
  • Dill pickles, sliced
  • 8 Thin slices Swiss cheese
  • 8 Thin slices deli ham
  • Butter

DIRECTIONS:

  • Trim pork shoulder of excess fat. Place in slow cooker.
  • Mix remaining ingredients and pour over pork. Roll the pork around in the mixture to coat well.
  • Cook on low for 6-8 hours (meat should be fork tender).
  • Remove meat and set on cutting board, cut from bone and slice or shred. Remove any excess fat from the pot. Return meat until you are ready to assemble the sandwiches.
  • HOW TO BUILD YOUR CUBANO SANDWICH
  • Slice rolls in half and butter the outside of the top and bottom.
  • Smear both sides with a little mayo and Dijon mustard.
  • Starting on the bottom half, layer with 1 slice of cheese, a slice of the pork roast (at this point you can drizzle with a little of the cooking liquid), the deli ham, the pickle, and then another slice of cheese. Put the top on. Stack um high, folks.
  • Place on a hot Panini maker and close the lid. Apply slow pressure to compress the sandwich. It will shrink to about 1/3 of its size. You can also use a skillet or griddle, but will have to weight down skillet in order to compress the sandwich. Another heavy skillet will work.
3.1
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