Tuesday, April 6, 2010

This. Means. WAR!

Okay, so I know I talk about compassion a lot. I know I kind of go a bit on and on about the sanctity of all sentient life. But there is a caveat. I swear by the Lords of Cobol that if I was suddenly granted the powers of a god complete with endless knowledge of the karma of changing the ecology of the world and knew that to do so would cause no harm to the system, I would rid the world of every stinging wasp that chases me out of the barn. Simultaneously, POOF go the fleas that torture the dogs and the ticks that nearly killed Michael. Everything else can stay, fine. But all you aforementioned creatures from hell consider yourself on notice.

Yesterday I was chased out of the chicken coop yet again by a mad swarm of carpenter bees. If you are unfamiliar with these denizens of evil, they look like bumble bees but lack their docility. Their stings are brutal, Michael is deathly allergic, they attack me and my poor chickens who cannot escape them, and therefore they should all die die DIE!!!

Okay, so maybe I am a tad bit overzealous. I know I need to do a few Avalokitesvara practices over this issue. In the meantime, I've ordered thirty, count them thirty guineas to be shipped ASAP from Cackle Hatchery. Ten will go to our friends at Oak Hill Farm, and the remainder will stay here to join the two lavender guineas I now have, the only two surviving out of our first bunch of 28 we got three years ago (the others fell prey to feral dogs and owls, an unpleasant but natural part of farm life).

Guineas are an excellent natural predator of stinging insects, ticks and other pests. In fact, our guineas have been known to wipe out an entire nest of yellow jackets the very same day they discovered it. They would stand at the exit hole and pounce on each hapless yellow jacket that exited until there were none left. Within one afternoon I had fat guineas and no yellow jackets. Guineas are so voracious in their search for bees that it is recommended that anyone hoping to keep honeybees should avoid guinea fowl like the plague. A few guineas will destroy an entire colony in a matter of hours. Since Michael is so allergic to bees the chances we'd ever keep honeybees is oh, say, the equivalent of me voting as a Conservative Republican.

Plus, guineas are an endless source of amusement and annoyance that is hard to resist. They are loud, ridiculously stupid, and resemble upturned WWI German Picklehaube helmets with legs. Seriously, look at a these two pictures and tell me it's not true: Guinea, and Picklehaube. Now, imagine what it's like to see 15 Picklehaubes screeching and running willy nilly across your pasture. How is that not hilarious?

I have a cute little video of one of our guineas that you can see here as well. They are just...funny. And they eat the insects that are the bane of mine, my husband's and my chickens' existence. SCORE.

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