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Havanese History


Although it is new to the AKC, the Havanese is quite an old breed in “dog years”. Its history is fascinating and important to defining type, as it is unique in many respects. The Havanese is the National dog of Cuba and its only native breed. The flag of Spain was first raised over Cuba by Christopher Columbus in November of 1492. In the ten years following, colonization was begun on the island by Spain, who owned it for the better part of the next four hundred years.

The first settlers came from two distinct classes- farmers primarily from the island of Tenerife, and the “segundos”, or second sons of the Spanish aristocracy. Ship’s logs of the early sixteenth century reveal that dogs were brought along on these early colonists’ voyages, and logic tells us they were most likely the dog of Tenerife, common ancestor to all the Bichon family. Because of the draconian trade restrictions imposed on its colonies by Spain, Tenerife remained one of the only ports open to Cuba for trade, and it would appear these little dogs, who soon found their way into the homes of the resident Spanish aristocracy, developed without much outside influence. They did, however, develop in response to the climate of this tropical island. The Havanese of today is still a remarkably heat-tolerant little dog, due in no small part to the unique coat. Once called the Havana Silk Dog, or the Spanish Silk Poodle, the coat is like raw silk floss, profuse, but extremely light and soft, and insulating against the tropical rays in much the same way that yards of silk sari protect the women of India. In its native country, the coat was never clipped for this reason, and the hair never tied into a topknot, as the Cubans believe it protects the eyes from the harsh sun.

In spite of the trade restrictions, Colonial Cuba developed and prospered. By the 18th Century, it was the cultural center of the New World, with an elegance that surpassed anything the British had managed in ITS colonies! The aristocracy of Europe found the city of Havana to be a great vacation spot, with its operas, theatres and palacios. On their return to Europe, they brought back the little Dog of Havannah, which found favor in the courts of Spain, France and England. In both Spain and in the court of Louis XVI, they were shorn in the manner of poodles, and were much admired for their diminutive size.  The English, on the other hand, appeared to leave them au natural, and calledPortrait of Federico II Gonzaga by Titian.them the white Cuban, although they were as often found in parti-colors and shades of fawn.

By the mid-eighteenth century, they were downright trendy in Europe. Queen Victoria owned two and Charles Dickens had one, beloved of his seven children and named Tim. They were exhibited in the early European dog shows and type was well-established. In Cuba meanwhile, the times were changing. The aristocracy of the sugar barons was dying out and a new class was emerging, the bourgeoisie, and the little dog of Havana, adaptable as always, became a family dog extraordinaire. It is a position he has held there for the past hundred and fifty years.

With the advent of the Cuban revolution, the class of Cubans who owned Havanese was the first to leave. A handful of them found their way to this country, and by the end of the 70s a gene pool was being rebuilt. All the Havanese in the world today, save those from the “iron curtain” countries and those remaining in Cuba, stem from those 11 little immigrants. Remarkably, through all their travels, Havanese type has remained virtually unchanged from that of the dogs painted in the eighteenth century. To preserve it now and for the future is the challenge. Portrait of Federico II Gonzaga by Titian

This history post is compliments of
July 11, 2016 - 4:55 pm

Donna Deppe - Excellent history.

Herbal Worming Regimen

We have been experimenting with herbal wormers by researching and combining different ideas for the last couple years.  Here are the many facets and steps that we have used together to help manage parasites in our animals down here in the south (southern TN).  This region is known for its parasites.  It is something we need to be aggressive and deliberate to manage in our livestock.

We use this method for our cows, sheep, goats, donkeys, and dogs with slight modifications which will be noted as they apply.

I must admit however, that we are more diligent in some seasons than others with our consistency and application because of our own personal farming discipline still being honed and developed in us. We are active in family, ministry and community which requires much of our (preferred) time and attention. Our budget is often tight as well…so all this effects our consistency (success and effectiveness) in farming!!  What I am about to share with you has really made a difference for us and when hearing about other local farmer’s animal fatalities and struggles….I think we are doing really well with our system – although it is not flawless….or better yet – I think it is safer to say that we are not flawless and likely the shortcomings come from our stewardship being honed.  (This is an honest self assessment that every farmer must consider!!) But having said all that, lets get started.

Our method is a holistic one that is implemented in addition to grazing on grass in a passive pasture rotation system, and providing free range minerals and clean well water for their regular diet. We feed no grain or silage to our ruminant animals. In the winter we feed hay since they can not not graze enough to support themselves.  Our meat goats lives in our woods which consists of thick brush and there is enough to sustain them on the land through the winter. They are our lowest maintenance animal on the farm thus far.

Our method consists of preventative/maintenance supplementation tonic along with specific herbal deworming (cleansing- attack).  We have also started choosing our livestock more deliberately.  We choose “low maintenance breeds” that are known for their southern parasite resistance.  We made a conscience decision not to use chemical wormers – even as a back -up, “life saving” tool.  This took a little time to come to arrive at. After using it sparingly in the beginning, we now believe it weakens our livestock’s immunity and overall health. SO you MIGHT get them through this time…but they always seem to be the ones that have the reoccurring issues.  So we employ culling in our breeding and stewardship as another facet of our parasite management. Instead – we try to strengthen our worthy livestock, so the stock (and their offspring) become stronger in resisting parasites.  It is a long term approach and it is hard to cull weak stock – but we find it to be wise stewardship for long term farming success. This also provides us with chemical free food for our family. Which is something we value highly.

We have never seen a need to deworm or treat our free range chickens or our farm cats; So we don’t.

1. Daily/Weekly Prevention and Maintenance:

  • Apple Cider Vinegar added to their water in a 1:40 (or 50) ratio
  • Herbal Wellness Tonic (recipe below) added to their food source, once a week. 3T for each large animal (cows, horses, donkeys) – 1tsp for each small animal (goats, sheep, med/lrg dogs)

Weekly Herbal Wellness Tonic Recipe

This blend is equal parts by weight. It is a lot of herbs, but it will last you. Mixed well and added to food source. I make it in bulk – but you make what you need. If I make a “part” = 2 pounds it fill a 5 gallon bucket. If you have a hard time finding some of these ingredients – try

Garlic Powder


Juniper Berry Powder

Gentian Root Powder


Pomegranate Powder

Fennel Seed Powder

Barberry Root Powder



Oregano, cut and sifted

Stevia, cut and sifted – half part


2. Herbal Wormer:

Given every 4, 6 or 8 weeks, as needed on a regular cycle. Same dosage as tonic:  3T for each large animal (cows, horses, donkeys) – 1tsp for each small animal (goats, sheep, med/lrg dogs).  Do this once a day, for 3-5 days in a row (abstain from tonic herbs that week).

**1 part black walnut powder or chaparral powder

1 part garlic powder

1 part wormwood powder

1/2 part stevia leaf, cut/sifted (optional – it makes it more palatable for them to eat)

2 parts fennel powder

Mix well and store in an airtight bucket. I like to label my buckets with instructions.

I make this recipe in parts because I do not know how many animals you need to treat and what is realistic for your resources. I make mine in bulk, to either fill a 2 1/2 gallon or 5 gallon bucket. If I make a “part” = 1 pound of product, it fits nicely in a 2  1/2 gallon bucket.

** DO NOT use walnut for horses or donkeys.  It is toxic to them.  Sub chaparral in its place.

Added Daily Maintenance Suggestions:

~Add 3cc (1/2 tsp) of garlic tincture (per animal) to food (recipe below)

~Add 2T plain kefir (per animal) to food

~ Add Basic H Classic, by Shaklee (the original blue stuff – not the new kind , Basic H2) 1/2 tsp per 10 gallons of water.


Garlic Tincture – Good for people too!!

1. Fill your (1/2 gallon) blender up 3/4 way full of garlic gloves.

2. Top it off with cheap vodka ( or half and half grain alcohol to water)

3.  Blend until uniformly minced

4. Scrape into a gallon jar, top of with vodka (or 50/50 grain alcohol water mix)

5. Cover and let sit in a warm, dark place for 2 weeks.

6. Strain and store in an air tight container, in a cool dark place.

FAMACHA Method –

We use the FAMACHA method of screening our sheep and goats to monitor their  parasite health.   Here is an article which explains that, starting on pg 24 of the document.  However, it is explained within the context of using chemical wormers for curative purposes, which I have already explained is where we are choosing differently.

Stool Samples – Farming is so glamorous – isn’t it?!

For you real hands-on do-it-yourselfers and homeschooling families.  You might consider using a microscope and taking stool samples to monitor the parasite load in your livestock and the effectiveness of your program. We do this as well. Here is a wonderful instructional post from a goat farmer that inspired me.

July 11, 2016 - 4:58 pm

Donna Deppe - How does this worming medication relate to your havanese? Or have I missed something?

July 12, 2016 - 12:05 pm

Hadassah Schminke - We have used this method in the past with farm animals and other dogs. I am currently using vet-approved de-worming protocol for my Havanese. It is working well. Thanks for asking!

Poisonous Plant List for Goats

Most goats will only eat a poisonous plant if they are not getting a balanced diet or if they are young in herd without adult does to teach them. You may notice that not all these plants are poisonous to humans – or other animals.  However, we need to make a note of them for our goats.  Some symptoms of poisoning are similar to the symptoms of bloat. If a goat has eaten something poisonous they will be kicking at the ground, foaming at the mouth, and rumen may appear to be swollen. They must be treated immediately with a charcoal gel or death will occur.  (Charcoal have item for anyone keeping animals.  It is a valuable part of our home-health care as well.  If you do not stock and use charcoal; I highly recommend learning about it!)

Below is a list of plants known to be poisonous to goats. Not all parts of the plant or varieties of a species of plant is harmful. Certain parts of some plants may be dangerous such as the flower, fruit, root, stalk, or leaves but not the entire plant is harmful.   It is good to get some field guides and take a tour of your goat’s terrain to see if you can identify and remove any of these items for their areas, as a preventative measure and good education for yourself.  We lost a goat to what appeared to be poisoning.  We got to her too late – she was too far gone.  It is a sad thing to witness – especially if it might be prevented.  In our case, she was a young goat who was separated from the heard and put in with her sister and the sheep because she was too young (6 months) to mate with the buck that we had put in with the others.  We looked around the field, but could not find the source.

Poisonous Plants:

ACONITE                            ALDERARUM                    AZALEAS

ANEMONE                         BRACKEN                          BEET LEAVES

BLACK NIGHTSHADE           BROOM                        BUTTERBUR

BUTTERCUP                       BUCKTHORN                    BOX

BYRONY                              CELANDINE                      CHARLOCK

CUPRESSES                         DAFFODIL                   DOGS MERCURY


FOXGLOVE                       FOOLS PARSLEY               FUNGI

GROUND IVY                      GLADIOLUS                      GOURDS

HELLEBORES                      HEMLOCK                         HOLM OAK

HORSETAIL                         HYDRANGEA                     IRIS

JUNIPER                              KNOTGRASS                    KNOTWEED

KINGCUP                             LABURNUM                      LOCOWEED

LORDS AND LADIES          LILAC                        LUPINS (YELLOW)


MOUNTAIN LAUREL          MULLEINS                         MUSHROOMS


PENNYCRESS                      PRIVET                                POTATO

RAGWORT                          RHODODENDRON            RHUBARB

RUSH                                    SPINDLE BERRY          SPURGE LAUREL

THORN APPLE                     TANSY                          TOMATO (ALL)


YELLOW FLAG                 YELLOW JASMINE            YEW

Electrolite Replacement Fluid

Here is a simple eletrolite formula to use when an animal isn’t eating or drinking and your are concerned about dehydration.  It is good also, to replenish eltrotrolites if an animal has diarrhea.  (This is good for use with people too!)

Give “free choice” if they still drinking.  Or give in a “drench” in small (30-60 CC for  medium animals – like goats more or less for small or large animals) amounts in frequent intervals if they are too weak or not drinking.

This recipe is for a gallon’s worth, but can easily be reduced to half gallon or quart recipe.

1 gallon warm water

2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 C molasses or honey

NOTE:  When using an oral drench, do it cautiously, allowing time for the animal to swallow the solution. Only give a few cc’s at a time and then allow them to swallow it, to insure that the fluid does not enter the lungs.

Comfrey – A Homesteader’s Friend

I have been a long time user of comfrey for medicinal purposes; which is why I started to grow it.  Soon after, I learned that comfrey had so many more benefits for my homestead.  If sustainability is the goal of your homestead, than read on – you too will agree that every homestead should include comfrey!  It’s got it all!

Low Maintainance:  Comfrey is low maintainance, prolific and easy to grow.  So much so, that you might want to have a plan for it, or it can “take over” if you have not planted it in a wise place.  I love perrenial plants that grow in spite of me!!  That is my kind of gardening!  You can get 4 or 5 cuttings off this plant through the year.  You can dry it and still use in in the off season.  I have also learned that the best way to get rid of it (if you need to move it) is to build a nice active, hot compost pile ontop of it and let it do it thing for a year.  Then your ground should be free.  The biggest mistake people make in trying to remove it, it by trying to dig it out.  The tap roots are so strong and run so deep, that they branch off and propagate that way..which only makes your confrey patch more prolific.

Medicinal Purposes:  The root is the most potent part of the plant medicinally, but the roots, leaves and flowers are used.


Here is a little more back ground of Comfrey Dr. Christopher.

Fertilizer:  Use comfrey to make a fertalizer tea to be use don our plants, os simple use the leaves them selves as a compost activator.  You can lip and pile the leaves like mulch a the base of plants of work it into the soil.  Worms love comfrey, it draws them to where ever you use it.  Permaculturists will tell you to plant in your orchards.  So that is what we plan to do.  I have some currently planted in my medicinal garden, but I am a little concerned that it might “take over” even thought I have barriers between my beds.  I figure, better safe then sorry, I hope ot transplant it before roots reach 10 feet and I have to dig to China to effectively move them.  :-)I will harvest my comfrey from the orchard in the furture and just mow it down if I can’t use it all.  Here is a link on how to make the tea or concentrate.

Feeding Chickens:  I am always looking for sustainable ways to feed my chickens from things that I can easily produce on my homeastead, that do not require me to grown grain or use soy.    While at the same time giving me high egg yields and meaty eating birds.  So I was tickled to read the article shared in the this link about using comfrey as chicken feed.

Bees:  My bees love it!

Tail Twist Training

When we picked up our cow the previous owner shared a little tip with us, knowing we were new cow owners.  This tip was shared with them as new cow owners and they found it to be helpful a time or two.  When you have a large cow – who does not want to move forward when needed – it a simple technique.  It wasn;t demostrated, only described.  When we returned home, I wanted to “see it” so that I knew I fully understood it.  So I looked it up.  Here is a deomsatration of that technique.


Weaning a Calf

We have chosen to use Quiet Wean to help wean our Jersey hefir from her momma.  This is a nose clip that block the calf from being able to drink milk.  The calf is content and the stress is minimal.  We are so thankful for this method!  We have heard balling calves at other people’s farms – we are so thankful, that this desperate cry for one’s momma is not part of our animal husbandry plan!

Here is a  video demonstrating the Quiet Wean nose flap:

I also might add.  We saw other brands out their that has rough bumps and even more promanant spikes.  The Quite Wean doesn’t have those – we see that they are not neccessary!

I love intuiative farming!  Check out this little video of how this large farm seperates a whole heard of cows and calves – so simply!