Our sign in peace

Our sign in peace
Our sign in peace

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Hail and Farewell Auld Lang Syne...



Coon Hollow Farm at a glance...

 As we say goodbye to 2011, we look upon it fondly as a year that was pretty good to us in comparison to the previous years. We'd like to thank all who supported us and helped us throughout the year.
It was a year were we looked at our goals that have been met and look to the future for the ones we hope to achieve.
Most of all I reflect on the people who have walked along with us on our path and taught us so much, those that have moved on and those that have come back into our lives.
Today I had a long conversation with my daughter and we talked about lives rewards for hard work, being a good person and perseverance. I have watched both my kids grow into these great people, and I am so thankful for all I have. I am so blessed with a great life, work in a Nature Center that recharges my soul, have the chance to make a difference in animals lives and am gifted to be able to teach people things that I have learned that makes my life better in hopes that it makes their lives better too.
So as we move into a New Year, I just want to say thank you to all of you who support us, help us and are always there when we need you the most...

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Candy Boards for the bees!


Boiling 16 ounces of water
Today I installed the Candy Board  onto our over wintering hive.
First I boiled 16 ounces of water to 242 degrees (f), added 5 lbs of sugar, stirred, then turned off the heat until it dropped to 180 degrees (f).


5 lbs of sugar
  Store brand white cane sugar is just fine...
Boiling sugar and water with electric thermometer
From there you must take a beater and beat a few times until it becomes frothy...





Bee Candy on the Candy Board
 Once it is thick, you pour it very carefully on the Candy Board. I added a little Honey-B-Healthy into the mix. I usually add Pollen Patties but the mice had their way with them in the greenhouse so I can add them in later.
Tim built this Candy Board for me which was invented by David Lane from Long Lane bees. His link is located on the left of my blog.






Inverted upside down on the hive
Once cooled you can take it up to your hive, take the top off and quickly flip it down side onto the top of the hive as not to chill the bees. I then placed the cover over it. General rule of thumb is to get it on by the Winter Solstice but we have had such a mild fall that I got time to do it today. I will check it in a few weeks and see if the bees are working at it and once they consume it replace with some more "Candy". This helps them once they have depleated their honey reserves.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas from the Farm!


This Holiday season I choose to give gifts from the farm, made with things I grew in various gardens with the help of our greenhouse, where we starting our plants from seed to jellies. I made Jalapeno Jelly from my jalapenos I grew in my garden. Pumpkins grown from seed by myself provided a very yummy Pumpkin Jam that was a 3 day process to make (thanks for the recipe Bonnie!). I also made homemade Vanilla soaked in bourbon and vanilla beans for 6 weeks. Also an ornament with a dried Orange and Apple slice sifted in cinnamon and nutmeg adorns the bags.
Our gifts stand like little soldiers ready to go to our friends, neighbors and families who have been so good to us this year...
Merry Christmas from me, Tim and all the Critters here on the farm, may it be a Happy and Healthy one for you and your families...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Winter Solstice Blessings!

 Winter Solstice is here, the end of the darkness, gaining more daylight as we move into winter and within. On this day on the farm, we remember the wildlife by leaving dried treats for the birds...
 the feeders are filled with love so they have an abundance of food when it's hard to find. This has been a tradition since my kids were very little...
the weather is absolutely beautiful today with temperatures in the 50's here in Connecticut. The farm yard got a special treat of bread and goodies...
even the bees are out today stretching their wings and taking care of business. I offered them some sugar water and will put their candy boards in next week so they will have food throughout the winter. Bright Blessings on this Solstice to you and yours, may it be filled with all of Natures bounty...

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Our Etsy Shop...

Felted Soaps


We are busy here and there getting ready for the holidays. Also on our Etsy shop on line, are many gifts available and made right here on Coon Hollow Farm, right down to the animals! We have various Alpaca Pillows needle felted, handspun yarns...


Assorted Needle Felted Pillows
 

Handspun Yarns



Goats Milk Lotion and Body Mist

as well as Goats Milk Spray Mist and Hand lotions,
Assorted Needle Felted items
 Needle Felted animals and Necklaces...the link to our Etsy Shop is to the left of our page, just click and it will take you right there!

Monday, November 28, 2011

The end of the Harvest, signs are everywhere...

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. Ours was very nice, Tim and I had some time off from our jobs, my dad was visiting and we just had some time to catch up. The farm yard was gifted with the left over pumpkins... 




"Cyrus" seems to be asking "Winchester" what he might think is in the trough?!







 The plants were moved out of the greenhouse and into the house. The patchouli plant was getting wilty and was happy to get inside. The counters are cleaned, everything put away until Spring...        

The bee hive was closed up for the winter and the equipment put into the bin for winter storage. This year I am trying an inverted candy board that Tim had made to seal the base. I am keeping my fingers crossed that this will help sustain them throughout the cold weather...


and with the leftover pumpkins that I grew, Pumpkin Jam is on the stove. This recipe is a three day process so I hope it's good! I also made pumpkin pie as well as Jalapeno Jelly from my garden harvest for Yule gifts for some deserving folks! So as we gear up for the next holiday, I am pleased with my harvest and look to the next one as the wheel of our year turns...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Meet "Mo"!

Today Tim and I got up at 5:30 a.m. and traveled to upstate New York to adopt this wonderful tempered ram. His previous owner recently passed and her husband is overwhelmed with the many sheep they have. His dad said his goodbyes which was sad...
 We loaded him up into our Jeep Wrangler which was totally unexpected because the brakes went on our truck yesterday and is now in the shop being repaired. Our journey was quite interesting and from time to time he would come up front and say hi!
He never once laid down and it was a 3 hour drive. He looked out the window, moved around but was very calm like he had done this before, hhhmmm...
When finally arrived, it was now time to get him out. Jeeps are not the easiest thing to unload a ram or get one into for that matter, but a little persuasion and he jumped right out. He is leash trained so it was rather uneventful, but will I ever get that smell out the Jeep??!!
So after stretching his legs, he had a good meal, some water, a worming, a hoof trim and he was ready to go.
His name is "Mocha Expresso Swirl" but we'll call him "Mo".
We decided to give him a day to get grounded before he begins to make a legacy for our farm...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Chickens molting, oh my!

Chickens molting is such a sad thing to witness and I really do believe that they are very uncomfortable when it happens. They go off their food, they hide and I really do believe there is some true discomfort there. 
The owls that we care for at the Nature Center where I work are the same way. I asked a friend who has a raptor center and she agreed with me, all birds experience some level of discomfort during molting. 
Just look at the girl in the top picture, she was one of the worse and she has been hiding and not eating well. All my girls are taking dust baths just trying to get some relief. Just think when the new feathers come in it has to be somewhat painful.
My whole flock of 15 Rhode Island reds are just a balding mess!
We are hoping for some big news this weekend and will announce it on the blog, till then appreciate those eggs, these girls really work hard for them!
g

Sunday, November 6, 2011

We made it through...

After a long full week with no power, no water, freezing cold temps we are back! On October 29th the State of Connecticut was hit with a historic nor'easter snow storm that knocked out power to close to 80 percent of the people of our state. The destruction was unprecedented, down power lines, trees snapped in half by a heavy snow and the weight of the trees. In the picture above, a huge sycamore leaf with debris as a tiny example...
This was one of the branches that hung from our power lines across from our animal fencing. We had snapped trees that politely missed our newly installed fencing. Not having power after what we went through in August for 5 days after Hurricane Irene was thought to be a nightmare that was long behind us. We were skilled by that storm however, so a carting water we did for the animals, fired up the wood burning stove, spent lots of time at the various family members who allowed us to shower and fed us meals. So it's back to the regular routine but we will never forget how we were challenged and how we persevered always thinking that it could be worse. However, as I type this I think of my friends who are still in the dark and are waiting for their power to be restored and my heart is heavy for them...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fencing extention complete!



Their new space

Very nervous sheep who don't like change!

An excited "Norman"

Today Tim and I finished our long awaited fencing extension project. We moved the excisting fencing, opened it up adding another 225 feet of fence around. The Alpacas came through the gate knowing something was amise. The sheep were quite trepidated with the change. They knew something was different but were not too sure what to do. At one point I thought "Norman" and "Royal's" eyes were going to pop out of their heads in excitement. I swear I saw them all smiling which makes me very happy to see them happy!

Coming through the gate...

Inspecting their new digs

Some happy animals...


Monday, October 17, 2011

New Fence and more room!

We have started to break ground on the new fencing project that we just have not had time to get to. The summer was so busy and now with fall upon us we are getting a little more time to get to projects. So yesterday Tim and I set out to get the area measured and work with what we had, a whole roll of 100x5 foot horse fence as well as 130 feet of what we already have. Our son, Timmy and his girlfriend, Jackie showed up to help us. It was Jackie and my turn to go in and get dinner going and give her a knitting lesson.

 The first phase of the project is complete installing the new fencing. This new fencing will open up to twice as much room as they have now. I was watching the Alpacas play last week and it made me sad because they would start to run and chase each other and then had to stop because the fence was in their way. We are utilizing the other acre of property we have and we are only using half of it at the moment.
So next weekend we will move the current fencing up and over on the hill and I can't wait to see their faces when they explore their new space!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Hay!!!

This time of year brings the beautiful smell of second cut hay! You just can't beat it, the animals love it and eat every bit of it...
 Tim and I have had a standing appointment with our hay guy every Monday morning to go over and get a truck load full of it. The price is awesome too!
We have stacked and stacked all the way up to the ceiling of our smaller barn until we are now over flowing out under the over hang...
Just look at the texture of it, not one stick or stalk...It looks good to eat, no? Our hay guy will have more cutting in early November, so we will be off to get more...

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Herbal Harvest and more...

Today, Tim and I set out to get a lot done around here, but it never goes as we plan. We started out with a phone call from a frantic woman who has a rooster and her neighbor is giving her a lot of trouble over it, I didn't know what I could do for her, but I listened and gave her some advice, so I hoped that helped her...
We then had breakfast and made a plan to work together to get stuff accomplished, you know teamwork but the hawks had other ideas. First I had a pair of Cooper Hawks come in to take a look at my chickens, then a pair of Red Shoulder hawks, come on guys! So I decided one of the things on my list was to get the rest of the harvest out of the gardens. I harvested many of my basil's that I grew in the greenhouse, Sweet, Cinnamon, Lemon, Lime Basil as well as this wonderful Pineapple Sage that "Zoe" our Yorkie is smelling in the picture. We were also blessed with an abundant crop of Jalapeno Peppers as well!
The best part of our day was when some old friends stopped by and we had fun talking of the old times. We laughed and remembered some funny stuff...now that's an abundant harvest, old friends and old times... 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Alpaca Days with friends...


 

Alpaca Days was so much fun this year, filled with many friends stopping by and making many new ones too! We met many new folks that have moved to the area and are seeking the more natural lifestyle as well as people stopping by to see these crazy creatures they drive by everyday. We met people who got me talking about bees and you know how much I love to talk about them!                                                                


Tim was a big help to our friend, Mickey. He helped her get her yarn into a ball that she has from her sheep that she takes care of at Booth Memorial Park. I plyed some Alpaca over to it to make it more softer. She then began to knit a skinny scarf that came out beautiful!
On the left, is a small sample of what we have to offer, needle felted items. I met two ladies new to Needle Felting and their excitement 
reminded me of when I first learned this very cool craft.
"Norman" was a little disappointed when it was all over, he was enjoying the extra hay and occasional pumpkin munchkins he was getting, until next year buddy! That's because we have decided to close the farmstand until next year, get caught up on some much needed projects. I am very tired and so is Tim, one can only push until it takes its toll. We will not have a Holiday Open House this year, instead we will enjoy our family. I will have many things listed on my Etsy shop and can get anything made you might need for that special Holiday gift. Tim and I are home usually on the weekends so don't hesitate to stop by!