Our sign in peace

Our sign in peace
Our sign in peace

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The color of honey

The color of honey changes with the summer and the bees available nectar sources. If you look at the jar on the left it is lighter in color. The jar on the right was collected a couple of days ago and notice the color, more darker and also a little bit thicker too! Even the taste ranges as well. I am really looking forward to the early September final harvest to see what color it is!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Oh no, not the Greenhouse!!!

 This morning at 5:00 a.m. I went up to let the chickens out and feed them and almost walked right into this branch that came right down on top of the greenhouse during last nights storm.
 The branch is a left over remnant from last years October storm. We have been watching it from way up far hoping it fell to the left or right a little farther, but to no avail...
When I opened the door I almost died when I saw the branch that had come crashing thru the upper window...
when we looked closer inside we also realized that another branch had punctured straight thru the roof. Thank goodness none of our chickens were harmed and that was the most important part. By 4:00 p.m. this afternoon, with the help of our friend Kenny, everything was repaired and all is back to normal.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Our Honey Extractor has arrived!

This year we decided to purchase a honey extractor. With the past 4 years doing it manually, taking so much time and not being an efficient way to extract honey from the frames it was time to take the step and add a honey extractor to our equipment.
Our extractor is only a two-frame extractor and a hand crank at that as well as a low end of the kind you can buy, it's basically the economy version, but we are just happy to get one! The picture on the right is a look down inside it. You can see the two baskets that the frames sit in, you slide the top close and it acts like a centrifuge, spinning at a fast rate of speed sending the honey down the sides to the spout below that opens up to filters that empty into a dispensing bucket that fills the jars! We are gearing up for the best honey season we have ever had. I have grown as a beekeeper and this is my pay off for never giving up on the bees!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Our morning chick rescue!

This morning Tim and I got a frantic call from my friend Debbie that a box of baby chicks were unclaimed at a local post office and were in danger of dying. She asked if we could go right down and get them. Not knowing much more than that, off we went.
Apparently these chicks were shipped out of Georgia on Monday from a hatchery there, stopped in Ohio and  a woman in Hawaii ordered these 26 chicks not knowing that they have strict agricultural laws about the import of fowl and other animals into that state. They were turned away, shipped back to Ohio and the return label was in Monroe, Ct but there was no such address! These babies sat in this box for 5 days with no food or water. Tim and I made a mad dash to get them home and my rescue skills kicked in! When we opened the box there were already 4 dead, one more died a short time later. We began to warm them, hydrate them and feed them. There are a few weak ones but we have been dipping their heads in water every 15 minutes and getting them to eat. It just make me so sad that these babies had to endure such an experience.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Chicken Aprons have arrived!

  Our Chicken Aprons have arrived! Now my girls can get some peace and heal their wounds!
 They fit over the wings and lay over their backs.
This picture gives you a view of just how comfortable of a fit they are...
 and moments later another chicken is out in the yard not even phased by the chicken apron!
She never even acted like something was on her back...
and Mr. Red your days are over of ravishing the girls! I want pretty feathered and healthy chickens in the back yard thanks to the new "Chicken Aprons"!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

My Apiary and Honey!

 I thought in this blog posts I would share my apiary, aka my bee yard. If you notice I call it my bee yard because Tim is a bit afraid of the bees :(  I guess not everyone is crazy about bees the way I am! We sit on the deck and watch the bees come in and out all day long.
 The apiary sits on a hill just next to the garden and greenhouse. We have gardens planted with various flowers that attract them and provide them with a lot of pollen as well as neighboring yards. The storage bin is an essential part for keeping this and that. If you look closely each hive has a couple of cinder blocks for the smoker and tool placement.
Today I had a very exciting discovery, honey, but not just any honey! During the winter I did some research on how to get Comb Honey by putting a frame with foundation, then put a frame next to it with no foundation and repeat this process in the super which is the top box (smaller that they store "our" honey in). Not all the hives have this but this one is showing success with the process! In the first frame you can see where they have built comb in the negative space and filled it with honey!
This picture shows some of the space that they have not quite filled in yet. There are queen excluders to keep her down below so only honey is stored in these cells. I am trully excited about our bees this year, we will not only be offering honey for sale, but also lip balms, bee pollen, beeswax ornaments and comb honey! 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A ravished chicken and a Maxi Pad!

   What do you do when you discover your chicken has been pecked beyond just feathers but down to the skin and you don"t have any bandaging material handy? You improvise! I am a Wildlife Rehabilitator by trade so I am used to having to use what I have, so I whipped out the peroxide, bandaging tape, anti-biotic cream and a Maxi Pad!  First step was to clean up her deep and mean wounds and then make a make shift bandage. I will be researching how to make a "Chicken Dress" for her, I have seen these for hens who are favored by the rooster. In her case she is a chicken I took in a few years ago that was found wondering the streets in Waterbury. She is picked on by everyone, but she is the sweetest thing. When I returned her to the coop they were all afraid of her make shift "Chicken Dress"! So I guess "Sherry Lynn" Wins!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Our first honey harvest!

   Our hives have been going full speed this summer! The bees are crazy busy. I sit on the back deck in the morning with a cup of coffee and it's like an airport, 20+ bees taking off every 5 seconds from each hive, the backyard is like a runway!
   I was able to harvest some honey last week. Notice the light yellow color of the summers first harvest and it tastes so good too! The way it looks we should have a very bountiful honey harvest this year!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Black gold makes our garden "sow" beautiful!

I have been ever so busy bringing soil down to the garden. Under the manure piles lays this wonderful "black gold"! I dug, filled the wheel barrel, brought it down the hill, emptied it into the raised beds and repeated this process more times than I would like to admit! The results are amazing and our garden is getting off to a good start already this year! I have already harvested rhubarb and made strawberry rhubarb jam! If you are in need of some good soil for free, bring over some buckets and we will get you hooked up!