Our sign in peace

Our sign in peace
Our sign in peace

Thursday, May 29, 2014

We have a broody girl!

I went into the chicken coop today, let the gang out and closed the gate door. We don't want mama raccoon back in the coop! I went about my way, planting some things in the garden, watering and this and that. I then went into the greenhouse, opened the coop door on the other side and discovered our chicken Ms. Ivory is brooding! She tried this at the beginning of the fall last year and I could not allow her to raise chicks then, but I will this year. When a chicken goes broody, which means she is laying on her fertilized eggs and will stop eating and drinking to hatch out her chicks. So time will tell in about 21 days if she is successful!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Composting and reducing our waste

 When you toss that banana or that paper towel into the trash, did it ever occur to you that it could help your soil and work for you? Composting everything from your egg shells to your paper towels could make your garden grow?
Even the waste from some of your animals can be a wonderful food for the worms and enzymes that break it down into beautiful black gold compost!
If you go up on the web, you can search on how to make an easy compost bin with pallets or even hay bales!
Our waste is so important to basic sustainability. In the picture, I had just dumped my rabbits used litter. We use pelleted newspaper which is very compostable! Other types of things we toss out each day that can be added is coffee grounds (and the filter too!), eggs shells, vegetable scraps, used tissues, newspaper and so on! We CAN cut down on what is tossed into the land fills daily! Turning the compost pile from time to time can net the most nutritious soil for your garden.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

New Beeks and Inspections!

This past Sunday, myself, and the three new "Beeks" did inspections on the hives. Kisha's hive was queenless again. No signs of brood and the numbers were very low. It was very possible that her queen went out for her mating flight and did not make it back. We have many birds around and queens fly very slow. We found lots of swarm cells in the large hive as well as supercedure cells so we added those to Kisha's hive.
Then it was time for Pat and Sue to do an inspection as I looked on. (That is them in the picture above). It was quite a treat to have them inspecting with concentration and applying everything they have learned up to this point. Each hive had something or another going on and there was a lot of hmmmmm's going on. The bees have been quite bizarre this year. I am hoping as May moves on they will settle down and get to the business of making honey!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

'Tis swarm season...

 It is that time of year, honeybee swarm season! We have been holding strong keeping them from swarming, making splits, pulling queen cells to help a hive that was not "queen right", but to no avail, they still swarmed!
With a special swarm attractant wipe, I went to work preparing a "swarm trap". These wipes have worked for me in the past.
 Using a contraption I have used in the past I fashioned my swarm trap, put it in a bush and hoped to catch my bees...and guess what? I did not! I watched for a little bit and about 1000 bees (which is not much) began to swarm and then flew away, but it was a very small swarm!
 But then I got a call! There was a call into a local animal control that a woman had a swarm in her back yard. I went and found this monster huge swarm! This swarm was about 20 times of the one I lost.
 I rushed home, got my equipment and ran back for the swarm. With the woman's pool skimmer I dropped the swarm into the nuc box and hoped I had the queen in there. It was evening so I left the hive there until the next morning.

 When I returned the next day, all the bees were in the nuc hive! The queen was in there along with about 20,000 bees! The size of a bee package!
 I taped up the box and went home with my newly caught hive! Nothing like free bees to make a beekeepers day!!!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Shearing Day on the Farm!

 Here he is, Tim the great Alpaca wrangler! This morning before our shearers got there, we harnessed and wormed everyone...
 The gang was quite suspect, with much humming going on in the barnyard.
 Our shearers arrived and got right to work shearing all the sheep first. The lambs were very upset because they did not recognize their mom's. They began screaming because they thought there were strangers in the barnyard with them!
 
 The Alpacas were done right after the sheep with some screaming. The seasoned old timers took it with a grain of salt and accepted their shearing with grace and composer.
Their teeth and hooves were trimmed. We broke our record for time from last year down to an hour and a half. A big shout out and much thanks to our friend BillieJo who came over and gave us a hand. Tim claims this as the worst day of his year, me it's not so bad! They are trimmed and ready for the hot weather ahead and we got some beautiful fiber as well!

Monday, May 5, 2014

A lesson learned by all...

 Today I made a mistake, and Mrs Raccoon also made an error in judgement. While I let the chickens out, I did not stay there and watch over them the way I should this time of year. If you look really close, this is a nursing mama who got into our coop!
 When I went in to collect eggs this was my first clue, and then suddenly mama raccoon came flying out of the nesting boxes. She only got a few eggs...
 I caught her just in time, she was on to the next nesting box. She is a hungry nursing mama and we must be the best advocates for our farm animals this time of year. We will no longer be leaving the door to the coop open when the chickens are out.
 Autumn the wonder dog was on the scene and was doing everything she could to teach that raccoon a lesson. This she learned from our past dogs and she takes this job very seriously!
 So to avoid Autumn/Mama Coon contact, Autumn was placed into the over flow chicken coop run and I proceeded to move Mama Coon out gently with a stick. She quickly got onto the roof and sat there, panting, terrified and exhausted.
Hopefully her and I have both learned a lesson, I know I sure have! We have to live with wildlife, we all have the right to be here!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Working with new "Beeks"

 Today I had the great pleasure of working with three new beekeepers! We re-visited the hives and found some interesting results. This frame was filled with brood (baby bees that are capped).
 As we went through the hives, Kisha's hive is responding quite well to their new queen cells. They have capped them and are awaiting to see who will be the queen! The over wintered hive was trying to swarm again so we made a split.
 Pat and Sue (not pictured because she took this picture) were observing and able to see numerous scenarios, from queen cells to drawn out comb to capped and uncapped brood. Their bees come next week and they are excited!
 Here is the class of 2014, the new "Beeks", Pat, Susan and Kisha! I hope they enjoy beekeeping as much as I do...
and here is our new split! Complete with two frames of brood with a few queen cells, some bee bread and a sugar water feeder. It will remain in the greenhouse for a few days sealed so the queens pheromone will dissipate and they will choose the new queens they are raising.  With any luck they will complete my hive number 4!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Tawny gets her first haircut!

 It has been a very cold Spring here in Connecticut and I have been holding off on shearing Tawny. Today was warm and a perfect day to get it done!
 Her fiber was so long and pretty. She was pulling it out her self even as much as I was brushing her so it had to come off.
 I am giving up on the scissoring method. I am terrified of cutting them so I asked around and most use clippers. I used a 40 blade and it got the job done.
 She still needed a bit of scissoring to finish it up but now I can see her eyes! I kept those beautiful ears in tack!
 A huge bag of super soft fiber fro her first cutting. It is gray, with shades of brown and some white, really pretty and soft!
She had to wear Fluffer's little sweater for now because she was insisting on licking and grooming which is very bad for a bunny to ingest her own fur. She did surprising well, but she is the most laid back bunny I have ever known. There was some grunting when we put the coat on though!