Our sign in peace

Our sign in peace
Our sign in peace

Friday, April 28, 2017

We're heading to the Fair!

This Saturday, April 29, 2017 we're heading to the fair! The Connecticut Sheep and Wool Festival to be exact! We will have some handmade items... 

as well as some fiber supplies! Stop by our booth and see us! For more info visit their website below for directions and times of the ongoing events for the day!
http://www.ctsheep.org/sheep_wool__fiber_festival

Friday, April 21, 2017

Baby Buns!!!

The English Angora babies are getting so big! They are hiding in their nest so I can't see them. There is only 3 that survived. I have found that first time moms don't do great for their first litters. We have 2 fawns and 1 chestnut agouti like their Uncle Chester!

Eyes are finally open!!!

Look at how fat and healthy they are! Peachy has done a great job on these little ones! Maybe Peachy doesn't like being an angora but she is a great mom!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Apiary news

In this old picture of our Apiary, it was more peaceful times. Never having to worry about more than the normal concerns of beekeeping. The challenges are so much more than what they were over 20 years ago.

However, our biggest challenge now is a bear! Last year we lost all our hives to a bear. Just weeks after having two hives, then having family commitments that put us behind on installing the bear fence, once again he hits! Thank goodness we had hatchet straps on them. Those were some ticked off bees when I attempted to upright the hives.
Fortua

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Release of the Queens!!!

Yesterday I quickly suited up before dinner time and while the foragers were out and about. I was checking on the queens, to see if the workers had gotten them out of their queen cages. One was released but the other was still in hers. They had waxed the entire cage and sealed off any space they had to feed her! I used a screw I had in my pocket and went to releasing her into a queen marker cage. She gladly entered it.

I then marked her with a white dot! Even though this year queens should be marked with a yellow dot, I firmly refuse!!! Who in their right mind choose yellow for marking queens for this year?!!!! With all the pollen coming in, all the different shades of yellow, it's crazy to mark your queens yellow! I purchased a new white marking pen for this year and will mark them white. I refuse to conform to this madness!!!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Winning the egg battle!

It appears that we are winning the battle with our egg eating chicken!!! Each nesting box has a fake marble egg in it. Apparently our egg eater is not fond of pecking an egg that causes her to hurt her beak! Each nesting box had the same scene, one fake egg and many laid eggs all around it! We are finally back in business! We have eggs! I love easy solutions that don't involve getting rid of an animal or in this case a chicken!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Spring is for babies!

Peachy had a very long day today and she's a bit tired. She began pulling fur a couple of days ago so we knew it was soon. We moved her into a bigger cage, complete with a nesting box, her bed and litter box. We offered her some straw and other nesting materials and she made a beautiful nest.

I came home from work today and she gave birth to 6 little beauties! It looks like 4 BEW's and 2 broken Chocolates! She seems at ease and relaxed.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Bees and Babies!

Yesterday Tim picked up our bees, something he is not always too fond of! By the time I got home, it was cold and getting dark so tomorrow was another day.
We got the hives ready and prepared to hive them. A little spray of sugar water kept them calm and happy.

I pried the tops off to get to the queens.


Thankfully both queens were fine and healthy in the queen cages.

Once we were done, our granddaughter Scarlett, our son Timmy and her mom Sarah came to visit. This was Scarlett's first time now that she is older, where she can understand the animals. She quickly learned that she can feed them banana chips and she had a blast doing it!

One of our Alpacas, Norman actually let her pet him! He never lets anyone pet him!

He was so gentle with her, especially when she forgot to let go of the banana chip!

She even fed Maddie, one of our angora goats! Look how Norman is snuggling Scarlett! He was quite taken with her.

She was amazed by our chickens and Autumn too! We had some time connecting with nature. She got to feel the ground, a stick, a rock, a hickory shell. a white pine bow and a pinecone too! This kid may just be a nature girl after all!

And at the end of the day, the bees are inside, locked down and we are hoping no visits from the bear this year! We are planning to install an electric bear fence in a few weeks. Keeping our fingers crossed!!!

Friday, April 7, 2017

Defeating an egg eater!

Oh the challenges of farming! It seems we have an egg eater! The chickens went off laying eggs longer than we thought. Then the evidence was there! Bits and pieces of consumed eggs, even catching the egg eater in action! She's quick though, when she knows she's caught she runs out the other side quickly blending into the flock. I do know she is one of the Speckled Sussex so I am watching them!

So while doing a bit of research, one of the ideas is to put fake eggs in the nests. This will make the egg eater peck at them, it will make her beak sore with the pecking and not getting results she will begin to equate pain with eating the eggs. I then remembered I had these marble eggs in a cabinet.

I added them to each nest box and lets see what happens! Another idea is filling a blown out egg with mustard. Apparently chickens hate the taste of mustard, who knew?!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Happy Spring!!!

The gang wishes everyone a Happy Spring!!! It has been a long winter and the gang is getting frustrated and fighting because of close quarters. The snow is melting and Spring is here!!! 

With the first day of Spring we actually got 2 eggs today! This winter had slowed down our egg production drastcally, yet another sign of the change of seasons ahead. 


Thursday, February 9, 2017

Sugaring in New England

Just yesterday, Tim was collecting sap. The trees were running with temperatures in the high 50's! The buckets were filled to the gills and pouring over. The sap was clear and a touch sweet.

Each bucket was filling fast after Tim emptied it! He collected close to 20 gallons in just one day...

and then today, a blizzard that brought everything to a screeching halt! That's is sugaring in New England and the weather here too! If you don't like it, it changes to something you will like!!!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Look what's happening in the sugar bush!

It's that wonderful time of year again when the sap begins to flow! Did you know that it takes between 30 to 40 gallons of sap to render down to syrup?! That's a lot of sap but our trees never fail. Did you also know that a large cluster of Sugar Maple trees is called a Sugar Bush?

Some of the trees are tapped. Tim has only just begun!

Our season is underway and we look forward to the tasty sap that makes Maple Syrup!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Lip Balms are for more than just lips!

It is winter here in Connecticut and with Winter comes dried lips. However, did you know that you can make your own lip Balms and use them on more than just lips?!!!
I have been known to take the "Macgyver" approach when it comes to using them for other things. I use them on sore cuticles, cracks in dry skin and have been known to use them on a stubborn zipper!
Ours are made from our very own beeswax, coconut oil, shea butter, a splash of almond oil and for these shown I added clove oil. They are amazing and stay on your lips for hours!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Finally!!!!

Finally, an egg!!! The chickens have been holding out on eggs this winter! I went up this morning and finally found an egg in one
 Of the egg boxes!!! Now it is winter, however it has been an unusually warm winter, mild temps along with lots of rain. We do think we may have an egg eater so an investigation is underway to determine that!!! The defender, if caught may be tried and convicted under extreme chicken law!!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The signs were there...

The results of the harvested honey really spoke volumes to what stress the honeybees were under late last summer. The drought was hard on them and by looking at the honey you could tell. Late summer honey should be darker, not as light. We could not feed them for fear of attracting the bear even worse. This honey has been distrusted to some of our friends and family. It tastes great but is just not what I would feel right about selling.

Friday, January 6, 2017

New Year, new ventures....

As we begin the New Year, I have some time during the winter to sit by the woods stove and get some projects done. I so love this time of year. So much peace as I sit here and watch the morning snow.
My first project of the year is making a colonial pocket. As some may know I love the colonial era, spend time as a reenactor and work as a docent in a colonial home teaching children about that time when things were just a little simpler, but everything they did was about survival. Above is some beautiful over dyed linen I picked up at a local textile sale. 

My husband gave me this kit last year. Basically woman wore a pocket that they would tie to their wastes. A slit would be in their pedicoats so they could access their pocket. 
.

I cut out a new pocket from the sample we got in the kit, front and back leaving about 1/2 inch for a seam allowance.

Women in that time would embroider beautiful flowers and designs on their pockets. The kit came with these wonderful transfers. I choose a wheat design as my center but will add lots of free formed designs as well. 

It's somewhat hard to see the outline on the brown linen but I got this. I haven't embroidered in years so I am looking forward to the challenge!
Happy New Year from Coon Hollow Farm! Challenge yourself this year to try something different!