Our sign in peace

Our sign in peace
Our sign in peace

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Hail the new Queen!

While inspecting this crazy nuc that I got some weeks back, it appeared they had more queen cells. I found a queen cell with an emerging queen and quickly put in a nuc box and closed it up. I gave them 2 days to get acclimated with what I thought was their new queen and went up today to let her out for her mating flight. I found this queen cell that was not the one I had put the frame in the box for, with what appears to be an emerged queen from it.
This was the queen cell I had originally seen in swarm position, where the other queen cell was in the superseder position. I found her deceased as if they just ignored her sadly.


Here is the virgin queen, they were nurturing her. You can tell because her abdomen is not full of eggs. They are fattening her up and getting her ready for her breeding flight. She will leave the hive just one time to breed with anywhere from 8 to 10 drones. These drones will sacrifice their life for the chance to breed just one time and then they will die.

 This image even defines her better and shows her attendants ready for her every need. I'm hoping this is the end of that nuc wanting to split! I'm running out of hives! 

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Get them for Mother's Day!


 Get your farm fresh eggs for Mother's Day! Make mom a delicious breakfast from eggs laid just that day! Can't get fresher than that!
You can call us on the farm line @ 203-881-1986 or stop by @ 156 Punkup Rd, Oxford, CT
We will have them in a cooler out front for contactless pick up!

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

A little Spring surprise!

To say we were not expecting this is an understatement! But here it is! A single fat little baby English Angora rabbit! I went into Azure's cage the other day who we have thought for a few years now to be infertile along with Wally our one testicle rabbit. Well I guess not! These two have spent time together over the years and never a thing, until yesterday when I went in to feed Azure, and she kept wanting to show me something on her bed, and there it was!
This very healthy single baby which I believe is an Opal in color! Which was Azure's grandfather Fluffer! Spring surprises at every corner I guess!
 

Monday, May 3, 2021

What's that in the incubator?

Last week we took a trip to another farm to pick up a very special package! 
They are a bit bigger than a regular egg! 
They went right into the incubator which was on and regulated when we returned!

 Hatch time appears to be 28 days, so with any luck we will answer the question, what is that in the incubator?

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Here we go!




 Here we go! The Connecticut Sheep and Wool Festival goes virtual today! We go live at noon with our wares! Our spot is from noon to 12:30. We are featuring just some of the items that we have available. We are so happy to be featured and that the CSWF for including us in this virtual version until next year when we can get back to an in person festival. Click on the link below to watch and support all the vendors.

Friday, April 23, 2021

One day to go, Virtual CT Sheep and Wool Festival


 Just one day to go until the Virtual Ct Sheep and Wool Festival!
We will be offering some of the Felting Kits for the objects shown. Our time slot is 12:00 to 12:30 p.m. Please take the time to watch all the vendors tomorrow! With all the hopes in the world, we will get past this virus and have an in person Festival next year! Click on the link before to support all the vendors of CSWF!

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Countdown is 3 days away!


 Our virtual sale through the Connecticut Sheep and Wool Festival is just 3 days away! We will be offering Drop Spindle Kits complete with a Drop Spindle,  2 1/2 ounces of beautiful clean alpaca roving from one our farms alpacas! It comes in 3 colors, Dark Brown, Fawn and White. Enclosed are also step by step instructions on how to spin. This complete kit is just $25.00.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Four days to countdown...


 Four days to go! We will be offering both needle felting dyed batts (left) as well as Needle Felting Kits that include 8 hand dyed batts, a Felting Board and Felting Needles as well as a complete instruction sheet. These will be featured during our virtual show this Saturday!

Monday, April 19, 2021

Countdown to The Ct Sheep and Wool!


 Just 5 days away from the Ct Sheep and Wool Festival, Virtual version! Coon Hollow Farm will be participating in this unprecedented on line event. Our time slot is from 12-12:30 p.m. and each day we will be featuring an item we will have available leading up to the Virtual on-line sale! So stay tuned to learn more (as we do). 
Pictured are our Eco Friendly Dryer Balls in an eco friendly packaging! There are 4 large balls in natural assorted colors from our very own alpacas here on the farm! They are just $20 a package. They soften the clothes and speed up drying time too!

Thursday, April 15, 2021

The egg and the bee?!

Did you know chickens aren't the only ones to lay eggs? Honeybee queens do too! After a week since our bees arrived, with our queen successfully being released out of her queen cage, it looks like she went right to work! If you look closely, each cell has one lone egg in it that looks like a small grain of rice, but in fact that is a honeybee egg! These eggs in particular are worker bee eggs. If you look at the size of the worker honeybee in this picture, you can get a size comparison of just how small they are. I love the black frames because it makes it so much easier to see with the naked eye. 
This egg will go through a process to grow into larvae inn about 4 days, on the 5th day the workers will cover it with a soft waxy mixture after they have placed food in the cell for the growing pupae to eat, which will emerge as an actual honeybee in about 21 days.
This year I am also trying some new feeders that some of my fellow beekeepers are raving about. It takes the place of an actual frame but has the food right there for the bees.
It has a "ladder" of sorts for them to go down while drinking the sugar water. This prevents drowning and seems to narrow as it goes down. Beekeeping has evolved in my many years. They seemed to be interested in it. We will take another look in a few days to see how it goes.
 

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Our new flock additions...

What means Spring more than new baby chicks? It's such a time of renewal and preparing for babies on the farm! This year our local feed store offered some new rare breeds and I jumped at the chance to add some to our mixed flock of chickens. This chick is an Ameraucana and will lay a light blue egg. They grow up to have these adorable cheek tufts and are the only chickens who have true tails. 
This chick I was especially excited to add, and thats' the Barnevelder! These chickens grow up to be just stunning birds, probably I'm partial to the color brown! This is a Dutch breed of chicken and are extremely laid back in personality. Their eggs are a chocolate brown color too. 
Then we have the Noir Maran chick, not to be confused with the Black Copper Maran. These are feather legged birds as well. If you look close, this one is popping little feathers on the legs. They too produce a chocolate brown egg that is stunning. 
Last but not leastly, we have the Rhode Island Blue! They grow up to be an almost blue colored chicken with a splash of brown on their heads. Also a brown egg layer but a stunning looking bird just the same. 
That is our 2021 new chick selection. I'm looking forward to seeing them grow and watch them as they peck about without a care in the world!
Stay tuned, this year we will be making some changes and adding an exciting addition to the farm, but you'll have to watch and see what it may be!
 

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Yo-Yo crazy!

I think in life, we should explore and learn everything that we can. Look at something that intrigues us and make a goal to learn it. For me, it was this. I have a yo-yo wall hanging and a yo-yo quilt at the end of my bed that my grandmother gave me. No one in my family knows where it came from. It's made from old vintage fabric, is queen bed sized and just beautiful! I have stared at these two things for years, curious at the technique, how did they do it and vowing someday I will figure it out!

My friend Naomi featured it on our Fiber Arts monthly Zoom meeting back in February and I was hooked! All I needed was the items in the picture above and I could get started! The yellow disc is a two part piece that you place the fabric in and stitch around, then pulling the thick thread to make the center pucker. In all I needed 120 to make my project!

You needed to cut the fabric and then bend the fabric inward and stitch around it The little grooves act as a spacer to get an even stitch. A fast and easy process. Many years ago women would cut cardboard or anything they could find for a template. These discs come in a set of different sizes.
I made mine of many shades of blue fabric I had left over from a former project, not knowing what or why I was making it, until I got a bridal invitation for a young woman who loves blue!
Once I got my 120 made, it was time to join the rows together! 
Stitch by stich, row by row...

until they were all join!

 My finished project! All hand stitched and ready for the bride to be! Now to get on to my next project!

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

It's that bee time of year

It's that time of year again! Time to get the bees installed and get ready for a new season. I was thinking today how many years this is for me. I think it's my 11th year but I have to look back to be sure. You can sure learn a lot from these girls, that's for sure. I've been giving it some thought, whether or not this may be my last year. I'm getting on in my years and the boxes are getting harder to lift. I'd love to get a partner which was wonderful when I had one. However, when I was up there working with the girls, feeling their energy, it's just part of me.
  The big black bee is a big beautiful drone, which is a male honeybee. A hive only has a few of these. These boys whole purpose in life is to reproduce. They serve no purpose in taking care of the hive, they don't bring in food and they are fed by the workers. The female workers are literally the ones who pull the total load of work within the hive.

The can of sugar water that they come with was still filled so I'm sure they are hungry. I had frames filled with honey left over from other hives so they have lots of food to start off with.
The queen is big and healthy. The attendants are ready and willing to take care of her every need.
And this is the side eye when you walk by a chicken in your bee suit who has never seen you in one before. She had no idea of what to make of it! She knew it was me but couldn't take her eye off of me! I was laughing because you just had to wonder what was going through her mind.
 

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Tips and Wisdom of Soap Making

Today In Connecticut, it is a rainy dreary day but a great day to make soap! I got busy collecting my ingredients and equipment to make a batch. My scent of the day was Citrus and Honeysuckle. I came up with this scent while on a trip to Port Jefferson, Long Island in NY many years ago. We ventured into a soap shop and they had a hand lotion bar where you could make your own scent. I came up with this combination as it was summer. 
As I was making my soap I gave thought to how many years I have been making my soap. It's been over 25 years now. Not much has changed but I have learned and changed some things along the way, like pouring my lye and not breathing as I do it! The chemical reaction that quickly takes place releases fumes that can be overwhelming for just about a minute, so I take a deep breathe and hold, then walk away.
I purchased these measuring cups with a funnel like spout pourer some time ago that makes pouring great!
Using an old enamel pot is the best. I only use this pot for soap making. As you can see it's warn but still turns out a great batch of soap.
Using silicone liners is a time saver. Not all my molds have them so using freezer paper works the best. Lining the base first and then the sides works the best. 
The best discovery I have made to date is the submersible mixer! This has literally been a game changer! This mixer has cut my mixing time ten fold! I get a trace in a matter of a minute or two versus an hour with hand mixing! 
I once had a hand thermometer until the digital was invented! My glass one burst one day so I began looking into a new one and discovered this! It has a stainless steel probe that is safe even to submerse in the lye. It also is a game changer.
Also adding certain oils into already poured soap if it is a fast setting oil is another game changer. Some oils set very quickly, such as fragrance oils can begin setting your soaps before you even pour them. Essential oils take much longer to set. Knowing what oil you have and how it will behave in your soap making process is key. Often when purchasing oils from a reputable soap supply company they will tell you how your oil will react.
My journey in soap making has been a long and winding road, one that has taught me so much as I have gone along. I've tried other recipes but often come back to my long loved version that has taught me so much as I have gone along. Learning, adapting and changing is always a big help to what we do!
 

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Ouch!

While collecting eggs yesterday, I came across this very large egg! All I could think was, "Ouch! That had to hurt." The smaller egg next to it is an extra large sized egg so you have a scale of just how big the egg was! This happens because of two possible scenarios. The first being that it was laid by a young hen who may not have all her reproductive organs formed just right. Her body fills two yolks into the developing egg. The other possible reason could be a chicken at the end of her egg laying cycle also may have done it due to the same reason. Either way that had to hurt. 

 Not always does an egg that large contain two yolks but in this case this one did. I have seen eggs this large with just one, but still! Ouch!!! It made for a fine breakfast so that was a good thing!

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

They're back! Our farm fresh eggs!

 

It's as if our chickens switched a switch and we have eggs once again! The longer days filled with light and the warmer temperatures have sent our chickens into a laying frenzy once again!
We have large to extra large eggs in many colors of the chicken rainbow. We have over 50 chickens at the time and a number of different breeds which lay a variety of eggs in a multitude of colors! Our eggs are sold by the dozen for just $4.00 a dozen. Please call the farm phone @ 203-881-1986 to arrange a contactless pickup.
 

Monday, March 15, 2021

It just takes a drop!


This time of year is probably one of my favorites! The beginning of the end of winter. The ice begins to thaw, the day light gets longer, the trees begin to stir and begin their photosynthesis process as they begin to send their sap up through their trunks to the canopy as food to open the buds and make their leaves. The trees make more sap than they can use, that's where tapping and extracting sap comes into the picture. 





We have multiple trees tapped and the nights are cold and the days are warmer which causes the sap to move up the tree. We have Sugar Maples on the property but you can tap Red Maples as well. 
It will take 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup.

You can find Tim outside this time of year, who still has not built his evaporator mind you, but still spends countless hours burning his sap as he does this and that around the yard  for endless hours. 









Finishing off the sap requires lots of watch time. This is the delicate time that it can burn if not watched closely. The sap at this point must reach 219 degrees for proper syrup density.
Here is some of Tim's finished product! It's some work but it is worth every moment! 
 

This is Tim's final product! Dark, thick maple syrup! It's some work but worth every minute! Pancakes are on the menu for sure!