Saturday, April 28, 2007

Hello To All

Wow, I am amazed at how quickly time can get away from me since my last post. All is well here on our beautiful farm. We have been busy doing all the farm things that Spring brings to our chore list. I love this time of year so much! Here is a quick update on the things that we have had our hands to as of lately:

Honey Bees: We were very disappointed this year when Michael checked our 2 hives and found that all of our bees were gone. There were a few dead ones remaining in the hive. We promptly ordered 2 more packages of bees. Upon their arrival, we made up sugar water and placed them in their new home. Michael has checked on them, and the new queens are laying eggs so for the time being we know that all is well there. We have had a lot of trouble with keeping our bees from season to season. Our first attempt at beekeeping came with little bees that did not want to stay home. Every time we turned around it seemed that our bees were swarming!! That lasted for two seasons. We then moved the bees to a new location because we bought a new/old home. The bees continued the swarming mode, but at least some of them were content to stay put. After a year at that location, we once again purchased a new/old home. This is the place that we live now, and it comes complete with wind, wind, and more wind. Our hives have blown over SEVERAL times even though Michael strapped them down with everything known to man. Finally we moved our bees by a neighbor's barn that is located right next to our fence. The bees are on our side of the fence, but we are using his barn as a wind barrier. We would have done this earlier on, but we weren't for sure how our neighbor would feel about this new arrangement. He doesn't live on the property so we felt he wouldn't mind, and we were right about this. Our hives have stayed together this entire windy season!!!

The whole issue with the loss of honey bees in the news has really bothered me lately. I am just as curious as the next person to find out the cause. My mom called the other day and said that she heard Paul Harvey talking about it on his radio show. That particular broadcast suggested cell phones or electrical wires may be causing the problem. I still believe that the Deliberate Agrarian is onto something with his theory of the GMO seeds. Time will tell...

Dairy Cow: Michael and the boys finally finished the fencing so that we could pick up our dairy cow from Tnfarmgirl. She was gracious enough to let Lizzy remain on her property until we could get our fences secured, which took a while. Lizzy has done quite well at her new home. She is a beautiful cow, and I enjoy looking out my kitchen window and seeing her graze in our field. However, she will function as much more than just a lawn ornament. She is scheduled to give birth some time in August so we will also have fresh milk. We have been working with her to get her more gentle for milking. Michael and I were with her the other day, and he wondered out loud if she really was pregnant. (She hasn't been vet checked so we do not have an actual confirmation). I asked him why he was thinking that, and he commented that she wasn't near as big as I was when I was pregnant!! (After almost 20 years of marriage, you would think he would K-N-O-W what not to say,but he was deep in thought). He tried to back peddle and explain that he REALLY meant something lame like "proportionally speaking"!!!! Of course I am still making him pay for his comment on that one, but I did understand his meaning. I am happy to report that since that day, Lizzie is growing a bit broader. I will keep you update on this as it progresses.

Chickens: We installed our new chicken fence which is an electrical netting fence. It is designed to be moved. I can't tell you how happy I am to have our chickens in a large fenced in area that is safe and contained. I so enjoy watching them out my kitchen window too. Sometimes when I am getting stressed, I take a minute to gaze at the chickens. There is something very peaceful about watching them peck and scratch in beautiful lush green grass. They too are much more than just lawn ornaments. We have enjoyed the fresh eggs. At this time, they aren't laying many eggs due to molting. I will be happy when they are back to work once again!

Garden: The garden is perhaps my favorite area of our farm. We have filled our 4 raised beds that we had last year. Michael will be ordering more wood from our local saw mill, and will add 6 more beds to our area. I can't tell you how much I have enjoyed gardening in the raised beds. Right now we have a bed full of all different kinds of lettuces, green onions, and a few broccoli plants. We have another bed full of bush beans that haven't sprouted yet. We have a bed full of an early tomato variety, and another bed with flowers and cabbage. In my make shift green house in the basement, I have squash and zucchini coming out my ears. There are many more tomatoes in the early stages of growth along with enough peppers to supply an army. I also have various stages and variety of flowers growing.

Well, this post has turned into a little longer that expected. I need to wrap it up here, and get to our sons' ballgames. I pray you have a wonderful weekend in your neck of the woods.

grace and peace,


EllaJac said...

My dad keeps bees, and set me up with a hive a couple years ago (before all this colony collapse disorder stuff). I lost the hive due to starvation, probably. Very few dead bees, and no honey reserves left. Our climate is much colder and windier than his, and while I followed his instructions, he thought their honey would keep them longer than they did... Don't know if that has been the case for you, but thought I'd throw an idea out there.

TnFullQuiver said...

Thank you for sharing your experience with bees. I believe our bees died of starvation too. We are trying again, and I pray that we have better results this time around.
grace and peace,