Monday, May 28, 2012

We are expanding!!!

IT has been an adventurous couple of days here at the farm. Our friend and neighbor came over with his trusty tractor and tilled up new ground for us!!!! The new garden is approximately 3600sq ft.

New Garden being tilled

Amazing Soil

Thank you Don!

In other news.. I had a brilliant idea. I thought we should let our rabbits sit on the ground so that they could eat all the grass they wanted; then we could move them daily for fresh grass. So we put them on the ground and thought it was wonderful. Next day, I am out watering the crops, pulling the hose to the other garden spot and crash... I was not watching where I was going and I fell backwards right into a rabbit cage. No rabbits were hurt luckily.

Beware of the rabbit cage...

I finally had time to put in the herb garden that I wanted in the front! I feel accomplished. I put in dill, marjoram, genovese basil and purple basil, oregano, lavender, cilantro, sage, thyme, and lemongrass. Not sure if the lemongrass is going to make it..

Front Herb Garden

On Friday and Saturday we went on a 14 mile kayaking trip on the St. Francois River. It was amazing!!!  Hope you had an Amazing Memorial Day Weekend!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Bees Day 7

On day 7, you must inspect your bee hive for egg production. So, we did. Steve used the smoker for the first time and as the book says, the smoker is the essential tool in beekeeping. First, you smoke the hive from behind, give it a couple of puffs. Never approach the bee hive from the front. This is very important. In one minute you could have hundreds of bees trying to enter and exit the hive.  Smoke a couple puffs to the front and take the top off. Take the inside lid off as well smoking a couple puffs as you go. Smoking makes the bees go inside and stick their head in the comb and eat honey.

When you see the bees staring at you, give them a puff. It works very well. Then you pull out the frames to check. Look and see if the queen is making eggs. Bee eggs are small, white cylinders on the bottom of the cells. The queen lays between 1,00 and 2,000 eggs per day.   If she is you should have hundreds. If she is not you need to have one air mailed to you and replace her. Our bees are doing great, and the Queen is making many eggs. This is great news!

Beeman and the smoker

Taking off the Cover and Lid

Pulling out the frame

Inspecting Frame

Look at all those bees!

Tomatoes and Bell Peppers
We planted all morning and afternoon today. It is kind of hard to see in the photos but the plants are there. We now have 5 rows of tomatoes and peppers companion planted. 500 Brandywine Heirloom Tomatoes and 500 California Wonder Bell Peppers. 100 Tomatillo Verde and Purple de Milpa plants were added as well. It feels amazing to be out working in the soil underneath the sun. Our future began a week ago when school ended. Nowhere else to be but here at home and at work. Life is good.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


Monday morning, our bees arrived!

They always say the postman will call you at 6am. Well, ours called at 7am and we ran. We are so excited to start our beekeeping adventure. We, or should I say Steve set up all of the hives, we were ready. So, with Steve in his beekeepers outfit and I with our beekeeping 101 book in hand off we went. I read the step by step process out loud at least 3 times. We were ready.

Hive One

Step 1. Feed all bees and let them set in shade for at least 30 minutes.
Step 2. Separate the shipping packages. Now you are ready.
Step 3. Remove the panel on the top of the bee package.
Step 4. Take out the Queen cage, inspect it. Make sure she is still alive and well.
Step 5. Poke a hole in the bottom of the candy plug in the bottom of the cage. This allows a way for the worker bees to eat a hole through and get her out.
Step 6. Put Queen between frame 2 and 3.
Step 7. Slam bee container to ground and them carefully shake bees into hive.

A friend told us to leave the lid off the hive and all of them would be in there in 3 to 5 hours. It happened. Just the way he said it would. Amazing!

Hive Two

Everything went as planned just and in Hive one, except when Steve went to poke a hole in the Queen Cage it busted right in his hands. There went the Queen. Oh My! Yes we freaked out, well I might have, just a little. Steve looked around, and she was gone,just gone. So he put her busted up cage in the hive, dropped all the other bees in there too and wouldn't you know it she came back. Went right in on her own, My husband has eagle eye you see. Then she came back out and started to leave again, Steve grabbed her in mid air, no joke and put her back in the hive, and 3-5 hours later, all of her bees were in the hive too.

On the next day, some family arrived and we were showing them around, and Hive two was swarming in mid air. They were coming out of there by the thousands. They left us, for good. Learn by your mistakes I guess. So, now we are down to one hive, and despite the reality of a hive gone, we are happy to have bees.

Hive One is doing well.

2 swarms of Italian Honey Bees, Queens Included

Queen Bee Cage

Setting Up the Hives

Hive One, inside their new home.

Hive One on Day 3

Friday, May 18, 2012

It has been a few days...

Transitional Phases are among us.

My last post was about our year in review. What a year it was! On Monday the 7th, my grandfather passed away. One day after our year anniversary here at the farm. We live next door to my grandparents. It was hard. Grandpa passed away right in front of us. It was peaceful, unlike anything I had ever expected. I had never experienced loss before. It surely makes you think. Grandma is doing amazing, and we will forever miss him. He was a great man.

So, last week we had death, funeral and college finals. It was a busy week, and I am doing my best to catch up on posts. Many to come. Bare with me..

Sunday, May 6, 2012

About us, The First Year..

We moved back to my family farm a year ago today. I can not begin to tell you how excited I am about what we have become! I am very proud of us! We moved here on a whim and a couple of dreams. Reasoning you might ask. To be better humans. To consume less. To live off the grid as far as we can. To grow as much of our own food as we can. To be less wasteful. To teach our children how to live off the land. To have peace and quiet. To co-exist with Mother Nature.

Wedding Bliss!

Huge Cheese!

Solar Shower
College Graduation!

Greenhouse Growings

Beautiful Greens

Strawberry Patch


Potato Patch

Chickens and Great View of Farm
The One Snow Day

This past year we have had such a positive force behind us it makes anything possible. We encountered a flooding, one day of snow, we cleared one acre for farming, fought wasps, Steve killed two deer and a turkey, severed a finger,  had our first chickens, 13 free roosters, ran over our own dog, Got Married!!!, started our own seeds, put up two greenhouses, made what we thought was Maple Syrup; harvested worm castings, bought and learned to breed rabbits, bought turkeys, bought chickens, bought bees, put a deposit down on goats, sold our first farm produced products at the Farmer's Market, Graduated College!!!, learned to live without air conditioning, live without cable or satellite,  lived without hot water for 5 months,  made a solar shower, started our farm, becoming happier every second!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Goats, Goats, Goats on my mind!!!

Great News here at the farm!!!!

The Goats are coming!!! YAY!!!!!!

We put our deposit down today on two Gorgeous Nubian nannies and one billy!
They are registered and in milk. Already broke to the stand, kind, gentle, kid-friendly, and great producers.

I am ecstatic! I failed to get pictures today, but they will be up soon!

Milk, soap,cheese, yogurt, butter, kefir, here I come!!

They should be joining our family around June 1st..