Saturday, November 29, 2008

We Have a Foundation!!!

The foundation for our new log home is complete! Here are a few pictures to document the progress thus far. It feels great to finally see some progress in the right direction. Within the next two weeks, the concrete will be poured in the basement, the sub-floor for the first floor will go on....and the logs will arrive. From that point on, there will be much to watch. We are so excited!

Time for a Paradigm Shift...We Are What We Eat!!

Ordinarily all of my posts are fun farm stories.....and I have so many more to share. Today, however, I would like to share a little more than just fun. There is a growing movement in this country aimed at changing the way we eat and the way we do our agriculture. We have become a country that is over-run with fast food chains. We are overweight, under-nourished, and generally unhealthy. We spend billions of dollars each year fighting health problems caused by the foods we eat. Our agriculture has been taken over by agri-business. We no longer grow foods, we grow ingredients (corn and soy) ....ingredients that get added to the chemical soup that we call our "food".

We, at Bee Haven Acres have become passionate about our food. We grow as much of our own as we can....we eat as much food in its' "whole", and natural state as we can. We refrain from the use of pesticides, fertilizers and other toxic chemicals. We strive to eat as "locally" and organically as possible.
Obviously, I feel very passionate about this subject, and could spend way too much time focussing on this problem. Instead, I would like to offer a reading list to those of you whose interest I might have sparked.

Highly Recommended Reading......

The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan. This man has taken the time to explore where our food comes from. There is a movement for him to be our next Secretary of Agriculture.....a brilliant idea. This book is a must read...it will change how you look at food forever!











Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver...one family's attempt at eating "local" for a year. It will inspire you to change how you eat and how you shop. This book is chocked full of practical ideas....with good, sound reasoning. She even includes a few recipes.









Kitchen Literacy by Ann Vileisis..... a historical look at how our eating habits have changed over time....how we have lost touch with our food...and how we need to get it back!





Our Country is soon to have a new leader....one who feels passionately about making change. Please e-mail Mr. Obama and let him know how important this issue is. His choice for Secretary of Agriculture has a huge impact on our future....remember we are what we eat!
Encourage Mrs. Obama to plant a Victory Garden at the White House. Eleanor Roosevelt did it, and the country followed suit. If families dedicated a little land, time, and effort into planting family gardens, we would all be much healthier. Let's send a message to those who can help us..... join the Slow Foods Movement!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

Progress

We have two types of goats on our farm. My favorite are these goats in this picture. You can see they are overjoyed to have Jack in their pen....and that is behaviour you can always count on. The Dwarf Nigerians, are so athletic and so friendly. Their babies are adorable! Ours tend to get rather round bellies...they love to eat.

I am trying not to get too overly excited about building our farm house...because so far the process is a slow one. As you can see, the hole is almost finished, but there is a little work to be finished to make this ready to put up the foundation walls this Friday. We are using Superior Walls....they are concrete, fully insulated with metal studs already attached. This whole process should take only a day. So, by the end of Black Friday, there will be basement walls here. Off to the left on this picture are the remaining retaining walls that surround our pool deck. The deck will be replaced, and the pool refurbished, after the main house is built. Right now it looks like a disaster area I suppose, but to me it looks beautiful!
It is a bit hard to envision a house on this location.....but just wait.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hay is For....

...Just about everyone these days! We got our final delivery of hay for the upcoming winter. Our barn is stuffed and we should have enough on hand to feed our horses, ponies and goats in the coming cold months. There is quite a chill in the air these days, but luckily we still have a good amount of green grass left in the pastures.

There is nothing like the security of a hayloft full of hay as the winter months approach. As for the log home building project.....well, now we have a lovely hole in the ground (the old farm house is completely gone!) Next week we will have a foundation.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Helen Has a Friend!!!

Good news for those of you who follow my stories about dear Helen, our myopic chicken with cataracts.....she finally has a compatible roommate. Meet Maude. Maude has moved in with Helen and the girls are getting along splendidly.They spend most of the day catching up on the hen house gossip. It seems to be a perfect match. Since Helen is almost blind, there is no jealousy towards Maude. After all, Maude is quite stunning!
Our new Rhode Island Reds and our new guineas are maturing quite nicely. I can hardly wait till these wonderful reds start laying. They generally lay very large, delicious brown eggs. We have many requests for eggs, and not enough eggs to fill all the orders. So, we will be adding more chickens as time goes on. I just love these gals!
There are not yet as lovely as they will someday be....but they are starting to look much more mature.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Friendly Goats....

Everyone at the farm was happy to get a visit from Grandpap this week.....especially our Dwarf Nigerian Goats. If you look closely at Grandpap's lower hand, you might notice that he has a bit of blood between his fingers. That was courtesy of Donnie Brasco, our woolly pony, who mistook his finger for a treat. (He quickly spit it out, though....after all, fingers taste nothing like peppermints!) A mere flesh wound....Grandpap quickly recovered!
Sissy (fainting goat...one of Myrtle's twins from this Spring) was so overcome, she dropped to the ground in a "faint".
In a few seconds, however, she was back on her feet and headed across the goat yard to find safe haven by the fence...as far away from that crazy pony as possible!

"Whew! I hate the sight of blood!"

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Our Inspiration House

Here is a picture of the house that served as our inspiration. Jack and I designed the inside, ourselves.The front will look identical, minus the gazebo on the right side of the porch. The dormer windows in the front roof will not be present, as we have designed the house to have a loft in the back half of the house. But, otherwise, the front elevation of the house is the same. Our garage will be off to the left of the porch at an angle. Woods will surround our house to the rear and side, and the front will look out over our yard...which is visited by so many birds, and deer, and bear and other woodsy critters.

Beneath the fron porch will be doors and windows into the family room. This part of the house will be stone rather than log.

The logs arrive in early December....so from that point on, there will be much activity to chronicle. For now, things are mostly rubble! (as you can see below)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Phase II


Finally, the house is down. Just a few short months from now our new log home will sit on this very site that used to be occupied by our old farmhouse and garage. I will continue to update this blog as things progress over the coming months.
We spent the day today at a public auction. A beautiful circa 1800 farm about a mile from ours went up for auction as well as all of its contents. I left with several wonderful treasures....and lots of great deals! (Things that will find their home in the new farmhouse.)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

O'Malley's Winter Attire


Brought to you straight from the Bee Haven Acres fashion runway........the latest in winter wear.....Miss O'Malley in her winter parka!


In the summer, O'Malley wears a beautiful, sleek red fur coat. However, toward the end of the summer she begins to grow a very soft and downy overcoat. She ends up looking more like a sheep by the time autumn rolls around... except for the red racing stripe right down the middle of her back! She is the only one of our goats with this phenomenon....the rest get a little woolly, but retain their same basic look all year round. Come spring, she will shed this downy coat by the handfuls and once again return to her sleek, "svelte" self.

O'Malley is a Bee Haven Acres favorite. Although we love all of our critters, she holds a soft spot in our hearts. Poor conformation...such as stout body and short, bowed legs have prevented her from joining our breeding stock. However, her gentle, friendly disposition makes her the perfect pet.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Winterizing Bee Hives....Bad News


Yesterday we opened our hives for one last check before Winter winds start to howl. Our goal was to check the health of the hives, supply some extra sugary syrup if honey supplies were low, and then wrap each in warm black paper blanket to help insulate them.


We checked three out of five hives and were saddened to find no evidence of Queen, or brood (babies) or even drones. This is an especially bad sign, for if there is no brood to replace the aging workers, the hive will eventually die. We are hopeful that we may have missed a pocket of young somewhere within the hive, but it is doubtful. We wrapped each for the Winter in hopes that we are wrong and they survive til Spring. Most likely we will have to start over in the Spring with new hives, new bees and new Queens. It is a mystery why this is happening....but we will not quit. We are committed to doing what we can to preserve this creature that so much of life is dependant upon.

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