Monday, March 30, 2009

Maddie the Gator Dog

Looking at this picture you might be fooled into thinking that Maddie loves to be close to me. Well, she does love me, but in actuality she is just lazy and would rather ride than walk!I suppose it is hard work to be a 140 pound Newfie. At least Maddie would have us think so! Most days,when I get in the gator to attend to chores she squeezes her massive body into the small space in front of the passenger seat of the gator. A reminder from me to pull in her tail.... and off we go.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Construction Update

Things are moving along....seemingly slowly, but, yet each week the house ends up looking a little more like we have envisioned it. This week the well was dug....unfortunately, they had to dig about 200 yards away from the house to find water that did not smell like sulphur. We plan to have it tested in the next week. Hopefully it is potable.
The siding crew started the log siding on the garage....making the whole house look more complete!Here is the back side of the garage....notice how the logs on the house have darkened with time. Eventually, all of the logs and siding will be stained much darker.

This week, they completed the stairway at the back of the garage...giving us access to a rather large amount of attic space above the garage and kitchen areas. Or, someday, perhaps a bonus room....maybe a man cave? Hubbs did mention that a lounge chair would fit quite nicely in that space!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Missy Had Twins!!

This past weekend, the last of our fainting goats delivered her kids. Sweet Missy had the cutest twins ever! The coloring on these two babies is just stunning. They are absolutely adorable and oh so friendly. Good job, Missy!!
They are both tri-color with blue eyes.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Sure Signs of Spring

Finally, the blueberries have buds.....a sure sign that Spring is on its' way. Oh how anxious we are for blueberry harvest time! This is one of the 100 blueberry bushes that we planted 2 summers ago. The bushes are all still very small, but growing. It won't be long before we have blueberries coming out of our ears!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Girls Are Working Hard!

Yes, that is Elvis standing tall above his harem! It seems the girls are quite happy these days....and egg production reflects it.
Today we had a record 36 eggs (4 were Guinea eggs). Maddie has appointed herself official egg guardian and takes her job quite seriously. She would really like to consume all of these delicious eggs if the truth were known.

"Maybe if I stare at them long enough,

one will fall out of the basket and

I can have a yummy treat!"

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Rat-a-Tat-Tat

It seems at any given moment, we can always hear the sound of a pileated woodpecker drumming away on a tree somewhere in our woods. That is the way he attracts a mate.

And this is the end result of all that drumming....

We have many trees in our woods that look just like this one. The amazing thing is that each of these holes goes through the entire sapwood of the tree right into the heartwood...about five inches into the tree.



Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Forrest the Lap Goat

Last year's kids are now a year old. You might remember a video that I had posted last Spring of a tiny kid jumping onto my back and then leaping into the air with glee. That goat was Forrest and Forrest has grown into quite a large boy now. The only thing that hasn't changed is the fact that Forrest still likes to sit on laps. He is quite a sweet goat.......
Here is is cuddled up in Becky's arms....our tiny little lap goat!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Feline Barn Games

This morning, while I was cleaning manure out of our dry lot in front of the barn I was treated to a hilarious kitty game. It seems that our frisky TomTom loves to burrow in piles of hay that are put out for the horses.

At one point, TomTom had just burrowed under a pile of hay, when a couple of the horses headed for that particular pile. Upon reaching the hay, they stuck their noses down and opened their mouths for a nibble. Just at that moment, TomTom sprang out of the hay obviously startled by the horses' presence. At the same time, the horses were quite startled and jumped for fear at the sight of a tiny orange tiger leaping out of their breakfast.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Tonka Toys

I would love to give you a construction update, but there is really nothing to show this week. Most of the work done in the past few days has been electrical. The septic people were there to clean our tank....nothing to show, and lucky for you smells can't be transmitted through the internet. Our propane tank was delivered and a hole dug for its' burial. The most impressive work was done by the excavator and his big toys.
Eventually, when all of these toys are gone, we will have a front lawn again...but for now, Tonka Toys and stones are what we have!

Woodsy Wanderers

We took a little time this weekend to walk our wooded acreage. Every few weeks we walk our trails to make sure that they are clear of fallen trees and branches. Every 15 or so years our woods are harvested for the most mature trees...giving the younger saplings a chance to reach for precious sunlight...hopefully assuring the health of our forest. The treetops left behind become refuge for the local fauna and eventually make their way onto our wood pile. The beauty of this is the fact that we never have to chop a tree down for firewood. Between the leftover treetops and the fallen timber, we have a lifetime supply of firewood.


We were saddened to find several large Hemlock trees that had snapped in half from Winter wind storms. This particular tree trunk will be cut into segments to use as bases under our five new beehives. A friend told Hubbs that Eastern Hemlocks (Pa's State tree) are succumbing to some disease. This is quite alarming for us as a large part of our forest is comprised of these lovely conifers.

Addendum: Jack did a little research and it seems that the "disease" of hemlock trees is actually and infestation of the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, a sap-sucking bug from East Asia. Apparently an infestation of this pest can wipe out a hemlock forest in short order, thereby changing the carbon cycle of that area. There is some experimentation with releasing a type of beetle from Japan that will eat the Adelgid. The use of biologicals is not without risk however......we always pay some price for "playing" with our ecosystems.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Ultimate Recycling Project

Here on the farm, we are committed to recycling as much as we possibly can. We compost whatever kitchen scraps we have (that the chickens won't eat). We compost our manure and leaves. We try to find a use for everything.

This winter we had several wind storms that took down some old pine trees. Jack has spent weeks chain-sawing fallen trees to provide firewood to heat our house. Even the tree tops and pine needles get used, as these are tasty treats for the goats. The goats get a supplement of pine branches daily. Those pine needles become manure, or "goat berries" as we call them, which then becomes fertilizer for house plants. So you see, nothing goes to waste.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Warm, Lazy Afternoon

We have been treated to a few Spring-like days lately. The herd is anxiously awaiting the emergence of decent grazing grass. For now they nibble a bit and nap a bit....whiling away the hours on a warm, lazy afternoon.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

My Co-Pilot

Since we are in the midst of relocating to full time life at the farm, Hubbs often asks me if I think I might get lonely without having people around during the day. How can a gal be lonely when she always has a companion? No matter what the chore, Tom Tom is always hanging around the barn ready to help. He keeps me laughing, though, as his favorite game is manure soccer.


Monday, March 9, 2009

Happy Feet

Here is a video of Jill's triplets at play....they are now one week old.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Construction....Slow But Sure

Here are a few pictures of the interior....The walls are framed, and now the plumber and electrician are finishing the roughed in wiring and plumbing. Once that is complete, there is an inspection by the codes office and then the walls are finished. Our interior walls will be a combination of tongue and groove that matches the log walls and a few drywall walls here and there for color.


This is a view from the kitchen through the dining room into the study and finally the master bedroom.

Here is the view looking up from the great room into the loft area. There is a bedroom roughed-in in the upper left corner. The upper right room(unseen) will serve as my sewing room and a guest room when needed.


Bottom left is dining room and to the right of that the study.


So much is left to do inside the house.


Outside, the work continues....trimming the windows, and installing the soffit and fascia and gutters on the overhangs. After the grading is done, then the decks will be started.

Friday, March 6, 2009

What About Horns?

It seems that those interested in purchasing/raising goats seem to have a preference as to whether their goats have horns. Not all goats have horns. Occasionally one will be what we call "polled" or hornless by nature. For the most part, though goats do have horns. Horns can be a bit dangerous if you are not careful. We have never had difficulties with our horned goats...but we are careful about where their horns are when we are down on their level. O'Malley is one of our polled goats and she will gladly show you her lovely head....
Quite often we get requests to remove the horns on the goats that we sell. Our answer is emphatically "no". And for good reason. The surgery to remove horns on a goat is extremely painful to the goat. The horns grow from the goat's skull. In order to adequately anesthetize a goat to prevent the horrific pain of this surgery, it requires doses of local anesthesia that are toxic to the goat. Therefore, most goats who have their horns removed suffer horribly. We refuse to do this to our goats....or any animal. So, Bee Haven Acres goats remain horned. If you ever purchase a goat...give good thought to this fact. And remember, a little caution is all that is required around their horns. If you have small children...perhaps you might want to purchase a goat that is polled.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

So You're Thinking of Buying a Goat??

I thought I would take this opportunity to answer some of the questions we get about raising goats.

First of all it is important to remember that goats are social animals and do not thrive if they are alone. So, if you want a goat...you want at least 2 goats. Goats do not require a large amount of space. You should provide a minimum of 30 square feet per goat. We house our goats in several fenced in areas. Fencing must be non-climb wire fence as these feisty little guys can be quite good escape artists. Each of our goats has his own large size dog house lined with clean straw for shelter. However, quite often two goats will share a house just for the company. Our fainters do not climb well, so they stay off the roofs. Our dwarf Nigerians spend a lot of time on top of their houses. So it is essential to place houses in the center of their yard....that way they cannot escape by way of the roof.

Goats require twice daily feeding with a nutritionally complete chow as well as additional grazing or hay supplementation. These animals are ruminents and spend a good portion of the day chewing their cud. Goats only have teeth on the bottom....and a palate (gums) on the top....so they cannot bite. At least if they nibble, they do not hurt.

Goats also require occasional maintenance such as hoof trimming, worming, and health check-ups and innoculations to assure their health and longevity.

If you are interested in having goat's milk, you must first breed your goat. Once the babies are weaned you can continue to milk your goat daily to keep her supply coming. Some breeds of goats are better milkers than others. So if this is your area of interest, do some research.

For us, goats provide comic relief hours of fun. They are always happy to see us, much like dogs. They love to follow us around the farm during chore time....always hoping to get yummy treats. They truly are a wonderful, loving addition to any farm.

Honey Snacks

It has been a long cold winter here in PA. Jack and I have spent the past several weeks taking an evening beekeeping class at our local community college. We have learned a lot and I feel confident that I am ready to take over as beekeeper.

Yesterday it was quite sunny and the temperature neared 40 degrees. I decided to lift the outer cover of our 5 beehives and look for signs of life. Three out of 5 hives had bees clustered around the opening on the inner cover. This is quite a stressful time of year for the bees. The queen has hopefully started to lay eggs and brood is hatching....getting the colony's numbers built up in preparation for Spring's nectar flow. With winter honey stores low or gone, it is the time of year that can result in lots of casualties from starvation.

With that in mind, I purchased 10 pounds of honey at the grocery store and poured a bit into each of the hives, to give them an emergency feeding. I will most likely do this a few more times until warmer weather arrives and I can fully inspect the hives. At that point, I will attach a syrup feeder to each hive and feed them until the first blossoms of spring show their faces.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Babies, Babies, Babies

There is nothing cuter than a baby....and goat babies are no exception! Myrtle's Doeling


Myrtle's Buckling


Jill's Doeling


Jill's Buckling #1


Jill's Buckling #2


Monday, March 2, 2009

First Triplets, Now Twins!!!


Myrtle delivered twins on Saturday night....one black and white with blue eyes and one tricolor with blue eyes. Mama and babies are all doing great. Oh my, they are sooooo cute!! Smoochie is the proud Papa.

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