Monday, August 31, 2009

Hysteria

Ok, here it is.....I either need a psychiatrist or I need new glasses! And when I tell you today's tale, you will understand what I mean.

Today's list of chores included weed whacking around the bee hives (a task I have been avoiding). However, fearing that the bees would not be able to find their front doors, I suited up in a bee veil and gloves. Now, mind you, I did not wear my usual super bee suit (you know, the one that is impervious to all bees....the one I brag about never having gotten stung in....yep, that one). No, I wore a flimsy little hat with a veil and mesh short sleeved shirt attached. I also donned my full length bee gloves and wore tall muck boots over my jeans. So, off I set to trim the weeds. As I drove past the barn I noticed the Littles grazing in the pasture on the opposite side of the fence from the Bigs (who are still on just short visits to the pasture....happily, though, they are starting to lose the weight). Content that all was well with the horses, I drove the gator down through the orchard and into the bee yard. Weed whacking went pretty much without incident.


Upon finishing that job, I drove the gator back past the barn. This time, though it seemed that something was terribly amiss. I spied a white and grey form lying in the dry lot behind the Bigs...just on this side of the pasture fence. "OH NOOOOO!!!!" I cried and jumped up from the gator. I ran to the fence all the while crying " Oh NOOOOOO, Oh My God....No, Please, NOOOOOOOOO!" At this point tears were streaming down my face as I looked with horror at what I thought was my little Ollie....lying trampled in the dry lot. I clung to the top fence board and wailed. Then I looked beyond the fence and into the pasture....where Ollie and Red were still very happily munching away on grass.


"What the heck?" I cried, opened the fence gate and ran into the dry lot.....only to find that the crumpled form that I thought was my precious Ollie....was merely the plastic downspout extender that I had installed weeks ago....only it had been moved and trampled on by the Bigs. Needless to say, tears turned to hysterical laughter at my own idiocy and ensuing theatrics.


That's it.....I've cracked! Either that, or I truly need new glasses!!


Oh and after that incident, I returned to the bees to check the hives. One of my hives became extremely angry and aggressive. Smoking them seemed to make no difference. After running around the pasture trying to lose the angry mob, I hopped in the gator to try to out-drive them. Unfortunately, the silly bee veil that I was wearing impeded my vision.....I hit an apple tree limb and broke the windshield....and ended up getting stung in the abdomen (a bee flew up my shirt).



Golly, I hope tomorrow is a better day!!

Front Door Visitor

Look who came to my front door today. I have never seen a caterpillar like him before. And I wonder what he will grow up to look like. I am constantly amazed by new and different insects around the farm. I think I will visit with this fellow on the porch...not in the house!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Red and Ollie at Play

The other evening I sat in the middle of the dry lot outside our barn and just watched these two silly boys race around. They have the best time together, and I have the best time watching them! You must agree with me, they are just the cutest!



Now, isn't he handsome??

Friday, August 28, 2009

A Package Arrives

The stork has visited Bee Haven Acres again this morning, by way of the post office. I was up before 5 and showered in anticipation of an early call from the Post Office. And, I wasn't disappointed. The call came at 5:40. Into the truck I hopped and headed into town.










The Postmaster met me at the door with a big box of peeping chicks.
















Into the truck went the box and back home for an introduction to their new home.
I carefully lifted each chick out of the box (32 in all), showed it its water, gave it some breakfast (hardboiled egg) and placed it in the warming hut.

You might notice that this little gal has no feathers around her neck or face. There are two of this variety....on is dark colored and this one is light. I am assuming that these two are my "surprise" chicks. (You might remember that Elvis was a "surprise" in last year's chicks.) It will be fun to watch this little gal grow up and see what the end result is. Happily, all of the chicks survived the trip quite well...and none seem to be in jeopardy at this time. We will keep our fingers crossed for the next couple of days....and pray that they all adjust to their new life without incident.

We Are Teenagers Now

Remember just 4 weeks ago when the guinea chicks arrived.....just hatched and so very tiny? Well, here they are one month later. They have grown like weeds and already have a youthful version of their "buckwheat" call. Two dozen of the original 30 remain. (We had an unfortunate escape attempt a couple of weeks ago and lost a few to the woods!)
I have started them on their training regimen now. Each evening the light in their house goes on for an hour and they are given a yummy treat of white millet (reported to be a favorite amongst guineas). Shortly thereafter, they climb their roosting ladder and fall asleep for the night. I am hoping that learning this evening routine will encourage their nightly return to the house to roost after they are let out to free range during the day. This is several months away from now, but I don't think it is ever too early to start to train them to this pattern. If all goes well, we may be able to keep these sweet birds from becoming owl prey in the future.

It seems like so much of life on the farm is trial and error....hopefully this trial will have a happy ending!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Peppermint Soccer

There is a new game gaining in popularity on farms across America. That game is Peppermint Soccer. Here on Bee Haven Acres we have one of the country's premier players.....Tom Tom, the Omnipresent! He plays every position...in fact, he is a one cat dynamo. Each morning when I arrive at the barn, I am greeted along the driveway by Tom Tom. He races into the barn and up onto the workbench....begging for his breakfast. Once that is consumed, he is off on an adventure. This morning's adventure was Peppermint Soccer. Amazingly, this game kept him occupied for at least a half hour....more that enough time for me to snap a few action pictures.
He may look as if he is lying around...but believe me, this was a raucous game...and he was not still for more than a second. This picture was caught as he was rolling on the ground and batting the peppermint all over the floor.
Ah! Finally caught the elusive peppermint soccer ball..... Wait, he throws the ball back onto the field and once again it's in play.....
Score!!! He takes it down the field and into the goal...right under the trash can.Don't worry, Tom Tom.....there are lots more soccer balls where that one came from. And apparently, Tom Tom knows how to get one out of there! Just please save some for the horses. It's their favorite treat.
Yum......King Leo peppermints are the best! And they make perfect little soccer balls!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Food For Thought

Some days I get a bit overwhelmed with the amount of work that it takes to keep a farm going. I am having to change the way I view these tasks to keep my sunny outlook. In the past, I would work until the work was done, and then I would play. If I took this same approach with the farm, I would never play. The list never gets completed....for as soon as a portion of the tasks are done, more tasks are added. I must admit, that most of the work around the farm is fun...that is if the weather is cooperative. So, in order to keep from getting gobbled up by the work monster, I am going to make a "short" list for each day....knowing that the long list is a fact of life and will never go away. Let's call it job security....or opportunity, if you will!
This plaque hangs inside our back entrance. I look at it each day as I head out (multiple times) to do chores.....in my overalls!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Looking For Love

Bee Haven Acres "Star": Single, Black female looking for single male of same ethnic background (Nigerian), color unimportant. If you are looking for an athletic gal with curves in all the right places...I am your ideal! I am a feminine gal with the bluest eyes, no beard and no horns. I am fun loving and enjoy frolicking out of doors. I am most content "hanging out" with friends, although I do enjoy eating out. My hobbies include climbing and fencing.If you like quiet moonlit evenings, sharing a bit of grass and are searching for a long term relationship with your soulmate (or even just one date!), please leave me a message.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Elvis is Singing a New Song

Here's Elvis, out with his gals and he's singing a new song! "It's now or never......" he croons. Elvis is as concerned as I am about our hens' dwindling egg production. Ever since that dog attack several weeks ago, production has been way down. We are lucky if we even get a half dozen eggs a day. And we have 30 hens. So, gals, it's now or never.....or you all may become chicken soup!

Actually, I have 30 more brown egg layers on order. These new hatchlings are scheduled to arrive this week. I have a spare henhouse to start these new chicks, but once they are ready to lay, will be moved to the present hens' house. So, our hens have 20 weeks to get back in gear, or they might have to become soup chickens. Until that time, they will continue to have the wonderful life that they presently enjoy.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Parasites.....

.....the bane of raising goats! If you have goats, then you know that goats and parasites go hand in hand. This summer, Doctor Becky has tried everything in her power to rid our goats of worms. We have rotated their pastures, we have tried several types of worming meds and used a treatment in their water. In one last ditch effort, we just finished up a course of medication and moved the Nigerian goats to a new goat pen this week....and wormed them. Worming goats is no easy task...at least not the Nigerian youngsters. Stella, in particular is the most difficult. It takes two of us to catch them, hold them and squirt the paste into their throat.....all the while trying to avoid thrashing horns. I think we deserve battle pay (oh, yea, we don't get paid around here!!) Sometimes catching them is a bit comical.....

Finally, the task done....and we move to a new pen....

I thought you might get a chuckle at this picture of Jill sticking out her tongue for a Ritz cracker...favorite treat of all our goats.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Blue Eyes

Have you ever seen such beautiful blue eyes before?
Although this picture is a bit out of focus...I wanted you to see just how wonderful Red's eyes are. Our neighbors suggested that he has the eyes of a carousel horse. Ollies eyes are blue, but not nearly as big as Red's eyes.
















The Littles have settled into a routine and are wonderful additions to the farm. They are inseparable, while still retaining a close attachment to us, their human parents. I cannot imagine life without them. They are totally comfortable around the dogs, and the dogs are comfortable with them, too. Although I keep them in a fenced pasture when I am not with them; they roam freely when I am around and have no desire to run away. They are two gentle souls who are quite content with their lives. I just love them!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Curb Appeal (Oh, Yea, We Have No Curbs!)

Work continues on the decks around our log home. Our contractor promises that we will be totally finished by the end of September. That completion date is hard to believe; with soffit, fascia, gutters, decks, screen porch and final grading still to be completed. At least our front deck is finished....giving us one place to sit outside and enjoy the surrounding flora and fauna. The furniture on this deck is from our old house...it was old and faded (unpainted, natural wicker). A fresh coat of hunter green paint has spruced it up and now it looks like it belongs with this house. I love re-purposing old things and giving them new life with a coat of paint! New cushions help give a bit of eye appeal.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

World's Best Fly Swatter

We should all be equipped with one of these. Here on the farm it is essential....
And you thought it was just for looks!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Celebrating The Day

With our four wheeler packed...quilt and wine bag strapped to the front...we set off to the western most edge of our land. (Oh yes, that is a box of pizza that you see under the quilt.) Through the wooded trails we rode... until we reached a hay field with the most beautiful view of the neighboring hills. There we spread our quilt, broke open a bottle of Champagne and toasted the sunset...for no other reason than the fact that we are so happy to finally be where we belong...totally immersed in country life.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Reaching For New Heights

Well, the guinea keats are just 3 weeks old and already they are flying and getting around like more mature birds. When I went into their house last evening to fill their food and water, I found three of them on the top rung of their ladder perch. By the time I snapped this photo, one had hopped down, rung by rung and was almost at the bottom and a second had flown right down; leaving one remaining keat on the top...

Look very closely and you will see one remaining light colored keat on the top of the ladder and the darker keat on the bottom rung. What wacky birds they are....always performing some sort of crazy antic. Obviously, no fear of heights in these youngsters!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Fly Masks, Dinner and Other Woeful Tales

Fly Mask Woes

If there is one piece of horse gear that is absolutely essential in the summertime, it is a fly mask! Without one, a horse suffers constant attack on his eyes and face. If you have ever set out to find fly masks for mini horses, you will agree that this is not the easiest task. There is not a great selection for these precious tiny horses. My good friend Ann bought me a mask that was intended for minis but as you can see, although purple and quite lovely, it is better suited for our pony Donnie Brascoe....
After an internet search, I was able to locate fly masks in several different mini sizes. I chose a small for Red....
And an extra small for Ollie.But, after placing Ollie's on him, he froze in his tracks and telepathically sent me a message in his high pitched, micro-mini voice. "Help, I'm blind...I cannot see...why did you cover up my eyes?" On top of that, he started walking into the fence and gate. On closer inspection, I realized that this was his visibility:
Thank goodness I had ordered a second small (for Ollie to grow into). It seems the small ones are made from a lighter mesh with greater visibility. Unfortunately, this mask looks like an oversized pair of granny panties on his head. Oh well, at least it keeps the flies out of his eyes. Hopefully he will grow into it.

Dinner Woes

I have mentioned before that the Bigs are on a diet. Their grazing time is drastically reduced for now, as the grass is still very lush and green. They get their grain and two flakes of hay each per day...and believe me when dinner time comes around, they are quite persistent. If I don't get their hay as soon as I walk into the barn, Moonbeam is pounding on the door with his hoof. Once fed, they are quite content again. I have solved the problem of Red stealing Ollie's food. The Littles now eat on opposite sides of the fence...still together, but separate. This works great. When Red finishes his chow, he works on mowing down the grass behind the barn until Ollie is finished and they once again resume grazing in the pasture.

Other Woes

Did I mention my gator has a flat tire? Yes, I am now attending to chores on my pink cruiser (bike)....carrying eggs in a basket on the handlebars and water jugs in the back fender basket. Thankfully, a repair is in short order! Unbelievably, my truck has a flat tire too! Such is life at a construction site...too many nails around!

Saddest of all.....Amelia Airheart has flown the coop...gone AWOL...MIA. We worried that this might happen. I had even clipped her primary wing feathers to keep her from roaming. I guess the call of the wild was just too strong for her.

The Upside

"Tom Tom loves me" she says, as he gazes adoringly into her eyes.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Vacation Projects

Hubbs has been home all week on vacation...definitely a treat for Sadie, Maddie and myself. What a luxury to have help with the chores. Not to mention the pleasure of having another human to converse with during the day. Normally my days are spent in the company of animals....most of whom are not the best conversationalists.

Besides having his company, it has been great to have all sorts of special projects done around the farm.
The guinea babies have been treated to the construction and installation of a screen door for their house....giving them greater visibility and ventilation for these hot August days.
He also constructed a ladder roost inside their house for use when they are adult sized. This ladder is hung from the top of the side wall with hinges so that it can be lifted up to the ceiling and secured out of the way for housecleaning. Our two dozen guinea babies are now 2 weeks old and have tripled in size.
Hard to believe that such cute chicks will turn into such strange looking creatures.

Friday, August 14, 2009

There's Always Next Year!

Those four words have become my garden mantra. Each time I enter my vegetable garden I am overcome with the urge to just incinerate it. As I have called it before, it is my "Garden of Weedin".....with weeds outnumbering vegetables 100 to 1. Still, we have been able to harvest our dinner each night. And now I have enough tomatoes to make a pot of spaghetti sauce to can and save for those cold winter months.

As for pictures of the garden....forget it! I am way too embarassed by the appearance. Your imagination will have to do...and believe me you'd better have a wild imagination to be able to visualize this garden out of countrol!
What does give me joy, however, are the beautiful morning glories that have grown on my garden fence...yes, I did plant those.
My zinnia bed has afforded me fresh cut flowers for weeks now. And the marigolds add a lovely colorful border to the knee-high carpet of weeds.
Still, in all, it is hard to get too depressed when I look beyond the weeds to the horizon...as the sunflowers turn their smiling faces towards the sun. If they can live amongst all these weeds and still smile, then, so can I.
As for the rest....well, there's always next year!

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