Sunday, May 30, 2010

Happy Memorial Day 
from the farm !

Today's post is delayed until later....

we are picking up "Scarlett"

Donnie Brasco's little sister...
our new pony!

Donnie is quite excited!!!

More pictures to follow......

Friday, May 28, 2010

Still Cute....

But not (I fear) for long!!!

Here are my three turkey babies...
Four weeks ago I started with four poults.
One died on the third day.  
The remaining three are thriving.
They have grown lots of feathers are able to fly up to this 
ledge about 3 feet off the ground to roost at night.

Here is what they looked like one month ago....

It will be fun to watch these guys grow.
They have no names as of yet...
we don't know the sexes.

All in due time.
As Hubbs had previously thought, though,
we will not be naming them
Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter.

No, I cannot see us eating these cuties....
So, more critters earning their keep
only through the "cute" factor.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Singing Praises

This year I tried a new product in my garden boxes.
I tried "Seed Tape".

This is a roll of 1/2 inch wide paper...like toilet paper
that comes with seeds in it.

You simply roll out the tape in your furrow.
(photo courtesy of Gardeners.com)
Cover with a tiny bit of soil...

And in a few weeks you have perfectly spaced vegetables...
in my case, radishes.

I love these long skinny radishes.
They are crunchy and mild.

I swear that every one of those seeds germinated...
perfectly.
I have hundreds of radishes!

I still have a box with seed tape carrots growing...
I'll let you know how they turn out.

If you want a very easy gardening experience with
a high yield....check out.
and search for "seed tape"..

Bee Haven Acres gives this two thumbs up!

PS....any ideas on what to do with all these radishes????

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Moving Day

Moving day for goats arrived this week.
The delivery room and postpartum pen is now
officially closed.

The babies and mamas are now back in 
our regular goat pens...

equipped with goat houses
for both shelter and fun!  



The move was uneventful, 
once the kids got the hang of marching
in a parade.
The moms will follow us anywhere...
as long as we keep the Ritz crackers coming!

Our babies are almost weaned.
They eat hay and pellets...
(Fred with a mouthful)

but still occasionally bother their Mom's
to nurse a bit.

Oh, they just grow up way too fast!!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Together At Last!

I have been hesitant to put the "Bigs" and the "Littles"
together in the same pasture to graze...
fearing for the safety of my tiny horses.

That is until the other day, when I took the Bigs 
to the upper pasture and heard the cries of
the Littles as I led their friends away.

What I hadn't realize was that even though 
they were always separated by a fence,
these four equines considered themselves a herd...
a family.

So, yesterday I decided to try a joint turn-out.

I opened the gate to the front pasture....
and out went the Bigs.

Then I opened the gate from the Littles 
into the same pasture and let them out.

A few minutes of running...

was followed
by peaceful grazing,

and a little up close and personal discourse...

Oakley stayed close by to supervise....

Now I wonder why I waited so long to put them together
and witness their obvious camaraderie.

I get a lot of questions about what type of equines the Bigs and Littles are.  The Littles are actually horses.  They are miniature horses.  The Bigs are actually ponies.  Donnie Brascoe is a Shetland type pony and Moonbeam (the largest) is a Haflinger.  Haflingers are the smallest of the draft horses and are considered to be ponies.  Moonbeam stands tall enough to qualify as horse-sized, however.  So...the Littles are horses and the Bigs are ponies.....a bit confusing, huh?  

Monday, May 24, 2010

Four Weedings and a Funeral

Why is it that the mayhem always occurs on the weekend?
I was hoping for a relatively calm weekend...
spent in the garden, happily weeding my vegetable boxes.

I must admit,
I did get the weeding done.
Thanks to Hubbs.
Hubbs took care of afternoon chores each day
so that I could concentrate on the gardening.

Unfortunately, though, while I was peacefully gardening...

Hubbs was brutally attacked and beaten
by Hank.
Hank, the aggressive, menacing, flogging rooster.

Now, if you have been following the saga of Hank,
you will remember that several weeks ago I was ready to
turn Hank into stew.

But, no.....
Hubbs wanted to try to rehabilitate Hank.
(Enter the super-soaker...negative reinforcement for bad behavior)

Hubbs was convinced we could turn Hank 
into a farm-friendly rooster.

Hubbs held onto that notion.
Until Friday afternoon.

I was peacefully gardening.
Hubbs was gathering eggs.

When suddenly.....
BAM!
Before he knew what hit him,
he was bleeding profusely.

Hank had run in from the field....

into the chicken pen....

into the chicken house....

and flogged Hubbs...

catching him....

totally

off

 guard!

Not thinking, but reacting out of instinct,
Hubbs gave Hank a swift kick and sent 
him flying.

Off, into the field ran Hank...
out of sight.

That night, Hank did not return to the barn,
as was his custom.

Hubbs was overwrought with guilt and remorse,
fearing that his kick had broken a rib, punctured a lung,
and sent Hank into the woods to die a slow and painful death.

The next morning, however......

Hank came happily out of the henhouse
(he never sleeps there....always alone in the barn)
and sang his usual cock-a-doodle-doo.

I laughed, hysterically...
and called Hubbs....to ease his pain.
"Hank lives,"  I said.

Not for long, we agreed.
With a summer full of farm tours,
 (several groups of children)
we cannot have an attack rooster on the premises.

Unfortunately, Hank's reputation preceded him...
making him un-adoptable.

We had only one choice.....
an honorable death for Hank.

Hank was a warrior who lived by the sword.
It was only fitting that he should die by the sword, too.
(in the form of a painless lethal injection of barbiturate)

Good bye, Hank.

We will miss you...

Not.

PS....There is a principle that we try to live by, here on the farm.  It is best described with the Sanskrit word...Ahimsa... the principle of refraining from harming any living thing.  We tried our best with Hank.
Many advised us to cook him.  Somehow, we just couldn't bring ourselves to do that.  It seemed that euthanasia was the kindest solution.  Although we are glad to be rid of this menace, we do feel some remorse.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Will Work for Snacks!

Dear Quaker Foods:

We are inquiring about the spokes-person
employment opportunity that you had recently advertised.
We are not Quaker, but one of us (Moonbeam) used to be Amish.....

The "Bigs" need a job....
something to help them earn their keep...
a little extra snack money would be nice.
"Will work for snacks!"

Given their obvious lack of skills, however,
jobs are hard to come by.

Hmmmm....how about advertising?
They would make the perfect spokes-horse,
(spokes-pony?)
for their favorite snack food.

They have recently admitted that they love Oatmeal Squares
even more than Frosted Mini Wheats!
And it's a good thing too, because Oatmeal Squares are
good for your heart...according to the package.
"It's right here on the front of the box", says Donnie.

So, if anyone is interested in hiring two slightly overweight,
but handsome and charming ponies.....
please email us here.
We would be happy to provide a video audition!

It's funny, each group of animals on the farm has its favorite treats.
You may have read older posts saying how the goats love Ritz crackers.
The chickens....well, they love just about everything...
except raw veggies (they prefer theirs cooked!)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sneak Peak...Berries

This is what my strawberry patch has in it right now....
lots and lots of blossoms.
And....some immature fruit.
In just a few short weeks we will be overflowing with red, ripe strawberries.

Oh,  I can hardly wait...
strawberry jam,
strawberry shortcake,
strawberry pie,
strawberries on our cereal,
strawberries on waffles,
strawberries on our ice cream,
strawberries and spinach salad.....

The possibilities are endless!

A few weeks after the strawberries are ripe,
the blueberries will come into season,
and then the blackberries.

Berry season on the farm....our favorite time of year!!
Berry season is a favorite time for the chickens, too.
We always keep a separate container for the chickens as we
pick berries.  Berries that have been bitten by bugs are 
given to the chickens as a tasty treat.
Yum!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Spring Cleaning

Happily, the garden boxes are all planted now.

I hate to admit that it took three plantings for the tomatoes.

I lost them twice...to frost.
What is it that they say?
Haste makes waste?
Well, that would ring true here.

Next year I promise I will have learned my lesson....
Unfortunately, the hard way!

The last major garden chore was to clean out the garden shed.
Another admission here....
my garden shed had gotten to look as if a bomb had
gone off inside of it!

So, I emptied it out....
And then totally reorganized it.

Voila!

Oh, now I have peace when I open the door.
And I don't have to duck...as things
come falling out on my head.
Now everything has its place.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

It Takes a Village

I always find it amazing that I can do just about anything
with the Bigs and do it by myself.  But when it comes to the
Littles....well that is another story.

Tasks like trimming hooves
and clipping require a small army.
It seems they always know when something unusual is
going to happen.  They respond by running as
far away as possible.
"Come on Ollie...let's make a break for it...
something's up.....
here she comes with the halter and lead rope!"

I decided it was time to clip Red this past weekend.
He just has not shed out his baby hair.
And with the impending hot weather,
he would be very uncomfortable.
So, with a bit of neighborly help....
(Jim and Kathy, our closest neighbors
and daughter Jenn)
I gave Red his summer hairdo.
Look how sleek Ollie looks with his haircut, too!

Hang, on Red....just a little more off the front

Before:

After:

Until now, I though Red was a bit obese.  Getting clipped has
made him look almost svelte!
Oh, and just to let you know how tiny these fellows are....
Ollie stands a mere 29 inches at the withers.
I call him my "micro mini!"

Monday, May 17, 2010

Looking Ahead...Blueberries, Looking Back....Haiti

Beautiful weather this weekend enabled us to get a lot of outdoor 
projects completed.  
One of these was to place bird netting over all of our 106 blueberry 
bushes and the strawberry patch.

Our 100 young blueberry bushes are loaded with fruit this year. 

This will be the first summer for a significant harvest
from these bushes.  
In the past, our 6 older bushes have had tremendous yield. 
Two summers ago I was able to preserve 200 jars of blueberry lime
jam from these bushes.
Here is my help for the project.
Jenn with baby on board and Oakely.
Obviously, Oakley is not much help.
He's only there to offer moral support.
Ok, what happened to the help?

Looking back....Haiti:
This youtube video was made by the video crew that accompanied our Haiti trip. It is a preview of a full length documentary that they are producing. It will give you a better glimpse at our experience there last month. Please turn on your sound. Select 480p for the highest viewing quality that's located to the right of the volume control at the bottom of the video. The default is 320p.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Swarm! (Another Adventure in Beekeeping)

Someone once commented that my life is anything but boring.
I would have to agree with that.
It seems that every day brings some sort of adventure.

Yesterday afternoon was quite exciting...
heart-pounding exciting!

Shortly before I was ready to go out for afternoon feeding time,
I received a phone call from our friend Sam.
(We have two friends...Sam and Jim who help us out with the mowing.)
Sam called to tell me that earlier that afternoon,
as he was mowing the apple orchard,
he noticed a swarm of bees in the orchard.

Wasting no time, I hopped in the gator, and drove to the
bee garage, where I suited up and grabbed supplies.
I then went to my lower bee yard and got a new
hive box ready.
Then I headed to the orchard to check out the swarm.

This is what I saw...
thousands of bees clumped together on an apple tree branch.

I shook the branch and knocked most of the bees into a large
cardboard box.  I then covered the box and drove it down
to the lower bee yard.  Here I shook the bees into the new hive.
Then back to the orchard to cut down the limb that had the remaining
swarm attached to it.
I walked this limb down the lane to the hives and shook the
remaining bees into the hive.
One more trip back to the orchard to gather those bees that had been
flying and were now gathered in a cluster....
At this point, most of the bees were now in their new hive box.
I will check them tomorrow to see if they stayed there.
If there is a queen amongst the group
(hopefully she made the transfer with the rest of the bees)
they will all remain with her...attracted to the hive by her
pheromones.

I can only hope she is there. 
As a result, I will have a brand new hive.

Swarming is a natural occurence in a bee colony.  The colony builds up its
numbers and hatches a new queen.  That new queen then takes half of the
colony and sets out to find a new home. 
This is a natural process of hive reproduction.
If you are lucky enough to find a your swarm...
you can end up with another hive.
Otherwise the hive goes wild and finds another place to live
such as a hollow tree, or your neighbors, barn, or attic.

Catching a swarm and installing into a new hive is most
definitely the better choice.

As you said....never a dull moment here!

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