Archive for March, 2011

Pullets in the Tractor!

March 27, 2011

I received my new chicks on February 6th – all 26.  They stayed in the brood box for the first 6 weeks until they were fully feathered.

When the chicks are fully feathered, they’re able to be moved outside.

I did wait until we had a stretch of warmer weather and then into the Chicken Tractor they all went…

I love their first introduction to grass and dirt!  No one needs to show these girls what to do – they begin scratching the soil looking for bugs and tasting the ends of the blades of grass.  So much better than that Chick feed 🙂

I ordered the Rainbow Collection but I think they made a mistake and gave me the “Monochromatic Collection”!

Oh wait….there’s one red girl in the whole lot.

These pullets will live in the Chicken Tractor until they begin to lay eggs and then they’ll be moved over to the hen house.

So much better in here than in that brood box!

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Spring Garden – March ’11

March 27, 2011

I finally got to the beds in my garden this week for the final turning of the soil.

The interns were a big help.  The hen house floor was dug down about 6 inches and the dirt was added to the beds in the garden.

Then the soil was turned one last time and it was time to plant.

I put in Red cabbage, Green cabbage, collards, and lettuce.  I still had spinach and swiss chard that survived the winter.

My Guineas leave those other plants alone…

but not the cabbage!

With 7 acres of other plants and lots and lots of bugs, why must they hone in on my cabbage?

I have plans for these plants….Sauerkraut!

Won’t get much from plants that look like this….

At least those Guineas leave my flowers alone 🙂

Spring Bees – March ’11

March 27, 2011

Well, my hives made it through the winter and I didn’t lose any.  I feel very fortunate because it’s so common to lose at least one hive.

Talked to a gentleman in the mountains who lost 16 of his 17 hives.

As you can see by the pictures, the girls hit the nectar flow with a bang!  Three supers on almost all the hives already…

and the hives are FULL of bees.

I’ve split 2 hives already with 3 more to split.  I had been told before that when a hive was split that one of the hives had to be moved to another location.

Another beekeeper told me it wasn’t necessarily so and that I could keep the split hive in the same location- just keep an eye on the hive without the queen.

So far so good – the bees have stayed in the new hive.

I recently looked into my hives and realized I was going to be short on supplies if these girls kept up at the current rate.

It’s only March and the nectar flow continues to the beginning of June.

Cross your fingers!  This year we may see a bumper crop of honey.

I took inventory of my supplies and then guesstimated what I would need….

A quick trip to the local feed store that’s now carrying beekeeping supplies to purchase more frames and supers and two more complete hives.

I’m determined to be ready for swarms this season!

This time of year is labor intensive for beekeepers…always trying to guess what the bees will be doing next-

whether those bees will stay put or split and swarm to a nearby tree.

But in June, when we harvest that “liquid gold”, we are reminded once again…

it’s so worth all the effort!

Emma and the Chickens

March 14, 2011

This is Emma.  We picked her up a year ago.  She’d been abandoned by her mom in the middle of the night on one of the coldest nights we had last winter.

She apparently is a fighter since she survived the cold temps.  She came to us as a bottle baby.

This is Emma today.  There is something to be said about bottle babies.  Upon a quick mental perusal of all of our animals, I’m pretty sure that all of them have been raised on the bottle…which accounts for some of the odd behaviour we see around this farm!

Emma is a “pip” – she has more personality than most sheep and she has no respect for electric fences.  Of course, with the thickness of her wool, I’m not sure she even knows it’s electric!

But we love her.  She knows her name and she lets us pet her.  She’s great for the kids who come to visit the farm.

Yesterday, in spite of the new fence I put up in front of the electric fence, she got out into the new pasture.

Someone had thrown an apple core in there for the chickens to eat but apparently sheep like apples.

I’d let the chickens out of there run into this newly sown pasture so they could scratch and eat the bugs.

Emma thought it might be nice to visit the chickens in their own home!

How she squeezed through the small little door is beyond me!

The chickens were a bit perturbed that this gigantic visitor was eating their food!

So they had a chat with her to let her know what was what when she came to visit.

I looked up from weeding and saw Emma in the chicken run.  My first thought was, “Now this is the ultimate in integrated farming!”

Second thought, “How in the world am I going to get her out of there!?”

Not a problem – she was out before I got around to the other side of the chicken house.  Maybe it was something the chicken said 🙂

These bottle babies are so cute and adorable….and grow up sometimes acting a little more like pets than farm animals.

…And we like it that way!