Bee’s Knees

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Last month, when we first moved the bees over, we had a week of very harsh, overnight freezes. The beehives were moved from a very sheltered spot at our rental to our new house which has constant wind and very few trees. The hives were set under two of our largest oak trees between the shed near the house and a brush hedge and we hoped that would have been enough.

However, in that first week the temperatures and wind proved to be a little too much for our little apiary. Considering that each hive boasts thousands and thousands of bees, our loss of a few hundred wasn’t too devastating, but it hurt all the same. In a perfect world we wouldn’t have lost any bees.

Trevor has put off his initial spring inspection, waiting for warmer weather, as to keep from chilling the hives. If there is enough growth in the hive he may decide to split one or both of them giving us more beehives. But I think that our recent bee massacre will delay spring splitting until next year.

I’ll get back to you on that. Cross your fingers and hold your breath.

Take Two

I realize that I just recently published a photo very similar to this one, but I just had to show you our newest egg color. See that pretty pale blue egg in the top left corner? We now have blue eggs courtesy of our new Ameracauna hen.

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They are such a novel hue that part of me wants to keep them forever instead of eating them. Perhaps I will blow some of my new blue eggs out and make some god awful craft with them. Or I could just set a bunch of blown Ameracauna blue and Chocolate Maran colored eggs in a bowl and have them to gawk at all day long. You know… in my free time.

Only The Cutest Face Ever

Tell me I’m wrong. I’m getting a new “Shop” page set up here on the website and I can guarantee you this little guy’s photo will be pretty popular. If it isn’t, there is something terribly wrong with humanity as a whole.

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Here are some other photos of goaties in the sunshine…

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Freyja

Ack!

We apparently have rattlesnakes. Trevor found this one (pictured headless for a reason) under a wood pile in the yard. We were pulling out untreated wood for the hügelkultur beds and found him lurking underneath. It looks fairly young considering it has only one “button” on its rattle.

Erk!

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Spring Plans and Plants in the Works

I have been so antsy to get in the dirt around here. My need to whip out a shovel and seed packets has only been subdued by the fact that I started some seeds in egg cartons along the kitchen window. I tried to only start seeds that need some extra growing time before the last frost and that don’t mind being transplanted, but–let’s face it–seeing lettuce sprout quickly and in abundance will make anyone smile.

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We are working on getting everything set up for building hügelkultur beds this weekend. There is such a nice large space to work in that I am actually ashamed to say that we won’t be able to get it all fenced in and planted this year. Trevor and I have agreed to get the space needed for five hügelkultur beds this year and then build and plant as we go: two beds for spring, at least two more for summer, and one more for fall. Then during the winter, we can fence another section in, slowly making our garden take over the entire triangular area created by our driveway.

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This weekend we are hosting a Help-us-put-in-this-insane-garden-that-I-will-have-to-explain-100-times Party cleverly disguised as a house warming party. Hopefully at least one person dumb enough to bring a shovel shows up and we can get these hügelkultur beds ready for planting. Otherwise, I fear, it will be a weekend of family and friends visiting over snacks and jokes. What a dreadfully good time that would be.

Other than our crazy, experimental permaculture hügelkultur garden (I dare you to say that five times fast), I have plans to raise out a few turkeys for the Thanksgiving table. If you’ve read the Our Story page, you would know that Trevor is not too keen on having turkeys and has stopped me on more than one occasion from bringing a few home. Well, he doesn’t have much of an excuse now because I have some scrap fencing, food, forage, and a butt-load of space.

I’ve read that it is best to order twice as many turkey poults as you need because they tend to be over sensitive while very young and can die at the drop of a hat. My thought is to start with a heritage breed (something with pretty feathers) and then brood them in the safety of the garage before rotating them on pasture with supplements.

My goal is to raise them on all-natural feed and as much pasture forage and fodder as I can. Sprouted barley fodder only gets to be about 16-17% protein and since turkeys need 22%+ protein, I will need to add in some supplements. I have until mid-May to figure it all out and with a severe lack of decent internet, I find myself reading a lot anyway.