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Showing posts from April, 2022

Honeycomb in the Wrong Place!

In both our hives, the bees were building up long columns of comb that they had attached to the lid. Today when I went to feed them, I almost couldn't get the top open! Oh no! It meant I had to scrape off those columns of honeycomb. If you leave a gap, bees will fill it. And apparently, I left too much of a gap. So after removing the honeycomb, I removed the empty queen cages and squeezed another frame into each hive.  Hopefully, I didn't kill the queens in either hive when I did all this. The hive will collapse if you kill the queen, and you lose everything. No pressure, right? I brought in the removed honeycomb, and sure enough, they were filled with honey. So we stood there with chunks of honeycomb licking off the sweet honey.  It tastes just like honey from the store except a little lighter and sweeter. Every season with the different flowers in bloom, the taste of the honey should change some.   Here is the extra honeycomb that I'm saving to enjoy later: They call this

Our Honeybees Arrived

Our Italian honeybees arrived today! In March, we ordered two three-pound packages from Coastal Farm and Ranch. We're so glad that the bees came during warm weather this year.  They were full of energy, buzzing around my head as I shook them out of the packages and into the hives. We decided to set up the two hives further away from each other so that if something happens to one hive, hopefully, the other one will still be okay. Installation was pretty quick once we had everything set up. The hardest part was all the prep work and getting the beehives positioned.   This year, we installed a robbing screen on the front of the hive.  Last year, robber bees from our neighbor's honeybee hives came over and killed all our bees, robbing every last drop of the honey. So we're hoping that we can prevent that from happening again by using the robbing screens. The old apple tree in our front yard is just about to bloom. Looks like the bees arrived just in time!

What to Do About Sick Hens

This week, we've been dealing with two sick and dying hens on our farm. Yesterday morning when I went to let the chickens and ducks out of their pen, there was Beaker, out cold, laying on the floor of the coop. Poor girl. It looked like she took a sudden nose-dive off the roost during the night.  I used a snow shovel to scoop her up and we actually buried her in a molehill in the pasture.  A mole had tilled the soil super fine, making it easy to dig a deep grave.   What a morbid scene it was carrying Beaker's lifeless corpse across the field using the snow shovel.  Her feet were sticking straight up.  R.I.P. Beaker. 😭 We have no idea what caused Beaker to pass away so suddenly.  The prior day, she was out foraging with the other hens and seemed just fine.  She was 2 years old, which isn't very old for a chicken. We hatched her from an egg here on the farm , and her father was Captain Rooster. We're not positive about who her mother is. Perhaps Beaker had a heart attack

Guinea Hens Visit Us Every Day

A neighbor who lives on a farm down the road from us bought guinea hens last year. A few weeks ago, the funny-looking birds started showing up in our yard. They've established a routine that begins in the field near our milk shed, where they hunt around for bugs. Eventually, they make their way through every section of our nearly three acres. They spend considerable time eating fallen seeds under the bird feeder in the front yard.  There are seven of them. I can hear the odd birds squawking when I'm sitting at my computer in the living room. They are the only co-workers I have each day (I work remotely). Next, the seven strange creatures wander over by the blueberry bushes. I think they're looking for slugs, as there are a lot of them out in that field. Later in the day, they head toward our neighbor Brian's yard, where they skirt under the fence and then squawk up by his house for a while. Finally, the guinea hens go past our chicken/duck run in the back yard, where th

Delightful Daffodils

The daffodils have been blooming for longer than usual around here! So, we thought we should share a few photos. The patch of lovely daffodils that grows alongside the barn fence is maintained by our neighborhood. My father-in-law, Richard, gave us a bag full of daffodils earlier this year. I planted them in pots and placed them by the front doors. They are doing really well!  We have two front doors...above is our casual entry door that goes into the kitchen, and below is the "official" front door that goes into an entryway next to our living room.   I looked back to see when I first took a photo of the daffodils, and it was on March 6. That is an entire month of blooms so far! 

Getting Away From the Farm

It isn't easy to pick up and go on vacation when you have a farm. There are animals to feed, a garden to tend to, weather issues to consider, etc. We worry about the garden and blueberry plants drying out in the summer while we're gone. We worry about the water pipes freezing in this old rambling house in the winter. Trying to give chickens and ducks water in the winter is tricky; you either have to carry water in heavy jugs from indoors or have a unique setup that keeps the hose from freezing. Sometimes their water needs to be refilled multiple times throughout the day because it freezes. Later this spring, when we restock the apiary with honeybees, there will be even more to consider. Since we have a dog and two cats, indoor animals also need attention. Covid wasn't why we delayed a vacation for over three years; instead, it was bec ause of this farm. There was just too much farm work to pass off to someone else. So be forewarned: If you decide to set up a farm or homes