Saturday, April 28, 2012


I couldn't pass her up.

Actually, I almost did pass her up.

But Hubby said to get it.
My Grandma gave me one soon after Hubby and I were married. A few years later (and needing something that would sew heavier fabric) someone talked me out of it for $50 and I've always regretted it.
Blondie and I were wandering through Sandy Antique Mall looking for a dresser or chest of drawers for Prion's room and I saw this beauty sitting in the cabinet.

She's so pretty and in such good shape! There were only a few spots of wear on the flip down arm. The decals are all in perfect shape.

And she came with a carry case in great shape, too. The case doesn't even smell!

Look at all the feet that were in the attachments box! Even a few original needles.

Her only scar is a chip from the bottom of the socket.
She's visiting A1 Sewing right now. They were able to save my serger and make it sew like it was brand new, so they're giving my new girl a Platinum Service to make sure she is running smoothly and will give me years of good sewing.

The owner saw her and said, "Oh, we love Featherweights!"

So do I.

The woman 'checking her in' looked up the serial number and said she was built sometime between 1950 and 1951. Fantastic shape for a 60+ year old machine.

I can hardly wait 2 weeks to give her a spin on my next quilt block.

And I'll be thinking of my Grandma and smiling the whole time I'm sewing.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Another Corned Beef Experiment

Sheepy had some extra beef that she was willing to share. Meatloaf (Sheepy's bull) got a lot too playful with the cows. So he turned into.... something to eat. If you can't keep your horns where they belong, you're gonna end up with lead poisoning.

I recently bought a book (what else is new!)
A Guide to Canning, Freezing, Curing & Smoking Meat, Fish & Game by Wilbur F. Eastman Jr.

In our defense of buying books, we've always taught our kids that reading is like magic! If you can read, you can learn almost anything you want to learn. After being married for 30+ years we have books and bookshelves in every room in the house except some of the bathrooms.

This book looked like a great reference book so I decided to add it to our collection.

It happened to have a recipe for Corned Beef. (It really has 2 recipes, this one cures in the fridge). This recipe was much easier than the one that Sheepy sent me. (Here's my first and second posts about my first corned beef).

This recipe used salt, brown sugar, bay leaves, pepper corns, allspice, and cloves. Much easier than the last recipe!

All ready to put in the fridge. I hope "Meatloaf" tastes good!

It's been such a long month so far that I wrote "Ready 10 April". It should read "Ready 10 May"!

"Meatloaf" will sit in the brine for two weeks, instead of a week like the first corned beef. I have to shake it around and flip the meat every day or two to make sure that all the meat gets covered with brine.

Thanks for sharing, Sheepy! I'll let you know how it tastes.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Salad Garden Part 2

I got the salad garden almost done yesterday. I want to plant some lettuce in the front, so it isn't completely done. But the bed is done, the kale, broccoli, and spinach are all planted. The experiment is officially underway! (The first post for this project is found here.)

Here are the final photos.

Bed all done, wood chips in place.
Here's the corner that has newspaper under it, and a piece of paneling at the bottom of the fence, below the dirt, to keep the dirt from leaking out the fence.
Kale on the far left, broccoli on the right, and you can't quite see the spinach because it's little. It lines the front of the bed.
Here's the spinach!
Since the wood chips were all in place before I planted (that's what the video said to do), I had to move the chips out of the way when I planted. As I dug the hole, I kinda made a mess with the dirt.

I ended up adding another wheel barrow full of wood chips to cover up the places where the dirt was visible after I planted.
I actually think the bed looks kinda nice, nicer than anything else we've ever done in this spot.
This guy thought it looked kinda nice, too. I sent him to visit the chickens, they thought he looked kinda nice.... for a snack.
The first lady bug of the season! Sweet!
I watered all the plants very well yesterday and today. I'll water them every day this week. After that  I'll only water them if they wilt.

Planting some lettuce is still on the list. My plan is to plant it between the spinach plants.

It will be an interesting experiment. I'd love fresh broccoli, kale, spinach, and lettuce all summer long.

And if this works well, this will be an easy bed to cover in the fall to extend the growing season.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Happy Birthday, Hubby!

He's away on business, but his wonderful partner took this photo of him eating cake. His birthday is really today, but they had birthday cake last night, because today is going to be busy.

We don't get many photos of Hubby, but he has a hard time refusing his partner. He's a good and generous soul. Actually, both of them are, which is probably why they like working with each other.

There are so many wonderful people in the world! They are just so busy working and doing good stuff, that most of what we hear about is the not so nice people.

I hope you've got wonderful, generous, kind, gracious, good people in your life. I really do.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Salad Garden Part 1

The Back to Eden Gardening video looked so interesting! I really wanted to give it a try, at least in a small way.

We have a spot by the gazebo that used to be a flower bed, but I couldn't grow much there because the sprinklers didn't hit it, and I'm not much for wasting culinary water on plants. That spot also gets strong sun part of the day, but it's in shade both morning and late afternoon.

Mix that thought with the thought that our kale did very well all summer, even in 100˚ F weather, because Hubby loved the wild sunflowers that grew in the veggie garden and shaded the kale.

Here's the spot. I dug out what was left of the wood raised bed.

The grassy spot on the left wasn't part of the original flower bed, so I hacked off the grass (it was soooo tall). This area doesn't get hit by the sprinklers either, so it had crab grass and never looked very good.

I laid wet newspapers over the area that was grass. I've done this in other areas before and it works great as a weed barrier as long as the grass is clipped short under the paper, the newspaper is at least 4 layers thick, the paper is wet (to keep it from blowing away) and the newspaper is overlapping by at least 3".

I don't like the paper dripping wet, just wet enough to keep it from blowing away. I take a handful of paper and hold it under the water in a bucket, that's usually enough.

If the newspaper doesn't overlap weeds will grow through the cracks. I promise!

Hubby bought the landscaping bricks before he left on a business trip. Good thing he bought 1 extra because the length of the garden wasn't evenly divisible by the number of blocks, so I had to make the garden about 8" deeper.

The level of the garden is higher than the bottom of the fence. I used an old piece of paneling cut to fit between the ground and the fence. You can see the white-ish piece of wood in the background.

The back of the paneling matches the fencing color, you can hardly see it in this photo.

This is why I'm trying to get the salad garden done this week. This is the kale and broccoli I planted last fall. The kale is just about ready to bolt in the greenhouse. It didn't grow as well as I wanted over the winter, but it took off this spring!

I finished putting the dirt and the wood chips in the garden. But by the time I finished it was almost dark. Almost as in there were too many stars for me to count, but I could still see the ground so I wanted to finish.

Tomorrow I'll plant the kale and broccoli and maybe some lettuce seeds. I might try planing some peas in the back so they grow up the outside of the gazebo.

As with many of our projects, this is another experiment. I'm not sure it will work or not. I love the idea of having a salad garden close to where I can pick the produce. The thought of not having to water or weed much because of the wood chips is a big plus, too!

I've still got a few small piles of wood chips. I'm planning on putting them around the raspberries this year to keep the weeds down and the moisture in the soil.

And we're also planning on trying a few raised beds in the big garden. I want to see how well the Mini Farming concept works, too.

Not too bad for a days' work--especially for a 50 year old lady :)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Vinegar Weed Killer

I've had a few people tell me that using vinegar for a weed killer is a great option to Round-Up or other weed killers.

I searched around on the internet for some recipes and found this very helpful site. The Garden Counselor

I really appreciate the scientific approach used on the site (being that I'm married to a Ph. D. chemist and all.)

They used a few different recipes for killing weeds. I used the Full Strength Vinegar and Soap recipe. Really, it's 1 gallon of regular white vinegar (it's cheaper than cider vinegar) and 1 tablespoon of Dawn dishwashing liquid (because that's what I have on hand.) I put mine in a new garden sprayer.

Are you wondering what the soap adds? The scientist/hubby said that the soap is the 'spreader sticker' that makes the vinegar stick to the plant better.

I sprayed the weeds in the flower beds and around the new fruit trees a day after it rained.

There are some pros and cons to using vinegar. The pros include: I don't have to buy a Monsanto product, it is safer around pets and kids, it only kills the tops (not the roots) of the plants, our soil is alkaline here, so adding some acid to the soil is a good thing.

One con is: it only kills the roots of the plants.

While killing the roots and the plant completely is a great thing in some areas of the yard, I'd prefer to not kill roots in the flower beds and around the fruit trees. If I spray with vinegar and soap often enough, I'm fairly sure the roots will eventually die off. If they don't, at least I haven't killed off the flowers or the fruit trees along with the weeds.

Here are some before and 24 hour afer photos

Before spraying.

24 hours after spraying. I didn't get the camera in exactly the same spot, sorry about that! You can see the grass and the dandelion are brown, although the flowers on the dandelion are still yellow. 

Before spraying

24 hours after spraying, again, the flowers are still yellow, but the leaves of the plants are dying off.
24 hours after spraying (but no before picture). You can see the bind weed all shriveled. I'm pretty excited about this! I can spray really close to the other plants in the flower bed, while it might kill a few leaves of some of the flowers, it won't kill the roots. I never use Round-Up in my flower beds because I don't want to kill off any of the flowers, but I hate pulling bind weed all summer long, too. Using vinegar and soap (I'm hoping) will help me keep the bind weed down this year without hurting the rest of the flowers.
One more reason to use vinegar and soap: I'm not leaving harmful chemicals on the plants that the bees still enjoy! This is the first honeybee I've seen this year, what a beautiful sight. Since Dandelions are among the first flowers to blossom in the spring, they are pretty important to the these hard-working gals!

We'll probably still use a stronger weed killer on the access road to the barn and in spots on the driveway, especially to control the puncture weeds. However, I think we'll be using alot of vinegar in the flowerbeds and around fruit trees (and maybe even on the thistles in the pasture) and see how it works in other areas of the yard throughout the summer.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Back to Eden Gardening Method

My friend just told me about this method of gardening. It sounds really interesting!

Here's a quote from the site:
BACK TO EDEN shares the story of one man’s lifelong journey, walking with God and learning how to get back to the simple, productive methods of sustainable provision that were given to man in the garden of Eden. The organic growing system that has resulted from Paul Gautschi’s incredible experiences has garnered the interest of visitors from around the world. However, never until now have Paul’s methods been documented and shared like this!

As a part of our mission to freely give and freely receive, the makers of BACK TO EDEN have agreed to stream the full feature film online for free. For viewers who support this film and who want to help other people see it, please share, buy copies of the full feature film to give to others or host a screening in your community.
Part of my community is my friends from all over the US who visit Welcome Home Farm on the internet. So I'm sharing with you

If you are a Christian, you will love it even more! If you aren't, there is so much good information here that it is worth watching.

He's really not preachy, he just tells you how he figured out how to garden with little to no watering, weeding, and starting with terrible soil.

We're going to try a raised bed or two this year as well as using wood chips (from trees we chipped last year) all around the raspberries.

Thanks for stopping by. If you watch the video, please let me know if you try gardening this way. If you use this method already, leave a comment about how you like it.

We're always learning something new on this little hobby farm, and that keeps life exciting!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre

My new favorite book!

Go here for a description of the book: Markham Farm

I haven't read the whole book yet. But I can't believe how many good ideas and great helps are in the first 1/3!

Everything from why raised beds are better, a better way to grow a garden than Square Foot Gardening, and how to compost.

There is a big difference between gardening and Mini Farming, a big difference. Big enough that you can feed your family and earn extra income.

One of the other things that drew me in is that he is mini farming in New Hampshire (state moto: Live Free or Die!) and he likes to do things economically (that's the nice word for cheapskate!)

If you are looking for a new book on raising vegies and fruits and a few small animals, this is a great book!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Clipping Chicken Wings

Our Good Friend and his wife (also a great friend) have chickens. They don't have a very big yard, but they have very patient neighbors. The chickens fly over the fence no matter what Our Good Friend and his wife try!

They've even covered the top of their chicken pen with bird netting. That worked for a while, but with the wind in our area, it didn't last.

Last week I went over to trim their chicken's wings. She was a little afraid of hurting her chickens, so I was happy to help.

I didn't get any photos (Spring Break was a difficult week), but I found a great photo tutorial on Frugal Living Freedom.

When I was done clipping wings the chickens had a hard time just getting back into their coop.

That's a good thing.

They won't be hopping the fence anytime soon..... I hope!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I'm a Guest Blogger!

I love New England Cheesemaking Supply, that's no secret.

I love Ricki Carroll's book, Home Cheesemaking, because it is great for beginners and has so many recipes. It's hard to fail using her book.

If you want to see my post, please head over to Cheesemaking Help, News and Information.

If you like making cheese, you should subscribe to their blog, too.  There's a "Follow by Email" button on the right sidebar of the blog. I love having their blog delivered to my inbox whenever there is a new post!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Improving My View

Last week was awful. The easiest thing to handle was Vet2Be having his impacted wisdom teeth removed.

Really, that was the easiest.

The next easiest was me taking a bad fall in the barn on Wednesday. Vet2Be asked, "Are you okay?" My reply, "Nope, not okay!" I ended up bruised and banged up along my right side from head to foot. No guitar playing the rest of this week.

We also found out our [unofficial] foster son is going to Afghanistan for a year. He volunteered for duty. They need medics over there. It's the right thing to do, and we're very proud of him, but it doesn't give us 'warm-fuzzies'.

Add to that all the trials with animals over the week, and we've had a pretty difficult Spring Break vacation.

But it would be unfair of me to leave you with the idea that we have nasty neighbors, and that there was no good that came from this week. We think some of the complaints filed against us and our friends who live two blocks away were made by one or two people who have their "undies in a bunch" and are generally unhappy people.

So, here's a brief report of what happened this week and the blessings that we have received.

The Trials

Not only did someone in our neighborhood complain to the city about us for having too many animals, but someone has also been opening gates and letting animals out in our 3 block area. Our gates all have padlocks on them now, which is frustrating if we want to get to the garden from inside the backyard or the barnyard, but it keeps the animals safe.

The animal control officer in our town is fair and kind. She asked about our animals and even gave us until the end of the month instead of the two weeks I asked for.

One of the questions the animal control officer asked was if our dogs were licensed. One was, one wasn't. The one that wasn't licensed gets a tumor every time he gets a rabies shot. But considering what has been going on lately, I decided to get him a rabies shot and get him licensed anyway. We would have to figure out the tumor thing when it develops again. At least the dogs would be safe if they were picked up. Not that they run off, but if someone is letting dogs out of gates, then I want to make sure our dogs jingle (they have ALL their tags on them!)

Since I couldn't find the licensed dogs tags and paperwork, I decided to get them both rabies shots to be on the safe side, especially because someone is opening gates.

The clinic I took the dogs to refused to give the dog that gets tumors a shot. Yep! They wouldn't give him one!
If I bring him in disguise, I wonder if they would give him a rabies shot?
 Luckily for us we have a phenomenal vet clinic that Vet2Be volunteers at. So instead of making a donation to the low-cost clinic, I made arrangements to take him to our vet.

Instead of giving him a rabies shot in the usual place (back of the neck where there is lots of loose skin) they gave him a shot in his lower leg. The tech treated the area as if it was a surgical site by shaving the injection site, wiping it down with chlorhexadine and alcohol twice, and using a smaller needle to administer the shot. She's got good records of the shot and the procedure.

If you are in our area I highly recommend Timpanogos Animal Hospital. I usually try to keep things anonymous here because my goal for the blog was to help others and to document our successes, failures, and learning experiences. But if you need a good vet, it's nice to know where to find one.

The animal control officer found out that we couldn't get a waiver if the dogs get a tumor from a rabies shot, BUT if we can document it this time with our current vet, if he does get a tumor then she can help us change the ordinance. She said she's pretty sure there are other dogs that aren't licensed for the same reason.

Someone also reported another friend about 2 blocks away for having 4 horses and 4 dogs. Her property really is big enough for 4 horses, but apparently the 'concerned citizen' didn't realize that. Four dogs are not allowed in our town unless you have a breeders license. This family has had four horses and four dogs for 27 years. There are a few of us who think it is one of the new people in the area that is the anonymous 'concerned citizen'. Probably the same one that is baiting and trapping neighbors' house cats.

We found out that on Monday night someone opened all the gates at our friend's house down the road. Someone intended that her dogs and goats all get out. Thankfully one of the dogs was noisy (not unusual, really) but she got up and was able to take care of all the gates and the animals before anyone got off the property.

On Tuesday morning I got a call from a friend who was looking for her daughter. Just before she hung up she asked if we knew who owned two big, fluffy white dogs because the animal control officer had them and they were still on the street.

We have some other friends who live two blocks away. Vet2Be has been taking care of their two Great Pyrenees and their ducks while they were gone on vacation for two weeks. Someone came by and let them out, too. There is no way that the dogs could have opened the gate. The latch is too high and these dogs, because of their size, can't even jump a 2 foot fence.

We ran out the door and jumped in the car (me without shoes) to try to do something about the situation.

Thankfully, the animal control officer knew us from the day before, knew we took good care of our animals and asked us to take the dogs to our house for the rest of the week while the family was gone. Really! She didn't want to take them to the shelter, she asked us to take care of them.

On Thursday, after all the rabies shot problems, and letting the officer know about locking all our gates AND putting locks on the vacationing neighbor's gates, the animal control officer also told us that we could take the dogs back to their place. She knew that it was harder on large guard dogs to be away from their flock than it was for them to be away from their people. We told her we would keep them here anyway, just to be on the safe side.

I've not been as good as I should be about keeping a good attitude about everything.

I've been pretty miffed about everything that's happened. I've been sore physically, and emotionally.

The Blessings

So, where is the good and what are the blessings?

Yes, we have too many animals. However, our neighbors (north, south, and east) all like the animals. One family rented their home BECAUSE the animals were right there for her to look at. Another neighbor is a retired dairy farmer and she loves watching the goat kids from her window every spring. And she loves bringing her grandchildren to the back fence to pet the animals.

The neighbors know and are grateful that we take good care of the animals. A number of the animals are rescued, but well behaved and good with people. We have 3 of the 5 neighbors that share fence lines tell us that they WANT our animals here, they never want us to get rid of the llamas or the sheep or the goats (and goat kids).

We have not one, but three neighbors, as well as Sheepy, who volunteered to house the extra animals in their pastures. One neighbor was so upset that we would get rid of the llama, huarizo (llama x alpaca), and sheep that she talked to me for 20 minutes trying to figure out a way to 'storm city hall' and 'make them let us keep the extra animals!' And this lady is usually a meek, mild woman!

We had lots of people who thought it was ridiculous that someone would count sheep and goats in the same way as you would count a horse, as far as upkeep, housing, mess, and pasture maintenance.

The support of good friends and generous neighbors is uplifting, strengthening, and sustaining. And I need to pay more attention to them than to the 'undies-in-a-bunch-concerned-citizen'.

Another blessing was that if the animal control officer hadn't been to our place on Monday, it's doubtful that she would have let us take the neighbor's dogs to our place.

And the fact that we are now on good terms and friendly with the animal control officer will also be a nice thing. Not that we would ever take advantage of her, that's not our way, but she knows us, knows our concerns, knows that we are trying to keep within the law, knows we take good care of our animals, and she knows that we care for other people's animals and aren't vindictive (although there have been a few times this week I would have liked to...... rain on someone else's parade..... with buck urine!)

The animal control officer gave us to the end of the month, instead of the two weeks I asked for, to remove the extra animals. That turned out great since the rest of this week was spent with other animal problems to deal with.

I told the officer about the dog we found and returned to it's owners, she said that's how she would hope and expect neighbors to be. She's not vindictive and she won't act unless there is a formal, filed complaint.

She also said that there has been alot of 'activity' in our area and she has no idea why.

I don't either.

But I'm going to do a better job seeing the blessings and the hand of God in between the trials we, and others, have been had during the last week.
"We are not perfect. The people around us are not perfect. People do things that annoy, disappoint, and anger. In this mortal life it will always be that way. Nevertheless, we must let go of our grievances. Part of the purpose of mortality is to learn how to let go of such things. That is the Lord's way. Remember, heaven is filled with those who have this in common: They are forgiven. And they forgive." —Dieter F. Uchtdorf
I haven't forgiven as quickly as I should or let things go as soon as I should this week. My fault is greater than our 'concerned citizen' who is picking on her neighbors.

Vet2Be took this photo this week. If I could learn from the flock to be accepting, understanding, and forgiving, that would be a good thing.

Guardians of the herd: the two on the left. On the right is Vet2Be's gentle ewe who is letting the goat kids jump all over her.
Good Karma was born this week, too. The last of the does kidded a healthy, strong, and very large buckling.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Recipe for Natural Leavening Yeast

Monday's Child left a comment on my post More About Pioneer Yeast and Cinnamon Roll Recipe. She had some trouble with her wild sourdough starter. I'm really no expert, but I love to read, research, and try things out. And I'm blessed with great friends who do the same thing.

I got this recipe from my friend. She uses a natural yeast that is different from Pioneer Yeast. The book she recommends is The Bread Baker's Apprentice. It's not a book I own.... yet. I am interested in trying this type of yeast to see if this type of yeast processes gluten the same way that the Pioneer Yeast does.

She also sent me to this site to read and watch the videos. Although I haven't had time to go through everything yet, I'm looking forward to it once we have the animal situation fixed.

I haven't tried this recipe, but my friend used it to start her yeast and she loves it!

Original Fast Foods

Here's the recipe my friend sent me:
Day 1: 1 cup coarse ground or dark rye; 1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple juice (I bought frozen concentrate). Make it into a ball, using your hands. Press it down into a glass beaker (canning jar) and put tape on the side so you can see if it rises at all. (Probably won't on the first day.) Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temp for 24 hrs.

Day 2: 1/2 cup of the rye; 1/4 cup pineapple juice. Same procedure.

Day 3: 1 cup unbleached high gluten or bread flour; 1/2 cup room temp water. Look for maybe a 50% rise. May smell fermented. Don't worry. Discard half of the starter and mix the remaining half with the day three ingredients. Cover with plastic and leave at room temp for 24 hours.

Day 4: 1 cup bread flour; 1/2 cup water at room temp. Sponge should have doubled in size; more is better. If still sluggish and hasn't doubled, allow to sit another 12 to 24 hours. Otherwise, discard half and add the day 4 ingredients. Cover and ferment until it doubles in size. May take 12-24 hours. Okay if it triples, but it will not be able to sustain that much of a rise, so expect it to fall.

Barm: 1 cup seed culture (above); 2 cups water at room temp.; 3 1/2 cups bread flour. Make sure all flour is hydrated and seed culture is evenly spread through the mixture. Put in clean glass or plastic container and put tape on side to measure rise. Allow to ferment for 6 hours or until bubbly. He says not to breathe in the fumes if the plastic inflates with gasses from the fermentation. Mine didn't inflate. Replace cover and refrigerate over night and you can use it the next day. It is potent for three days and then needs to be refreshed.

Refresh: Use or toss 1/2 and then add enough flour and water to AT LEAST double the total amount of barm. If you have a cup left make sure you double it to 2 cups, or even more.

You can use the barm you would be tossing out to make sourdough crackers. Google it. They taste great. My kids love them.

Thanks for your comments. I love hearing from you.

Friday, April 13, 2012

What Nice Neighbors Do

This is a bit of a frustration post, so you can skip it if you want.

Here's what nice neighbors do when they find a dog wandering around the neighborhood and they don't know who it belongs to.

Nice neighbors attach the dog to a leash, attach the leash to a tree, and give the dog some water.
Then nice neighbors call to see if they can find out who the dog belongs to. He happened to have a tag (yay!) and his name is Dozer.

Was he annoying? Yes. Was he causing our dogs to bark? Yes. Was he a nuisance? Yes. Do we have a leash law? Yes.

But nice neighbors understand that dogs (like children) sometimes don't do what they are supposed to do. Even when they have responsible owners (or parents).

So instead of calling animal control (we've seen enough of that officer this week, thank-you-very-much!) we try to find out who the dog belongs to.

In all the years we've done this we only had one owner very angry. She told us that we should have "Just told him to go home!"

But we live near a very, very busy state road and we love animals, so for the animal's safety we chain them on a 15 foot leash (under a tree so he's in the shade) and either wait for someone to see him from the road, or try to find the owner.

We'll call animal control the next time her dog is out, because she specifically told us not to chain her dog again.

What else has happened this week?

Someone opened the gates and fences down at another neighbor's home so that her goats and dogs would all get out--not nice.

Another neighbor opened a gate and let out two dogs, and then called animal control to pick up the loose dogs. Again, not nice!

Last year I would have said that we lived in the nicest neighborhood on the planet!

Something is in the air this spring.

And I wish it would blow away.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Honey Bee Swarm-Bait Box

We're now trapping bees! Well, we're going to give it a try.

Here's the bait box that Taco built for us. This is a view from the top with the top off.
The hole in the center is 1 1/2" across. The box is 20" across the front, 10" tall, and 9" deep (from front to back).
The brads nailed into the ends hold the hanging comb in place.
We also added a bit of used honeycomb in the corner. Sheepy said if there is already some used honeycomb inside it makes the bees think this is a good place to rest their weary wings.
Sheepy also sent some smelly stuff that's supposed to attract a swarm. The 'wick' is just a few squares of toilet paper rolled up. The plastic bag is stapled to the inside of the box.

Vet2Be screwed the lid back on....
and set it on top of the shed by the gazebo. It's wedged against a tree trunk and has a rock on top so that [hopefully] the wind won't blow it down.
Bating bees is a better hobby than baiting cats and dogs, don't you think?

Yep! We have a neighbor on the next street over that baits dogs and cats on her street onto her property so that she can trap them and call animal control.

Not very nice.

What happened to nice neighbors? Sheesh!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Question on Bees

Someone, who is very nice, left a comment on one of the beekeeping posts. I wrote back to her and also planned on writting a post on it, but have been side tracked with lots of other stuff.

Here's her comment and question:
Hello!! Thank you so much for the bee info - I was hoping you might be able to help me. I know very little about this - my husband is reading up on it and wanting to try this out - but I'd like to gift him the outfit and some sort of hive starter kit for Christmas - could you please send me some info on the best place to purchase these things? I've watched your blog so I know you're thrifty, and would probably know the best place to get this stuff - It would really help me out and I would so so appreciate it! Please email me... Or comment on my blog at Thanks so much in advance!
Here was my answer (which was close to Thanksgiving... oh, please forgive me for being a slacker!)

Hubby buys some things from Dadant and some from Brushy Mountain Bee Farm, both online. He also buys quite a bit locally as soon as he found out where to buy! If he buys online he prefers Dadant because of the way they run their business. They aren't always the cheapest, but when the owners sold the business (because they were getting old!) they sold it to the employees. Hubby likes it when owners do that :) You are right, we are thrifty, but sometimes it's better to spend a little bit more for quality and service.

I would also call your County Extension Office. Someone there can probably tell you the closest beekeepers association. We have loved ours! (Utah County Beekeeping Association) Some of our members run small businesses that sell beekeeping supplies, which we appreciate because then we can support a a local business. They are usually less expensive because there is no shipping costs, we love that, too. We can buy supers (or anything wood) as either kit (we put it together and finish it), unfinished (everything is put together but we have to paint it) and ready to put bees in.

We also go through our local guys to order bees in the spring. It makes things a bit tricky if we are gone for the weekend because the bees arrive on a specific day--no negotiating! If you aren't there, you better have someone who will pick them up for you.

Hopefully that will give you a few ideas on where to find supplies.

Oh, and we have a few books that we like. Beekeeping for Dummies, First Lessons in Beekeeping (Keith S. Delaplane) and Hive Management (Richard E. Bonney). I think Hubby likes the Dummies book and Hive Management best. If you have young children you might want to get on Internet Archives and download an old book called The Bee People (link on the sidebar of my blog, too) to read out loud to them. Vet2Be loved it and even made a game about bees (you can find the game on Homeschool Share).
 Two local people that we've bought supplies and bees through are Knight Family Honey and Brother B (scroll down to find Brother B's information).

When I talked to Hubby he said what I told her was accurate. If I see any boxes coming in the door in the next few weeks I'll take some photos and post about what he's ordered and what it's for.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

How Sheepy Waters her Bees

Sheepy sent me a photo of how she's been watering her bees.
"I thought this was easier/safer for the bees. They aren't even going near the stock tanks anymore."
What a great idea!

Hubby worked with our bees on Saturday. We lost a hive, which was sad. But not too sad since this hive managed to get a little hostile last summer.

Hubby cleaned it out and harvested some of the honey. Then he put the hive in a neighbor's 'pasture'. It's not a really big pasture, and they don't have animals back there yet, but it could be a pasture area for a few goats.

He also checked another one of his hives at another neighbor's house. Their hive died over the winter, too. One of their kids accidentally knocked the lid off, so the bees got too cold and died.

The other two hives are at Sheepy's house. She knows how to keep bees! And her kids like bees so they're pretty careful around the hives.

Both those hives lived. The bees in the Styrofoam hive seemed to do better than the bees in the new wooden hive. She said if it got any busier at the hive entrance the bees would need an air traffic controller on the hive roof!

I told Hubby I would miss having a beehive here.

He said he'd order another one and get it set up.

Thanks :)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Locking Up

We had a visit from Animal Control today. One of our neighbors complained that we have too many animals on the property.

We do.

But we keep everything clean (as clean as a barnyard can be) and every animal has shelter, food, water, and pasture to graze on. The barn, shelters, and feeders are all more than the required distance away from any house and/or fence line, too.

All the animals are friendly (the number one rule on the farm is: "Be nice, or be tasty") so that we can have families. cub scouts, and other visitors come learn about the animals.

But we had too many.

Since we don't know which neighbor complained, we're a little worried that they are angry at us about something else.

Which means the next step they might take is to open the gates and let the animals out.

I went and bought 8 locks today. Unfortunately, they aren't all keyed the same.

So I spray painted (rattle-can is what our s-i-l calls it!) the 4 that have matching keys.

And now all the gates on the property have locks on them.

What a pain in the rear!!!!

I covered parts of the locks and keys that I didn't want to get spray painted.
I used Rust-Oleum high gloss white. I didn't want the locks and keys hot in the summer when we've got to handle them.
And I didn't want to pay extra for key tags, so I used a paper clip and tape instead.
The officer was really nice. She could see that, although we were 'breaking the law' we took good care of the animals and that it must have been someone that was angry about something else.

She asked how much time I needed to get rid of the 4 extra animals. I told her two weeks. She said, "How about I give you to the end of the month."

If you ever have animal control out to your place, I hope you get someone like her.

Sheepy's coming sometime in the next two weeks to pick up the llama, huarizo, and the two sheep. We get to keep all Vet2Be's favorite dairy goats.

And all this on top of having to put the little lamb down this morning. He wasn't going to live. He's never really stood on his own, and started having seizures, grinding his teeth, and forgetting how to suck on the bottle.

I hope your day is better.

We're kinda having some downers right now.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

We Grow them Big

That's what Sheepy says... and after seeing the photo I understand.

The brown ram on the left is a year old. He's one of the bottle-lambs Sheepy gave to Vet2Be last year. The big one on the right is a ewe that Sheepy got from one of our friends who is moving. The rest are from Sheepy's flock.

Sheepy gives us a bummer lamb or two and we raise them on goat milk and pasture.

This year our freezer still has lamb in it, so we gave the brown ram back when she dropped off the new bummer lamb.

And they love to grow BIG here!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Spring Lamb

One of Sheepy's ewes is dumb. She had a lamb and didn't know what it was. It certainly wasn't hers. And she wasn't going to feed it.

So.....Vet2Be got a bummer lamb on Friday.

He can't stand because the ewe didn't clean it off or take care of him. By the time Taco found him he was pretty weak.

He's getting goat milk. And I'm pretty sure that he'll be up and walking around tomorrow afternoon :)