Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Bees 2014

We lost our bees in late February or early March. Our fault, we didn't realize we needed to feed them this year.

He installed a new hive and Queen on Saturday (4/26). It was cold and rainy so we are hoping all goes well with them.

Hubby is planning on feeding the new hive starting in October or November to make sure they can make it through the winter.

You can see the feeder on the front. It was cold when I took the photo so all the bees are inside the hive staying warm, I hope!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Cleaning Stalls and Other Spring Things

Friday we cleaned one stall. Since we've reduced the herd by almost half we could leave the stall empty and let it dry out for a day, but with all the rain I doubt we will be able to. We'll probably have to let the buck and the steer in for the night.

We also cleaned out the turkey brooder. We bought 5 turkeys on March 22. They are growing well. We started them on Game Bird Starter and they are now on 20% lay pellets. When the weather warms up a bit they will go out with the chickens.

We picked up and packed away the feed empty bags that were taking over the barn. They are great for when we are weeding and need to send the noxious weeds to the dump. They hold a lot and are much sturdier than the lawn and leaf bags we can buy at the store. Plus, these are free.... sort of. We had to pay for the feed, but we consider it recycling. The best kind of recycling because it doesn't use any resources to break down a finished product to turn it into something new.

Here's the little lamb we brought home from Lamb and Wool Festival on April 12th. He was about 3 weeks old in this picture.

The lamb (Vet2Be named him "Stew") is doing well and doesn't mind hanging out with the steer, Dinner. We keep him in a nice stall most of the time because he's so small he fits through all the fencing!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Spring Gardening

Spunky and I were out in the garden today. We planted seeds in the house in February and March, which turned out to be too early.

She said it would be a good idea to keep a garden journal, so I'm back to posting!

The weather was nice. It was clear and cool, but not cold.

Here are some of the weeds that are growing well right now. I didn't see any puncture weeds, but they often don't start for another few weeks.

Redstem filaree grows on the access road all the time. Lovely little purple flowers! But it is invasive!

We're pretty sure this is Quackgrass. The animals will eat it, but it's invasive and hard to get rid of in the garden

Mallow weed. It grows everywhere! Not really harmful to the animals, but they won't eat it if it gets too big.

Bur buttercup, bad for the animals because they have spiny burs. This also grows in our sandbox, and we can't get it out of there fast enough! We don't want little kids getting burs in their hands, feet, or knees when they are trying to play.

Foxtail, this is one of the weeds that is 'dangerous' on the farm. It get stuck in animals throats when they eat it, it works it's way into paws and ears on the dogs, it spreads like wildfire!
Broadleaf Plantain. This one isn't too bad, but it does take over the garden if we let it. I'm not too fussy about the lawn, but it also tends to take over the lawn.
Shepherd's Purse. It multiplies by seed.... and one plant can produce between 500 and 90,000 seeds. It's everywhere!

You can find a good link to common weeds at the USU Extension site. There are two PDF booklets to download. We usually take care of the weeds the way the extension service recommends. Sometimes we use 2,4 D, most often we dig them out roots and all.

My favorite hoe in the garden is the Winged Weeder. It's sharp on both edges and cuts through weeds in either direction.

We tried vinegar as a weed killer one year. Although it knocked the green leaves out for a while, it didn't kill the roots. In fact, since our soil is so alkaline it seemed that the vinegar was a good fertilizer!

Spunky and Squirt planting. Spunky said that Squirt stepped on every single plant she planted! We planted celery, spinach, kale, and some onions. The weather should be mild tomorrow, so today is a good day to get some plants in.

Our lambs ear looks great! The bees love it, so it's planted in the garden not very far from the hives.

The lavender looks dead in the photo, but it's starting to sprout. The bees also love lavender, which is why it's also planted in the garden near the hive.

Yay! The peas are up! They've been planted for about 3 weeks and have just started to sprout. We planted peas two other times.... but the chickens got them right through the fence! This time we put up some climbing fence in the middle of the garden and gave them another try.

Egyptian Walking Onions. This is their third year and I'm sure we will be able to harvest and use them this year!

New royalty purple raspberries. We bought some berries last year and thought they were wonderful so we decided to try to grow some this year.

Hubby and Vet2Be extended the grape arbor this year. It works so well! By the middle of the summer it is completely covered with grapes and makes a fun play house for Squirt while we are working in the garden. We planted the celery on the north side of the arbor so that it will be in the shade when the weather gets hot this summer.