My ongoing struggle with worms has not been going very well. Just to recap:
Friday, April 30, 2010
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Sooner or later, I knew I would have to open the hives again. The last time I opened them, a few days ago, it was to remove the bee-boxes and replace the frames. I did it, despite my abject fear, but not without injury (A Bee Bit my Butt). I was rather reluctant to hurry up and open the hives again. However, I needed to know if the queens had managed to escape from their boxes, plugged as they were not with marshmallows (as recommended) but with bread dipped in simple syrup. If the queens had died in their boxes, well, not only would that be horrible and make me feel really, really guilty, but also my hive would die without a queen to lay eggs.
Monday, April 26, 2010
Yesterday was Sunday, and a very nice Sunday indeed. High haze did not materially interfere with bright sunlight and non-chilly temperatures. If the sky was not completely blue, neither was it spitting precipitation. It was shirtsleeves weather, and not a bad day to have a few friends over for an outdoor meal.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
We had milk goats when I was a child. It was my job - along with my younger brother - to feed the goats and water them every morning before we went to school. I remember many a frosty morning lugging plastic milk jugs full of warm water before the sun came up. The hose didn't reach. One early morning (must have been the dead of winter - it was full dark) my brother and I saw a very strange thing in the sky. It looked like a satellite - just a star moving slowly in a straight line - but it had a trail of red flames bucking rapidly up and down. Remember that, bro?
Friday, April 23, 2010
Bees don't bite, of course, they sting. I just couldn't resist the alliteration.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Monday, April 19, 2010
1) A bunch of goats in the house. I let the goats out to browse, and contrary to all my previous experience, I tried to do something else while they were out. You'd think that it would be possible to plant a few beans while simultaneously supervising a small herd of goats, but you would be wrong. It is impossible to watch goats and do anything else at the same time (except drink a glass of wine. You can do that, as long as you can hold a glass of wine and a long stick at the same time. And run, while holding both of those things. Plus maybe a book tucked under the arm. Not quite as easy as walking and chewing gum, but possible. If you don't mind the occasional twisted ankle or skinned knee.) So I planted three boxes (The Tippler's Garden) of scarlet runner beans, and meanwhile, Iris and four baby goats made it into the house.
2) My family using less energy. On the left you see my new clothes-tree, with a bunch of clean clothes on it, for the first time. Yay, air-drying! On the right, Rosie pony, acting as the lawnmower. Actually, we have no way of power-mowing the back yard, since it is fully fenced in for the dogs and we can't drive the riding lawnmower through the playroom. The pony, however, can be coaxed through the playroom and out into the back yard. So I have to shovel a few piles of pony-poop over the fence. BFD.
3) Baby spiders. I know this picture is a bit hard to interpret: let me guide you through it. The wood is one of the posts on our front porch. The grayish-blue part surrounding the post is an area rug that I threw over the front porch railing sometime last summer. I thought I would clean the rug with the hose and some dishsoap, let it dry, and put it back on the floor. Now, nine months later, I think I may still be able to use the rug. To keep weeds down in the garden. The tiny golden specks in the middle are dozens of baby wolf spiders. Hooray! I love wolf spiders. (No Arachnaphobes....) They keep the local noxious bug population down a little bit, and they are also very handsome and fun to watch. Paloma in particular adores spiders and will watch them for hours.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Friday, April 16, 2010
In light of my vast surplus of eggs and milk products, I decided to post an ad on Craigslist looking for a gardener with whom to trade. Alas, the Kale Fairy has moved away and will no longer be supplying me with her excellent and bountiful produce. Veggie-man is still a good source, but he cannot absorb the approximately six dozen extra eggs per week that I am getting.
Thanks for looking! Happy digging in the dirt!
p.s. no, bacon does not come with the eggs.
- Location: ferndale
- it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
I got a response last night from a very interesting guy I'm going to call X-man. He has recently built a greenhouse with hydroponic system where he is raising not only tons of tomatoes, chiles, and other hothouse produce, but also tilapia, trout, and catfish. He started the veggeies in January and anticipates beginning harvest in about a month. Pretty freakin' awesome. He himself is a mightily eccentric guy - I've spoken to him on only two occasions but I already know quite a bit about his colorful naval career and youth growing up on a chicken farm in Illinois. He's a talker. He's also trying to convince me to raise pheasants and split the meat - he'll act as butcher.
I told him I'd have to read up on pheasants.
Meanwhile, I'm going to make some more cheese now, so excuse me!
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Last week, I started separating the baby goats at night. Now I am getting a crazy-large volume of milk, a volume that must be dealt with daily. If I don't do something with milk at least every other day, there will soon be no room at all in my fridge. The eggs are space-hogs. I have seven dozen eggs in there now, and the hens are outside popping out more even as we speak. I need to step up the trade network; but that's a topic for another day.
Monday, April 12, 2010
At last, I got Homero to put up the clothes-tree. I have no intention of trying to air-dry clothes in the winter or when it's wet, but running the dryer during the summertime feels like a sin.
Fixing fences is constant work. Poppy pony mashes down the field fencing trying to get at the green grass on the other side, and the goats mash it down trying to get at the blackberries. The long term solution is better fencing, but it's just to depressing to think about tearing out fencing that we put up with so much sweat and tears and at a cost of well over a thousand dollars less than three years ago. We'll probably keep patching it for another five years and THEN replace it all with something better.
The pear tree in full bloom. It's been blooming strong for two weeks now, but it's been too cold and windy for any bees to be out. Finally today the tree is covered in bees. Hope that means we'll be getting some pears in the fall.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Sometime last summer, while I was helplessly searching for the edible plants I had planted among the waist-high weeds, I decided that next year (this year), I would go to an all-container garden. Three years in a row, the weeds (burdock, amaranth, clover, nine kinds of thistle, pigweed, shotweed, plantain, dandelion, tansy, mustard, milkweed, etc, etc...) had totally and completely kicked my ass. I decided that digging straight into the ground was a fool's game, and began to collect containers.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Sunday, April 4, 2010
This post is actually a bit delayed: life has been rather hectic around here lately, what with all the baby goat activity. In the the last three weeks, we've had three births, two of which required intervention (including a screaming bombing run to the vet at high speed with a bleeding, bleating mama goat in the back). We've had disbuddings and complications of same, and we've had illnesses of varying severity among the adults. We've wormed and trimmed hooves. We've had a steady stream of visitors to the farm looking at the babies, and I've sold every last one of them, including the ones I thought I might keep. We have harvested our first quart of milk.
Saturday, April 3, 2010
Friday, April 2, 2010
Cirrus is the name we decided to give to the beautiful black and white spotted buckling out of Iris. He, along with everyone else, got his horn buds burned off day before yesterday by Goat Lady, a local farmer. Today he is wandering around mostly blind, feverish, and in pain, unable to nurse, because his brain got fried (that's vernacular - actually he has acute cerebral inflammation and increased intracranial pressure as a result of too much time under the red-hot iron.).