Tuesday, July 23, 2013

in the past few weeks....

Frank had been going to farm auctions for the past few years looking for a smaller tractor for haying purposes. They are few and far between. So we bit the bullet. Frank and I decided to purchase a brand new tractor through our local John Deere dealer. We are not fans of monthly payments, but I guess sometimes it can't be helped. 
Haying was going good.
 But for the past week and a half we have had rain almost every day. Enough to put a halt to haying.

Madeline has now AI three of our Jerseys. 

I am still milking Miss Dolly. Been making Farmhouse cheddar cheese, yogurt, butter, Formage Blanc  (white cheese). Been looking for a used wine fridge, so far no luck. I would like to use it as a 'cheese cave'.

We had our six grand children here for a week. 

 We had a few hot dog and marshmallow roasts around our little 'campfire'.

And some really silly silliness!!!

They even put on a musical play for us.

We purchased a tote of whole oats from a local farmer, whom Frank had met at a local consignment auction  and they got to talking. Don is a really nice older gentleman. If it ever stops raining, and the crops can grow, I plan on purchasing square straw bales from Don, for inside the henhouse, and in the barn.

Once Frank had the auger all set up with our roller mill, both boys made rolled oats for me to feed to Miss Dolly.

One rainy day, Frank hid out in the barn, and he built me a table and some benches to have by our fire pit. I still have to have sand and stain them.

On the 9th, Frank and our son-in-law took this fella to the butcher's. In the next couple of days, there will be steaks on the barbie!

As you know, I sold my flock of sheep back in June. All I have left is Lawerence.
 I should find him a new home, or a wether for company. He hangs out in my 'Old MacDonald' paddock--with my Jerseys, and Maddie's two goats.
 I don't want to take him to the auction mart-he'll just end up going to the slaughter house from there.

I had my last bloodletting on July 10th. The neighbours were over Friday afternoon, and Eric was sick. (Honestly I don't understand why people think they should go visiting when they are ill!) Monday afternoon I decided to put another super on my Leave Me Bee hive-I didn't bother to suit up. I got stung four times. Three of the stings weren't bad. Just the one in my left foot was terrible. Foot swelled. Couldn't walk on it. I know. IDIOT!!!. All my kids gave me a scolding! haha. By Tuesday morning I had managed to catch Eric's cold. Which I am still suffering from. 

I suppose to go raking hay, but I think those dark gray clouds have a different idea! 

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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Happy July 1 st Everyone!!

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Sunday, June 23, 2013

some pollinators hard at work

one of my honey bees
a hummingbird moth
quick little fella....never slowed down
took a bit but finally got some good shots of him
a monarch butterfly
there were lots of them  
a dragonfly

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

jam and critters

Who needs Insanity when you have a hand cranked cream separator!

  Doc tells me that I need to lower my cholesterol and to loose fifty pounds (as if that is going to happen! more realistically thirty pounds!) I drink cream in my coffee-which is probably enough fat. So. I decided I will drink skim milk. I separate milk for me every other day.

At 6 am this morning, I started making strawberry-rhubarb jam. I managed to get nineteen pint jars made before I had to go milking at 9.

Frank is almost done his project. But for now it is on hold-he finally went back to work today. 

Took a bit, but Frank managed to get Grandpa over to the grainery and blocked. He had to let the calcium out of the right rear tire, to get the tractor to sit more level. Eventually there will be a shed built up and around Grandpa.

We went to a farm auction last Saturday, and we purchased a transfer auger. It is way to heavy for Frank to maneuver-so there is no way I can man-handle it! So. Change of plans. It will be permanently installed. 

Frank just needs to build a hopper around the end of the auger.

This evening Maddie and I were out visiting all of the critters.
Ike's wounds have healed nicely. He is still sporting a few stitches on his shoulder. But eventually they too should dissolve.

Madeline purchased a couple of fly masks for Ike and Brigan. Those tiny flies really chew up the horses. She just needs to purchase three more masks for the mares.



The garden is finally up-that also includes the weeds! Hoed three rows of potatoes today. I still have a variety of hot peppers to transplant in the garden.

The hedge row of common lilacs are blooming. 

Brandy was enjoying the lovins I was giving her.

Wednesday I sold my flock of sheep. I just have my ram left to sell.

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bee swarm

When I came out of the barn from milking this morning, my mind was already wondering as I carried the two pails of milk back to the house. As I got closer to the house, and to where my bee hive is located I stopped dead in my tracks and panic set in.

My bees were getting ready to swarm. There was hundreds of them flying about!

I quickly came in the house and went on the search for information on how to catch a swarm. The morning's milk left on the floor in the kitchen along with the mess of making jam early this morning.

I had joined a group on Facebook and I quickly requested help. The other beeks on there are SUPER!
In between getting info from the group and gathering my required supplies I snapped this photo of the bees.

They swarmed high into the pine tree! 
Now. How in the hell do I get them out of the tree?!
More inquiries and more suggestions.

Armed with information and an overwhelming feeling of self doubt, I was as ready as I could be. I just knew I didn't want to loose my bees.
When I got back to the tree they weren't there!
I was briefly disappointed, when my eye and brain registered this sight.

They flew out of the tree and back on to O Bee One!

I was elated! I didn't have to climb a ladder! I didn't have to try a put the swarm in a pillow case, a bucket, a box. I didn't have to cut a branch.

I had another hive sitting and waiting earlier this spring for 'just in case'. How did I know?
I took one frame at a time, and gently used the frame to scoop the bees on to the frame. I repeated this action using a new frame each time, and gently placing the frame laden with bees into the new hive.
I am hoping I got a queen in with swarm.

I filled a frame feeder with sugar water, closed them up, and dragged Leave Me Bee a distance away from O Bee One.

I was watching the bees, and they were leaving the hive, but they were coming back to the hive. That is a good thing.

I checked in O Bee One. Yep. They were full! I know I probably did something wrong, but I put an extra super on the bottom for the brood, and another super for a honey.

But for now, everybody is happy!

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Friday, June 14, 2013

tiny visitor

We have been having showers off and on today. I knew that Frank was working on his grain bin and roller mill project when the latest shower started. I was looking out the windows to see if I could spot him, and discovered this little fella on the deck.

I picked him up ever so gently and he just clung to my finger.

I took several photos of him. I think he was enjoying his close-ups! He finally got off of my finger and sat in the open window of the porch.

This species of butterfly is called a MOURNING CLOAK

Most of their habitat is open areas in woodlands. Their host plants are deciduous trees and shrubs. They really like willows and poplars. And guess what I have around my house?

If you want to know about these little guys try here

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tour of our barn???

Our barn has had many uses since we moved in here last spring. I don't know now how many times it has been cleaned out, re-arranged, under construction etc. Some days I don't even think it qualifies as a barn! Madeline and I have come to the conclusion it is more like a shop!

Frank Jr purchased this 1974 Dodge Duster and he had it parked in the barn most of the winter. He is slowly restoring it. 

Frank built us our milking stall/maternity pen last fall. It was used in April to shear sheep.

My sickle mower has been stored in the barn since last fall when I was done haying. The far corner, is my little corner where I have built shelves, and tables. There is two tables, two table saws, two garbage bins, two older washing machines, a stereo system, lawn chairs, dog dishes all in this area.

Sickle mower still there, but a heck of a lot cleaner!

This is what Madeline's tack corner use to look like prior to Frank building her saddle stands.

I think at one point during winter, there was two trucks, the duster and a tractor parked in the barn plus my ride on tractor, lawn mower etc.

This photo was in April. The boys were getting it ready for the shearer. Frank moved my bees into the milking stall at the end of February early March when Maddie was done milking for the winter. They got moved again, back towards Maddie's tack area for about a month before they were finally moved outside.

The far corner where the tires are piled high, was cleaned out for the chicks.

Then the chicks took over the milking stall area for a few months.

 This was just a few days ago, when Frank was working on Maddie's tack area. Two trucks, lawn tractor (Johnny) push mower, and my roto tiller are stored in here too.

The corner where the tires and chicks once occupied.

A bit more organised!


Milking stall all nice and clean. Just the way I like it!

There still is pile of tires, a very old wood cook stove, the remaining 2"x6"x16's, my wool, a milking machine,  a dryer and whole bunch of other stuff is still in here!

 I know one day, I will either get a barn built for me or a machine shed will get built and more stuff will be removed from this barn/shop/storage shed. 

Whatever this building is called!!!

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