Thursday, March 26, 2015

We've Got Bees!

There have been a few days with high enough temperatures that the bees are coming out to defecate.  Hurray!  

I've begun feeding the bees because there is absolutely nothing out there for them to eat!  I'm pulling a double pronged attack to address the roller coaster temperatures we're having.  I've put a bag of 1:1 sugar syrup on top of the hive for the warm weather and a patty of fondant for when the weather turns cold.  I'm pampering them, but it sure pays off if they make it!  

A friend posted this picture from Facebook.  Absolutely beautiful and chilling at the same time!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Spring Update...

I haven't written because I have a LOT going on right now.  Maybe I'll do little update posts here and there.

If the weather holds the way the weather channel says, we're going to have an outstanding maple season this year.  We've been working on getting our sugar house ship shape and we're still working on tapping trees because all the snow has made it very difficult to get up into the forest!  We hope to start boiling in the next day or two!  

I took the tarpaper off the beehives.  I don't want it to get so warm inside that they think it's warm outside and fly out and freeze to death.  I've seen the bees out flying for "cleansing" flights on the warmer days.  Bees will "hold it" all winter and then they go out when the weather gets warm enough.  Then they make mustard stains all over the snow.  A few good warm days do them well because if they can't get out, they can get nosema which is similar to dysentary.  I'm cooking some sugar fondant for the bees which I hope to throw on top of the hives today if it warms up enough to crack them open.  This will give the bees something to eat because by now they've got to be getting low on supplies.    

The little piglets are growing fast!  We castrated our little boar, so we plan on keeping him as a meat pig in the spring.  The purchase of the little gilt fell through, so we'll be keeping her as a meat pig as well - unless someone wants to buy her!  Sadly, I had named her - "Pumpkin" due to her gorgeous orange color.  I hate to name can animal if I plan on it becoming meat.  

We bred our other gilt and are looking at a farrowing at the end of June.  Sooooo, I'll be happy to supply if you're in the market for piglets!  

The chickens have started laying a LOT better.  I got 13 eggs the other day!  I went out into the coop and found a dead chicken yesterday.  I'm pretty sure it was an opossum because they always eat just the head.  We closed in the chickens and ducks last night and put a live trap out with the chicken carcass as bait.  I'll go out this morning and hope the live trap makes for a dead 'possum.

We still have a LOT of snow on the ground, but it is gradually melting away.  Mud season is starting and I'm so very happy!  This was a horrid winter and I know everyone is sick to death of it!

I love my little goats.  They put a smile on my face every day.  Violet looks like a puff ball right now. I guess she has an angora goat gene in her.  I thought about using the brushings to spin something and then thought, nah, there's not enough to make anything.  I thought I'd put out the mohair for the birds and they'll have lovely mohair lined nests this year.   

Onion seeds are started.  I'm starting artichoke seeds in a day or two when they finish being vernalized in the refrigerator.  Then tomatoes, peppers, etc. etc.  I don't want to start too early because in the past I've found that some of the plants get far too leggy.   

Now, it's time to get off the computer and get to work!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

To Little Boar's Dismay, I Learned A New Skill

Sorry, there will be no photos of this.  

Our little boar almost got a reprieve from castration yesterday as I received an e-mail from a farm in search of a breeding pair of Idaho Pastured Pigs.  

But, after talking with the customer, we decided that it would best suit her if she was first on the waiting list for a breeding pair from our farm and the farm we're working with in New York.  This way she would get summer piglets of about the same age. 

Then I got another e-mail today from a customer looking for a breeding boar.  She is looking for a boar to breed with her gilt in March.  Our little guy was too young to have been ready for breeding at that time.  I thought maybe we could figure a way to have her gilt serviced by our mature boar, Tigger.  We're still talking. 

So yesterday, my husband and I caught our little piglet and took him to our local large animal veterinarian.  I wanted to be sure I was learning the proper way to do castrations for future operations and our vet is fantastic about helping the developing farmer learn new skills.       

We almost would have been unable to do the operation because it seemed as if the testicles had not descended.  But the vet was finally able to locate and isolate them.  She showed me how to do this.  Then the incision was made and the testicles were removed.  

Boar to barrow is a quick process.  

I learned that I will definitely do this on boars when they are younger and easier to hold.  Our seven week old boar was pretty big for this operation.  I would probably do this when the piglets are a week old. 

Little Barrow is home safe and sound and recuperating nicely.  

Monday, February 23, 2015

Little Boar's Last Chance

We pushed back the castration of our little boar until tomorrow - when the temperatures are slightly warmer.  This means he has one LAST day to be purchased and raised as a breeding boar.  

After today he will be a castrated pig, or barrow, and raised for meat.  

See the link above to "Idaho Pastured Pigs" for breed and pricing information.  

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Idaho Pastured Piglets For Sale.

THESE are the pigs for your small farm!

I have two Idaho Pastured Piglets for sale. 

They have Registered parents and can be registered.   

These are not your normal skinny meat piglets.  This guy and girl are solid little oinkers!  Born January 6th, 2015, they are now six weeks old.  This brother and sister will not be sold as a breeding pair, but a non-related boar or gilt can easily be arranged.  Time is running short for the little guy to be sold as a breeder.  On Monday, February 26th, he will be castrated and be raised as a meat pig.   

Six week old boar. 

Six week old gilt. 

To learn more about Idaho Pastured Pigs and for pricing information please click on the "Idaho Pastured Pigs" link above.  

Saturday, February 14, 2015

This Is Love.

Our lab, Daisy, waits patiently in the snow, for my son, John, as he walks around outside. 

Happy Valentines Day!