Sunday, April 6, 2014

Spring 2014: Moving "Flower," Planting Seeds, A Fig Tree, Maple, And Bees

It's been a busy week on the farm!

We moved Flower, our Idaho Pastured Pig, into her own stall yesterday.  We're pretty sure she's pregnant, but we're not sure when the piglets will be coming.  She's showing some pretty definite signs of an impending farrowing and we didn't want to leave her penned with Tigger, our Idaho Pastured Pig boar.  We were very worried that the move would turn into a piggy rodeo.  We were lucky.  With the help of some plywood to guide her, a bucket to get her to step across the line from the pen she and Tigger have been living in, and my hubby and friend helping, we had a fairly uneventful move.  Now, we'll see how long it is until the babies come!

My fig tree has started to get leaf buds!  This is the second winter that I've put it into the basement after it went dormant and then looked at it all winter and thought, "I bet its dead."  But I looked at it the other day and voila!  I've moved it back upstairs into the light and maybe, maybe, this year I'll get some figs from it!

Its pitiful now, but just wait!

Its been warm enough for the bees to go out and take their cleansing flights.  You can see by the picture above that there is nothing for them to eat.  On one warm day last week, I decided to feed the bees and give them a quick check.  I cooked up some sugar and water to make a spring strength syrup and then got out the bee hive top feeders.  I like the top feeders because I don't have to completely open up the hives to feed the bees.  I just pull off the top and pour in the syrup.  I had put some pollen patties on the hives a couple of weeks ago and was happy to see that one hive had worked its way through about half of the patty and there was some brood.  The other hive hadn't touched the pollen, didn't have a bit of brood, and the bees were pretty nasty.  It looked like they don't have a queen.  Soooo, I spent hours calling around for a queen to buy.  I called Georgia, Florida, Texas, California, even Hawaii!  Nobody had queen bees for sale until May.  So when it warms up next week, I'm going to combine the two hives and then when they start to build up again later in the spring I'll split the hives again.  

Finally, I got my tomatoes, peppers, herbs, and all my other seeds started.  Sadly, I'm behind the gun on this.  I would have liked to have started them about two weeks ago!  Check out my new plant growing shelving.  Its plastic shelves and grow lights from Walmart.  They're easy to clean and at the end of the growing season I can break it all down, put it in a box, and store it away.  

My plan this next week is to get the high tunnel cleaned out, spread with compost, rototilled, and ready to go.  This flat of gorgeous mixed greens is ready to go outside!

We finished our maple season.  It was quite a dismal season this year for everyone here in north central Pennsylvania.  The temperatures stayed cold, cold, cold, and then we had a wee bit of warm weather with cold nights for good sap runs, and now its going to warm right up and the trees will bud and the sap will get slimy.  Next week the kids and I will be pulling taps.  

Now we're just waiting for the beautiful warm weather the weather forecasters are promising.   I don't even care if it rains... as long as its warm!

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