Thursday, April 27, 2017

Idaho Pasture Pigs Moved Onto Grass

When we have a sow get close to farrowing, we move her into the barn so that she can have the luxury of a heat lamp and protection from the elements.  There's a small fenced area where the pigs can go outside, but it's definitely not pasture.  When spring comes, we finally get to move them outside so they can enjoy the wonder of being on real grass.  

First, we moved William, our boar, into his own pasture.  He'll stay there until the next time we decide to breed again.  He's an electric fence away from the girls, so he gets their company without us worrying about a mis-timed litter.  

Then we tried to quickly move Marmalade.  Yes, she got loose.  She ran around the yard.  Being a few hundred pounds and not getting much exercise made it fairly easy to keep her from running off -   but it didn't make it any easier to herd her!  Finally we were able, using a board to pat her on the rump and direct her, to move her into her new pasture.  When she finally figured it out she seemed soooooo relieved!

She was happy to meet up with her mother, Flower.  

Then we had a piglet rodeo in the barn.  We put some food in their bowl and tried to grab them.  Of course, once they knew we were trying to catch them they started running away as fast as they could. But finally, after a few bumps and bruises on our part (those little hooves are sharp!) we were able to take them out and drop them in the pasture with mom.  They loved it!  We put a few little piles of feed around and they ate those while they figured out the parameters of their new world.  

At feeding time, the little devils tried to come through the electric fence to get to the food.  A quick zap on the head made them decide that they didn't want to do that!

Later, we saw mom and piglets grazing.  This is why we raise Idaho Pasture Pigs.  They eat the grass instead of rooting it up.  You'll notice, in the video below, some bare areas in the pasture.  That's the high traffic areas.  Look at that lush grass!

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Monday, April 17, 2017

1925 Bee Market In Holland

The old ways of doing things can be so entirely fascinating.  People sure were a lot tougher back then!

At the bee market in Veenendaal, Holland the principal buyers are the bee-farmers of the Veluwe, living near buckwheat fields and the heath. When the season is favorable, and the buckwheat gives honey (which it does not do always), the skeps may be filled in two or three weeks. In case they are entirely filled up with buckwheat honey they are emptied before the heath begins to flower. If not, the partly filled skeps are brought to the heath in order to be completed with honey of the heath. The latter crop being over, the bees are generally killed, and the bee-farmers await the next market to buy new swarms.

At the Annual Bee Market at Veenendaal, Holland, a hive of bees typically sold for around $3. Once a sale is made, the deal is concluded with ritualistic handshake, beekeeper and customer smack hands together hard, first in high position, then in lower, repeating.
Posted by Historical Honeybee Articles - Beekeeping History on Monday, January 12, 2015

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Interesting Farm Week (some "icky" photos)

I had some fun this week.  

I got to castrate a pig.

Talk to the Game Commission about bear damage.

Got good news about the turkey eggs. 

And help pull a calf out of a cow.  

First, I've had our local veterinarian show and walk me through piglet castration.  I watched it on Youtube (there are a lot of different variations on the same method!) and I had an experienced friend come and walk me through when the day finally came to perform the task.  I didn't take any pictures because my hands were obviously full.  But the operation went well and our little meat boar - now barrow - is healing well. 

The Game Commissioner came to let us know we could make a claim on our bear damage.  We won't get a lot of money, but it will be enough to stay in the beekeeping game!

The Ag teacher, to whom I had given some of our turkey eggs, reports that they found evidence of growth inside after candling the eggs! 

And finally, our neighbor raises black angus beef cows and as we noticed a cow in labor as we drove past yesterday.  She was still lying there when we came back and the farm worker was watching her because she had been trying to get the big calf out for a long time.

At one point, another cow walked up to her and started bellowing and the rest of the herd started coming over (I was very nervous and ready to get on out of there if need be!).  The other cow made the laboring cow get up and walk around a bit.  We hoped that would help...

...but it didn't, and we ended up putting a rope around the calves feet and pulling out the calf.  What a relief when the calf finally slid free!  We were worried it might be dead because it was stuck for so long, but it was, happily, still alive.  We immediately retreated so that the mother cow could take care of her calf.  When we left, momma cow was sitting up, but as of yet I'm not sure of the status of mom and calf.  An update will follow later today!

Hope for the best!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Happy Day! Bear Captured!

It's a miserable rainy day, but we have a big reason to smile.

A bear (and we hope THE bear) was captured!

If you read my previous posts, you see that we had problems with a bear coming into our bee yard and destroying hives.  The PA Game Commission came and set up a trap... 

...and today we got this!

No more honey for you!


Very displeased!

Now we feel a lot better about using our bee yard again.  We have plans to beef up security around it too!

Help The Bees!

And for goodness sakes please DON'T use glyphosate AKA "Roundup" on them!

Read about it here.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

The Bear Came Back To Finish The Job

Darn if that bear didn't come back and tear apart the little bit of bees I had been able to save.  

You can even see claw marks in the honey frame. 

The Game Commission set up a bear trap.

The spring bees that we'll be putting in will be at our house bee yard  for now.  We'll use our Odin site when we make splits - hopefully the bear will be caught before then!  

We'll hook up a marine battery to our solar charger to make sure the fence is staying charged at night.  

And keep on trying.