Monday, March 29, 2010

Garden

We planted our peas today...it's a bit wet, but at least they're getting watered and then it is supposed to be BEAUTIFUL and WARM over the weekend. And there's a full moon tomorrow...so, seemed like a good time to plant peas! We also scattered a few flower seeds and played around in the compost pile.

The peppers look so happy in their little pots. As do the new artichokes and the tomatoes and the one peanut plant. We just planted a flat of misc vegetables for the garden and they are happily germinating away under the dirt--at least, that's what we hope they are doing.

Now that we're done playing in the mud, it's time to rest by the fire with a good home cooked meal and a glass of wine...I wonder who's cooking that meal?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sunny Day...


It's sunny today...and you can see how everyone is taking advantage of the warmth!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Greening of the Goats

(Photo on left) She's Willa and she's still for sale! Doesn't she look purdy?


Tattooing


The girls go their tattoos yesterday...Lilly, Mary, and Willa. So they are all set to be registered. Bud, from WindyFields Farm also got his tattoo, so he's registered and ready for sale.

This picture is great, because it actually looks like I did something, but about a second after this pic was taken, I realized I wasn't sure I could actually do it without...ummm, having to be picked up off the floor. --something about needles...and peeling a goat ear off the needles...well, umm, yuk! So, even though it looks like I did something, Mark (from WindyFields Farm) really did all the work! Thanks, Mark...we couldn't be farmers without you! And Laura!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Peeeepers....

The peepers are a peepin'

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

In other news...

David Ford ROCKS!!!

Goliath



sedated and set!

Peas

It's been so warm lately, that we are all seriously considering planting our peas in the garden. As close as I've gotten is to take the pea fences out of the shipping box. Yes, I'm a garden shopper, not a garden makedoer. Yeah, not a good Yankee Ingenuity kind of girl.

Goliath (who lives at Dandelions and Nettles Farm now), for those of you who have heard, is doing well. He broke his leg on Saturday in a burst of spring fever running through the yard and umm, the wood pile...a good break clean through. The splint is finally staying on and he is eating and full of energy and pretty irritated at being locked up and out of the action and away from his buddy, Vonn. But if he can keep his splint on and stay spunky...these guys are hardy little buggers, he should do just fine. (I am hoping to post a pic of him in his human Daddy's arms in the lazy boy while his humans were waiting for him to come out of sedation)!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Fox

She's back! And as cocky as ever...she runs a bit down the driveway and then turns around to see if I'm really going to do anything about it. B%#ch. But she is awfully pretty. I just need an automatic door on Troy's run, so I can let him out sooner to chase her down! As it is, she'll be back.

I think we found everyone. One of the Dominiques had treed herself in the apple tree in the back yard, but Troy found her for me and we brought her back home.

Well, it's too late to lock them up today...hope they make it and I guess it's time to lock 'em up for a few days...and buy more baby chicks! How many do you think the fox wants this summer?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Cabbage



Miss L picked us up some cabbages at the North Quabbin Community Cooperative (northquabbingfoodco-op.blogspot.com)! I chopped it up and sea salted it and am going to attempt (again) to make a batch of Sour Kraut.

Started a batch of Kombucha...guess we'll find out if the scoby survived the neglect over the winter!

The first of the crocuses are coming up in the yard...and the bees are SO happy! Was going to peek at hives today and see what's going on (Bee School gets you gearing up and urged to look and peek and poke), but decided against it. I will wait to open until I am doing the major spring clean and swaps and changes when the dandelions bloom. But both hives look alive and happy and eager for flowers!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Plantings

Planted the tomatoes, some pineapple tomatillas, and peanuts last night.

The peppers look great. I planted more peter peppers (hee he) in the two pots where the peppers didn't come up.

The weather is beautiful. The bees are so happy!

Happy planting...and Happy Spring!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Baklava

Used the last of the BumbleChick honey to make a batch of baklava! Having made a huge batch on Friday for FRESH, I am hoarding one, lonely piece for myself to enjoy in a peaceful moment with a cup of tea. It came out so very good. Too often baklava is so sickeningly sugary and sweet, but this, this was delicious. I mean, don't get me wrong, it was sweet...but it tasted more like honey sweet, not sugar sweet...and the sweeteness was lighter than you often get it. I actually could eat a whole piece without getting sick! Yum.

I forgot to take a finished product picture or it would be on here. I could take a picture of the empty pan...

Spring Forward

It's back to using the head lamp to go out to the barn to feed the critters. They work really well, for those of us with no electricity in the barns! It keeps the hands free to do work, but gives the light you need to find the stuff to feed. Thanks L!!!

It's cold and wet, but I must say, I love the sound of the misty rain. It sounds so soothing, especially when I'm inside the barn and it's drumming a calming beat against the metal roof. I think spring must be a-coming.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

FRESH and Bee School

Bee School was great on Thursday...even though it does run WAY past BumbleBedTime. We took 'Dynamics of the Hive' with Ken Warchol, the State Bee Inspector. He knows his stuff, and even though his philosophy is slightly different from mine, it was good to hear him talk and to feel more comfortable with the guy who could shut the whole apiary down. But he seemed a nice guy...and more than willing to help out and talk. So anyone who is afraid of the bee inspector...don't be--he seems a good guy.

The FRESH showing was really fun last night. We had lots and lots of food...more food than we should have eaten and a nice, intimate group of Farmin' Friends. FRESH really makes you think about the food we're eating...and just where, exactly, it's coming from. We can all pretend that the packaged meat at the grocery store really isn't a cow that's been injected with antibiotics and hormones and then the meat pumped with junk to make it look better in the package, but our bodies know the difference. And Karma knows the truth. I don't think deliberate ignorance is any excuse. I don't think that deciding not to think about the state of the life of the chicken that laid that grocery store egg is any excuse. I can let someone off the hook who truly has not thought about the state of the farming industry and their food, but once someone opens the door to really think about it, it's just lazy ignorance to refuse to learn and make a change...or choose not to make a change but knowing the truth. But to refuse to find out...especially those educated persons out there, makes you as guilty as the operations that torture the animals, are infusing our system with antibiotics so that when we're sick and need antibiotics they no longer work, and who are polluting our lands and water with more poop than a small city of humans...with little regulation. It's disgusting! And it makes me so angry when people are so upset with the pig or the cow or the chicken that began these drug resistant diseases, when it's our food system...but WHERE is the change to our food system? Why are we not outraged? Why do we refuse to make a change, when people are dying because of where our food comes from?

I think, for me, the most disturbing part of the movie last night was watching the baby chicks being tossed out of the boxes by the hundreds into the big scary chicken house. Some of them were killed in the fall, crushed immediately, some were crushed later in the mass of chicken bodies growing together. All I could think of was my little box of chickens from Mount Tully Kennels, carefully picking out my ten little baby chicks and driving them home and carefully picking each ball of fluff out and dipping their beaks into the drinking water before letting them loose on a fresh bed of clean litter in a box under a heat lamp. Then watching them skurry around and peep...and listening to the little peeps and learning which of the those peeps meant happiness and which meant distress. Watching them play so hard that they fall over into a sleep that you wonder if they are dead. And watching them learn to perch...and grow from fluff balls into the 'awkward chicken adolescent phase' at a few weeks when the fluffs starts turning to feathers...and they look like gauky teenagers. And then watching them chase their first grubs and taking their first totally happy steps on fresh green grass. What Michael Pollan says is true: the egg you buy in the grocery store is a completely different product from the egg you buy off a local farm (and the meat too).

We are so lucky to live where we live, surrounded by farms ready to share the bounty. Meat, milk, cheese, vegetables, everything we could possible want is here, waiting for us to come and get it. OK, maybe not the olive oil or the avocados, or the bananas, or the chocolate...but we do have Dean's Beans Coffee, and though it's not local, it is sustainable and a good company that does good not only in the communities that grow his coffee, but in our local town. And if we just started with a few things that we buy local and eat local...just that small change would make a difference. Someone in FRESH said, just ten dollars a week in the local system would make a huge difference in the food industry and the local economy! And it would probably be the best tasting food you'd eat!

TEN dollars into FRESH, local food...who can't spare that for good, quality food? Who can't spare that to make a change in the world? It is true that small changes in your own life and your own community do make a difference in the whole world. We just need to make the change and join the movement!

And as for the group that came to FRESH last night, I think we might all be worm farmers by the end of the summer!


For more information on the movie: FRESHthemovie.com.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

HoneyBees and Spring

Both hives are humming away, as anxious for spring as the rest of us. Every day that goes by that they are humming makes me very happy. Though I won't rest easy until that first dandelion blooms in the yard. And our second very late running beekeeping class is tonight in Worcester! This time, at least, I won't be sick and as tired during it...but it does run until 9:30 and I don't get home until 11:00, so I will be tired, if not sick.

The goats are settling into the new routine with less numbers and less fighting over the food bowl...so I think they are happier now. We're still working on selling the last pair of girls...and spring fever has hit the goat yard with leaps and jumps and rambling goats whenever the barn door opens and they can get out into the yard and really run and look for new snacks--we just watch them around the cherry trees and the mountain laurel.

The chickens have spring fever too. The two roosters are a bit crankier these days, and I am hoping that I won't come home to a bloody Dinner if Max decides the upstart's taking too many liberties with 'his' girls. And the girls are laying like crazy...and the silly little white Aracauna escapes every day from the coop run so that she can sneak into the barn and lay her little green egg up in her nesting spot on top of all the bales of hay in the hayloft! Guess, she's not stupid: she wants a clean and private place to lay her clutch--too bad we keep stealing the eggs on her (of course, she leaves them to the cold, so they wouldn't hatch for her anyway).

And I think Troy is going to be the only sad one to see the snow go. No more tunneling with his nose. No more doggie snow castles. Poor Puppy!

And the peppers look GREAT! I just hope they keep looking great until planting time, and through growing time, and through producing time, and through picking time, and through EATING time! I'll have to start thinking about planting the tomatoes and eggplants and other yummy garden goodies soon. I just know spring's'a'comin'!!

Think Spring everyone. I guess the rain and more mud on the way should help!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Selling goats...

So, we had to do some rethinking about who is still up for sale here at the BumbleBarn. We had Willa and Mary for sale as the two girls, but we've realized that if we sell that pair, it leave every mother with a baby except Annie. We've decided that would be too hard on Annie and so we're putting Annie up for sale with Willa, as a mother/daughter pair. We think that in the long run, everyone will be better off and happier with that scenario. Annie could also leave the farm as a bred doe, which gives the new owners a head start on their own breeding program.

These decisions are so hard. I remember how sad it was for Aria when we sold both her kids and left two with Ginger. That's the reason she still has Mozart for a companion for the rest of her years on our farm in her retirement. She needs a companion...and he'll never be bred so barring a terrible accident, he should be with her until the end. And that's why, even though it's wicked hard to let Annie go, we've got to think of her needs before our sentimentality. So, that is the plan.

Oh, we did have someone come to look at the girls on Saturday. She called and is very interested, but is now re-talking things over with her family when we offered Annie/Willa together at a reduced price over Mary and Willa...which she was very close to settling on.

We will keep everyone posted.

Enjoy all of this spring weather! The honeybees are loving it...as are we!

The Boys


I'm told the boys settled into their new home quite nicely. We were even sent pictures of the boys in the new digs.

Don't they look happy?

Thanks, J, for the pictures...

Sunday, March 7, 2010

New Homes


Ted and Puccini head to their new home.

Both of these little guys are headed to goat heaven...where they are going to be so loved and spoiled. We are so happy for them and their new Daddy and Mommy!

Thanks to J and her Dad for offering them a great home!

It's beginning to feel like Spring

There are still piles of snow in our yard...and a layer of snow on the ground, but in other yards, it's beginning to melt! And it feels warm out. I actually forgot to wear my winter coat out yesterday, and didn't even realize it. Yay! I think spring might be on the way...and pretty soon the crocuses should start peeking up out of the ground.

A couple bees were wandering in and out of Avalon yesterday. But nothing at Bree. This morning, it sounded like humming coming from both hives, but I could not say for sure.

The chickens have ramped up production for spring...we're getting eight or so eggs a day out of our eleven layers. And we're planning to put in a chick order this weekend. We are going to get the hardy breeds this year...mostly Rhode Island Reds, which seem to be the best layers for us. And then a few Barred Rocks...and maybe some Buff Orpingtons--because I think they are pretty. Hopefully the fox will leave our chickens alone this year.

The goats are feeling the fever of spring. We had a couple over to look at the girls for sale yesterday...and I thought the goats would never stay put. They ran around the yard like they had been cooped up all winter. Hmmm. But they had fun. And we'll see if we get a bite for the girls...or if they misbehaved too badly!

Happy Spring. I know we'll probably get dumped on by Mother Nature with more snow...but it's too late now...spring is in the air. I MIGHT even hang some laundry on the line....

Oh...AND there's one peter pepper coming up!!!! And most of the hots are up. I think it might be time to give up on the artichokes. Maybe someone at the Farmer's Market will grow some for me...I guess I'll have to wait and see.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

HoneyBees

Opened up the hives today and started feeding them.

Avalon was flying out and about and all over and going NUTSO today, so I figured it was time to sneak in and get some feeding started. So, I popped things open...they were alive and agitated with me. I ended up putting the feeder on between the inner cover and outer cover due to excess burr comb and irritated bees.

Bree didn't fight me at all, even when I knocked the cover over the hive to drop the bees on the inside of the cover back into the cluster of bees. They didn't break cluster at all to defend the hive from my Godzilla-like behavior. I hope that's not a bad sign. I didn't want to disturb them anymore, so I also put the feeder between the inner cover and the outer cover on them too.

I always worry that I've opened too soon or chilled them, or done something wrong. But they are alive and it feels good to have food going to them. I was very worried about how honey stores are holding up as we are in the hardest part of the season for bees...when they need to get the temperatures up in the hive to start laying eggs...but when food stores needed to do that might be running low. I feel like I am finally able to help them work toward spring and the growing season.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Soap

Soap looks pretty good!