Monthly Archives: May 2017

A Beautiful Monday

We spent much of Monday at the farm weeding garlic then attending to some other things that needed to be done. We witnessed a couple of things we had never seen before and I was able to get pictures of them.

In the morning as I was heading to the garlic bed to begin weeding I looked toward the pond and noticed this visitor.


It is a White Heron or Great Egret who apparently stopped by for a snack of tadpoles. My husband had told me he saw it the day before but previous to that we had never seen a White Heron on the farm. We have seen Blue Herons and it seems as if the bird I posted about here  is a Green Heron. We are happy that our farm is host or home to so many of God’s creatures.

In the afternoon and evening we had some light rain showers come through. As the last round of showers moved out I looked to the sky and saw a beautiful rainbow.


I grabbed my camera and started taking pictures. I then got my husband who was cutting grass. Look at the rainbow I told him. At times we could see the entire rainbow but sometimes the middle was covered with clouds. My pictures really do not do it justice. I could not even fit the whole rainbow in one shot. I told my husband that I don’t remember ever seeing both ends of a rainbow before and he said he didn’t ever remember seeing that either.

Maybe since we have had so much rain this year and we having been praying so much for dry weather this was our message from God.

Genesis 9:12-15

12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: 13 I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.


Five Hives

As of Monday, May 23 rd., we have five hives of honey bees.

We were working at the farm in the morning, my husband planting tomatoes while I was weeding the prayer garden and marshmallow garden . We took about an hour for lunch and decided to get right back at it. As my husband walked toward the field where he was going to start planting pepper plants I heard him say, “We have a swarm”.


I grabbed my camera and walked in his direction. I saw the bees still getting themselves organized in an Autumn Olive tree. The way they were landing it looked like two separate swarms but by the time they had finished they had all come together as one large swarm.


One of the nice things about the location of our apiary is that it is surrounded by trees so when it is time for a swarm of bees to move to a new location their first stop is usually in one of the nearby trees. The Autumn Olive which is in bloom right now is very fragrant and I don’t blame them for choosing this tree.

Swarming is how honey bees colonies reproduce. When the hive begins to become over crowded the bees produce a new queen. They do this by building special brood cells which are known as queen cells. The queen larvae is then fed exclusively on royal jelly. The old queen leaves the hive with the swarm of worker bees in search of a new location to call home. The new queen hatches, mates with the drones, and begins laying eggs in the hive.

One thing I want to point out is that if you come across a swarm of bees on a tree or other structure there is no need to panic. It is not necessary to have someone remove them, as these bees are in transition and will be gone soon. There is no danger if you simply avoid the area. That’s not to say that if you know a beekeeper you shouldn’t call them to see if they want to come get it, as they might appreciate the opportunity to start a new hive.

As the bees settled in my husband began preparing to capture them. Just like with hiving bees it is important to make sure that everything is in place before getting started. He already had a empty hive ready in anticipation of capturing a swarm. He opened it up and removed some frames from an area where he would dump the bees. He left the covers sitting nearby.

He got out a five gallon bucket with a lid and examined the tree. I reminded him this tree has thorns. He decided he would need to cut a lower branch off so he could get to the swarm. He put on his bee suit, but since he wouldn’t need my help I didn’t suit up. I would just watch and take photos.


The battery of my camera went dead after this photo.

After he removed the branch he was able to put the bucket directly under the branch that held the swarm. He then shook the branch very hard and a large portion of the swarm dropped into the bucket. His objective at this point was to get the queen. He quickly covered the bucket and took it to the hive that he had ready.  He emptied the bucket into the hive and I imagine he said a silent prayer that the queen was amongst them. He placed the cover over the hive and went back for more of the bees who were gathering back on the limb. He again shook the branch so that another large amount of bees fell into the bucket, and he took them to the hive as well. After repeating this a third time he had captured most of the bees. When he placed the cover on the hive many of the bees which were flying around the outside began clustering on the hive. This was a good sign that the queen was inside.

It is now three days later and this hive seems to be functioning as well as the others. Worker bees are leaving the hive and coming back with bright yellow pollen. That is just what we like to see. 🙂

This Season On Chicken TV

Chicken TV – has become a spring/summer past time for us. That’s what we call the time we spend sitting in our camp chairs near the chicken coop watching the chickens as they peck and scratch and do what chickens do. It’s usually the last half hour or so before the chickens go in for the night. It really can be quite entertaining especially when they are young.

Our Buff Orpingtons are the friendliest of the four breeds that we have and Honey one of our oldest hens will usually sit on my husbands lap. Last year some of buffs that we raised as chicks would also sit on our laps or climb on our shoulders while we sat and watched the group.

This year we have decided not to get attached to the buffs that we are raising since we intend to butcher them before long. We didn’t hold or pet them even when they were  adorable little balls of fluff.

Saturday evening my husband got out my chair and put it near the chicken coop. He then asked for my camera and told me to sit down. I sat in my chair and before long I had chickens on my lap.


“Close your eyes,” my husband warned me, “they will peck your eyes.”


So while I sat there with my eyes closed, my husband snapped pictures and counted as each of the young buffs landed on me.


Within about two minutes I played roost to all 10 young buffs and had become the star of Chicken TV.

My husband knew this was going to happen because he had the same experience the night before when I was not with him.

I don’t mind one or two chickens sitting on me but this was way too much, so he helped me clear them off and the he went about teaching them to use the ramp to get into the coop.  They were just about there but one just couldn’t resist saying a special good night to him.


Removing A Splinter

Usually when one of us gets a splinter we first try tweezers to pull it out, but usually it is far enough beneath the skin that it can not be reached with the tweezers, so we sterilize a needle and perform minor surgery, digging a hole into the skin and poking around until we can fish the foreign object out.

A few weeks ago when I ended up with a wood splinter in the palm of my hand the first thing I did was ignore it. I was busy and didn’t feel like dealing with it. It wasn’t painful and I remembered my husband saying, “wood will always work it’s way out.” The following day it was still there. It still wasn’t painful, but after my husband asked me a couple of times if I had gotten it out yet, I decided I better try.

Instead of the usual means I thought I would try something that I had only read about – honey. I have read that honey will draw a splinter out. Since I was busy that day and did not have time to sit around with honey on my hand, I decided it would have to be covered. I put a small dab of honey on a band aid and put it over the splinter. I then put on a latex glove so I could go about my tasks without losing the band aid. Within a half hour I began feeling pain in the area of the splinter. It wasn’t severe pain, but when something touched that area of my hand it felt like, I don’t know, I guess it felt like there was a splinter in it.

After about an hour, when I removed the glove, the band aid wanted to come off too. I lifted one end and saw the area was now red and weeping a bit. The honey was apparently doing something. I took that band aid off and put another dab of honey on a second band aid and covered the area again. It was difficult to keep the band aid in place on the palm of my hand, and after about another hour that one, too, was ready to come off. The area was still red, and as I pressed on the area where the splinter had gone into my hand clear liquid came out along with the whole splinter.

Out of habit I thought I better clean the wound with hydrogen peroxide to prevent infection. Interestingly when I poured the peroxide over the area it ran off like water. There was absolutely no bubbling. I knew that honey was said to be antibacterial, and I believed that it was, but up until that time I had no proof. The redness gradually went away and my hand healed nicely.

Please don’t ask me how or why this works, I can only testify that it worked for me. 🙂

A Year In Growing Garlic (Part VII)


If you planted garlic last fall, as we did, by now you should be seeing vigorous green top growth. How vigorous can depend on many things. Variety of garlic you planted, clove size that was planted and soil conditions are all major factors. If You are not seeing vigorous green growth you will probably need to add some nitrogen fertilizer to give it a boost. It is recommended that nitrogen only be given up until the time that the bulbs start forming. This article explains that bulbs start forming around the time the ground temperature reaches around 60 degrees.  Another article I read said that bulbs start forming around Memorial day. That article I’m assuming was referring to growing garlic in a cooler, northern climate like ours.

This time of year it is also important to make sure that garlic is getting enough water. This year our problem has been too much water, since we have had “April showers” in January, February, March, April and the first part of May. Although our garlic has shown signs of being stressed with some yellowing of the leaves, due to too much water, we are optimistic that we will have a decent crop.

It is recommended that garlic receive 1 inch of water a week during dry periods up until about two weeks before harvest. At this time we have no intention of watering the garlic anytime soon.

Keeping garlic weeded is the other chore that needs to be done from now until harvest. “Weed early, weed often” seems to be a garlic growers mantra as I seen it written in more then one article that I’ve read about growing garlic. Last week my husband and I spent several hours on two separate days weeding the garlic. Weeding garlic is something that needs to be done by hand, especially if it is planted with several rows close together, like our is.  At this point the weeds were still small and with the ground being wet the weeds came out easily. I believe this is the reason for the “weed early” advice. As bulb formation begins making sure the garlic weed free is even more important, as garlic that is crowded by weeds or roots of weeds will produce smaller bulbs. I do expect that we will be on our hands and knees weeding the garlic a couple more times before harvest. 🙂