Thursday, July 10, 2014

Honey bees are doing great!

 I had a friend come this morning, to check on my hives. He's the president of the honey bee club here in N. Ga. So I trust him. He also has many, many hives, all over. We went to the Garden hive first, which is the 2nd pic here. This is the hive, when I first got them, that he helped me install in the hive. He was a bit worried about this hive. But today, when he opened the top, he was quite impressed with how they have grown. They had already filled all the frames and were starting in on the "upstairs"! We did see a few SHB, so we set traps in both. Last night, I just lifted the lid on the Garden hive, and a moth flew out. So I was thinking I might have wax moths again. He said practically every hive has them. But this is a strong hive and the bees won't let them in. I was happy to hear that.

The Outback hive always has those long roach bugs in the top when I lift their lid. I try to kill them, but they are pretty fast. We also saw a few SHB and put a trap in there too. They are looking great too. And were very active. He said to continue feeding them. This hive had already drank all this sugar water.

So I am very happy to know that both hives are doing so well!

This is the sunset from last night. It was so pretty.

And one of the really big sunflowers, the birds have been eating from. I've seen the American Goldfinch on these. I love those birds.

And we have our youngest grand daughter, Kansas, most days now. Here she is, trying to draw a horse. I used to draw horses all the time when I was a kid. Had all the plastic horses. Dreamed of having a horse of my own one day. Finally got one. Had her 3 years, got bucked off, and that was it for me!

We have had some nice rain the past few days here. We sure did need it. I had mowed this whole property a few days ago. Now will have to mow again in a day or so. And now I don't have enough animals to eat all this grass down. I might have to get a cow or small horse. Who knows.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Monday. In the studio...

That sounds pretty cool. In the studio. My own little studio. I love it.

So I finally made the first batch of soap of 2014 today. I've had some plantain infusing in olive oil about a month now. So made plantain-lavender castille soap. It takes 8-10 weeks to cure. Long time. I'll go tomorrow to the International Market and get more Palm oil so I can start making more. Once I get in the mood to make soap, I go for it. I have lots of different scent ideas rolling around my head right now. So I have to make soap!

And while the lye and oil were getting to the same temps, I started needle felting some sheep. It sure does take a long time to make one sheep. Lots of little stuff to make. People seem to like the white sheep more than the black sheep. My favorite is the darker sheep. That's ok. I just washed a whole white fleece last week. So I will be making felted critters again.

Sure is extremely quiet here these days. Goodness, I had no idea how noisy goats were. Til they all left. I can hear birds again. I can walk out the door and not hear a goat holler. It's great! No, I do not miss them either. At all. May not ever get another goat.

The honey bees are doing great so far. They sucked up that sugar water really fast. I guess I shouldn't have put the new boxes on. Nothing going on in the Outback hive yet. I'll go check the Garden hive and see what they are doing.

Hope everyone is having a great Monday!

Alpacas in the Outback...

The alpacas got in to the outback. I'll keep them back there a few days. They seem to be liking it ok. Plenty of shade for them all and a barn too. It's supposed to rain again Wednesday. Sure is nice out today.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Random Saturday...

 These boys have been practicing and jumping on all the girls. Just being obnoxious teenage boys. I had planned on castrating at 3 months, but time just got away. The other night, they were really being bad. So I decided to go ahead and castrate them. I didn't want to have to separate them, but keep them with the flock. And since I am not sure right now if I even want to breed sheep again, this is the best way to go.

So last night, I got everything together. First couldn't find bands, so had to call a freind up the road. He had some! Had already gotten shots of Banamine. And got 2 syringes of CDT. And of course some grain. And the hubby! Can't forget the most important part.

And these guys were BIG! I first checked to make sure when they were born. March 3rd. So just 4 months. And they are the quads. But man, they were big. Almost wasn't sure it was going to happen. But finally got those jewels popped down under the band and got it done.

Went to check on them about an hour later. Both boys in the stall, laying down. Pretty normal for what just happened. But Clack, the biggest one, sounded congested. I got them all up and walked them around for awhile. Then gave him another shot of Banamine.

This morning, all good. They were up walking with the rest of the flock. Clack sounds normal. You can see in this pic, how big their testicles are. Really had a hard time getting them in the banding tool.

And here is Charlotte, a single ewe lamb. Much bigger than these guys.

And of course, this always makes everything better, right?

This is Annabelle. She did not lamb this year. I am wondering if maybe she's pregnant? I did have that black Katahdin ram in with the ewes, even after they were having lambs. So she could be.

And here are some of the other reallt fat rotund sheep. They all really look good to me right now. Nice and healthy. Plenty of grazing. Rotating them every few days now. Very healthy.

And Thursday evening, I went ahead and put these sugar water feeders on both hives. You can see how they look this morning. Zan Asha said to just leave them on about 3 days. They get dependent on it and they'll not forage. These bees are so busy right now. They are going out back, toward Lookout Mt. Always come back with legs full of pollen. So something's blooming back there. Maybe Sourwood? (I have to take my dogs with me back here. I am so afraid of snakes, it's awful. And it's so over grown back here now. And with the hay fields back there 10' tall, I know there are snakes all over.)

Here's some Elderberry berries. And some blackberries thrown in. Very pretty. But hate blackberries. They always seem to win. I hope I get some of the elderberries this year. Birds always seem to get them all. But I have an abundance of the bushes all over now. So maybe.

And some really pretty, not quite ripe, tomatoes from the garden this morning!  I have to get them like this, because I have marauding rouge chickens, who love to peck at red ripe tomatoes a few times. Just for the heck of it. So I get them like this and let them ripen in the house. These are THE BEST tomatoes ever!

So I have the whole day BY MYSELF! Hubby is off on a motorcycle ride with his boyfriends. So it's just me. Washing clothes, hanging them out. Trimming honeysuckle off electric fence rows. Going to mow the fence line later when it dries up. It's just a beautiful summer day here at Outback Farm in Ga. Hope you all are having a great holiday weekend too!

Baby birds...

I've been a little worried about the baby birds on the laundry room shelf. They are so quiet. All the other baby birds around are noisy little buggars. So I snapped this picture and got a big baby mouth, wide open. Still don't know if all 4 are alive. But this little guy sure is.

And just now, I see both the mother and farther, with food in their beaks. Making all kinds of racket out there. So I am happy now!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

No more goats at Outback Farm

I no longer have goats. Outback Farm is officially goat-less. The Coopers came today and picked up Penelope and Zeeboo. I can still hear Penelope. I'll always hear her. Starting about 6, she gets noisy. Calling me. "Hey woman, get out here now!" And she keeps on and on, until I do let them in the milk room. She was always the one that was calling me to come on. NOW! Very impatient goat. I told Eloise to get ready.

I don't really know how I feel about not having goats yet. I already know it's quieter for sure. And I won't have to hurry home to milk. Or wake up earlier. Shoot, I might even get to sleep in some mornings. Hah! But it's a nice thought anyway.

 It's already starting to get over grown out back. It started soon after I let Zarah and her 2 kids go. Then a few more left and a few more. Then I was down to 4. The weeds and grass kept getting taller and taller and thicker too. Then down to just the 2 does. I can hardly walk back there. Now they're gone. It's going to be a jungle again, real soon.

I'll mow on both sides of the electric fence. And make sure it's all clear. I went back there a few days ago and found a huge oak limb laying across the electric fence. I tried to get it off but kept getting shocked. I was surprised it still worked, but it did. So hubby has a job to do with his chain saw. Then I need to keep a wide path mowed to the bee hive. Because I am thinking I'm seeing snakes all over now. And I hate snakes. I heard that goats will kill snakes. That may be why I haven't seen any so far. But I won't be going in the barn anymore.

  I moved the sheep back to the North side pasture with the chickens. Then I'll mow the South pasture. In a few weeks, I'll let the sheep out back for awhile. I'll have plenty of places to rotate the sheep now. And I need to put the 2 ram lambs in the back yard in about a month or so. I do not want more lambs.

This morning I saw this beetle, pushing this big ball with it's back legs. I don't know where she was headed, but every few rolls, she'd get up on it and look around. Just amazing to see this beetle, rolling this big egg sack, across the wet grass.

And the bird that laid 4 eggs in this nest, is a mom now. I can't see how mony hatched, but I saw a bunch of big hungry baby bird mouths yesterday. And I saw the bird with a mouth full of food for them later. They're really quiet babies. I sure hope they all make it. I try not to disturb them too much.

It's just a beautiful day here today. Not humid at all. Nice breeze blowing. I mowed half the garden down awhile ago. It's such a mess out there. I do have cucumbers, butternut squash, some Silver Queen corn, okra, and yellow squash and some zucchini still. And tomatoes and lots of different peppers. And sunflowers and zinnias all over too. I had to mow right in front of the bee hive, I went real fast and did it without making them mad. It was getting a little over grown right in front of the hive. Looks better now and they can get in and out easier. I just love my bees. I found out the bees in the corners were making burr comb. I should have cleaned it off. I will next time I go in.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Adding on...

Went out today to check the hives. I wore hat, gloves, long sleeve shirt. But had shorts on. It's hot! And these girls were mad! And getting crowded. I see lots of brood. Not much honey though. I did see the queen in the garden hive. I took out the one frame with nothing on it. And added a small box with 10 frames. I didn't put a queen excluder on the garden hive. But did on the outback hive. I'll see which one works better. I didn't really look for the other queen because those bees were all over me. So I tried to get it done quick back there. And leave! But they all look good. And very busy. Lots of bees all over this place. I see them coming in loaded with pollen/

Not sure what's going on here in this one frame. Lots of activity in both upper corners.  Does anyone have any ideas?

                                                             Same frame, other corner.

This is the outback hive. Man, were they all over the place when I opened it up! Didn't even take pics of the inside. Wanted to hurry and get out of there fast!

                                                     Outback hive with new addition

                                                And the garden hive with new addition

I was next door washing a paint brush at the faucet and noticed lots of bees in the little pool. I thought it was empty, but there is a little water in the bottom in places. I added a little more and threw in some sticks. There were a lot of honey bees drinking water here.

                                                           And in the mud holes too.

It's a beautiful bright sun shiney day here. And HOT. But that's fine with me. It's been cloudy and rainy for so long, it's strange to see a totally blue sky. So I am ok with this.

Going to the farmer's market this afternoon. I made wool dryer balls and zucchini bread and muffins to take. Plus banana peppers, hot and sweet. And a few jalapeno peppers too. Not much, but I also have salves and soap. Need to make some money!