I’ve spent hours with my bees these past weeks, watching them build comb, bring in pollen and nectar. I sit right at their front doors as they zoom in and out. They’re completely calm when I’m around. About a half hour ago while I was standing off to the side watching, one little bee lifted up from the entrance, landed on my bandaged hand an inch and a half below where the stitches are and calmly stung me. Earlier this morning I told the bees if I needed a sting to help my hand heal better, that was okay with me. Seems it was. I left the stinger in the full 30 seconds so all the venom gets in and stimulates my immune system. Love these little girls.
As a bee gardener, I let all my vegetables go to flower. If more people knew how beautiful vegetables are as flowers, they wouldn’t pull them out so soon. This white bush is ONE radish plant that’s become a 4′ x 4′ bush covered with white flowers. Lettuce gets 6′ tall with gorgeous blue flowers. My winter kales just finished blooming last week, most of them 5′ tall with bright yellow flowers the bees find irresistible.
Yet another reason I love our farm: Newborn calf hooves. The calf is only 30 minutes old. His hooves feel like warm candle wax, not hard yet and very pliable. They firm up pretty quickly once they’re in the air but these were still soft. I always like to touch them once the calf is on the ground.
I led Miss Amelia outside the pasture to the five foot tall compost pile that is overgrown with climbing cleavers on six foot tall radishes and mustard. She buried her head in it and made herself a garland to wear on her horns. It takes so little effort to bring joy to a cow. Click the link below to see her highness in cow happiness.
It’s January 1st and we had a hard frost last night. The tree branches are all bare and it’s cold, barely 40 degrees if that. Yet it’s sunny out and the bees who live in the north wall of our house are busy flying in and out.
Our other bees that live in hives up in the field are quiet, conserving food and energy through the winter.
Normally in winter on a sunny warmish day the bees will make a “poop run” every few weeks. They make a quick short flight outside to defecate and then hurry right back inside. But these bees are out most every day. The heat from our wood-fired stove keeps the hive warm enough which allows them the energy to have a look around outside whenever the sun’s out.
Winter is when the bees will look for and bring home sap from trees which they use to make propolis which is used as “bee glue” to seal up cracks in the hive and to keep it sanitary and healthy inside.
I planted spring bulbs at the end of our walkway. I imagined how beautiful they will look in springtime, joyous irises in multi-colored bloom, the fragrant waft of scent carrying to the front door.
Surprise! Surprise! The next day I find these hens and a rooster smack dab in the middle of the new bed with different plans. My little landscapers decided to turn the rich soil into a dirt bath.
Dust baths are how chickens keep crawly things off their skin. They poof up their feathers all fluffy and then powder puff billows of dirt all over themselves. This is the chicken version of spa day.
I can’t get upset about it. It’s marvelously entertaining. Look at their little chicken faces. They love it so much they get all dreamy-faced while they’re bathing. I guess I can plant my bulbs elsewhere.
Joseph came in from the hen house with breakfast fixin’s. He was so confident about what was in this egg that he cut TWO holes in the “Eggs in a Frame” he had in the pan (we’ve also heard this called “Toad in a Hole.”)
We get these doubles fairly often, which I take to be a good sign. Either our hens are extra healthy and prolific egg layers, or we’re just plain lucky. I’ll go with all of the above.
Is your car unlocked? When you get home you’ll discover you have four squash, each as big as your head, under a towel on the back seat. I’m sorry. I had to hide them there. It was the only way for me to insist you take more than I already pressed on you when you arrived.
This is the GIGUNDO squash plant that volunteered in our compost pile two months ago.
And this is the 5-8 lb Italian heirloom squash we’re getting about 8-10 a day of. I carry them back to the house in a wheelbarrow.
Now I want you to know, I’m not complaining. They are the sweetest, tenderest squash we’ve ever grown. We saute them with butter, eat them raw in salad, and Patti suggested we puree them and freeze them to use as a soup base all winter. All good ideas. I will probably come up with more because I think right now we’ve got about 150 more in some stage of development and more beautiful golden blossoms coming out all the time.
Why so many? Here are the culprits.
Easy to see the first bee on the bottom covered in pollen. Then there’s the next bee deeper in, pollinating away. And way down under both of them, there’s a third bee. Each of them wearing enough pollen to decorate six more squash blossoms with. Yes, they are doing their job, and lined up to do it with every squash blossom that opens its petals. And that’s why we will probably harvest close to a half ton of squash this fall from ONE PLANT.
So come on over. Bring an appetite. I’ve got squash fritters frying up right now and I’m working on squash cookies. Or maybe a nice little squash gelato.
What? You can’t find your car keys? I can’t imagine where they might have gone. You search the kitchen while I dash out to the driveway to see if you dropped them there. Don’t come out unless I yell that I found them, okay?
Finally the rain stopped long enough for everyone to get their hay cut, dried, baled and bucked into the truck so we could load it into the barn. Here’s a video of the last run through the field, picking up stray bales.