Golden Pollen

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.


Radish in bloom

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.


Baby Calf Hooves

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.


Our cow weaves a garland

3 cows side field

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.

Cow Garland, such joy

Winter Bee Flight

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. 

This entry was posted on January 4, 2011, in Bees.

Chickens take a dirt bath

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.

This entry was posted on December 1, 2010, in Farm Animals.

For Breakfast: A pan full of Luck

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.

This entry was posted on December 1, 2010, in Farm Life.

Twin Fawns in Daisy Field

Twin fawns in our upper field. They’d been sleeping between the compost beds when I startled them. Notice how well their spots blend them in with the daisies in the field.

Haying, Forever Young

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.

This entry was posted on July 23, 2010, in Farm Life.

Little Bee Girl Waggle Dancing

Have a look at this little honeybee doing her waggle dance for everyone. We took this when we were moving a swarm of bees into a new hive. About 15 minutes into the move, she was so pleased she had to share with everyone that something nearby was making her very happy.

Waggle dances are the way honeybees tell each other when something really good is happening, like flowers in full bloom or pollen galore. The angle and direction she does the dance tell the rest of the bees where to fly to join in. Kind of like giving an address. She’s saying, “When you look at the sun, fly this angle away from it for this long, then look for the flowers.”

This entry was posted on June 18, 2010, in Bees.