Buzz buzz….The bees are here!

We picked up and installed our 2 packages of bees yesterday! How did it go? Pretty smoothly thank goodness. Here is our first experience as newbees.

I picked up the two 3 pound packages around noon. While I was at the Apiary I asked more questions and decided we needed a hive top feeder so I purchased 2. After a good painting they will go in the hives. In the meantime we are using entrance feeders. Anyhow they put the buzzing little bees in the back of my farm trailblazer and away we went. Surprisingly they were quiet on the way home. I had imagined driving home with a deafening buzz in the back. 😂

Hive top feeders. These will go in after a couple coats of paint.
10,000 bees in each box! 🐝🐝🐝

Once we got home I had to put them in my laundry room to keep them fairly cool until evening when it was installing time. Onyx was intrigued but a cautious.

What the heck did you bring home now?

And the wait for Farmer Cheese to get home began. Once he arrived and it was early evening we began getting ready.

We separated the two packages and tapped the first one and sprayed the bees with sugar water to lump them together in the bottom of the box. I was trying to video so Farmer Cheese did the first box. First lesson learned. We needed 2 sets hands. The board covering the queen and the syrup was hard to remove on this first box and because of that and my lack of help he dropped the queen in her little cage into the box with the bees. No biggie, we just did things a little backwards. We dumped the bees in and I reached in and retrieved the queen! Once the majority of the bees were in we set the box near the entrance and put the top on.

About to take the board off and get the syrup and queen out.

Next on to hive 2 where we did everything in the correct order and did not lose our Queen. After the queen was installed between a couple of frames we dumped the bees in. We removed one of the frames first but think the bees would have gone in easier if we had removed 2 or 3. Second lesson learned. After the top was closed on the second hive we filled up the jars of sugar water for the entrance feeders.

Queen for hive 2!

All in all things went very smoothly and we feel quite accomplished. Did I tell you it was so hot that I went out in my jacket and veil, shorts and flip flops?! Farmer Cheese questioned my sanity but I have been practicing being calm. I briefly wondered if there is a world naked beekeeping day but don’t worry, I’m not doing that! 😂🤣

Hello bee! I’m glad you are outside of my veil! (Ignore the flushed face, told you it was hot!)
The rest of the bees will inside soon.
All done!
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It’s time to catch up

We’ve been a little scarce here on the blog so let’s catch up! What has been going on since our last blog? For starters we got 3 LGD’s in December.( Livestock guardian dogs) And you know us….We did it our way. According to the “experts” you shouldn’t get sibling. What? We’ve almost always had sibling dogs. Even our vet said there’s not a problem with that. Lots of people said only get one pup..we got 3. 😆 We started with 2 Boone and Crockett. Unfortunately our Boone crushed a bone in his leg and required lots of veterinary care. So we were given his sister who we named Annie Oakley. I’m not going to go into all Boone’s care and treatment but if you are on Facebook or Instagram just type in #boonesaga and his story should pop up. We’ve been working with the dogs and so far they are great with the chickens, ducks and goats.This spring during chick days we hatched chicks at home. Some of our eggs were hatched at a local school again, and we bought some chicks and ducks. I guess we’ve had a chicksplosion! We had to fully enclose our biggest run to hold them all but they are doing great.Perhaps our biggest news is that the bees are coming! We bought 2 unassembled cedar hives and spent last weekend putting them together. We will paint them soon. We have been studying a lot so we hope we will know what we are doing by the time the bees are ready for pick up on May 17. This is a brand new endeavor for us and we are so excited!We still have quite a few Boer goats and had several babies born. Nigerians are in the plans but might be a little while.To sum it up we’ve been busy, busy, busy! Drop us a comment and let us know how you are and what you’ve been up to. We will keep you posted on the bees. 😉

Easy Peasy Breakfast Muffins

Farmer Cheese needs a healthy-ish grab and go breakfast on the weekdays. So I have prepared a sausage, bacon, spinach, egg and cheese combo for him.

First I sauteed the spinach and then added cooked sausage and bacon and some cheese. Next I added eggs to the bowl and mixed it together. I put a half piece of bread in the bottom of a sprayed muffin pan, 1/4 piece for small muffins. Then I put the mix it the pans and off to the oven to bake at 375° for about 20-25 minutes.

Voila….breakfast to go!

The small muffins that had silicone muffin liners turned out awesome. The bigger ones with the cooking spray stick a little. So I will be getting some larger muffin liners for sure!

Mixture ready to add eggs
Finished product!!

It’s 2016! Welcome to our little farm.

Few days old

When Farmer Cheese and I started raising chickens 4 years ago this March, I don’t think either of us envisioned nearly 90 of them! The funny thing is we are adding more. We can’t keep up with the demand for eggs and we are so infatuated with our little feathered friends. Since our humble beginnings we have learned a lot. We have suffered losses, watched new life hatch and can truly say this is what we really want to do now. In addition to the chickens this January we will be adding boer goats. We have been busy as little beavers getting the fencing ready. Milk goats are still in our future plans but yard goats are coming first. We are so very excited. We also garden to fill our freezer with fresh veggies. You will also find me in the kitchen canning and making jams and jellies in the spring and summer time. In Dec 2014 we processed a deer for the freezer so we still have plenty of meat for the upcoming year. We made sausage, steaks, roasts, and ground some for hamburger. We feel an accomplishment at having done this ourselves. (We have not been as lucky this year. The clear cutting of land all around us has scared all the animals away)
We are not nearly as self-sufficient as we’d like but we are working on it. Each day that we can spend less time and money in the grocery store is a step in the right direction.  We also plan on getting honey bees in the next year or so. We are working as hard as we can to prepare a homesteading life to enjoy when we retire. Some days it feels like we take a step or two backward for each step forward! Hopefully in a few more years we can both quit “working” and spend our time here on the farm. Thanks for joining us on our journey.

Homesteading state of mind

Here in the South we have an expression “the north 40” meaning we have a lot of land and we’ve got to go way over yonder to plant, water, feed, or fix something! I’m sure everyone dreams of a homestead like that, me included. But is it necessary to garden, home some animals, and  live like a homesteader? Absolutely not. Homesteading is about becoming more self-sufficient, making wiser choices. It’s about eating healthier food that we grow ourselves and that our animals provide for us. It’s about making things simpler. Are we completely there? I wish. We still have a long way to go, but as long as we are moving forward toward self-sufficiency then I feel good about our progress. We do have some acreage around us. We also have a lot of planted pines so we use every space available. We use planter boxes for herbs and pots for cherry tomatoes. Planting my pot tomatoes is on my list of things to do very soon! We have actually had our best success with them on the deck in pots.  Each spring we do plant a pretty large garden area with potatoes, green beans, peas, peppers, okra, tomatoes, and some other foods we enjoy. But I also know of people who grow the same in their square foot gardens!

We live in the country so our chickens roam around wherever they please.  That would be difficult on an urban homestead but animals are possible. Just make sure you check all your local ordinances first!

Got a porch or deck? A yard or a window sill? Get a pot and some soil and plant something. Then enjoy the fruits of your harvest because you have taken steps toward becoming a homesteader.

Middles enjoying their cool treat
Middles enjoying a cool treat
Herbs
Herbs
Kale
Kale

It’s a New Year: Meet Farmer and Mrs. Cheese!

Few days oldWhen Farmer Cheese and I started raising chickens 3 years ago this March, I don’t think either of us envisioned nearly 70 of them! The funny thing is we are adding more. We can’t keep up with the demand for eggs and we are so infatuated with our little feathered friends. Since our humble beginnings we have learned a lot. We have suffered losses, watched new life hatch and can truly say this is what we really want to do now. In addition to the chickens we garden to fill our freezer with fresh veggies. You will also find me in the kitchen canning and making jams and jellies in the spring and summer time. Earlier in December and last week we processed a deer for the freezer so we should have plenty of meat through the upcoming year. We made sausage, steaks, roasts, and ground some for hamburger. We feel an accomplishment at having done this ourselves. We are not nearly as self-sufficient as we’d like but we are working on it. Each day that we can spend less time and money in the grocery store is a step in the right direction.  We would like to have milk goats and honey bees in the future. We are working as hard as we can to prepare a homesteading life to enjoy when we retire. Hopefully in a few more years we can both quit “working” and spend our time here on the farm.

Homestead life and full time jobs

I’d like nothing better than to never have to set foot in a grocery store again! Of course there are some things a person has to buy but to become as self-sufficient as possible is our goal. Unfortunately now we both still work full-time jobs. Then upon coming home tending to the gardens and the chickens is another full-time job. It isn’t easy making all this work but it is well worth it. One day we will be able to leave the working world jobs behind and focus on our homestead. Right now we are weekend warriors and work until dark or dark-thirty everyday, but we love our little farm. 🙂 Here is my little poetic thoughts on that subject. I hope you enjoy.

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Gardening in the spring, summer and fall
Canning, freezing, preserving it all
Making pickles, jams and jellies
Growing enough to fill our bellies
Hens and roosters running everywhere
Providing plenty of fresh eggs to share
Milk goats are next in our master plan
Along with bees for honey, making pies and jam
One day we’ll leave the rush of the world behind
And live content here in our homestead life!