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Our goat-jumping problem all started when Abigail informed me that late August grass was far too wet for morning tethering.
So, in my neverending quest to produce the world's most spoiled herd of two, I conceded to our queen's demand.
So Abigail and Artemesia
were left in their paddock with only last winter's old hay in their
manger plus sub-par weeds in the pasture. No wonder they wanted to climb
the hay mountain and harvest this year's sweet, dried grasses in the
warm, dry comfort of their coop.
Anyway, with the manger
empty, I filled its cavernous depths with 2015 hay that our girls
appeared to be so enamored with. Then I opened the door so our goats
could explore their new breakfast bar.
Sigh. It looks like I need to have a chat with our bad doeling and see what makes her tick next. Good thing she's so cute....
My dirty little secret is
that I'm a workaholic...until you leave me alone on the farm. Then I
have a tendency to curl up with a book and a cat and not emerge for
Of course, once I'm outside, the wonder of nature always sucks me in. Tuesday, I was clearing off the butternut beds in preparation for planting oats.
The weeds had grown high in the aisles and the remaining butternut
vines turned this zone into a wild area, so I wasn't entirely surprised
to find a box turtle happily hanging out amid the greenery (along with
seven overlooked squash).
Next door, the broilers
were already hard at work dismantling my earlier planting of oats at the
feet of failing tomato vines. Mark and I put the brooder in this area
because I assumed tiny chicks wouldn't be able to scratch up the plants
before their roots became fully established. Apparently I was wrong! At only
one week old, the Red Rangers
are already prime scratchers, so I may have to write off some of the
cover crops in this zone. Oh well --- no huge loss since we'll get to
eat the meat.
"You're not paying attention to me," complained Huckleberry. "This is boring. I'm going to take a nap."
My quick tarp
protection lasted a whopping 4 days.
It's always handy when
delving into a bee hive to spend a couple of minutes beforehand thinking
through your goals for the operation. This time around, my plan was
simple --- I wanted to check on the state of our two hives' honey stores
to determine how much sugar water (if any) they need to stock up for the winter.
The mother hive is shown
on the left in the first photo in this post, and you can see the
hardware is a weird Langstroth-Warre mixture. As long-term readers know,
I've been trying to convert this colony from Warre to Langstroth boxes all summer, but the queen seems to want to stay up in the Warre box. The top photo in this conglomeration shows that Warre attic --- still disappointingly full of brood.
I didn't take as many
photos of the daughter hive since it's much harder to pull out Warre
frames and look inside. Like the mother hive, this colony has four
boxes, and here all of the comb is drawn. But the daughter's attic is
pretty much empty and so is the basement, so the bees are primarily
working in the middle two boxes (just like in the mother hive). Based on
weight, I'd say this colony might survive without feeding, but if I can
track down my second feeder lid I'll probably put these girls back on
the dole too.
Another Monday, another big harvest push.
This week, my primary goal was to completely clear out the main butternut patch to make way for planting an oat cover crop.
To that end, I harvested every squash, whether it was ready or not. The
few that were still greenish will go to the goats in the near future, so they won't be wasted.
Speaking of goat
concentrates, I also harvested my experimental field corn planting. I
put in a couple of rows of Nothstine Dent corn this spring mostly
because our goats enjoy sweet corn leaves so much. We can only consume
so much sweet corn, but I figured a bit of field corn could either feed
the goats (if I lower my standards), the chickens, or family members who
consume grain. We'll see who these new ears go to and whether the
not-quite-so-sugary leaves are as much like goat candy as those of sweet
Finally, in unrelated Monday news, Mama Song Sparrow's third hatch
is now underway! Two babies grace her hidden nest, deep in the
raspberry canes, and both are so tiny they have to be sparrows instead
of cowbirds. Here's hoping she has better luck raising her own species
this time around.
We got our final set of 9 hay
bales hauled in today.
rallying cry among those of us who ascribe to voluntary simplicity is
"Things don't make us happy." Why, then, are materialistic habits so
hard to break?
Huckleberry and his favorite cousin.
The mercury dropped to 49
this past week, scaring me into thinking fall may be coming along a
little faster than usual. Time to double down on preserving basil (the
tenderest summer crop) and time to make sure the bees are ready for the
I'll delve into the hives to check on winter stores next week, but for now I started with a varroa mite test.
I expected the news here to be good since splitting and swarming both
lower mite populations dramatically. So I wasn't entirely surprised to
find only 5 mites beneath the daughter hive and 11 beneath the mother
hive after 48 hours. Looks like our high-class bees came through for us
again! (Now, if they'd just make some honey....)
The goats have been bad again.
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