Monday, July 22, 2013

So a couple of weeks ago we gave the donkeys away.

So a couple of weekends ago we gave the donkeys away.
Our fencing man, Junior, told me who to contact to get the donkeys last year.
Junior came to the farm a few weeks ago because we need some more fence built.
I told him that I needed to find a good home for Jack and Jerry.
He said he might know a couple of people who would take them.
Junior found a nice man that has goats, horses and donkeys!
They came with a cattle trailer and backed it up to the corral.
John and Joe and Sara were there to help and say goodbye.
They all moved away from the corral.
Junior and Mr. Elbert watched from afar.
I got a bucket of oats and called to Jack and Jerry.
Jack and Jerry followed me into the corral.
John closed the gates as we passed through them.
We went into the chute that leads to the trailer.
Joe encouraged the donkeys forward.
 I put the feed bucket in the trailer.
Jack and Jerry followed the bucket.
(I have found most animals to be food motivated.)
Very anti-climatic.
I told Mr. Elbert that the donkeys really weren't that tame.
He said as long as they would follow a bucket, that they would all do just fine.
So a couple of weeks ago the donkeys found a good new home.

Mexican stand off

Odin is big enough now to stay out of his pen during the day, and at night too, as long as he is with Luna and not able to get to the older ewes. Luna and Odin sleep with the young rams, under the big oak.

The first night he stayed out I closed his pen door. I found him the next morning sleeping in front of the closed door. So now I prop it open so he can go in if he wants. This morning the three Emden geese went into his pen. He quietly went to the door and laid down. The geese peered around the corner and then honked at him. They pulled back. He put his head down and waited.  They eventually became this brave. And then Luna came to see what was happening. She got Odin's attention and the geese got out of the pen. He is still afraid of them so I don't know what his plan was if he caught one. I would have like to have seen that.

Odin caught a mallard duck yesterday. They are still quite young and don't know to fly to safety yet. They get confused and run to a corner and then Odin or Luna can catch them. Well I saw him with this one and saved it. And of course he got a stern lecture. Luna hasn't killed a chicken lately. Her number is still 2. Odin may be a different challenge. He has a mind of his own. I don't know what his number will be before he understands that the poultry are not his to eat.

Someone wrote on Facebook the other day that her two year old Great Pyrenees had killed a baby chick and wanted to know if she should put her dog down. She thought the dog was a chicken killer and couldn't be trained otherwise. The uproar from Facebook was interesting. Of course everyone told her not to kill the dog!! She panics about one chick and I wonder how many chickens or ducks I am going to lose before Odin understands. His number right now is zero.

Goose! Goose! Goose!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Turkeys in the Rain

 So I have my first turkey story.
The turkeys perch each night on the top rail of an old chicken coop.
It doesn't have a roof. Just the rail at the top.
It's one of those small three hen coops I had before the farm.
(You can see it in the picture.)
It has been very hot and sunny here lately.
I asked my husband to help me put a tarp
over the turkey day run to provide them with a bit of shade.
That was last Tuesday.
Last Wednesday evening, we got a much needed rain.
Because of the ability to provide the turkeys with cover from the rain,
I moved the old chicken coop so it was under the tarp.
Wasn't that thoughtful of me?
I waited out the storm, lightening you know.
And then went to check on all the animals.
The turkeys were fine.
Except they were jumping up in the corner where the old chicken coop had been.
They were trying to get up onto something that had been moved!
I moved the old chicken coop back to its original position.
The turkeys jumped onto their perch.
Good night!
Sunning themselves after the storm

Stealing honey!

We started keeping bees in 2008. The farm needs the bees for good pastures. The clover needs pollenated and my cows love clover. So I bought one hive that summer. I have bought others and caught swarms. It has been a fun hobby. At one time I had as many as 8 hives. Right now I have four hives. I went into the winter with 6 but lost two to these unknown reasons that have been killing all the bees.

I have found myself allergic to honey bees!  I have been stung about 20 times and I had hoped that I was building up an immunity to the bees. But it turns out I have been working up a reaction to them. I got stung last fall, first by a honey bee and then the next week by a wasp. I broke out with hives each time. The first time I went to the hospital and the second time I went to town just in case I had breathing trouble.

Everything turned out fine but because of this development I was not going to mess with the bees and honey this year. I am getting tested and may do allergy shots. (I do not want to give up my bees!!!)

I talked to a friend and he said his bee hives were full! More honey than he had seen in years. It has been a very good spring. Lots of rain and lots of wildflowers. Wildflowers are still on the fields. (This time last year we were in a drought and the grass was brown. We had no flowers left. I had been feeding the bees since May.)

My son-in-law, Joe, said he would help. He loves the honey! We suited up, got the smokers smoking, and headed in. The first hive we opened was FULL! So many bees! All four hives were all full. We stole a total of 20 frames. I have averaged about 3 pounds of honey per frame in the past and these frames were as heavy as I have ever seen. So we should have 50-60 lbs. of honey! Or more!

Joe had never stolen honey and processed it. After a short explanation of the process, he de-capped and spun the frames out in the centrifuge. He watched the honey hit the sides and drip through the filtering screen and into the holding tank.

We picked the prettiest comb and cut it to put into the pint mason jars. We filled the remainder of the jars with honey. Most folks don't know that you can eat honeycomb. You can spread it on toast or just eat it out of the jar.

Now I have to get the capped honey bear bottles, 1 lb. bottles , and 2 lb. bottles to process the rest of the honey. Like I said, I was not going to steal honey this year so I did not prepare my equipment. I will let you know how much we get this year. Enjoy the beauty of the comb honey for now.