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Animals

We’re Official .. Again

In accordance with state law, we applied for and received our beekeeper license. Very exciting.

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Bees Are Cool

I finally got a chance yesterday to go check on our bees. I needed to make sure that the queens got out of their cages and I needed to put some sugar water in their feeder (they need to be fed when starting out). Our lovely queens did get out of their cages but I’m still not good at finding them in the mass of 10,000 bees. Our little ladies have been very busy in the last six days. I took out a frame to place the queen cage in the hive last Saturday and I didn’t put the frame back. Well, I was surprised yesterday to see that my industrious girls had filled the space of the missing frame with honeycomb. I had to remove the extra comb so that I could put the missing frame back in. We got six fair size honeycombs out of the process. I feel bad to set them back by removing their hard work but it couldn’t just stay there. It was also neat to see the comb. It had nectar (to be turned into honey) and pollen in the comb cells. The kids thought it was pretty cool to see. Amber’s going to try to make something out of it, maybe some lip gloss.

 

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A Brand New Hive

We finally have bees!! Our bee packages showed up today. We ordered them through Cache Valley Bee Supply out of Logan but only had to run to Brigham City to get them. It was very exciting to get them into their new hives and a little daunting. Check out the videos and pictures:
Sorry about the shaky video, we had a very cute but inexperienced camera girl:


Sorry about the shaky video, we had a very cute but inexperienced camera girl:

 

 

 

Cheap, Cheap, Cheap

DSC_0011 No, my in-laws are not discussing my financial attitude. We had a surprise visit from the stork today. The postal office called today,  a Sunday, and told us that they had a bunch of baby chickens waiting for us and that we had to pick them up today by 3pm or they’d just leave them on the dock at the post office. We had ordered 80 chicks from Murray McMurray Hatchery but were expecting them a week or so later. So we scrambled to go get them and get their stuff ready. Looking at the picture, you wouldn’t think that there were 80 birds in there and you’d be right. Turns out that they shorted us 11 birds. We’ll have to call tomorrow to figure out why. Half of the birds actually belong to our neighbors so only 32 of them are ours. 15 of them are meat birds, 15 of them are layers and 2 of them are ornamental birds. They’re cute little fuzzy butts.

May The Force Be With You, Chewie

2012-06-28_20-58-46_510We’ve had a little rabbit named Chewbacca or Chewie roaming our pasture for the last year or so. He originally was in a rabbit hutch on our porch but he was starting to get stinking, all that poop and all. so we moved his hutch out to the pasture. Our kids weren’t very diligent in putting the lid back on to the hutch after feeding him and he got out of the hutch. We had assumed he ran away but a week later we found him hiding out in the back corner of our pasture. We figured that he seemed to be healthy and content with just roaming back there so we decided to let him.

It became  a treat to see him from time to time. He didn’t like for us to get too close but it was fun to see him. A couple of weeks ago I started noticing him hanging out in the chicken coop and figured he was just trying to stay out of the cold. I even reached down to pet him and he let me, which was weird. Maybe he was getting tamer. Well, our kids came in from feeding the animals yesterday telling us that sad news that Chewie had become one with the Force (Star Wars lingo for that he had died). I guess he wasn’t really getting tamer but was coming to his end. It’s kind of sad to take care of his body but I am grateful that he had a “free-ish” life and didn’t have to stay locked up in a cage.

Let’s Bee On Our Way

We finally committed ourselves to getting bees. We put a deposit on two packages of bees through Cache Valley Bee Supply. They should be showing up the middle of April. We’re pretty excited, we’ve been wanting to do this for a long time. From what we have learned, we won’t get much honey the first year as the hive establishes itself but the next year should give us some sweet nectar.

We’re Official

American Dairy Goat AssociationWe took our time doing it but we’reofficially members of the American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA). I never thought I’d be interested, let alone be excited about. Tattle Tail Farm was available as a herd name and now belongs to us. Now we can register our goats under our herd name and any new goats born this spring will be named “Tattle Tail Farm <Goat Name>”. I guess goats have their surname in the front. Even when we sell the babies they will keep our herd name. We also got our choice of tattoo letters (TTF). When the babies are born, they are usually tattooed in their ears to show the herd name. Unfortunately for our goats, they are Lamanchas and don’t have ample enough of ears to tattoo. They get to have the tattoo in their tail, a little bit more sensitive spot I think.

That Didn’t Take Long

We’ve really enjoyed having our dairy goat Leila. She’s a sweet animal and we’ve enjoyed the opportunity to milk. I’m not fond of getting up early to milk but once I’m up, I really enjoy the morning with the animals (the furry ones, not the kids even though I enjoy being with them too). We’ve been struggling with Lelia being sick, a cough, since we got her and if you follow her milking records she’s gone from a liter a day to maybe .3 liters a day. We’ve tried some natural herbs that are supposed to encourage milk production and tried feeding her more. All to no avail. With Amber not feeling too well lately, we decided to let her dry up. I’m a little bugged that we spent that time and money to have a milk goat that isn’t giving us any milk but we think in the long term it will be for the best. Not milking Leila will let her body focus and being healthy and getting ready to make a cute new baby goat. We’ll start milking again when the new baby shows up in May.

Love Is In The Air … I was wondering what that smell was.

It’s that time of year to let our very eager billy goat to “hang” out with our dairy goat Leila. Amber really wants to have new baby goat this spring so we’re hoping that these two little lover “goats” get a long. Goat gestation is 155 days so we should see a new baby goat or two about the 5th of May. It’s about time that we could use Puck for his intended purpose. Since he fully matured a few months ago, he’s been stinking himself up really badly. Apparently billy goats don’t think that they’re natural smell is alluring enough so they they pee in their faces to really turn up it up a notch. It really isn’t pleasant but the girls really seem to be pleased.

 

Life Has Its Own Plans Sometimes

It’s funny how life is sometimes. You may have the best of intentions in trying to do good things and life just steps in to give you a learning moment. We’ve been trying really hard to live more sustainably and to be better prepared for the future. That’s a lot of the reason we moved to where we are and why we are doing the animal thing and the other efforts that we’re documenting on this site. The hard part is that it takes a little money to do these things. I’ve been doing some side work in the evenings to help pay down debt and pay for some things that we’d like to have for our farm. We are due for a fair size check at the end of the month. We recently paid off our credit card (again) and had decided that we were going to use the money on buying all of our bee equipment, we were pretty excited.

Well, shortly after we made that decision, our truck broke down, both sets of cars need at least two new tires and a broken thermostat upstairs is going to cost $200 to replace. All these lovely life events combine together to zap that extra money that we wanted to use for the bee equipment. We’re grateful that we had the money to cover all these issues, it would have ended up on the credit card if it weren’t for that check. I just wish that working hard could go towards what we planned not trying to fix stuff that shouldn’t be broken in the first place. Sometimes you wonder if life is just against us or that we’re being punished for something. But I know that God doesn’t work that way. He absolutely cares for us and is mindful of us but He’s not going to cause my truck to break and most of the time He’s not going to prevent it from breaking. We need to learn how to make our way in this life without Him having to carry us the whole way. We need to involve Him in our lives and our problems but realize that he expects us to do everything that we can. I also think that He’s very ok with us having bees, we just need to prioritize and make sure that we’re using what He gave us the best way we can.