This is what we have been doing here on the farm. Many found memories of how we started out, just a couple horses & dogs. Dreaming and planning for future plans ~ And most importantly living today.
Since my last post, the weather has been ever changing. One weekend it was snow, the next ice and the following a high of 70 degrees!
All of the animals have endured these changes very well. Mother nature has a way doing that. Since the horses have their winter coats, the 70 degree day had them playing and splashing in a mud puddle to cool off.
The biggest challenge in the winter months is water. All of the animals must have 24/7 access to clean unfrozen water. Our water tanks have heaters, but must be checked frequently to make sure they are working. To fill the water tanks this time of year, we use several "pocket" hoses connected to one another that will reach the tanks from the spigot. These hoses then collapse into a bucket.
The bucket is then stored in our mud room. This eliminates the ever having to deal with frozen hoses. We use to drag entire rubber hoses inside and trip over them while doing laundry. I love whoever invented these pocket hoses!
We had hoped to ride on the unusual warm and sunny day, but as I mentioned, the horses had a different idea! The thought of getting this amount of mud cleaned off, changed our minds.
So instead we headed over to the Apiary. Keeping bees over the winter is nerve wrecking. We tuck them in and make sure they have lots of honey stores and supplemental sugar and hope for the best. Bees cluster together in the cold and will not break that cluster if it's not warm enough. Keeping nearby honey and sugar for them is vital. We do not use any chemical treatments on our bees; risky as far as loosing them to the biggest fear, mites; but worth it to have bees, beeswax and honey that are not treated with chemicals.
Getting into the hives was bittersweet. Being able to get a peak in the hives in January is rare and I was able to capture pictures of them doing their beautiful work. The downside.., we found out sooner than later, that we did lose a colony. We have determined that we did indeed lose them to varroa mites. Very common, but sad nonetheless. The remaining hives are doing well though.
We will be busy in the coming months expanding and exploring additional non chemical beekeeping methods.
Another fun and learning experience we are doing this year is tapping maple trees. Don't worry.. we follow very rigid guidelines on how much we take, the trees we tap and the overall care of the tree. It takes quite a few gallons to boil down to a quart of maple syrup. This is why we put one tap, maybe two on larger trees and we tap several trees; therefore never taking too much from one tree. This is one of those exciting teaching moments for young children. The ones around here learn pretty early on, where their food comes from.
After we initially tapped this tree, the next day, slowly but surely, it began to flow. Over the next couple days when the nights are cold and the days are sunny, the flow will begin to increase. When we have several gallons collected from the various Maple trees, we will boil and boil and boil. After several hours of boiling outside, we will bring in the final gallon and boil that down to get about a quart. If you have never tapped a Maple tree and have access to one, give it a whirl. It's super easy to 'tap" into this gem of nature. Tapping kits are pretty inexpensive and as you can see you can use any empty container to collect it.
Okay, on to products. Valentines Day is right around the corner. Co-Op Chicks has some awesome options for gifts. Gifts that will last and that aren't fattening! Check out Co-Op Chicks All Natural Massage Oil Bars.
They look like lotion bars and they are similar. However, these are made to melt faster upon skin contact.
Another great gift is this All Natural Spa Set. Includes: Sweet Birch Body Butter, Whipped Sweet Birch Scrub, Himalayan Salt Foot Soak and Some of Your Beeswax Sweet Birch Lip Balm,
Comes packaged in these pink drawstring bags and black bag with pink tissue paper.
After Shave Spray and Beard Set.
Get your orders in soon and don't forget to use coupon code beemine10 for 10% off your order!
CHERISH YESTERDAY ~ DREAM TOMORROW ~ LIVE TODAY