As a kid I remember my mother making homemade pasta. Mostly because my brother and I would sneak into the kitchen and snag the doughy pasta as it was drying on the racks. Having a few extra minutes on my hands now-a-days I decided to make my first batch of noodles as an adult. It seemed well worth it when I was done. Also, our chickens add a little fun to it… Here is how I did it: Continue reading
My husband and I have different opinions on how the finer things in life should be done. Such as painting over hinges and hardware on doors. He can’t stand painting over hinges. I don’t care. He has the mindset of if you are going to do it, do it right, while I have the mindset of lets just get this done as quickly as possible. I must say, this being the third time we’ve encountered this problem, I think he might just be right. Continue reading
It’s Easter time!!! One of my favorite holidays as a kid. Waking up to an Easter basket filled with candies and chocolates, searching our small backyard and house for hidden eggs and dyeing eggs wacky and weird colors was all part of the greatness of the holiday. As I grew older some of those traditions have slowly faded away. My mother now tosses me a bag of my favorite Easter candy and says, “This is from the Easter bunny…” However you celebrate this holiday or don’t celebrate this holiday there is one surprise you may not be in for that stems from this occasion.
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As we’ve updated you earlier, we winterized our bees this winter by wrapping roofing paper around the hive and supplementing them with some hard candy. We’ve had some very frigid days but recently we’ve had some record high days in the 60’s. Continue reading
When we first moved to the farm there were a lot of Do-It-Yourself type repairs by the previous owner. For example, the previous owner worked at the high school as a maintenance man, so when there were holes in the barn, he used old locker doors to patch them. He also must have drank a ton of coffee because there are flattened out coffee cans nailed to the barn. At first it caused giggles between us and our reaction was: “wow, what was this guy thinking.” However, the longer we are here, the more we find ourselves doing the same type of things. Yesterday was one of those days. Continue reading
One of the last farm auctions of the season, and as Joe was off getting coffee, I bid $4 on a wooden bench and won. The bench came with a cushion with some very faded, well worn fabric that just had to go. Whippie! A new bench and a small project for me. Here is what I did:
Here is a before and after for ya.
As soon as the holidays ended it started…the influx of seed catalogs!! It was also negative temperatures with hardly any sun as we were being bombarded to jump start our spring planting. But hey, its better than Christmas in July. Continue reading
The bees! I always forget about the bees when people ask what we have going on at the farm. Especially this time of year when they are hibernating. So here is an update on the bees.
As you may remember, we had a few fits of panic and unanswered questions this summer with our hive. We thought we lost our queen, then we got a new one, then we found hive beetles and mites… All said and done, our colony did not produce an excess amount of honey that we felt comfortable harvesting from them. Therefore, we left the hive as is and prepared it for winter.
Since we were still uncertain about our queen status, since we still didn’t see any new larva in the hive, we decided to do everything we could to keep this colony of bees alive through the winter and hope that come Spring, they will start thriving on their own. We started by feeding them extra sugar water as Fall approached. This is just a 1:1 ratio of sugar and water in a mason jar turned upside down with holes poked in it.
This is a great easy way to supply your bees with extra food, however, as the weather turned and the temperatures dropped, well water freezes. Therefore, we switched to hard candy. It takes only minutes to make this mixture up of sugar, vinegar and water to bring it to a boil, but it takes many weeks for the mixture to harden. I followed honeybeesuite.com’s how to, found here on how to make the hard candy.
So we put one plate full of hard candy in the hive stuffed the extra space with paper and covered it up for the winter. I wrapped the hive in roofing tar paper and stapled it to the hive to keep wind, moisture and drafts out of the hive. Done, hive is winterized.
You really want to leave them bee for the winter as much as possible. Only check on them on the warmest days. They do a good job of producing heat and every time you open the hive up it releases all that heat they have spent generating.
Since we went the extra effort to feed them I wanted to make sure they still had something to munch on this winter and decided to check on them. I only lifted the lid took a quick peek to make sure they had enough food and quickly closed it. I saw a bunch of slow moving bees near the top and only a small chunk of the candy gone. Both of which I took as a good sign. They hadn’t munched through the hard candy much so that tells me they had enough honey in the hive to be satisfied. I could hear the bees, and see that they were alive, so again, a great sign. I did see one or two that decided to climb up the paper I stuffed in for insulation and met their fate with the cold temperatures of Wisconsin. I suppose a few casualties is alright, if they were dumb enough to leave their warm hive then we don’t want them in our colony.
Good luck little honey bees! See you in a few months!