Monday, March 31, 2014

Balance

Oh, how I've missed you guys! I didn't get a chance to post last week because I started a new job on Monday that kept me very busy. But it's good busy, because I'm loving it so far (I'm a paralegal in the real estate/finance division of a company). It's much more demanding than my previous job, and I've found it has been a struggle to balance work, homestead demands, and the blog.


We're seeing more and more signs of spring around here lately, and our garden work is in full swing. Lots of seeds planted in the garden already with tons of seedlings growing indoors. Our vineyard is set up and ready to go when our vines arrive, which can't be soon enough! We also recently planted 30 trees (10 pecan, 10 persimmon, and 10 evergreens) as part of our digging in goal for the year since these trees will take many years to grow and produce for us.


Of course there are cats, chickens, guineas, a dog (and a husband) to feed every day, so that keeps me busy as well.

Baby waiting not so patiently for her food.

So with all of that, the blog had to take a back seat this week while I figure things out. My good blogging buddy, Jackie, reminded me that blogging should be fun, not another thing on your to do list. And this week, it was more of a thing on my to do list. She knows a thing or two about balance, so I will listen to her advice.

 This one's for you, Reifyn.

I'm not sure going forward how regular my blogging schedule will be, so if I'm away for longer than normal, things probably just got a little bit hectic around here. With spring and summer coming up and the gardening work getting even more time consuming, I do see that happening.

I had a few people check in on me last week to make sure everything was ok (thank you guys!) so I thought I'd just let you all know what is happening right now. I won't be around to visit you all as often as I did before, but please know that I still care and I do think about you all the time!

~Tammy

Friday, March 21, 2014

Feathered Friend Friday: Happy Girls

Welcome to our "Feathered Friend Friday" series. Each Friday I write a post with facts, photos, or stories about our chickens and guineas. If you need to catch up, you'll find all the FFF posts here

Now that spring is officially here (woohoo!) I can tell the girls have a little extra pep in their step. It's easy to see that they are thrilled with the warmer weather. They can barely wait to get out of their coop in the morning, and they don't want to go back in at night. We humans are ecstatic with the warmer weather, but our feathered friends are happy as well!


It's still very brown out here, but there are small signs of green popping up around the house. In no time the grass will be back in and the girls will be overjoyed to chomp on fresh greens and catch bugs.


They really are getting back into the groove with their egg laying, and we are collecting around a dozen eggs a day, sometimes as many as 14 eggs from our 16 girls. They are definitely earning their keep!


My favorite thing in the world is sitting outside on a beautiful day while watching my chickens free range and happily scratch through the woods. I am so thrilled that soon I will be able to do just that!

~Tammy

PS - This one goes out to my youngest follower, Grace. Hope you liked this post! :)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Bee Update

Our bees made it through the winter! Hooray! We were nervous since this was our first winter as beekeepers and we have heard that many beekeepers have losses over the winter. One main reason why the bees die is starvation, so we left all of last year's honey in the hive for the bees. Of course being their first year there wasn't a lot of excess honey, but we did keep it in the hive just to be safe. We also began feeding them with a sugar board over the last few weeks to make sure they have enough food until they can start foraging again.



We are also working on moving the hive back a little bit to sit on our new hive stand that will hold all of the future hives. In order to make sure the bees return to their hive, it is best to only move it several inches each day and take some time. This way they won't get confused and disoriented when returning from foraging during the day. Apparently they don't like change very much!

Making sure his veil is secure before moving the hive!

It's still a little bit too cold and windy to do a full inspection of the hive, but from the population we're seeing out flying each day, we're hopeful that the hive is strong. We even saw several bees bringing pollen back today. I'm so happy that the bees made it through this harsh winter!

~Tammy

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Vineyard: Part I

Back in January, I shared our resolution for this year is to dig in and add long-term improvements to our property. We visited a winery in January to get some ideas on how to set up our vineyard and ever since then David has been working like crazy to get our space ready for the vines.


This is the view from our back porch. If you look really hard, you can see up on top of the hill we have our space cleared and all the posts in for the vines! David gets about 99% of the credit here, since he cut down around 60 massive trees and stacked up all the wood. I helped with moving the wood that I could carry and burning some bigger sticks.


Here you can see the posts and all the wood stacked in between the trees (yes, we got snow yesterday - ugh!) and a pile of sticks to burn still. The posts were reused from part of the rustic wooden fence that ran in front of our house.


We also have bamboo placed where the vines will go in order to get an idea of the spacing. We're planting a total of 56 vines, so we need a lot of fencing and support. The vines are being shipped to us in a few weeks so we had to get the structural support in place before planting the vines.


This is the view from the vineyard looking back down towards the house. We do still have some cleanup left, but for now at least the space is ready for the vines. (If you look to the right of our house, you can see our garden space. To the left of the house is the chicken compound.)

Our biggest goal of all is to dig a pond on the property in the space between the house and the vineyard. We are getting quotes on the pond construction and mapping out the best size and placement for the pond. Now all we have to do is win the lottery!

~Tammy

Shared with Maple Hill Hop