Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Un Bee-lievable!

Complements of Ace Clip Art

It has been a while since I've mentioned anything about Farm plans. If you are interested in some of my farm-related blogs, you can see a couple here here.

Since Dan and I are city kids, we have been taking courses to help us figure out what kind of farming to do. I'm sure it's going to be a lot like having kids: you read and read about raising kids, you know exactly how it's all supposed to work and exactly how you will handle each situation so that your child will turn out to be the most beautiful, most intelligent and most well behaved in all the land. Then the kid comes along, asserting it's own will, turning your life upside down and making sure you're eating humble pie for the rest of your life!

We can read every book, take every class, ask every expert and still won't know what farming is all about until we're actually out there shoveling poop and chasing cows out of the neighbor's garden.

[As an aside: a few weeks ago, I went out to the coop to check on the chickens. The puppy was with me. When I started heading in the house, I noticed the dog was chewing on something. At first, I thought it was a stick or something. It turned out to be a dead squirrel! I was so grossed out! Once I got him to drop it, I knew I had to dispose of it or he'd be gnawing on it every time he went outside. Besides, it was disgusting and I didn't want my kids to see it.  I got rid of it and I was quite proud that I did it without the assistance of my man (I did make sure he knew what an awesome wife he has though: "not every woman would do this, you know.") I consider the whole incident hands-on training for farm life].

Anyway, some of the courses we have taken are: food preservation, intensive grazing management, beginning farming entrepreneur program and growing berries. Last night I went to the first of five classes on beginning bee keeping.

There are certain things in nature that I think are perfect and by themselves can prove the existence of God.  For instance, the fact that you can take a tiny, itty bitty seed, put it in a bunch of dirt, water it for a few weeks, it grows into a plant, the plant produces blooms, the blooms turn into fruit or vegetables, you pick the fruit off the plant and eat it. And it's good and makes your body healthy. The more I learn about farming, the more amazed by and in awe I am of our Creator and how well he provides for us.

Bees and honey are definitely on the "Amazed and Awed" list. Did you know that a hive of bees will fly 55,000 miles to produce one pound of honey? That one honeybee produces about 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime? That honey never spoils? (when it crystalizes you just have to put it in hot water to liquify it again). Honey has antiseptic and other healing qualities? It's all so fascinating! Honey bees (and other pollinators) help increase crops, gardens, flowers and other plants.

Our next two bee classes will be spent building hives and the last two we will get to establish a hive. I can hardly wait! At this point, we are planning to start at least one hive this spring. I'll keep you posted as more fascinating facts come my way!  ;)

More farm news:

  • We are in the process of designing a barn. We have a builder and have decided the size and location of the barn. It will be a combination living space and storage. We also want to eventually put in a commercial kitchen.
  • Dan started working on some gardens in the Fall. The plan is to begin planing several gardens of vegetables this spring.
  • Dan built a hoop house for the chickens to stay in this winter. So far, they are doing well. A couple of times they have ventured out into the snow, but I think it's too cold on their feet. They seem to get a little grumpy, then run right back into the coop. We now have two egg layers - the mama and one chick. I'm not sure which chick it is yet. She lays light brown eggs. It's still so exciting to find an egg in the nest!
  • One of the chickens, Caroline, is a rooster. He's not crowing yet, but he does have an attitude and he's definitely working on developing his voice. Once he crows, he's history. We don't want to annoy the neighbors any more than we already do.
That's all the farm-related news. The last thing for this post is that I'm taking an online blog course. I'm hoping to tune this thing up a bit and make it more interesting. I appreciate you sticking with me!


Anonymous said...

That's a great update, Laura! I'm so encouraged that you guys are taking a dream and being proactive to make it happen. Keep it up!
Kerri H.

Laura P said...

Thanks, Kerri! :)

Georgene said...

My parents were in their fifties when they (two city "kids" from Queens) took early retirement, sold everything and bought 119 acres in the Shenandoah Valley. They raised black Angus cattle. My mother, an RN, did a lot of the "vet" stuff. My father, an engineer, learned how to run farm equipment and bale hay. They kept the farm until they were in their early 80s and couldn't work it anymore. They considered their time on the farm the best years of their lives. It took courage and grit and it sounds like you have it. Bravo!

Martha Winger said...

Bee keeping is so fascinating! My grandmother kept bees for many years and we used to get a mason jar of honey for Christmas. I look forward to hearing more about your hive!

Robin said...

Wow yyou are up to new great..!I love the part about the bees..I just read it to my daughter who loves honey...Im thinking about doing my own garden this year...not too many things ..just 4 or 5 but I dont know..I feel a little lazy for all of the work..Lol..but I want totally fresh veggies..!Ill be reading about your farming and all that you are learning..!

Michelle said...

I grew up on a farm and you have some wonderful experiences coming your way! I have so many wonderful memories. We had a lot of bee hives at our place and a few at relatives and friends.. nothing is better than breaking off a piece of honey comb and chewing on it like gum! You can get the indoor bee hives that are a wonderful learning experience. you can see them building their hive.

Laura P said...

Thanks everyone, for stopping by and leaving comments about the farm and bees. This is definitely quite an adventure!