Tag Archives: homesteading

Organic Bee Keeping – The Latest Buzz

Bee Book by Ross ConradOrganic Beekeeper, Ross Conrad gave a three hour workshop/talk on ways to be sure one’s hives thrive. The time flew by as he emphasized the need to be sure…

1.) the bees have plenty of honey all year around but especially going into and throughout the winter AND how to rearrange frames to insure it.

2.) the bees are healthy AND how to use natural ways to  support and encourage their well-being.

3.) the bees stay dry with a firmly secured top cover and plenty of ventilation AND ways that have worked best for him.

I’m thoroughly BUZZED to try again with another hive next summer AND looking forward to the Motherhouse.us BeeKeepers Bee on March 22, 2014

installing a package of honey beesI highly recommend Bernie Re’s Global Home blog account of his first years keeping bees (under the wing of Eric Zinke). From describing how they installed a package of bees to catching a swarm to their experiences with a bear, Bernie’s photos and explanations bring a refreshing beginner’s view of keeping honey bees.

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Autobiography of an Ox-in-Training by Timothy Lacy

Sherlock 2-16-14Hello, my name is Sherlock.

Sherlock says "Good Bye" to Mercy at Bluestone Farm 4-19-13Just Sherlock. I am a Jersey cow. I was born on a warm April day at Bluestone Farm in Brewster NY. When I was 2 weeks old my mom, Silmaril, and I moved to the Local Farm barn. It was a nice welcoming barn where swallows nested on the roof and they would always keep me company whenever Silmaril was out in the fields with the other cows. And Tivoli the cat who had just given birth to a litter of kittens would come daily to see me.

Samantha meets her neighbor Sherlock 5-29-014I had only been there a week when a heifer calf named Samantha moved in.

Tim feeds Samantha fresh milkI convinced mom to let her have some of my milk so I always consider her my sister. She’s a really good looking cow. She is yellow like the color of corn syrup. All heifers that I’ve seen look like that.

Sherlock and Tim 7-28-13It wasn’t long before Tim started taking me for walks. Tim is a boy who lives in the valley nearby.

Tim and Sherlock 7-31-13He uses commands like “Ho” which means stop, “Come” which means go, “Gee” which means turn right, and “Haw” which means turn left.

Tim and Sherlock 9-8-13As I got older he added new commands such as “Head up”.

Tim and sherlock 11-3-13The walks are really fun but I don’t really get the point. Maybe If Tim could understand me I would know. Whenever I am not being walked I sit in the barn talking to Samantha and eating my favorite food HAY,HAY,

AND MORE HAY! In fact the hay barn is on top of a flight of stairs that are in my pen so I could get hay whenever I wanted if only I could learn to climb stairs. Occasionally Tim puts me a separate pen where I only get 2 flakes of hay a day. A flake is a big chunk of a bale. I also cannot see Samantha. At least it isn’t as bad as being kept from your milk. You see once you get older you’re not allowed to get milk. And if you try the punishments are gruesome. You see a couple of days ago this bull named Phinigan who lives in the pastures was caught drinking milk so the farmer made him wear this uncomfortable nose ring. Poor Phinigan. They are now not letting me have milk either. OH it is so annoying I mean I wish they would put my mom in the pen right next to me.

Sherlock and Tim 2-16-14It is now winter. All the swallows have gone and now Samantha and Tivoli are the only people I can talk to. But one day Tim took me for a walk and there was this puffy white stuff coming down from the sky. It was scary so I tried to run away but you can’t run away from the weather. And Tim was upset so I know I did a very bad thing.

Margaret walks Sherlock in his new yoke 12-2-13Tim has been doing another strange thing a lot lately. He puts a hard wooden thing on the back of my neck a lot lately. I don’t know what its called but it’s so strange looking that I feel weird wearing it. I’m starting to realize that these walks are what I live for so I try to do whatever they want me to do. But the question is what do they want this to lead to?

snowy Local Farm barnOk a lot of this white puffy stuff that I think they call snow is coming down. I mean so much that the barn is buried. That’s why now I don’t think I will see Tim any time soon. I just got some interesting news: They’re planning to let me move into the pastures in a couple months. OH I just can’t wait for that day! I’ll finally be able to see my mom again and run and talk to chickens and meet Froggy the horse and live off fresh grass. I haven’t gotten fresh grass since August. And it is now February just a couple weeks before this all happens!

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Morning Gloryous Seed Saving

dried morning glory vines.

To keep our home cool during summer, Margaret hung sections of worn-out poultry netting over our south facing windows and trained scarlet runner beans, morning glories, and even a bottle gourd plant to climb the netting. Now, when days are short and cold, we’d like the southern sun to shine fully through those windows. We lifted the fence posts that had hung horizontally across the top edge of the windows on nails and put everything, dried vines and fence, into a muck bucket and brought it to Local Farm.

cleaning morning glory seeds.

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Today, our young friends helped break away all the dried vines and seed pods. They rolled up the cleaned fence to store until next spring and separated out the tiny black morning glory seeds from the chaff.

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blow away the chaff.

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Some blew away the chaff.

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picking up seeds.

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and some us picked up the tiny seeds one-by-one.

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gloryous printing.

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We block printed morning glory blossoms and leaves on letter-sized  paper.

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hands at work.

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Our blocks were cut out of a “soft-kut” printing block and detailed with a  linoleum cutter. They were mounted on corrogated cardboard and had folded cardboard grips held in place with spray adhesive. We used violet ink to best represent the President Tyler heirloom variety of morning glory which is the one we had grown and saved.

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packets ready to fill.

To make seed packets, we tore the printed paper in quarters, folded and taped in the sides and bottom. Here are some waiting to be filled and taped closed for a lovely holiday gift!

Saving and sharing one’s favorite heirloom garden seeds is both a fun and simple step toward self sufficiency, and a great community builder.

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A LOVELY New Home

Fond FarewellSometimes, life doesn’t work out the way we’d hoped and even family cows must say farewell to their loved ones and find a new family. So it was with Lovely, a nine-year-old jersey pet, who came back to Local Farm while her family broken-heartedly looked for a new home.

We heard about another family in a nearby town that was seriously considering getting their own cow and we asked them to think about adopting Lovely. Although we thought she was dry when she came to Local Farm, with regular daily milking, she began consistently producing about 2 1/2 gallons of milk a day. For almost 2 months, her would-be adoptive family came every week-end to Local Farm to learn to milk and get to know Lovely.

Finally the big day arrived and Lovely climbed into the big blue trailer and rode off to her new home.

Here’s the latest MOOS from her new family…

Lovely's new barn.
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I just wanted to let you know that Lovely is settling in… The first day she was mapping out her area from the barn to the pasture a few times a day and in heaven with the fresh pasture all to herself. Although she is lonely at times and has been crying. I know we probably shouldn’t be spoiling her but can’t help when we see her sad, so we give her apples when we see her like this. In the mornings she is fond of  ”mooing”  until we come out to milk her then she seemed fine, this seems to be her way of telling us she is lonely.

 

kids and lovelyWe are still learning and adjusting to a routine. As of now she spends her days out in the pasture with the bunnies, chickens and kitties and in the evenings we’ve been allowing her to bed down in the barn after her evening milking. She really likes this! We get out to see her often during the day and she always greets us when we come.

Here are some pictures I thought you would like to see and anytime if you’re around … please stop by to visit. Thank you so much Debra for everything you have taught our family. We are truly grateful for this gift and we will take care of her the way we feel you would!

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Questing Guest

Aspiring farmer, John Motsinger, visited us to learn as much as possible about how we do things at Local Farm. He milked a cow, drove a tractor, carted mulch for our blueberry bushes, herded errant cows, harvested chickens, toted bales, fed hay, bottle-fed calves, learned all about making salve and yogurt, spread newspaper and compost for lasagne gardening, planted rye, walked calves, and MOOre!feeding hay 11-20-13 by John Motsinger

 Here we demonstrate how many hands make work light.
(photo by John)
walking calves Seraphina and Racquel 11-20-13

…and here we are with calves, Racquel and Seraphina
(photo by Lazlo)

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