Posted on May 24, 2013
A Guest by Chicken Wrangler Sara
Beekeeper Brian recently purchased four queen bees in hopes of starting four new hives. The queen bees were shipped by mail.
He tracked their exact arrival at the post office – late on a Saturday night. Since there is no Sunday delivery, we went to the post office to pick them up. After a thorough search of the facility, Beekeeper Brian was finally able to locate the buzzing box and bring it home.
He set up four nucs (starter hives) with the new queens.
For some reason, one queen was not happy with her new palace and left, taking a group of workers with her.
This was a little frustrating. The queen could have gone anywhere with her workers.
A couple of days later, Rachel was standing in the kitchen window. “Dad, I found your missing bees.”
They had swarmed in the tree in our back yard.
The problem now was to get them back into their hive. Neighbors came to watch this process.
Brian and Matt, our son, got out a ladder. It was not quite tall enough.
Using a different method to capture the rogue hive, Beekeeper Brian set up a swarm trap. We waited.
Nothing happened. The swarm in the tree didn’t change.
Yesterday Rachel went out to check eggs and came around through the front door. “Dad I think your bees are moving into the nuc on the patio.”
We all went out the back to see. Sure enough, a group of bees was on the front of the nuc.
There’s still a swarm in the tree so Beekeeper Brian isn’t sure if this is a different swarm or if the swarm is moving slowly. Beekeeper Brian told the bees to do whatever they wanted.
This morning the swarm in the tree appeared to be smaller, which made me wonder, is Beekeeper Brian a bee whisperer in disguise?
Posted on May 18, 2013
On this Armed Forces Day, I want to salute them and all our Armed Forces. Whether Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, National Guard, or Coast Guard, our active and reserve service personnel are an important part of the United States.
Did you know that in 1775 – the year before the Declaration of Independence was signed – our national Army, Navy, and Marines were officially formalized?
While this was the beginning of the military branches, wariness of a standing army caused the Founders initially to only employ military men during times of need, and rely on local militias when possible.
Soon it became obvious that a standing national military was necessary to protect the fledgling country and our modern military branches were established. As the armed forces matured and technology advanced, the Air Force became a separate branch in 1947, and with it, the National Guard.
Historically, each armed service branch celebrated its own holiday, but in 1949, all branches came under the administration of the Department of Defense.
The first joint Armed Forces Day was celebrated on May 20, 1950.
A New York Times article from May 17, 1952 stated: “It is our most earnest hope that those who are in positions of peril, that those who have made exceptional sacrifices, yes, and those who are afflicted with plain drudgery and boredom, may somehow know that we hold them in exceptional esteem.”
Every day we should remember that the military is not a faceless entity, but rather the son or daughter, neighbor or friend who chose to be ready to fight so others don’t have to. These men and women in uniform take their responsibility of citizenship one large step further.
I’m the daughter of an World War II Army Air Corp officer, the wife of a retired US Army Reservist, and mother-in-law to a Coast Guard veteran, I know the sacrifices involved.
Today I offer a big thank you to all our Armed Forces, regardless of branch, rank, or duties, for their service and sacrifice.
Won’t you join me?
Posted on May 17, 2013
A guest blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara
Usually when you have a farm, you think of gathering eggs. In our case, we must also gather chicks.
First, we move the chicks out of the brooder into the small chicken yard. The chicks are understandably frightened of the big world and huddle together in a “chick pile.”
We have to gather them up and put them into the coop at night to keep them safe from predators like possums.
After a few nights, they get more adventurous and move from the corner of the yard to directly under the coop, which makes the nightly gathering process much more difficult.
Eventually they get the idea that inside the coop is the place to be at night, and we simply have to close the door.
But there is the one crazy chicken who wants to live next door. Several times, we have found her in the neighbor’s yard and must gather her back to her flock. She is smart enough to go behind the privacy fence where their dog cannot get to her.
The first morning I went to get her, the neighbor’s dog was out so I closed the gate to the privacy fence while I gathered the chicken to take back to her place in the chicken coop yard.
Too late, I realized the fence locked from the other side and I was locked in.
There was a time in my life when I would have panicked. After running Miller farm for several years it takes more than being locked in the neighbor’s yard to fluster me!
I simply climbed up the fence and unlocked the gate.
We also have a crazy quail. Being white, it is automatically different from all the others. A couple of weeks ago, Crazy Quail aka CQ got its wing stuck in the cage. I carefully got it unstuck and fully expected it to die.
It didn’t, but its wing was broken and it can’t fly. Now CQ attacks whoever puts food in the cage or getting eggs out and frequently jumps out onto the ground.
I have to gather CQ back into the cage all the time wondering why I don’t just let the crazy bird escape. I guess I feel sorry for it since it can’t really fly with the broken wing.
My parents have an Old English Sheep dog that likes to “herd” whatever is around including people.
All this gathering of chicken and quail makes me wonder if we could train Toby to herd birds.
Posted on May 15, 2013
I have a Matese name Buster and this is so him. He loves to sit, especially on my lap.
Sitting is good if you’re a Buster, but for a writer doing this is better.
Because, if all you do is sit, then you never finish the book!
So my question for you today is–will you be sitting or writing?
Posted on May 13, 2013
Today is National Leprechaun Day.
No one knows the origins of the National Leprechaun Day holiday, but I’d be guessing one of the tiny creatures came up with the idea for a day in his honor. Being a bit Irish meself, I think it’s delightful that leprechauns have a day separate from St. Patrick’s Day.
Irish folklore portrays Leprechauns as sly and sneaky elves who dress in waistcoats and hats. While they are small in stature, they are quick as a whip and masters of practical jokes.
They are also keen musicians who play tin whistles, the fiddle, and even the Irish Harp and love to dance. Truth is, they love dancing so much, they wear out their shoes and constantly have to make new ones.
You might see a leprechaun if you go to Ireland. Tis been known to happen. But catching one of the mischievous pranksters is another matter entirely!
The wee people hide because, if someone finds a leprechaun, then the leprechaun has to either give his pot of gold to the finder or grant him or her three wishes.
The devious little creatures will do anything to escape from man so they should never be trusted. Some say angry leprechauns are more common than friendly ones. Not true. They tend to dislike humans because humans always seem to chase them for wishes and pots of gold.
If you do happen to catch one, be aware the leprechaun will use all his magical powers to grant you three wishes in return for his freedom. He might even offer you a pot of gold, but he’s also likely to trick you. Check here for tips on How to Catch a Leprechaun.
Most people celebrate this day for fun and for luck. Activities include:
- organizing Leprechaun hunts,
- throwing Leprechaun parties,
- playing practical jokes, and
- eating and sharing gold foil wrapped chocolate coins
My suggestion to celebrate Leprechaun Day is watch this ten-minute video from the 1959 movie, Darby O’Gill and the Little People. I promise your toe will be tapping right along with their dancing. You’ll also catch a bit of Leprechaun craftiness.
In case you’re not into little green men, you can celebrate frogs because today is also Frog Jumping Day
Me, I’m celebrating National Leprechaun Day.
Posted on May 10, 2013
by Guest Blogger Chicken Wrangler Sara
Our next-door neighbor called yesterday afternoon and said, “There is something on the outside wall of your house that you will want to see.”
My first question was “Is it alive?”
“Very much alive” was the answer.
So I headed out side to see whatever it was….
Yup, it is a tarantula.
Rachel’s first comment was “It is not coming inside.”
Since it was close to the window of our bedroom, we discussed whether tarantulas could get through glass. We decided they could not.
Beekeeper Brian put on a glove and was planning to hold it, but it got a little testy – picture all those hairy legs sticking straight up.
We left it alone.
About 2:30 in the next morning, Tucker started whining. I took him to the back door, but he didn’t need to go outside. I checked the weather, but no thunderstorm in sight.
We went back to bed.
I must confess, I did lay awake for a while wondering about the spider. But I soon fell back asleep and so did Tucker.
This morning the itsy bitsy spider was gone.
I’m not sure what is more disconcerting – seeing the spider one day or not seeing it the next.