The City Girl Farmer


Thomas Got His Bees
May 12, 2011, 2:40 pm
Filed under: Other animals | Tags: , ,

Thomas getting his hive ready

The call finally came and last Saturday was the day. The Green Bee Co. is a (somewhat) local company that rescues bees from people who don’t want them and re-homes them to people who do. The proprietor, Buz (yes, that’s his real nickname which actually preceded his interest in bees), and his wife, Cathy, came out to help Thomas get them into the hive. This involved cutting pieces of the comb and attaching them to Thomas’ foundation and then, once his hive was ready, dumping the bees into their new home. Apparently it was a very healthy, thriving colony.

After Buz tapped the box twice to send the message to the bees that it was time to get out they got understandably agitated. I was standing about 15 feet away and some of them came over and attacked me. I was stung about a dozen times before someone was able to wave them all off. Thomas and Buz who were right at the epicenter were unharmed. We don’t know why they didn’t like me. Could be because I wasn’t wearing white. I had been fighting a cold and there was some speculation that the essential oils I had been using were disagreeable. I came into the house where we iced all the stings, applied lavender to them and I began my descent into a Benadryl induced haze. I was pretty much unconscious for the following two days because of the massive quantities of the drug I was taking. I avoided a trip to the emergency room, though, and did not have to pull out the EpiPen!

Attaching the comb to the foundation

Tying the comb

We are in the middle of a snow storm (yes, I know it is the middle of May) and Thomas has checked them several times. All seems to be well in the bee world. Not that I have any first-hand knowledge of that fact! For the time being, I’m content to take his word for it.

Bees going to their new home

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Set the Sparrow Free
August 6, 2009, 9:07 am
Filed under: Other animals | Tags: , , ,
Much more feathered out

Much more feathered out

We set Sylvester the Sparrow free.  We knew it was time when he would try to fly out of the cage when we fed him.   We have 5 indoor predators, three of which are particularly dangerous and we knew we couldn’t keep him in the cat carrier forever (although Thomas had already suggested a birdcage and a new pet.)

We went out the front door to set him free and then saw one of the barn cats walking right by the porch and decided that maybe setting him free from the balcony was a better idea.

We put him on the deck rail.  From there he flew to my shoulder, then to the nearest tree where had a very tenuous hold on a tiny branch, from there to the roof and finally to a “real” branch on a nearby tree.  Haven’t seen him since and have to confess I miss him a little.  Here are some more pictures.



New Puppy
July 31, 2009, 8:26 am
Filed under: Other animals | Tags: , , ,

A local farmer had puppies she needed to find homes for.  We’ve been thinking that although she is showing no sign of slowing down, our Cocoa will be 11 years old in January and having a dog on a farm is a good thing.  So we have acquired “Bartolomeo” (“Bart” for short) now so that he can learn from Cocoa.   He is a mutt.  We know his mama is an Australian shepherd but we don’t know who his daddy is.



Rescuing a Sparrow
July 31, 2009, 8:20 am
Filed under: Other animals | Tags: ,
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This is what he looked like when we picked him up

Thomas found a sparrow that had fallen out of the nest one morning a few days ago when we were feeding the chickens.  It was half naked and the feathers it did have were seriously under-developed.    Thomas asked if we could try to save it and I said “Sure.”  What was I supposed to say?  “No, son.  We’re just going to let this little bird die of exposure and be eaten by the chickens.”   It occurred to me after feeding it several times a day that once we set it loose, it’ll probably get eaten anyway.  Oh well.

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Hungry bird

We brought it inside and Juliana named him Sylvester.  It could be Sylvestra.  We can’t even sex chickens around here, let alone sparrows.   What do you expect from a city girl?   We had to rename two of our pullets when they turned out to be roosters.  Goldilocks became Goldicocks and Aurelia became Aurelio.  But I digress…

We have decided that when he can fly we’ll set him out in a cage on top of the swamp cooler with a little food and hope he figures out how to fly away and get his own food.

Feeding him with a dropper

Feeding him with a dropper

Looking a little better.  Maybe half way there?

Looking a little better. Maybe half way there?



Trip to the Butcher in Simla
July 27, 2009, 8:23 am
Filed under: Cats, Chickens, Other animals | Tags: , , , , ,

The coolest thing happened the other day.  I had ordered some organ meat from the butcher to make cat food for Sam, our asthmatic Siamese cat.  Naively, I had asked for  6 (beef) hearts and 6 livers thinking that would be about 20 lbs of meat or so.  I was quoted a price of $1.50/lb. and told it would be ready in a few days.  I went to pick it up last Friday and the meat was not ready.  I was told to meet the butchers at the meat locker so we waited while some guy loaded up the beef  he had ordered.

Moses lurking around the food processing project

Moses lurking around the food processing project

You should know that the butcher and local grocery store is run by a Dutch family that has been in the meat business for 9 generations according to local legend.  The latest is first generation American.  Mama and Papa still have very thick Dutch accents and the kids speak American English with an occasional odd pronunciation.  The children are young adults being groomed for taking over the family business.

My squeamish daughter taking a poke at a beef liver

My squeamish daughter taking a poke at a beef liver

Anyway, it’s finally our turn and the son takes my cooler into the locker and loads it up and he comes back apologizing because the cooler only could contain 4 livers and 4 hearts.    He said, “I couldn’t fit any more in and it weighed out at 60 lbs.  I figured you probably didn’t really want more than that.”  Well, I did some quick calculations of how my grocery budget was about to be decimated, quietly crapped a small brick, and asked him if I should pay him there or in the store.  The father and son kind of hemmed and hawed and the son said, “What do you think?  She’s buying 60 lbs.  What do we charge, a dollar a pound?”

“60 lbs.?  Fifty cents.”

“OK.  Fifty cents.  Thats about $30.  You can pay us here.”

I gave them $35 and just as I was about to leave, I asked if they ever have any hog back fat and/or leaf lard available for purchase.  The son said it was funny I should ask because he had been in the mood for cracklin’s that day and just happened to have some lard already rendered.  The father then proceed to scoop it into another lawn bag while the son gave me a quick tour of the meat locker.  They handed me the lard at the end of my “tour”  in a lawn bag and a cardboard box.   I asked him how much I owed and he said, “Don’t you use that to make pie crust?”

The city girl farmer taking lard from the lawn bag and putting it into jars to freeze

The city girl farmer taking lard from the lawn bag and putting it into jars to freeze

So I’ll be bringing a pie to the butcher in a few weeks.



Magical Moments in the Barn
May 8, 2009, 4:34 pm
Filed under: Horses, Other animals

I’m a little behind in blogging.  I’ve been a bit under the weather lately, and no, I haven’t kissed any pigs.  I took these pictures during the last heavy snow we had.  Our gate was open and our neighbor’s cows huddled for shelter with our horses.  The little white calf was just a few days old.

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Jazzmin munching contentedly

Eeyore with the calf

Eeyore with the other calf

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Our Spring Blizzard
March 27, 2009, 3:02 pm
Filed under: Horses, Other animals, Weather

This was really no big deal as we had over 24 hours notice.  We just made sure we had groceries and battened down the hatches.  It lasted for about 24 hours.  Here are some pictures of what I saw when I went to check on the horses this morning.

A woodpecker warming himself after the blizzard

A woodpecker warming himself after the blizzard

Mouse eating Jazzmin's hay.  Barn cat must have migrated to Florida.

Mouse eating Jazzmin's hay. Barn cat must have migrated to Florida.

The girls in the corral

The girls in the corral

Snow drifted on the north interior wall of the barn

Snow drifted on the north interior wall of the barn

More drifted snow in the barn

More drifted snow in the barn

Chicken coop in the background almost completely obstructed by a drift.  The drift is covering the future garden area.

Chicken coop in the background almost completely obstructed by a drift. The drift is covering the future garden area.

The cars

The cars

Thomas atop a drift

Thomas atop a drift

Looking south over the garden area

Looking south over the garden area