So I’ve fallen off the wagon with writing in my blog. Life has a way of getting busy, and for someone who previously wrote a lot about infertility, it’s hard to think of subjects when you’re pregnant that can relate.
On the Homestead side things are in full swing, of course there have been a few hiccups. Always full of surprises and opportunities to learn and grow.
Our first hive (last year) unfortunately didn’t survive the winter due to a rookie mistake that caused them all to starve to death… it was pretty sad come spring dumping out the thousands upon thousands of dead bees, knowing it could have been prevented. But we decided to try again and will not make the same mistake twice.
Our new hive arrived in mid April, we got a package this time (about 3 lbs of bees) they were acclimating well. A month later some sort of predator knocked over the hive and ate a bunch of larva/honey. Were guessing it was a raccoon? At first we thought a black bear did it, but the damage wasn’t that severe. So early one morning I came out to a massacare and gently put the hive back together, no gloves, or anything a the bees didnt even get upset.. Honeybees are surprisingly docile when they dont have a hive/queen to protect.
all-in-all only 3 frames were destroyed and the wood wasnt broken, only the foundation/wire.
I didnt expect the hive/queen to be alive, but we closed it up and let them do their thing for a few weeks, checked in and saw brood, waited a little longer and checked again and actually fount the QUEEN! the original, marked queen… her red dot had mostly fallen off but there was still some traces of red. WOW was I surprised. Were hoping this hive will still be able to thrive and make it through the winter, maybe we’ll even harvest some honey.
I got chickens from tractor supply this year instead of ordering from the hatchery.. They were on sale for $1, and I got 2 for .50 cents!!! Couldn’t go wrong with that price! So I bought 11. They were all healthy, I started them in the basement in a corrale, then moved them into a dog crate when they started to fly a bit, then moved them out to the coop in the same crate so they could acclimate to the rest of the flock and learn their new “home”. Unfortunately a predator got into the coop one night and killed a few of the pullets. It happened only a few days after the bees got hit, so I think it may have been the same animal. It must have been a clever animal because they were able to pull the chicks out through the bars at the bottom. One was left, -beheaded, stuck, and that’s what I saw when I checked on them in the morning. Just yesterday I saw a coyote in the middle of the day chase and catch one of our 3 year old hens. Chickens are easy targets I guess. It’s hard to lose them constantly, but it’s just part of farm life I guess. — most people keep their chickens inside a coop or inside a run but I think they deserve to be chickens and roam around and scratch and peck and eat bugs and make dust baths where ever…. I don’t know if my choice to let them free range (and get killed) is better for them, or worse for them in a “quality of life” sense.
My rabbitry is still going… 2 does and 1 buck. We’ve had 3 litters so far this year a total of 15 babies. I still have 4 – 14 week old rabbits ready to be sold or processed. and 5 little ones about 4 weeks old. Both the does are (hopefully) pregnant and due to give birth in about 2 weeks. The rabbits were not immune to this years streak of bad luck. One of my does got sick, with “Wet tail”. Wet tail is typically fatal where a pathogen causes back leg weakness, eventual paralysis. Of course it’s hard to see this when you just look at the rabbit it looks fine… but when I picked her up to move cages, I noticed the urine scalding. My previous doe had died from this too even with months of trying to rehab her. BUT THIS TIME I wouldnt allow that to happen to my cute blue eyed doe! I googled and googled and finally found what I thought was the problem, learned that it is very common, most rabbits carry the pathogen but do not get any symptoms. So I quarantined her and began giving her medication to get her better… this proved to be extremely difficult as the medication was a liquid, and I couldn’t get her to swallow it. I started putting it in her water and on her food in hopes that she would get enough to help.. shoving it down her throat didnt seem to work very well as she’d some how let it all dribble out. It’s been a few months now and she seems to be healthy again!! I tried breeding her so we’ll see how that goes. One other baby injured himself by trying to sneak out the cage when the water bottle fell off. I found him hanging halfway in/halfway out one morning when I went to check on them. He wasn’t moving his back legs very well at all, so I put him in with the sick rabbit and gave him some time to see if it was an pulled muscle or actual paralysis. He pulled through and is happily living back with his siblings now.
We have 2 dobermans, a 6.5 year old male (black and rust) and a 4 year old female (red and rust). Our poor female Bruna has separation anxiety, and when we leave the house she will always find something to eat or destroy. We try our best to hide everything but she goes to new lengths to get into trouble. Once she ate a dozen raw eggs off the counter, she gets into the food scraps bucket (for compositing) shes eaten socks, toys, ripped a hole in the mattress and ate some of the stuffing. Finally her behavior had gotten her really sick. She got a bowel obstruction. It started with vomiting, then she refused food, was straining to use the bathroom, and was getting lethargic. this was all within 24 hours. So we took her to the vet the next day, who confirmed the obvious, she had an obstruction that needed surgery. $2,500 later we have our dog home. shes stapled up and has to eat 6 small meals a day for the next few days with antibiotics, but she’s going to be just fine.
Vegetable Farming, Flower Garden
I’m slowly trying to grow our perennial garden. This year (3rd year) I acutally harvested a handful of asparagus! Our strawberries are back (year 2) and produced a few fruits. The bugs and wetness have been ruining most of them though. New plants this year are Ruhbarb and some flowering plants for the honey bee garden, i forget the name of the flowers. Our Raspberry bush is getting pretty big and looks like there will be a lot of fruit this year. The blueberry bushes arn’t thriving quite as well and the big one I bought last year seems mostly dead 😦 I’m not going to give up on them though I’ll just keep trying and hoping and we’ll see what happens.
Annuals – Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Squash, Watermelon, Beets, Peppers all are chugging along. The garlic I planted in the fall is doing great, harvested some scapes already.
I’m still doing the farm share at the CSA working the harvest 2 x per month, things are going pretty well there dispite the late start because of all the rain.
The BABY – Pregnancy
Pregnancy has been smooth sailing. I still feel great @ 8 months. I’m loving the constant movement of the baby and I’m excited for the birth. Were planning a home birth so it’s going to be wonderful, safe and peaceful is the plan! I’m more tired, it harder to move around, I get hungry a lot and crave sweets, but really no complaints! We’re so lucky to have this baby it’s awesome. I’m trying to prepare in the most frugal ways getting hand-me-downs, buying used items, hopefully getting some gifts from a shower. IVF and the cost of birth, plus the loss of wages on maternity leave bring us up to about $30,500 spent, so brand-new anything is basically out of the question. People say babies are expensive, but infertility makes it much more expensive …. still 100% worth it.