Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Typically, I try to avoid posts that consist of we did this, then we did that. However, Saturday was an exception to usually trying to minimize our outside activities. 
The day the chicks arrived!
Taylor and Aaron were invited by The Baker's Dozen to join their Ski to Sea Jr. Race Teams. They both enthusiastically said that they would. Both children practiced a bit and made lots of phone calls to sort out details.
I forgot about Aaron's 4H Robotics meeting and debated about telling him. Finally, I decided that this was one of those grown up decisions that had to be made. He was extremely upset about missing the meeting and absolutely did not want to race. I made Aaron call his teammates and ask about finding a substitute for his position. Thankfully, that was not a problem and Erik was excited about joining a team. However, he felt that it was essential for his team to win!
Hop over to A Baker's Dozen and read the story and see some amazing photos! Thank you Rene for documenting my children's activities when I am not there.

Sean had the opportunity to go with a friend to clear some land in exchange for wood. We were not about to say no. I have no desire to ever in my entire life be as cold as I was every day last winter. Ever.
Sean took Taylor and Erik and dropped them off to get a ride to Ski to Sea, then headed over to the property to begin work.

I arranged for Aaron to get a ride to and from his 4H Robotics meeting and I took the other 3 children to Whatcom County Pregnancy Center's Walk For Life event. This entailed all 8 of us being fed and out the door by 8:00 AM.
 I love what the Pregnancy Center stands for, and that they are fully funded by donation and fundraisers. This allows them to share The Gospel and Support Life.  Jason and Jessica Overstreet were there with their family and Jake (12) wanted to run the 5K. He asked me if I would run it with him. Jessica offered to walk with my youngers so that I could run with Jake. Jake was worried the I might not be competitive. Never fear my friend. I ran with Jake and another boy from church and was not about to be left in the dust. We ran the 5K at a 9.2 min/mile pace! Normally, I run a 10.5 - 11.5 min/mile. That boy tested my competitive spirit. That was after running 8 1/2 miles on Friday! So much for a recovery run.

Next, we hit the Teacher Appreciation Event at Launching Success, so I could get my discount on a book we need for school next year. As an added bonus I won one of their free drawings and got a great tub of summertime activities.

We went home, got some water, collected Aaron, went to meet Sean, picked up Taylor and Erik, then back to the property and worked until 8 PM cutting trees, clearing brush, chopping wood, and loading the truck. I had to leave to go feed the children, they were starving! I got home got everyone showered, threw some steaks on the BBQ and tucked some very tired children into bed!

How's that for a productive day!?

Sunday, May 20, 2012


Neighborhood Jersey Cows line up to watch me run. 
 Our Chicks arrived early on Wednesday morning. I got the call at 6:30 AM. I loved heading to the post office and hearing my package before they even got to the door. We tend to wait until something needs done before actually doing it. If nothing else, I have learned to make sure that everything works before you really need it.
I got home and opened my package of 50 chicks and 1 rooster. The rooster was easily spotted because he has a distinct color from the rest. Sadly, there were 3 dead ones on the bottom of the crate. Thankfully they added a few extras so we had 50 total.
The cows love to run with me! 
We put the chicks in an empty calf dome, only to discover that the heat lamp I purchased that morning didn't work. I drove back to the store exchanged it for one that I made sure worked and all was good. Or so I though, the water-er mysteriously had a crack in the bottom and couldn't hold water. The chicken nipples I had ordered online hadn't shown up yet.  Back to the farm store I went.  We decided it was too big of a space and temporarily moved them to an old watering trough in the garage. Thus, the said new waterer was too large for that space. Sean has some smaller water-ers that adapt to a Mason Jar, so we used that instead. Those cute little fluffy chicks STINK! Plus, thanks to some wonderful advice we have been diligently cleaning their behinds and keeping them from getting septic. Taylor is Ah-Mazing! She has become such a hard diligent worker, I know I can trust her to do what needs done. She was up at 5:30 Saturday morning to take care of all her farm chores before heading out for a very long day (that's another post).
I went out to check on the chickens because there was one that wasn't looking so good and I bumped the heat lamp, it fell and landed on one of the baby chicks. Now we have one fried chicken.
Pretty sure that there is a better way to dispose of them, but they ended up as coyote food in the woods.
The cat isn't dead, but other things around here are! 
It is hilarious to watch these tiny creatures act just like the mature hens. They scratch, peck, roost, and my favorite is when they all take off running, like there is a sale on shoes at Nordstrom's to some unknown destination at the other end of the trough.  
Taylor discovered one of our mature hens dead in the nesting box yesterday. Hopefully this is not a trend and our numbers will hold steady. The layers are now about 2 years old and our egg production has been slowly dwindling. As soon as these new chicks start laying we will have our self another great home education lesson, how to butcher a chicken. That, or I might try to sell them as a pet.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Worth A Load Of Hay

There is a rhyme among Beekeepers:
A swarm in May is worth a load of hay,
A swarm in June is worth a silver spoon, 
A swarm in July ain't worth a fly.
Lynden Swarm
 We lost several of our hives this last winter. Some were due to disease, others blew over in a wind storm and died.
I knew that the price of packaged bees had gone up significantly and was not in the budget to purchase more bees, so I prayed.
I know how much my husband loves working with the bees and how much I love the honey. Plus the price of honey has also gone up so we might be able to recoup some of our cost by selling the honey.
Everson Swarm 
Sean got a call on Sunday to go catch a swarm in Lynden and we went and checked it out. Both of these swarms were on the trunk of a tree, much more difficult to catch than the ones on a branch. We went to our friends, Zach and Tammy and borrowed a shop vac, extension cords and tape, lots of tape. Then, Sean created a bee vacuum and we vacuumed the bees into a box and hived them. We had to give them time to all get in the new hive, so we went home and came back later to get them. Sean was concerned about the keeping the hive intact so I rode in the back seat of the Honda Car with the hive.

On Tuesday, he got another call for a swarm, we were not able to go get them till about 7 P.M. Really, much too late to get started but we tried anyway. He set up a similar bee vacuum this time directly into the hive. This proved to be more difficult, and the bees were not happy about being disturbed so late in the day. Sean got stung twice on his hand. I forgot to bring the lavender and emu oil so his hand swelled significantly. I prayed that he wouldn't get stung anymore since usually when you get stung the other bees sense that you are a threat and will continue to sting.

I was in charge of keeping the cords and hoses free of kinks and trying to keep the suction at a good pressure. I was on my knees on the hard ground trying to keep quiet and do my job well. There is something very disconcerning about watching 100 bees line up on the seam between your husbands bee suit and veil, then watching a few lone bees disappear between your husbands legs!
Thankfully, there were no more stings. We finally finished at 10 P.M. so there were no fliers, and since none of bees that were not in the hive would not survive the night we decided to take the hive home. Again, I sat in the back of the BRV to assure that the hive would not come apart on the drive.

I am so very thankful for God's provision and answer to even the simplest prayers. Be careful what you pray for He might just say Yes! 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Farm Life, Or Should I Say Death?

I opted for a photo less post today because of the heartbreak my children experienced this morning.

Erik has been working on his World Conservation Badge for WEBELOS, We have identified many animal tracks from books and the Internet. This morning we successfully identified Very Large cougar tracks. The tracks were all through the barn, the yard, by the chicken coop and heavily concentrated by the bunny hutches.
Two of the hutches were torn apart, one with the bottom ripped out, the other with the door bent in half and pushed inside the hutch.  The only thing left of the bunnies was some fur. One of the bunnies was part of a mating pair that Taylor was hoping to start her business with. She was pregnant and due to kindle in time to have bunnies ready for the fair.
Erik purchased his Flemish Giant earlier this week at the Auction. He beat out an old man at the last minute on his new bunny. He thought he was getting a buck to mate with his friend's doe, however he ended up with his own doe.
I was pleased with Taylor's reaction. Although she was very upset, she held it together and cleaned up the mess. She has a list of materials to reinforce the existing hutch and repair the other hutches. She is now looking for a registered Mini Rex Doe to breed with her surviving buck.
Erik was frustrated with the loss of his finances but understood that it sometimes happens. Secretly, I was ecstatic that my chickens were OK.
I know a certain 10 year old boy that is cleaning his gun,  waiting  to see if the killer returns for another delicious rabbit.