Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Todays egg count

After shoveling a path down to the coop, then shoveling a path in the chicken run for the girls to come out of the coop, then hauling water down to the coop, I go in and feed everyone, and give them treats and get my reward for all my hard work. 22 eggs today! Thank you girls!

Wheat Berry Bread

My awesome wife made some homemade wheat berry bread yesterday. It was mmm... good! Thank you www.breakneckacres.com for the awesome wheat berries!

Monday, December 30, 2013

More Candles

Ok I haven't been sitting around the last week. I did make a bunch more candles, I can make 5 a day if I pay attention to the time. Chopping the wax and melting it, doesn't take any time at all. It takes about 2 hours for the wax to harden. So I can make a candle every two or three hours. I did that everyday before Christmas and was able to give them all away at the family get together. Everyone seemed to really like them. Who wouldn't? Hand poured beeswax candles. I made 31 of them in the last week or so. Now I am going to try to keep the pace while I am off work, and make some for sale this spring at the farmers market.

Information Super Highway

I have been on vacation for the last week, and I don't go back until the 6th.(Yay!) Besides feeding animals, bringing firewood, and visiting family members, I haven't done a whole a lot of anything. I have tons and tons of magazines, Mother Earth News, Hobby Farm, Bee Culture, you get the idea. Any kind of magazine that a want a be homesteader would read, I have it in stacks some where. It kind of looks like a scene from the show, hoarders. I got to thinking, why am I hanging on to these, you can go onto any of their websites and get any past article that you would ever want. So I went and bought a really nice notebook/journal and I started the long process of reading or skimming, all depends on the articles, of all these magazines. If I come across any interesting ideas, or something like the best varieties of lettuce to grow ,I write in my journal. I can't tell you how many magazines I have gone threw the last couple days, but the recycling man is not going to be happy next Tuesday. I feel like I have accomplished something and the house is starting to look better. So now I am wondering why I have these subscriptions in the first place. With the invention of the internet, why do I need them? It is nice and to set in front of wood stove with some tea, and a cool magazine, in the dead of winter and dream of greener days to come. Well back to reading some more, by the way, why would I keep old seed catalogs from three and four years ago. I must be a hoarder!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Another cool gift

We received a cool vintage chicken feeder has a gift. I googled it and as far as I can tell its a stoneware chicken/rooster waterer, made by McCoy Stoneware. It is missing the bottom tray but it is cool. It's going to stay in the house where it won't get damaged.

Caught in the rain

So the girls are in a huge run, if I had to guess, close to a 1/3 of an acre. There is a five foot tall fence all around, except the front, which is only four foot tall. They have figured out that they can jump the front fence and free range. Which is fine, if they stay in our own yard.
Anyway I think the chicken brain can only hold one thought at a time. For example "Oh my gosh its raining", they can't put two and two together that if they jump back over the fence, like they have done so many times, that they can go back into the coop. So here are the two girls huddled against one of the coops while its raining. Its a good thing I was home today.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Awesome Christmas Present!

Is this slate painting awesome or what!? Thank you to my niece and nephew Elise and Pete Schafer!
They saw my blog and had this painting made. It is so awesome!!!!

Monday, December 23, 2013


Today was sunny and high 40s, low 50s, in between rain. I noticed some homey bees flying around, so I went over to the hives and 3 of the hives, the girls were really flying. That's the good news, the bad news is there are two more hives, one the girls were robbing and the other there was no action what so ever. I opened the one they were robbing and there might be a handful of bees in it. No since in trying to save it this time of year, with no queen they will not survive, so I figured the other hives can just use the stores. The other hive in completely dead. I can't figure out why, that had well over a hundred pounds of food for the winter, they were nice and strong last time I inspected them. All the bees are gone, there may be a dozen dead bees, but there is no sign of any bees. If they all died you would see dead bees everywhere.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Sad day on the farm

Today was sad, but a necessity, feed is so darn expensive, and this is what they were raised for, not as pets. The turkeys and some older hens when to freezer heaven today. (I stole that from some else's blog, I apologize to who ever it is, I don't remember) but it is a nicer way of saying it.
The turkeys have been around for a year and a half. The Tom was a heritage breed bourbon red, and the hen was a heritage breed sweet grass. I got them with the thinking they would breed and give me baby turkeys so I wouldn't have to buy them in the spring. Well for 2 springs now, no baby turkeys, I don't know if it was because they were different breeds or what the problem was. I was getting turkey eggs for a while, then she stopped. And they are wrecking havoc on my poor chickens, so off they go.
I also sent 4 older chickens along, they just were not producing.
All my animals have the high life here on the farm, the chickens and turkeys, have a huge 1/3 acre pasture with grass and trees. They have a coop that is open all the time, they can and go as the please. They got fed and fresh water every day. They got day old bread at least once a week. Veggie scraps. Scratch as a treat every day. Stuff to climb on and in. They got freshly pulled weeds every day. So you can see they had a good life. They were also raised with no meds and hormones.
Poor Tom keeps sticking his head through the top of the cage.

I feel bad about the chickens, they had names. If your gonna name your farm animals name them after a meal, it helps. One of these chickens name was Kentucky Fried, my son named her.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Todays Eggs

Actually the last two days.

Poor Monty Dog

Monty had an emergency trip to the vet this morning. He has been vomiting this clear foamy, mucus like stuff, and we goes out to go potty he strains and strains but nothing comes out. After 3 days of this I decided to call the vet, and of course no one is open on Sundays except the vet hospital. So off we go, for a very expensive doggie visit. Ohh, I didn't mention, Monty is a sock chewer. So I have feeling he may be bound up, and this might really be expensive.
Doesn't he look pathetic, he usually loves going for a ride, but not today. He has not been himself the last day or two.

Here we are back at home, xrays show do blockage, but they are sending the xrays to a radiologist to make sure. They drew blood, and those results will be back tomorrow afternoon, or Tuesday morning. Until then they filled him full of fluids and anti vomiting meds. I dont know if you can see the huge hump on his neck right behind his head, but it is a huge hump under the skin that they filled full of fluids that his body will absorb over the next 12 hours. Poor thing can't drink or eat for the next 12 hours, not that he has been eating at all. I haven't seen him eat in 3 days. If he doesn't vomit in the next 12 hours be can have a small amount of water. And if can hold that down he can a small amount of food in the morning if he wants it. Now we just wait to here back from the doctor, if he doesn't get worse, if he gets worse she said to bring him back.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Melting Beeswax Step 2

In a earlier post I posted how to melt down your beeswax. After it cools, I usually wait 24 hours, and usually I don't get to it until I have time, but over night is good. You will get a block of wax, with nasty stuff on the bottom.
Now I watched a you tube video and that gentleman said the rough stuff on the bottom is propolis. He said it can be sold as #2 propolis. That may be, I am not saying he is correct or not. What I do is scrap it off in the trash. I think it is just dirt and what not. If you melt this down with your wax with this stuff on there it is not going to get any cleaner. So I just use a knife and scrape and cut a small layer off. I then rinse under warm water and dry it off. Now I chop it up into smaller pieces so it will melt faster. The best tools I found for this are a screw driver and hammer. Now put in the double boiler as before.
Melt it all down, pour into a container, through some cheese cloth. I filled my first container clear full, put I find it easier to only filling the container an inch or two thick, and using multiple containers. Only because you may melt it all down again until you get all clean, and a block an inch or two thick is easier to clean up and chop up that a huge block. Just my opinion.
This is the wax going through the cheese cloth, into the cottage cheese container, see the nasty stuff, left in the cheese cloth.

This is my first pour, see how the color has gotten lighter. I wouldn't fill the container full again. It is too hard to work with being 6 inches or so thick. I started pouring an inch or two containers.
These are the bee skep candles, I have made so far. The bottom right one is made with wax from my girls, the rest are made with store bought beeswax. You can keep redoing the above process to get the color lighter, or you can use the wax as you wish. I think its cool and gives it character.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Gender confused

I went down to feed the girls tonight, and saw two turkeys strutting their stuff. I thought maybe someone dropped off another Tom turkey. Here my turkey hen is all puffed up, tail feathers fanned out, wings drooping down, imitating the Tom. I have never seen this before. It is getting dark out, the pictures are not the best.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


Todays egg collection

Garlic is up!

When I was in the garden I noticed something green in my garlic beds. Its garlic! It shouldn't be growing this time of year. Then I remembered, a couple years ago the same thing happened and it all came out fine in June. I think I mulched it last time. When I get sometime I will have throw some mulch on it.

ashes on the garden

I always put my ashes from the wood stove on my garden, I started doing it about 3 years ago, it seems to be helping.


I came home work today, and look who are out the yard! How in the heck did they jump a 5 foot tall fence. I walked the pasture and there are no holes. Then I watched them one by one jump the fence to get back in their run. I guess the grass is always greener
on the other side.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Blowing off steam

David and I went out and shot some skeet, what fun.

Another bee skep

I made another bee skep candle.
This is starting to get pretty easy. This is my second one I learned a few more tricks.

Getting ready for a third pour. It takes about 3 hours for the candle to cure enough to take it out of the mold. The paper says if you put it in the fridge it will cure in about 20 minutes. I haven't tried that yet.

2nd attempt at candle making

I read up on candle making last night, I guess I should have done that first. I just read the instruction sheet that came with the kit. I got "Making candles and soaps for dummies" from the library. I just love this series of books. I received "Beekeeping for Dummies" a couple of Christmas's ago, and it is my bible of beekeeping, I use it all the time.
I said I read up on making votive candles and learned a few new tricks, so we will see what happens.
Double boiler again

I used Pam and greased the side of the molds. The book said to put wicks in molds and fill about 1/2" of wax, then moves wicks to the desired position. The paper that came with the kit said to put wicks in after pouring wax. So I poured 1/2" let it cool, poked holes around the week, and then poured another 1/2" and so on, until the mold was full. Then I let it set for a 1/2 hour and topped off the well and filled the mold to almost the point of over flowing.

see how the center around the wick is a darker color, that is what they call the well. It will dip down as the candle cools, and you have to refill the well, which I did not do last time.

Here they are cooling, they look much better, and you can see how the candle is pulling away from the mold already. I will post another pix when I pull them out.

Bee Skep Candle

Ok, I could not resist, I lit the candle. The book I have says you need to match the wick with the wax. If you have the wrong wick and the wrong wax, the candle won't burn, or it will spit and sputter, or it will burn too fast. So I had to try it. I don't know why I was worried, the wick came with the mold when I ordered it. But I just had to see for myself, so here it is,

Candle Making Update

Well my first time making candles was a part success and part failure. The bee skip rubber mold came out awesome, I am giddy with joy, like a kid in a candy store. I don't want to light it being my first one.

One the other hand I am a little disappointed in the votive molds. I didn't use enough wax and the centers are sunken and severely cracked. And I was being cheap and didn't buy a spray can of mold release. I used a little bit of vegetable oil as per the book, put apparently I didn't use enough, because they are stuck in the molds. I read you can put them in the freezer and they will shrink and fall out, so that's where they are now.