Thursday, May 28, 2015

Unity Farm Journal- Fifth week of May 2015

Spring and Fall are very busy days on the farm.   With each passing day in May, you never know what new task will appear.

On Saturday, Kathy and I drove to Western Massachusetts near the border of Vermont and New York to pick up our Russian “nucs”, the mini-hives used to start a new hive.   Russian bees are challenging (I’m not making this up) since they tend to swarm and take over territory.  They are unpredictable and hard to control.    Thus, we created a site for them to take over, called a swarm trap.   We mounted a 10 frame deep hive with wax and lemon grass extract (a bee attractant) on one of our 8 foot fence posts.   If the bees swarm, they are likely to find this new home, making it easy to put the bees in a new hive.      Here's what a Russian nuc looks like.

The bees are busy gathering nectar from our 15 acres of wildflowers.    Here's a glimpse of the bees on wild honeysuckle.

This week one of our roosters, Lucky, disappeared.   He was a fierce defender of our hens.   I found a collection of his feathers in the deep forest, near coyote droppings.   He gave his life to protect his women.  Thanks Lucky.

Just as the West Coast has had water issues, the Spring in New England has been dry, windy, and problematic for growing crops.  We’ve had to use our stored water - the snow melt from this winter now in our local aquifer, to keep our orchard healthy.

The hoop house continues to burst with vegetables.   I harvest 25 pounds a day for humans and animals on the farm.

Our state Farmer-Winery license arrived this week, so now we’re a Federal bonded winery and licensed by the state to produce wines of all kinds including hard cider and mead.   Next weekend we’ll be making Spiced Orange Mead.   I sterilized all the equipment in the cider house in preparation for the fermentation to come.   You’ll see our beverages available for sale soon!

The dogs have been groomed and the alpaca sheared, so everyone looks picture perfect.   Here’s a random family portrait of the creatures gathered in the barn.

We're very close to all our creatures.    There's nothing like a roll in the hay with a Great Pyrenees.  I'm 6 foot 2.  Shiro is 6 foot 5 end to end.   Our weights are identical.

The weekend ahead includes mushroom inoculation, mead making, planting, harvesting, and mowing meadows.     It's joyful work!

1 comment:

Sharon Wentz said...

The "random family portrait" should be a commercial! I just love all of their smiling faces. Everyone safe, content, and loved.