Saturday, December 31, 2011

Two Months and Counting, Wild Hogs

It was a sunny, slightly breezy, gorgeous, 78 degrees today at the Compound.  It was perfect!  It started out as usual, leaving the homestead around 6 a.m. and getting to the Compound right around 7 a.m.   First on the agenda is to let the Hooligan's escape their confines to freedom of the open range for the day.  It's like kids getting out of school at the end of the day!  They bring such happiness to the Moose and I.   Some  people golf, others play tennis, we have the Hooligans.

My Mom and Dad joined us later in the morning to drop off some supplies they picked up at a recent estate sale;  tool box, buckets of nails, screws, etc.  All I'm sure will come in handy for our upcoming projects.  Speaking of which, one of those on the "Wish List" moved up the priority list to "Must Have";  learn to hunt wild hogs.  The Moose and my Dad put a dog kennel together.  We purchased this a few months back for around $150.00 at one of the big hardware stores, with this project in mind.  It took them an hour or so to have it put up, and additional stakes in the ground for extra support.  Each stake was wired to the kennel, and drove into the ground.  They removed the bottom part of a small wall, and my Dad will be working out the details for a trap door.  But, we're on our way..

We had heard, and one of my readers, Spud mentioned that in Florida it is legal on private property to bait wild hogs.  We have a HUGE overpopulation problem, I'm sure they're happy to see some of them go.  We have over 1 million wild/feral hogs in central Florida alone.  If we can learn how to bait, clean, and BBQ/smoke them, we should have a good resource in the future.  Up in Wisconsin, where we originally hail from, we called a pig roast a Sparnfarkel.  Say that three times fast.

Back to Eden principals update:

Sorry the lens cap got in the way, new camera.  Here's an overall view of our garden with the mulch in place.

Finally, Miss Izzy had another lucky day!  One rather large disgusting rat, and a turtle.  The rat is dead, the turtle has been set free!

Happy 2012!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Year, New Project List, and Resolutions

With age comes wisdom, we hope. I've been tossing around a list of projects we'd like to complete at the Compound in 2012.  The list doesn't seem as intensive as in the past, but maybe that's because after this last year, nothing for us is impossible.  Reflecting on all our accomplishments, and the education we've received by trial and error, reading books, or from listening to others, this years list seems a bit trivial.  Maybe it's because we've finished the hard labor, or because no task seems that daunting anymore.

Can you even imagine the settlers of old carving out their little piece in the world?  No electricity, limited resources or supply lines?  I'm afraid that our world is changing before our eyes, and those who have sat around watching reality T.V. instead of trying to figure out how to help themselves, will be too late.  I personally have very little sympathy for the adults that have ample opportunity to see what is coming and chose to get their nails done, instead of starting a food storage program.  I do worry about their children, who unfortunately will be sacrificed for their parents ineptitude.  The Moose and I have just about given up trying to warn people to try and prepare.  They laugh, and talk about how crazy we are behind our backs.  That's fine, but when SHTF, we'll be on our way to prepared.  Resolve to Prepare People! 

With a new year on hand, I resolve to try and make my blog as descriptive as possible.  What started out as a personal journal, has become a stop off point for many, to see what we're up to.  I'm going to try and put more details and videos of our projects so you can decide whether or not, you'd like to follow along with your own, and /or learn by our mistakes so you can accomplish the same task on your end easier.  In the meantime, here's our lists;

Must Have List
  • Set up bee hive, build a fence around it so Miss Izzy and the Hooligans can't get near
  • Plant spring garden, add more greens for the Hooligans
  • Learn how to process seeds from plants for next seasons garden
  • Fence off blueberries
  • Buy and plant more blueberry plants
  • Plant the avocado tree Daughter Number 2, and her boyfriend got us for Christmas
  • Place mulch around the outside of the garden
  • Power spray the shed, get rid of the dust and grime
  • Build a stone pizza/bread oven
  • Continue storing food and supplies for when SHTF
  • Finish small items still left to complete in the trailer and deck;  caulk, paint, stain
  • Read and take classes to learn "old school" crafts;  sewing, knitting, candle making, etc
  • Learn how to properly trim the fruit trees
  • Keep up with the Back to Eden gardening principles
  • Build or purchase a small chicken coop for when the hens go broody, or a sick/injured chicken needs to be separated
  • Learn more about composting, so we can do it on a larger scale.  Right now the small barrel we use, is too small for our large garden
Wish List
  • Build railing on the dock
  • Build a mini dock for the boat launch
  • Consider another container for storage of personal items should we need to evacuate our home
  • Ducks; they're just so darn cute
  • Talapia for the pond
  • Learn how to hunt/capture wild hogs
  • Mulch around the remaining trees on the property
I'm sure we'll add to the list, move items from the Wish List to the Must Have List, etc.  That goes with the territory.  The Moose and I look forward to eliminating the items on our list, as we move through 2012.  Now, what will you resolve to learn and accomplish this year?   I'd like to hear your ideas.  Thanks to all of you who have followed along in 2011.  If you would like more information or have questions, please leave me a message in the comments section.

  Happy New Year! 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Looking Back and Forward

As the end of this year approaches, I'm trying to evaluate many things in my life, but as it relates to this blog, I'll focus solely on our efforts at the Compound.  We started out in January with a "must have" and "wish" lists.  Along the way we added a few projects as well.  I think we did really well actually, considering our work was accomplished on the weekends and holidays. 

Must haves;-Paint the container, it's a lovely orange color right now. It's going to be green, so it will blend in better with it's surroundings.
-Build the chicken coop, no I haven't forgotten about MY chickens!
-Till and get ready the garden for planting
-Put up our greenhouse, it's small but should help get things started.
-Plant seedlings
-Clean out the wild blackberry area, so it's easier to pick. Right now it has grasses and weeds growing in the same area.

Wish list;
-Plant some additional fruit trees and bushes. I think we lost some of the ones we planted last year due to the freezing temperatures we had in December.
-Build a railing on the dock. I always feel like I'll fall off. I know it's an optical illusion, but I want the safety.
-Build a pizza/stone oven  (We bought some of the bricks recently, so we are working out the details)
-Expand the garden to include a separate herb garden (We did expand the garden, no herbs added at this point.
-Build a mini dock by the boat launch area, to help with loading and unloading of our boat from the trailer.

Add on Projects;
-Move the trailer
-Remodel the trailer
-Build a new covered and enclosed deck for the trailer
-Follow the Back to Eden principals, and mulch our garden.
-Get Honey Bees and the necessary supplies  (still need to order the bees)

The lists don't include the basic maintenance of a yard, garden or chickens.  But looking back, I think we should be very proud of the things we accomplished. God has truly blessed us.

Now what projects should we consider for next year? 

Merry Christmas Everybody!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Back to Eden Central Florida - part 4 FINALLY!

We are finally finished putting down the mulch in our garden.  It took 8 trailer loads to cover, and nearly two months of Sundays (actually Saturdays).  We have some left over to place around the outside of the fencing, to help keep the weeds from creeping in, but that's for another day.

We're pooped to say the least, but happy to put this behind us at this point.  Again, very few weeds, and easy to pull out.  Here's a look at the strawberry pyramid, more blossoms and berries are forming.

Other than caring for the Hooligan's, we spent most of our time shoveling mulch.  Happy to put that behind us.  We're looking forward to spending the Christmas holiday with our families.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Life is Tough...

We saw this sign in a Zaxby's restaurant in Ocala, FL the other day.  I just had to share...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Leaving Nothing Behinds

The Moose, Daughter Number 1 and I spent Friday night at The Compound.  Grilled steaks out over a hickory wood campfire.  It's worth the effort using hickory, what great flavor!  The Hooligan's were happy to be let out, and Lucy who was not feeling well earlier in the week, seems to be recovering. 

On Saturday morning, we said goodbye to Daughter Number 1, and while I cleaned up, started next seasons tomato seedlings,  and fed the Hooligan's, the Moose went off to get our next load of mulch.  To my surprise, he got a double load!  I wasn't sure if I should laugh or cry

I ended up laughing thanks to Betty.

We finished off the remainder of this section of garden, with only one area remaining.  We used 3/4 of this load to complete the area.  One thing to note;  from week to week, you never know what type of mulch product you'll actually get.  Last weeks load seemed mostly palm tree material, this week it's definitely pine.  But since it doesn't cost anything up front,  I'm not complaining.  Can you even imagine buying this amount of product from a big box store?

One other thing we noted, besides how everything is still moist underneath,  and the overwhelming lack of weeds, a lone squash plant we left as an experiment is really taking off.  It's dark green foliage is testament to the BtoE program.  We have not watered or fertilized.  The tomatoes, although further behind, finally have blossoms and are starting to fill out.  We're not sure they'll have much of a chance this far into the season, as it's likely we'll see some very cold temperatures in the near future.

Now, for the title of this article, this picture speaks a thousand words;  leaving nothing behinds;

Since only 3 of them still sleep in their actual coop, the Moose set up a roost outside, in hopes that they'd stop sleeping and you know what on the roof.  So we had to see who went where...  There are 6 of them up on this board, and 2 still sleeping on the roof.  Go Figure!

Merry Christmas

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Civic Duty

Here I sit in a large room full of smelly, or over perfumed citizens of the great State of Florida, and City of Orlando.  Numbers 1 through 766 were called in, and I was 711. Yep, 711, but no Slurpee here.

It's interesting to see how and what people are doing.  We have newspaper readers, Christmas card writers, those of us rushing through emails to try and stay caught up with work, since the paltry $15 a day will not cover the bills, or those staring off into space as they came totally unprepared.  But I'm not complaining about my civic duty.   I believe that I can review the information provided and make an informed judgement.  I'm not convinced that my "peers" can do the same.  They show up late, dressed for a night in the bar.  Shouldn't there be some kind of test?  We need to pass a test to drive on the streets, but not one to determine whether or not you can serve as a juror.

If I'm ever judged, I want to be judged by someone willing to serve, and with an intellectual level capable of the making the right judgement. Today will prove interesting. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Nobody Told Them to Slack Off!

It was another perfect day at the Compound.  In the 70's and a swift breeze.  It made working so much easier than those summer days with heat indexes in the 100's.  We took care of the Hooligans, all are doing well, and still giving us between 18 and 22 eggs every three days.  So much for lower production when there's less hours per day of sunshine.  I guess no one's come by to tell my chickens they can slack off!  They're production rate is supposed to slow down when you have less than 14 hours of sunshine per day.  We're averaging right around 12 hours this time of year.  They are also supposed to go into a molt in the fall.  They haven't gotten that message either.  Just like children, they'll do it in their own sweet time!

We spent the day doing small projects like weeding the garden, and building a new set of shelving for the container.  We've accumulated a lot of stuff over the past year and a half, and trying to keep it organized has been a hassle.  So, the new shelving should help.  We also offloaded a trailer load of mulch.

Here's one wild blackberry patch.  It's really coming into it's own. I put mulch around the base of the canes, to help control the weeds, and begin its natural composting process as in Back to Eden. I read somewhere that you need to try and keep the canes to around 2-3 feet tall only.  They'll produce more berries.  I've got my eye on this section, as it's nearing the height where it needs to be trimmed back.  And that's no easy chore.

Here is the strawberry patch.  We built a strawberry pyramid last year, and the past 6 months or so, they have sent off a lot of shoots, so the amount of berries we get this season (Jan - March) should be greater than last year.  We also had an issue with the amount of sun the plants would get.  Even though the "book" states full sun, it actually burned out my plants.  So we put up a sun/shade screen on top, and ever since then, they have really taken off.  I have blossoms already and a couple of berries starting to work their magic.

We picked a few cucumbers, from a couple of the remaining plants, and the Moose is looking forward to cutting up these little peppers for his famous homemade salsa.

We did finally get to offloading the trailer load of mulch this weekend.   The trailer load only covered about 1/3 of the area, so we'll need at least 2 if not 3 more loads of mulch to complete this section.  We have one other area besides this one to finish.  I can not begin to tell you how easy it was to pull out the few handfuls of weeds that were in the garden. 

That's all for now, have a great week everyone!  Thanks for following along!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thankful for Time with the Family

We spent our time this past week getting ready for the Thanksgiving Holiday, and then shot right into getting ready for Christmas.  Both Daughter Number 1 and Daughter Number 2 spent the extended weekend back at home.  The time together was priceless.  It was the first time Daughter Number 2 had been out to the Compound in a year, and there were many changes.  Besides seeing the Hooligans, and all their craziness, spending some quiet time on the new deck was a needed respite.

The Moose got a different truck, so now Miss Izzy is blocked from the front, and is getting lazy in her old age.  So lazy in fact, she is resting her head as she stands on the back seat.

I received my Top Bar Bee Hive, and it looks fantastic.  Great craftsmanship.  I hope to get my bees ordered this week or the next.  I'll try to get photos for you, as we begin setting it up.

Our strawberry plants have started to blossom.  I'm hoping for a good return on the investment this year.

The Hooligans are in for a surprise this week, we'll have our lowest temperatures this year.  Down in the lower 40's at night and not getting out of the upper 60's, for a few days.

Finally, the water level in the canal seems to be subsiding.  Folks north of us, yes north, as the St. Johns River flows south to north, are still dealing with some flooding. 

We'll be back to normal next weekend, laying out another load of mulch.  Unless of course, the Moose comes up with another project or two...

Have a good week!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Back to Eden Central Florida - 3

We spent this past Saturday working on the mulch for the garden.  We finished offloading our 3rd trailer load, adding where it seemed it needed more.  We also took a look at the mulch previously laid down on October 29th, and to our surprise, it is already turning.  In this photo you can see how it is turning black, and breaking down.  What you can't see is how moist the mulch and soil are underneath.  This area received about 2 inches of water, the day it was installed, and very little if nothing since.

The other area planted a week later, is also showing signs of turning, however it is not as far along.  It has received little if anything for rain.

Other observations:  weed pulling has never been easier.  We only had a handful of weeds, and they came up really easy.   We had a lot of mushrooms growing in random locations throughout the garden.  I believe this is a good sign, as they will not grow if they don't have a moist, composted area.  They did shrivel up when the sun came out.

On another note.  We are getting the other areas of our garden ready for mulch.  We picked up our 4th trailer load, so we're ready for next weekend.  We had to remove the black vinyl material we had laid out, to help keep weeds down.  We found some unwanted guests living under the vinyl, and Miss Izzy had a blast eliminating 6 small rats.  She's a terrier mix, and loves hunting those disgusting, vile creatures.  She's sleeping off yesterday's fun, today.  Boy did she have a blast!  She has waited her whole life for a day like Saturday....

The Hooligans are doing great.  No more missing or broken eggs, so that's a positive.  Have a great week everyone!  Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Start of Something Sweet

I ordered most of my backyard bee supplies this week;  Top Bar Hive, tools and suit.  I look forward to them coming in.  I've ordered items from:

I'm getting nothing in return from them, nor is this an endorsement at this time.  Once the items I've ordered are in, and I can review for quality, I'll let you know.  I will say,  both have followed up within 24 hours to let me know they have received and are working to fill my orders.  So far, so good.

I have yet to order my bees, and a honey extractor.  Although, I think I can probably handle doing the extracting on my own, since I'm only working with one hive at this point.  Bees should be ordered within the next week or so, and delivered next spring.  Plenty of time to get everything set up, books re-read, and how-to videos re-watched.  I'm looking forward to it.

I find myself watching the honey bees busily gathering pollen from my roses, and the wild flowers in the area.  I know the bee in the below picture is not a honey bee.  But would you have really noticed?  Call me crazy, but I notice these types of things now. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Security for the Hooligans UPDATE

It worked!  It's really nice when your efforts pay off!  We collected 13 eggs for two days of laying, and not a one was broken, cracked, or chipped!  It's been a long time since we had this many eggs in so few days. 

We are however, re-evaluating the necessity for either/both roosters.  We really wanted Mother Nature to take care of things for us.   But having to constantly be on the lookout and ready to defend yourself against not one, but two roosters is taking it's toll.   They even attack when you are feeding them treats.  Go figure...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Security for the Hooligans

Hopefully it'll work!  We put chicken wire around the top two thirds of the chicken run.  We have a guess that maybe it was a weasel or mink getting into the coop and eating the eggs.  It took most of Saturday to get it all put into place. We stapled the top of the wire to the existing frame, and zip tied the bottom sections together.  If I see another zip tie, it will be TOO soon!  My fingertips are so sore, I'm through typing..

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Nothing is at it Seems even Honey

Yet another fraud committed on the American people.  Even honey might not be honey anymore.  Below is the link to the article.  Isn't it enough our bee population suffers year after year due to systemic pesticides, which our FDA and EPA do nothing about, but now we have to deal with honey from China?

I've been researching honey bees for a bit now, and am more determined to get my backyard bees, so I know where my food comes from.  I'll no longer support Walgreens, CVS or Rite Aid.  There has to come a time when we stand up for something.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I Need Your Help - Chicken Eggs Destroyed or Eaten by????

What we thought was egg eating chickens, now looks like it might be something else.  Please let me know your thoughts, as we're not totally convinced it's rats either, but the jury is still out.  Could it be something else?  Weasels? We collected eggs today, and had a better number of viable eggs than in days past.   We usually find eggs every couple of days broken and the insides gone.  They looked to be rolled out of the nesting boxes.  Remaining shells have been found in the coop and in the chicken run.  Our chickens no longer sleep in their coop, they sleep outside on top of the house.

We added the oyster shell supplement to their diet to help strengthen their shells, about 2 weeks ago.  They are eating it and we have had a lower rate of destroyed eggs. 

Here's the conundrum;  two of the eggs we found today have what look like canine teeth bite marks.  The crazy part, is between the two eggs there are a total of 6 bites, and each of them measures the same 3/4" width.  Could this still be a coincidence and random chicken pecks?  I have a hard time believing it, but need someone with more experience to let me know if they've seen anything like this before.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Back to Eden Central Florida - 2

Welcome new Followers!
We were fortunate this weekend to have stupendous weather.  70's and a nice breeze.  We were actually able to get two loads of mulch from the landfill on Saturday.  We offloaded the first load on our fruit trees, blueberries and roses. 

The rest of the first load and three fourths of the second load went into the garden, and finished the areas we were unable to complete last weekend.  We still have two large sections to fill and expect to need another 2-3 loads of mulch to finish.

  1. We were recipients of a couple of inches of rain this past week.  While the mulch was dry to the touch on top, it was as described by Paul in the BtE film, wet underneath down to the soil level.
  2. The mulch does settle down.  At first it seems very messy.  But with a little rain and some walking it makes a nice surface to work on.  No more mud! 
  3. As long as it's thick enough, weeds have trouble gaining ground.  In the past, we would spend hours weeding, only to return the next week and have to start over again.  We were totally weed free in the area we mulched last weekend.  

For those that follow along with the Compound, we had a typical weekend.  Mowed the yard, and took care of the Hooligans.  We spent the night Saturday, so we could observe the Hooligans and their home at night.  Yes, it seems we have rats.  Yuck!  That is likely what is eating the eggs.  So much of a problem it appears that the Hooligan's have moved out from their coop at night to sleeping on top of the coop.  Frankly, I hope this is my problem.  I can deal with this.  I didn't want to deal with having to cull my chickens that were eating eggs.  They're part of the family, and I would not be happy parting with any of them.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed, that this is in fact the problem.

We're heading to a store to buy supplies to close up the top two thirds of their coop fencing, so they can not enter.  It's more expense, but if this takes care of the egg eating problem, and lets the Hooligans sleep better at night, than it's worth every penny.

Lucy, came in contact with either a raccoon or an opposum.  Her waddle was ripped off the side of her little head and a pile of feathers was found outside the coop, near their roosts.  She didn't look to be feeling very well either.  We'll be keeping an eye on her.  She doesn't have a healthy disposition to begin with, but she's a charmer, so we put up with it. 

We are however, losing patience with Monkey.  He went after the Moose again this weekend.  Monkey's running out of time.  If he wasn't such a good "watch dog" over some of the girls, he would be gone already.

The Moose went and picked up some hay, and bedding on Saturday.  As soon as he put down the back gate to the trailer, the Hooligans couldn't wait to investigate.  They even went for a short hayride.

Thanks for the comments, and following along with this crazy blog.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Spreading the Word

We had an electrician come to the house this week, and it turns out he teaches gardening classes at a local nursery.  My buckets of compost gave me away.  We started discussing his upcoming earth box class, and I asked him if he ever heard of the Back to Eden Film.  Well, nearly 4 hours later, I finally had my new outlet installed, but  the amount of information exchange was awesome!  I passed along the website address, and he was heading home after his last job to take a look.

Thanks to the folks at Back to Eden for your willingness to pass this along at no charge, so millions of us can use the information.  We're off tomorrow for our second load of mulch.  We'll keep you updated.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Working Disorder

I think if the Moose were born or growing up now, he would have been diagnosed with some disorder for someone who can't seem to get or come up with enough work.  You see, it was 5 a.m. this morning, and any other normal person would have been sleeping in after the work we did at the Compound on Saturday.  Not him, he's up, walked the dog and came back in and spent about 15 minutes trying to solve a problem we've been putting off at the Compound with the pond.  Since he came up with a solution, our day was planned. We would have been out the door by 6 a.m., but he was out of luck as the big box store was not open until 8 a.m.  Lucky me!  It gave me just enough time to feed the bird, feed us, pack a lunch and drinks, fold two loads of laundry, help pack the car, shower and get out the door at exactly 8 a.m.

The problem:  The pond had a bad case of algae, as the water sits stagnant.  Now that there are thousands of tiny fish, and we're sick of looking at the slick green snot that grows on top, we needed to come up with a solution.  To most, that sounds easy, but we have no electricity.  It's not as simple as putting in a pump and plugging it in.  We are totally off the grid.

The Moose decided to use two pumps, one as a fountain for aeration, the other to pump the water through a filtration process of sand, rock, etc.  But before he could complete this part, he came up with a plan to get a good amount of the pond scum out of the way.  He used some left over screening, stapled it to two pieces of thin wood, and made what ended up being a 3' x 8' pond skimmer.  It did a great job.  Totally transformed the entire pond. 

While he was in the pond in waders, he decided to try and get rid of The Fart.  The Fart is the odd bubble (s) in the pond that happen to show up now and again.  You have to actually gradually walk them over to the side of the pond, so the smelly gas (hence the name The Fart) leaves from under the liner.  It's really foul smelling, rotten eggs hundred fold!  Yuk..

Here's what it used to look like:

Well, the fountain and pump/filter both work as intended.  We already have an array of solar panels that we'll use to run them both.  We just need a larger inverter to handle the electrical requirements.  This way, they can run even if we are not there.  We'll set them up on a timer, so the12 volt batteries can keep up with their charge from the solar panels.  Now we're considering Talapia for the pond.  Anyone had success raising them?

Here's the fountain set up, and if you'll notice NO FART!


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Back to Eden Experiment - Central Florida Part 1

The day started with a light rain, and lasted of course, until we were done with one of our weekend projects.  Our main project was to lay down mulch in the garden 4-6 inches thick, per instructions from the Back to Eden film we watched a couple of weeks ago.  Boy, will we need more mulch.  Now I know why Paul from the film had so many piles delivered to him.  Our mulch isn't as pretty as his, but hey it's free!  Here's where we started:

Here's where we ended:

Doesn't seem like much, but it took us about 2 hours to get this laid out.  We figure we'll need at least another 8-9 loads to complete the entire garden area.  There are some plants peppered throughout, that we started a couple of months ago, but due to the rain, and poor soil conditions haven't done very well.  We're experimenting at this point, so we left them in to see how things progress.   What you don't see is the muck!  It has rained again, and the ground was already saturated, and this new rain didn't help but get our boots stuck in the mud.  We look forward to the layer of mulch, instead of mud.

We'll slowly work on mulching the rest of the garden over time.  We're not in a rush, except to finish this main garden area.  The other areas are for back up, experiments with crops, etc.  When shtf we'll have additional growing space already prepared.  We look forward to seeing how this progresses, and we'll keep you posted.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Honey of an Idea!

I've decided to go for it! I'm going to start a hive at the Compound. It'll be one of my next big projects. Since springtime seems to be the best time to get the new hive up and running, I'm going to study up as much as possible, and purchase the items that are needed between now and then.

When I ask people what they think, their first and only response is; "you're going to get stung"! I'm sure I will, but from what I can tell, it's not life altering, and as long as you are methodical, and calm, the number of stings will be minimal.

There are so many benefits to having your own hive; of course honey as a sweetener, beeswax for making candles and lip balm. It's also been used as an antibacterial application for wounds. You'll also get a higher yield from your vegetable garden, and help save the honey bee population (they are dying off by the millions each year, thanks to pesticides). Did you know that by consuming raw honey from within 50 miles of your own home, you'll actually reduce your overall allergies to pollen when the season strikes? The honey contains pollen, and helps your body build up a tolerance. I learned that from the "Beekeeping for Dummies" book. I'm sure my family will get sick of hearing me talk about bees. As much as they did about chickens when I got started with them.

I find the topic interesting, and after spending time working in our own garden, reading articles about GMO's, and systemic pesticides, the benefits are endless. Seems like a win win. Advice anyone?

Picture from the National Geographic:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Houston We Have a Problem

We have an egg eater(s) amongst the Hooligans. We'll try to get a camera up in the coop this weekend to see who the culprit is. What a shame, but someone has got to go. Along with the vandal, Monkey will likely make the soup pot as well. He keeps attacking the Moose and I whenever he gets the chance. You'd think he learn, but no. Sorry Monkey..

Friday, October 21, 2011

Bath Time!

We stopped out late last night to check on the Hooligans. The Moose felt sorry for them so he let them out for a short time. They were so excited, and ran as fast as they could to escape. I just love to see their little bodies run! Most of the girls decided it would be bath time. If you've never had chickens, they don't wash up in water, they take dust baths. They really get to throwing dirt around. When they get up and shake off, it's much like Pigpen from the Peanuts; a cloud of dust! See if you can tell how many are actually in that pile together..

There's 6. The others were over at the camper screen door begging for grapes. Of which I had none yesterday, but it's crazy how quick they learn. Needless to say, it was a chore getting them to go home. The weather here is perfect. Highs in the lower 70's and lows in the middle to lower 50's for the next few days. A welcomed relief.

I won't post much this weekend, we're basically taking it off to spend with Daughter Number One and Daughter Number Two at Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights. It should be a blast, at least the parts where I bother to keep my eyes open!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Chainsaw Massacre!

O.K. Halloween theme here! Couldn't help it, I know corny, but it's my blog.

After last weekends storm, we had a tree down in the drive coming in, along with the damage to the roof on the Tiki Hut, and all the debris mother nature could puke up on our lawn, we were on a mission to get it cleaned up. (see photos in last post of the mess)

The Moose started by getting the fire pit lit up, getting out his chainsaw and letting the Hooligans out (which is more like mob rule). I had made extra oatmeal for breakfast in the morning, and brought left overs for the Hooligans.

We were expecting some company, so I set out to get organized and ready.

My parents and Daughter Number One came out to the Compound Saturday. My Padre couldn't resist the chainsaw just sitting there. Let the massacre begin! He just started cutting down branches and palm fronds. I'm not sure he even took the time to say hello before he got started! He was like a kid in a candy store. Padre also cut off the bottom branches of the oak trees that line our drive, so I could mow underneath without loosing my hat!

My Mom and I spent the better part of the morning picking up and raking yard debris, in between laughing at the Hooligan's and their antics. By this time, Daughter Number One drove in, and we had lunch. I'm not sure what it is, but there is something about the atmosphere of having lunch out in the fresh air surrounded by your family, I'd call sheer joy. I don't think it would matter what you had for lunch, it would taste good.

The Moose and my Padre finished cleaning up the yard. I wish I had taken pictures of the amount and size of branches, limbs and palm fronds those two burned. The fire pit was always ablaze, and it went from 8am until 4:30pm before it was finally a pile of hot burning coals. The yard has never looked this good.

Then one final task before the end of the day; fixing the Tiki Hut roof for the second time this year. Thanks to 70-80 mile/hour winds. But it seems no challenge is too big or too small for the Moose and Padre.

My parents headed home. We stuck around for a bit with Daughter Number One, cleaned up, chit chatted and then corralled the Hooligans in for the night. There's always one lone hold out and this time it was The General. Daughter Number One had a good laugh at our expense.

I'll leave you with a cute photo, I don't know what they were all looking at.

Monday, October 10, 2011

O.K. Enough Already!!!

The Moose and I decided to run out and make sure the Hooligans were OK, as we had wind gusts between 60 and 80 mph and nearly 12 inches of rain out at the Compound. We had all of that and then some! What a disaster area! We lost the roof on the Tiki Hut Again! Take a look at these photos showing the mess. Looks like we'll be burning on Saturday. The Hooligans are just fine.