Rainy Days..

I love rainy days.

...But not for the reasons you think. First, I love them because its almost a day off. ...Almost.

It's raining, why muck? Dump the water? Rake? Clean? shovel? Sweep?  Why? its got to stop or you're just wasting time.

Granted, I still need to feed and milk.  And It's a bit of a challenge doing this in the rain. It's so sporadic, never rains much for a full day -that we in Florida don't have feed bins under cover, or hay. Its just never really been an issue in the 20 years i've been throwing hay to my animals. But milking can get problematic. How do I get the goats to walk in the rain to the house to get milked? 

But yes, later or tomorrow there will be double the work. But who cares, today, It's raining and i'm going to read a book, make some cheese, and worry about the mess tomorrow.

Of course, no one visits on rainy days. I don't blame them. Its pretty yuk out there. 

Yuk! Muck!

So, I thought I'd bring the farm to you on these rainy days. This way you can think of me tomorrow when its nice and sunny and a mess for me to clean up.

Goats don't like getting wet. They REALLY REALLY don't like getting their feet wet. See the stepping stones? The board? They walk and hop till they hit dry land.

The babes are under cover. Last night as it rained, luckily rained, up and down. If it was a sleeting rain, they'd be drenched and i'd be drying them off in the house.

Amazingly, they all seem to get along in the rain. and hunker down in the stalls.

Chickens are another story! They LOVE the after rain. Brings all the bugs to the surface and its FEAST time. I don't need to feed on rainy days. There  ya go another reason why I love rainy days.

This is a minor rain. See all the muckity muck? 

Can you find the scaredy cats? Kiwi is a big baby with thunder. See Cyrano next to her popping his head out? They won't come out of there till the sun is shining and the ground is DRY.

Wet chicken !! Reminds me of wet dog.  This crew can't understand why I won't let them in the house. Well... just like the wet dog? They come in, THEN shake off all the mud.

Just a note: I've put these signs up in the past few months. Just in case. People don't realize i have an attack turkey. ... If you're a farm and allow visitors to your farm, and think nothing will ever happen, think smart, and cover yourself in case of something that hopefully will never happen... but if it does? Be prepared. 


Honey pull test / Hive maintenance.

I've had the bees now for 8 months. Watching and learning them is a joy. I've also in this time added 3 more hives. But its my FIRST hive that came from a swarm that is doing the best. I've put 2 supers on - just yesterday decided to put super #3 on with a queen excluder between 2 and 3. Box one had some frames like this in there. As well the 2nd super. I only pulled these out and replaced them with empty frames for my queen to make more brood. Not make honey in the first two boxes. Box three with a queen excluder, means just that, she can't get up there to lay only workers can get up there...
 Only the excess honey will be pulled. 

Crushing the wax comb to get the honey isn't the most elegant way. But it works. :)
When you uncapped you also scrape the wax off the frames. (above is the plastic frame-starts the comb) and though you scrape the comb down to nothing- needs to be done this way since i don't have a spinner to force out the honey by centrifugal force. 
You then just let gravity and some pressing take over. Once that is done you filter 
thru a smaller sieve. And that is it. 

This is my original starter swarm. They are doing great. Though quite angry when taking the honey, i survived the experience. Actually wasn't that bad. I was so focused on the tasks that seeing them on my pant legs or on my arms just didn't phase me. They were back to mellow within the hour.  Here is the link of when i first blogged about them. http://jojosfarmlife.blogspot.com/2013/11/beee-utiful-bees.html

One of the frames I pulled on one side was full of honey, on the other full of honey with some brood in the middle of it. I scraped the honey and comb around the brood. Set it down to later put back in hive, and well.... too late, baby bees were being born right in the house... I tried to scoop the 20 or so up and bring them outside but it was dark and cold by then. 
I hope they survived.

1 full side frame pull of honey- not too shabby. The color is great. Consistency is spot on - thick and smooth. And the taste is very wildflowerish. though a bit sweeter then i 
prefer, i love it. Its my honey from my ladies and therefore delish!

I'm loving it.  Honey. Milk. Eggs. Cheese. 
(If only i could make wine and cigarettes I'd never have to leave the farm.)


Chicks and Kids (the human variety)

I love what I do.

I wonder how many times I can start a post with that sentiment, 
without people thinking {gah} ...

They hatched the Black Maran, Americauna, Leghorn, Jersey Giant eggs.

Teaching all the kids about hatching, why different colored eggs, what makes an egg become a chick. and so on...

What a nice setup.

Last month I received a phone message. Normally, I don't call anyone back ever, with regard to farm stuff, (email me), but this time so glad I did. {guess I should answer the phone more often, huh?} .... A sweet and very bubbly lady on the line {Ms. Gray} talking about chicks, and kids, and incubating, and 'in a bind', and no one would help her, and driving to Broward ... {me thinking broward?? to get some fertilized eggs?} ... Well come on over and i'll see who is laying and we'll chat more about what it is your trying to do....

She was at my door within the hour.

Ms. Gray is the first grade teacher at St. Andrews School in Boca Raton. She wanted to do a few weeks teaching development, incubation, life, where things come from, and so on. Could she have a few eggs to hatch out in the classroom? If they hatched would I take them back? Of course. Why wouldn't I?

One of the things I've learned is once a chicken actually lays, sits, and hatches one of her eggs, sees the beauty of what comes from it, guess what she always wants to do with her eggs? ...  yup ... Hatch them out. Broody hens. ok. Hens that go broody and hide themselves, their nests and eggs, are a danger to her, and a nuisance for me, and no eggs for you! I would be constantly hunting for eggs.

To me this is a great idea... win, win. I get hatched out chicks from the girls I want to breed. I don't have to worry about all the incubating and turning and monitoring for Humidity...{like i don't have enough things to do here}....so i said...

... Sure, If they hatch out, 
bring them back.

And well ... they did ... 

To be honest, I didn't think they'd be successful most farmers have such a difficult time of it, how in the world could a bunch of first graders pull this off? Awesome! is all I can say about that!

Yesterday, Ms. Gray delivers 4 chicks with feed to keep them happy. A thank you card from the kids {so darn cute and thoughtful}. And the story of how Coffee, Oreo, Snowy and Stripes came to be!

Here is the front of the thank you card.

And inside. All the kids signed it. 
How special!

Thank you Ms. Gray. 
Thank you St. Andrews first graders.

- for the card ...
 - making me smile 
- helping the farm grow 
- keeping the chicks safe

These chicks in 7 months will start laying 
and will be productive layers on the farm. 

What a fun end to the week.


It's NOT a done deal minto.

I really wish Minto would stop touting their 6500 like its a done deal.  IT'S NOT.

They are approved for 2996 homes and 235,000 commercial development. I still think that is too much and not conducive to our area. People don't understand we have 2 more giant acres (5000 acres, and 5000 acres for Avenir and GL homes on top of this 3500 acres Minto owns).

We've been working and rallying. Getting petitions signed. Creating a Website. Banners. Magnets. Brochures. Flyers. Word of mouth. Grass roots at its finest.... Friends are working their tush's off.

This post really struck me today.... It's not from me or even to me, but a friends observation, that I too witnessed for just a minute while there at the rally today. My truck is now the notomintomobile.


We were setting up the tent when a woman and her daughter came up to us. They introduced themselves and the woman said her daughter would like to know if she could join us for awhile. She had brought poster paper and markers to make her sign. She asked what to write and I told her it was her sign and she could put anything she wanted. She knelt on the sidewalk, made her sign, and stood with her Mom by the side of the road! She was telling us about her love of horses and horseback riding. I took a picture of a little girl who felt so deeply about something that she wanted to be a part of it and I took her picture so she could show her friends.


This isn't our job and we aren't professionals. Most of us had never met before. We are just husbands, wives, parents, and grandparents who heard that a developer had bought a piece of property that came with a land use of 2996 homes and had applied to the county commission to change the land use in order to build 6500 homes and 1.4 million square feet of commercial. We started chatting about it and decided to actually do more than chat on a fb page. This isn't a social organization - we haven't had the time to even learn each other's kids names or much about each other except our deep commitment against overdevelopment. Each member's schedule is filled with family schedules also but are dedicated to seeing this through. Activities like this rally are helping us form friendships - these are really great people! Almost 200 petitions were signed today in four hours and many more petitions were taken for family member to sign and return at the meeting on Wed. Not one person I spoke to had heard about the meeting, but took the flyer I had printed about it and said they would drop by to vote. I am sunburned, windburned, my arches and back hurt, and I am sooo happy! Every car that stopped told us why they stopped to sign against 6500 and sooo many people thanked us. Some asked to join in the activities. I have never been prouder to call The Acreage my home

ARE YOU LISTENING Governor Rick Scott?
more importantly,  ARE YOU LISTENING minto?

200 petitions in 4 hours.... We have another 800 plus signed as well. 

STOP the crap. STOP insisting we need more commercial and more homes. STOP implying that you can help us with drainage. or horse trails. or whatever nonsense. When we know you can't.. STOP IT> We don't want it. You will ruin the Acreage. We don't want a 1.4 million square feet of commercial. For those that can't visualize? The mall at Wellington Green is only 1.2 million.. :(

GRASS ROOTS!!! People might not be able to attend the commission meetings. But the overwhelming support we're receiving by all who are starting to understand that this IS NOT A DONE DEAL!!!!!

For more information please go to www.notominto.com

Goodness Gracious More...

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