Homesteading from the Male perspective as the Long Slow decline continues and Rural America is Besieged.
Thursday, March 10, 2016
Happy Sheep and Working Bees
Maybe it's just my European genes or something but nothing paints a picture of rural life on a small holding quite like a flock of sheep on a sloping pasture that is just turning green with spring. I can sit idle for hours just watching em work their way back and forth across the pasture. The yearlings occasionally jumping and running around in joy from tasting fresh green grass again after a Winter of dry old hay.
Ya know what else it is? Quiet. As Winter gets old the sheep become less and less content with the hay and they like to let me know their displeasure every time they see me. Once I let em out into the new grass though it's peaceful, quiet bliss. No more BLAAAAAAH BLAAAAAH everytime they see someone doing something.
I hadn't been at my first day of this new job even an hour yet before my son was calling to tell me the sheep had managed to lift the gate off the remaining hinge pin that was holding it up. Oh and the guy with the round bale was there too. Where did I want it? I made sure to stay outside all day yesterday so I wouldn't miss him and he never showed. I should have known he would wait until I was at work.
We should have enough hay for Winter but it's so cheap this year I been buying round bales for the pastures. Not even sure at this point the sheep or the horses will touch what was delivered today but ya never know. It also allowed me to move the horses out of the hay field and into their pasture which will let the sheep enjoy the new grass for a few days before it's time to lock em up for shearing and lambing season.
When I got home I fixed and re-hung the West pasture gate, closed the horses out of the hay field, let the sheep out and then put some more syrup out for the bees. Boris head butted me in the a$$ while I was bent over putting the new hinge pin in and knocked me over into the mud. I really haven't been spending enough time with the flock recently and all the special ones had to each have a few minutes of neck rubs before they would let me finish working on the gate.
Personally I thought it was a bit cold being over cast and kinda rainy-like but the bees were flying and they are bringing in nectar from somewhere else besides the open feeders. Also some critter is helping themselves to the syrup down at the back pasture hives. Lot's of activity coming and going with pollen and nectar coming in so something is blooming. My guess would be early Elm or Ash right now. Another week or so and I will stop open feeding as the girls are not hitting it quite as hard as they were the last two weeks. A very good sign I think.
Next warm, sunny day I get free I will take the insulated sheets off the hives and open up the entrances and do a quick top open inspection to find out for sure if those two light hives are really dead outs or not. There is some minimal activity coming from them but it could just be robbing. Although it's been relatively warm it hasn't been warm enough for me to crack the tops yet. I typically like to wait until it's actually Spring before doing Spring inspections but maybe that's just me?
It might have been cold and rainy but it turned into a good day despite having to come home and put out brush fires. Everything fit together nicely and the biggest part of the animals were happy with things for a change. Except the horses and they have no reason to complain they got plenty of new grass in their own pasture.
Oh my new job? Well I run every car that comes into the dealership service department through an alignment gizmo. I have to put these sensors on the tires and then push it forward as a computer reads it and then spits out a report. I then park the car and hand over the repair ticket and keys to the service router guy who turns it over to the mechanics. It's actually kinda fun and not a bad work environment and I keep moving. Best of all I am only working 3 to 4 hours every morning and then have afternoons free to get stuff done here and handle emergencies. I think it will work out well and allow me the time to keep this place running too.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!!
Posted by PioneerPreppy at 3:01 PM
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new job sounds good, I am hive checking this week end the weather is suppose to be good, there are lots of sheep out in the fields around here and again I am hoping to put the lambs outReplyDelete
Dawn - The sheep are in heaven today. They won't be so happy come next week when they get locked up for shearing and then birthing season starts. Until then though the new grass is keeping them very happy.Delete
I have seen one of those alignment machines, they are pretty slick and look to be really accurate.ReplyDelete
I had a goat that tried to butt me but we had a discussion about it and he got his mind right, what little there is of goat mind that is.
I was about to cut the tall cedar tree for my hops pole and the wind started changing directions so I decided to wait, I really don't need it to fall the wrong way and get hung up. I see some bees here but I think we must be at the extreme range of someones hives as I just don't see a large number.
Sf - I thought about putting him on his back but it was just too muddy.Delete
Getting trees hung up makes my blood boil. I hate it lol. Always worries me until I can get em pulled out.
Oh Lord, that sounds ideal. What I could do with four extra hours a day...ReplyDelete
TB - I know so far it's great!!!Delete
Glad to see you're doing well. Watching the animals hang out, whether sheep, pigs, chickens, etc is so relaxing for me. I waste so much time tho'..ReplyDelete
Izzy - I find the chickens really entertaining but the rooster starts getting jealous if the hens get too close to me these days.Delete
Our sheep were quiet yesterday .....they were out on the field, enjoying the sun, they were happy, I could see that they were happy, and our ram did a prancy jig when he came in with the flock showing that all was right in his world.ReplyDelete
Good news about the job. At least you will have more time to get things done on the smallholding.
Vera - I was just thinking how nice the sun was today when I got home and the sheep were already looking for shade. Poor girls I always forget they like it about 50 degrees colder than I do :)Delete
good luck with the two light hives fingers crossed for youReplyDelete
Fast SOS - Thanks!!! I am pretty sure they died out now from watching them. I might be able to open them up this afternoon but 2 out of 17 isn't a bad Winter. I can live with those small losses.Delete
Slightly random question for you. We're having an incredibly early and warm spring here. It was in the 70's on Wednesday. Normally we still have a foot of snow on the ground this time of year. The bees are definitely waking from their winter nap.....and finding almost nothing blooming yet. The crocus have literally JUST started to bloom. There's no weeds producing flowers, or anything.ReplyDelete
Local farms are finding what looks like swarms crowding anything even a little sweet.
Would it be worthwhile to put out a sugar water feeder of some kind, and what would be the best sort for a quick and dirty feeder? I do have hummingbird feeders, but they're mostly the sort that bees CAN'T feed from, as I got tired of having to brave the yellow jackets just to refill the things......
Ruth - Thank you for the question. I decided to do a whole post on it today.Delete
I love it when get post ideas from readers!!!!
I'm hoping the two hives are doing wonderfully and when you open them up things will okay.
Congratulations on the new job!
Sandy - Thanks!!! I hope maybe they are just really depleted but like I said above 2 out of 17 a Winter I can live with. 10 to 20% losses are pretty low nationally speaking as I think the average is 30%.Delete
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