Monday, July 8, 2013
This weekend was all about plants and animals around the homestead. The garden is thriving in our warm and muggy weather and the bees are pollinating like crazy. I love walking through the garden and knowing that the bees doing their business are ours (or very likely so). Even though the mosquitoes seem to be getting thicker by the hour we can not resist spending our time outdoors.
Our new little barn kitten Hickory (Cory for short) is adjusting wonderfully to her large kennel safe haven on the porch. We named her after grandpa hickory out in the wooded area where we found her. She is socializing beautifully and full of energy. She is getting lots of love and play time and slowly exploring while always going back to home base to rest or if she gets spooked. I am also happy to report she has litter box duties down pat!
We were so glad that we enticed her out when we did because Saturday night mama raccoon ushered all four of her kits out of the tree and scurried them off into the woods. It seemed a little early for them to be out, but then fifteen or twenty minutes later Sid and I heard a large crash and the porch jumped. A large branch from the hammock tree (where the raccoons had taken up residence) had just come down out of the blue. I think maybe mama sensed pending danger and evacuated the household. We have not seen her or the kits since.
Since both of the hives swarmed at the beginning of the summer, we have given them a little time to make a new queen. After inspecting the hives on Friday, to our disappointment, neither hive had any new brood, so we knew that we had to get them new queens or give up on them. We hate to give up on anything so we drove about an hour South yesterday to visit a gentlemen who has been beekeeping since the early 1970's and breeds queens. After a tour of his hives and some advice, we left with two lovely queens who seemed to be immediately welcomed into their new homes. Not thirty seconds after introducing the queen box to one of the hives, there were bees feeding her!
This is the time of year to buy herb plants because the season is in full swing and the garden centers are already trying to make room for fall mums. That means that everything is on clearance and perfect when you are wanting to buy any volume of them. We planted 18 lavender plants in one of the large raised garden beds. I wanted a permanent place for a big stand of gorgeous purple and I recently found out that lavender is a great deer repellant. Though I love that we have mama and fawn living in the back of the property, they have begun to take a bit of a toll on parts of the garden, so we will see if this acts as a gentle deterrent.
The homestead is just alive with plants and animals (us included) and they all have a symbiotic relationship; ebbing and flowing with one another in a controlled sort of farm frenzy.
If you want to see all of the homestead happenings over the weekend check this out.