Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dirty and Dusty

Just a quick post to join Verde Farm on Farm Friend Friday and Farm Girl Friday.  I thought I would share these  pics as Blue decided to roll and show off while I had the camera several days ago.  Look at his mane flying all over the place.  I cannot believe the warm weather disappeared so quickly and tiny spits of snow blew across the farm this afternoon.  

My boy Blue was relaxed that evening, enjoying the evening's sun bath with Jessie close at hand never looking the least bit interested and eating her grass like it was going to disappear!  Oh Spring, please come soon and bring your warm weather so that sun baths and dirt baths can be had once again!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Furry Farm Faces

Life has kept me busy these days with little time for blogging.  Winter's quiet solitude has long passed.  The snow is gone, and the daffodils are blooming though the temps have remained cold this week.  Time's promise of warmer days to come brings about more 'things to do' in order to prep for the upcoming season.  However, no matter how busy I seem to be, each evening offers gifts beyond of beautiful faces and expressive eyes.

I so look forward in receiving these precious presents from my beloved animals, both domestic and wild who consciously make the decision to spend a few minutes with me each day or evening.  I am magically transformed during these shared moments.  Nothing invades my thoughts as I walk among the deer.   I notice their coats, their personalities, who's dominating, who's shy and skittish, and how could I miss who decides to pierce the quiet with a loud snort.
Cocoa, you are so photogenic! 
Nutmeg, you are quickly learning how to rule the roost!
Baby Autumn, may you always stay small and may you be extremely smart so your safety will be guaranteed. 
The pups and kitties are delighted to follow their mama though the doggies know they can only go so far and patiently watch the whole process.  The ponies do not want to leave the paddock now that tasty blades of green are in abundance and  reluctantly let me lead them to the barn.  Of course there are several images missing and this post does not include all of my beautiful babies but I hope you enjoy the few that I managed to capture. Oh how I love this farm and all of our adorable furry faces!

Nugget, I know you don't like this snappy camera thing!
Cricket, you look so innocent, though Mama knows better!
Little Sylvester and his determined little mouth! He is the sweetest thing but last on the cat's totem pole...
Oh my shining star dear Jessie, words cannot describe how much I love you!
Big bad Blue, you are a fine horse, and always keeping me on my toes!
Little Bear, please stay away from the possums!
My first two babies share a very strong bond especially after Jack died several years ago.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Bluegrass Antiques and Garden Show

The good husband had a speaking engagement at Eastern Kentucky University at the Appalachian Studies Conference on Friday.  Much fun was had, new people were met, good food was consumed and a chance to overnight away from the farm was refreshing.  However, I really enjoyed the following morning...I opened the paper and discovered in the lifestyle section several listings that 'Kritter Keeper' would love to attend.  There was a farm machinery auction, an heirloom seed saving gathering and an antique/garden show.  I soooo do not fit in the area where we live as none of those fun events would be listed in our paper....Lexington is me to a T!  The good husband even mentioned the very same thing. I would have happily attended each function and had a splendid day but we had to get back to the farm and only one could be chosen.
After overcoming some negative feedback while my feet were firmly planted he reluctantly joined me in attending the Bluegrass Historical Society's Spring fundraiser, The Antiques and Garden Show.   What is better than being surrounded by beautiful flowers and antiques? Well, add a few animals and it would have been heaven!
Pretty peacock is painted velvet from the 1800's.
The attendant was not friendly and was sure to tell me that the $2900 price tag was an excellent deal and someone already gave a verbal commitment.  Hmmf!  But, lady, it wasn't working and you didn't know how to wind it up!!!
Held in the Old Barn at Keeneland, I was surprised that it wasn't larger but there were plenty of vendors.  Representation from Philly, NY, the Carolina's, Tennessee and of course Kentucky the antique dealers came with excellent pieces paired with excellent prices....dah, we are in a recession!  No, I do not think $4,000 for that small painting is a good deal nor is $450 for a nonoriginal botanical print.  Sigh...but it was fun to browse and this was not about obtaining good deals!

I did find an affordable display and didn't go too crazy though I wanted too.  Kitty lamp, you were mine the moment I laid my eyes on you!  My photo doesn't do it justice, but there is a baby kitten reading along with its parent.  More lamp lust....oohhh, beautiful hand painted shade, why must you be priced at $650? We are not in NYC!  Come on!  Suffice to say, that goodie stayed with its vendor. 

Oh look at that pony!  If only I had my truck...and yes, the pressure was on as I was told only two arrived at the nursery.  Of course!  My hands were tied.  But I did get a gorgeous garden book written by a local designer and signed. Yay! I was a bit disappointed though. The photos were good but not spectacular. Too much light.  I read the attributes...a noted food photographer did the pics...hmmmm, poor choice in my opinion, but I can get some good ideas and I loved the visual access to hidden farms in the area.

Oh pretty bags, how I wanted you but $225 doesn't cut it and where was your attendant? 
It was a wonderful day and a half.  It was a much needed break and our babies missed us tremendously greeting us with lots of barking, jumping, purring and meowing.  The ponies were happy, happy that their personal slave would finally clean their stalls as they are not used to a dirty stall.  And there was one very very happy little soul...who snuck in an open door (that was closed mind you but the housesitter must have entered and didn't shut it tight), and settled herself in a forbidden area, a verrrry forbidden place where Mama's expensive wreaths are gently laid on a spare bed.  PRINCESS!!!!!

(joining farm friend friday at verde farm, so looking forward in visiting all of the farm blogs!  yipee!)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Bee School for Beginners

Kritter Keeper attended a bee school last weekend.... and I absolutely loved it! It was held on a Saturday and thankfully a friend invited me otherwise I would not have known about it. I dreaded getting up that early but this was important as I barely saw a honey bee last year due to colony collapse syndrome and the travel time was worth it. I am a big believer in educating myself before I work with something so foreign....and should I decide to keep bees, then hopefully I will lessen the chance of loosing a hive. Kritter Keeper can barely kill a fly in case you didn't know... Rolling even a single bee or loosing a hive due to my ignorance would make me feel awful though I know it could happen!

There were four classes for beginners. Swarm class, Beginner info, Equipment and start up costs, and lastly a well known local bee man offered excellent advice as to how he achieves his success. I took pages of notes but will not bore you with all of the details. I loved the fact that they had vendors which is the perfect way to learn and expose yourself to all of the equipment, network with the some of the best in the area and find some goodies. My favorite vendors were Queen Bee and Reid Apiary. Queen Bee is very much like me, loves the vintage look, designs tasteful t-shirts and all sorts of cool things. Her website will be up in April so be sure to google her if you like bees. I purchased the most beautiful notecards! Reid Apiary builds hives with pretty copper roofs that arch allowing the hives to have a homey appearance.

The following day I called our county bee keeper's President and chatted with him for almost an hour. Thinking that I should get bees soon as this is the time of year to get them for honey in late July, he cautioned me to wait. I loved his advice and his sound ideas were smart. Attend the meetings, watch and learn as others do it throughout summer and by fall I should be ready. We were in agreement with several issues and that made me feel confident that I am on the right path. There is one thing all of the bee keepers say is that there are a lot of differing opinons on how to tend to your bees. It isn't math with only one answer, there are a variety of ways to do things, but I liked what he said because I wanted no package bees from Georgia or Florida ....I hope to get some good ole' local bees that are accustomed to our conditions, carry no larvae beetle, etc. Funny, nobody in the school mentioned larvae beetle as this destructive pest is becoming more prevalent from southern bees, but the topic of Varroa mites was very popular...See? It pays to talk to your local experts.

So if you are thinking of bees, do not buzz right in...some of the advice I heard from class was to purchase two hives as one might die throughout the winter, do not buy used bee hives but you can buy used bee suits and veils, etc. Keep your hives off the ground about 18-21 inches or the skunks will get them. Hives should receive morning sun but not hot afternoon sun. Feed your bees sugar water or special bee syrup (never store bought syrup) beginning in late fall throughout winter, network with the experts in your area, join your county association and the most imporant advice is to always wear light colored protection and duck tape areas where they can slip in...bees love hair! Oh, and most keepers wear rubber gloves. The bees do not like rubber and do not care what color the gloves for me! And raw honey mixed with cinnamon! It is very beneficial to human health even for those with diabetes as long as care is given to the amount consumed. I am linking with Farm Friend Friday even though today is Saturday. The blog hop is for the entire weekend and I look forward in reading like minded farm blogs.  Enhoy the rest of your weekend!