Category Archives: Uncategorized

Stunning Double Rainbow over Farm

Double Rainbow-6983

Our very own pot of gold!  A beautiful way to get the day started.

 

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Sandy Mush Kestrel Project

This gallery contains 4 photos.

  We met Mark Hopey several years ago when he was working on a Wildflower and Bird Count Project on our farm.  He was excited to hear that we had been observing American Kestrels on the farm, and we agreed … Continue reading

2019 honey season is in the air

Both literally and figuratively.  The bee are buzzing about as I work in the garden today; they are happy for this warm, sunny day.  Glenn just checked on them, and the hives are not ready to be split yet, but the two hives that we had make it through the winter are healthy.  We did have our largest loss of hives since we began beekeeping, I believe we lost six hives.  Glenn conducted an experiment, and it did not correspond to his mite treatments.  One hive that survived had not been treated and the other hive had been treated.  However, I do believe the hive that he had not treated and survived was a hive that he split late in the season.  It would be interesting to conduct various control groups and test out theories, maybe one day when we have more time.

For now, Glenn is actually happy to be scaled back on his number of hives to manage.  He has two strong ones and plans to split those to a total of four when the time comes.  Thus, we will not have the quantity of honey we have had for the past few years, but you can still count on our bees for the quality of their honey.

I will send an email out to our local honey customers when the bees tell me its time!  In the meantime, I’ve already started a list with excited customers who want to make sure they don’t miss out.  Happy spring to you!

 

Exciting Opportunity for Local Family Farm

Please vote and support one of our Sandy Mush farms; the Frisbee family is working hard to prove that vineyards are a viable and profitable farming venture in western North Carolina.  Profitable family farms, and farmland preservation is our goal!

Learn about this family’s farm story!

Be Curious!

Encourage curiosity, especially in children.  Ask the questions, engage with people, learn something new.  Be curious!!

Less Mowing, More Pollinators

Buterfly Garden in Portland Maine

Less mowing, more pollinators…that is Glenn’s mantra.  As much as he says that, you would think that he was the one who took care of our mowing and was coming up with a strategy to lighten that chore, but, nope, I am the one who mows the yard.

During our recent travels, he did enjoy pointing out examples of his “no mow” philosophy.  The Bee and Butterfly Garden in Portland, Maine was a great example of both a beautiful and useful habitat.  We also paid attention to how states were choosing to maintain their roadsides.  The case has been made that roadsides could provide a valuable pollinator habitat.  This article from Xerces Society makes the case in Pollinator Conservation at 60 MPH.   Then, if you are so inspired, the Xerces Society has even created a good sample letter to send your state representative and/or your state DOT to let them know you are supportive of these roadside efforts.

There is also value in re-envisioning our yards:  meadow gardens, cottage gardens, butterfly gardens…there are many options to consider beyond the traditional mown lawn.  When we lived in the city, my goal had been to eventually get the mown lawn area down to size that was manageable with only a human powered lawn mower.  Now that is an interesting google search:  human powered lawn mower.  Have fun with that!

When we moved to the farm, however, our mown lawn size increased to the point of needing a riding lawn mower.  Yes, we thought about goats, and then thought better!    There may be a meadow garden in the future for our lawn, but for now, I will at least mow on the high setting as to leave the clover blooms for the bees to enjoy.

A Poem that Resonated

Read this poem in the NYTimes this morning, and it resonated.

’N’em

JERICHO BROWN

They said to say goodnight

And not goodbye, unplugged

The TV when it rained. They hid

Money in mattresses

So to sleep on decision.

Some of their children

Were not their children. Some

Of their parents had no birthdates.

They could sweat a cold out

Of you. They’d wake without

An alarm telling them to.

Even the short ones reached

Certain shelves. Even the skinny

Cooked animals too quick

To catch. And I don’t care

How ugly one of them arrived,

That one got married

To somebody fine. They fed

Families with change and wiped

Their kitchens clean.

Then another century came.

People like me forgot their names.

Quote

Gratitude

One of the books I am currently reading is The Pine Island Paradox by Kathleen Dean Moore.  I just read her thoughts on gratitude.  They are worth sharing.

Gratitude is a kind of seeing, an awareness of the magnitude of the gift of this earth.  To see the world gratefully is to be endlessly surprised by the bare fact of it, its beauty and power and everlastingness.  Gratitude is attentiveness.  It’s easy to move through the world and never notice how a shifting wind changes the air from salt to cedar, easy to overlook the invisible moon that moves the tides.  To be grateful is to stand with stinging  eyes and reddening nose in the northwest wind, taking it in – really this, taking it in – the expanse of dunes and dusk and each blade of beach grass drawing a circle on the sand.

Honey Bees are Active

 

bee yard with barn in background and beekeeper

March 2017 Bee Branch Farm Bee Yard

The honey bees look healthy, and Glenn is splitting the hives today.  I was going take a few up close action photos for you, but apparently I walked right in the bee flight path, which is especially an unwise thing to do if you have my hair.  Buzzing ensues, I begin to run, never escaping because some are entangled in my hair.  Shaking my hair, I try to release them from their tangled trap.  My first honey bee sting, that I recall since we first started keeping bees, sharp on my scalp. Still more continue to struggle to escape.  I enter the house in search of  comb or brush, Tillie is prancing with anticipation and excitement, back outside I gently comb the honey bees from their tangled trap.  They fly to freedom save the lone bee, who upon sting is no more and falls to the ground.  Glenn, whose purposeful focus never leaves his task, completely unaware of this side show.

Dream Big!

A quote to reflect upon for International Women’s Day, and everyday:

“The size of your dreams must always exceed your current capacity to achieve them,” the Liberian president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, told a Harvard graduating class in 2011. “If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.”

And with the words of one of my favorite children’s books, Child of Faerie, Child of Earth by Jane Yolen:

Be bold, be brave, be unafraid,

Terri