Monday, April 25, 2011

Bar Top Hive Installation

The bee's have arrived. After a wet start to the morning, we had two inches of snow on the ground, we picked up are bee's and headed home to install them in their new homes. My son helped me install the first hive. We used water with a smidge of sugar in a spray bottle to settle them. My son gently misted them. I first removed the feeder can and slid the queen cage from the box. The queen was in good condition. I next placed the queen cage between the top bars and sqeezed them together. The bee's began to immediately cluster around the queen.

Next I shook the rest of the bee's into the hive.

The last step was to close the hive up. My son and I carefully put each bar in place, careful not to squish any of our new friends, closing the hive up to the outside world. Inside I placed a mason jar feeder with a sugar syrup mix to give the bee's a little extra until the first necter flush takes place. No stings this time, we went slow as to not upset them, but I think I'll continue using the jacket and veil for sometime.

We spent some time watching after the installation, my husband commented that now we have two TV channels, Chicken TV and Bee TV, to watch now. LOL!

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Bees are on the way!

The bees have been ordered! I choose a Colorado company that delivers to Denver for my first package bees and they had something new this year, a bar top nuc, so one of each is headed our way the last weeks of April. The company is Apishive in GrandJunction Colorado. I spoke with one of the gentleman there, Chad, he seems like a down to earth guy. The second hive is being planned and will be done next weekend.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

BeeKeeping, Bar Top Hive, the beginning....

I've been trying to make better decisions on what we eat and where it comes from. So after having had a large chemical free garden for many years I expanded into backyard chicken keeping and now it's only natural that my family and I keep bees. My husband and I sat down and did a lot of research and talking about our options. We decided on building and using a Bar Top hive. In one afternoon we built our first hive. We had the materials at the house, left over from other projects, so the cost was minimal.

The Follower boards...............

Half way done.............................


The bees should bee here in mid-April unless we find a local swarm first. We are limited here in the city to how many hives we can have, and we want to maintain good neighbor relations, so we probably wont do more than two here in our yard. Wish us luck and I'll keep you posted on our journey.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Cookie Recipe


1 cup softened butter
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups flour
powdered sugar

Mix ingredients together. Then form into 1" balls, stuffing a cherry, candy kiss, nut, mint or gumdrop into each one for a surprise. Bake at 350 degrees at 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet for 14-16 minutes or until lightly browned (watch as they can burn quickly). Cool 10 minutes and roll in powdered sugar. Enjoy!

Seasons Greetings!

Seasons Greetings!

This year has been long and has had it's ups and downs. I am truly thankful for ALL my family and the many new friends I have made through Mary Jane's Farm, Farm Girl Connection. My wish for the new year is that everyone has a healthy and happy 2011. Always remember that the most important thing in life is your family, a kind word and a heartfelt hug is the best gift you can give to anyone!

Heather and David

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Yesteryear Farm Show Longmont, CO

Stopped by the Yesteryear Farm Fair to look at all the old tractors and unique farm tolls and engines. Stopped by the weaving and spinning tent and gave the loom a try. Hubby thinks we should start a new project and build/restore a "Hit and Miss" egine. These little beauties ran things like pumps, wheat grinders. We had a blast and got a little sun!


Found a way cool recipe for Cactus Jelly. I made two different types one with lime and one with lemon. They both came out yummy! The beautiful orange color just brightens the day. The cactus jells easily, its one of the few jelly recipes that when it says "ladle immediately into jars" it's not kidding!

Don't be alarmed by the slightly gooey consistency of the cactus fruit juice, remember it's a cactus! I found my fruits at a local farmers market. Some of you may be lucky enough to have cactus growing in your backyard.

Here's the recipe, original recipe from the Jamlady Cookbook

2 1/2 Cups prickly pear cactus fruit juice (make juice like you would any other fruit)

1/2 Cup lemon or lime juice. I used fresh squeezed, the lemon and lime have distinct flavor differences in the finished product.

5 Cups sugar

1 Box powdered pectin (brand that contains at least 18 teaspoons)

Hard boil cactus fruit juice, pectin and lemon/lime juice for 3 minutes. Add sugar and bring back to a boil for minutes or until gel stage has been reached. Immediately pour into jars, seal and process 10 minutes in water bath.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Canning Season

Spent last weekend doing a little canning. I put up 80lbs of corn in the freezer, 1/2 bushel of cukes into dill pickles, 1 bushel green beans and two batches of plum jam! Yhew! I was exhausted at the end of the day but its a satisfied exhaustion knowing my family will have good things to eat all winter!

Monday, July 12, 2010

New Machine for me!

I stumbled into a heck of a deal last weekend. I found a 1923 Singer treadle machine with the matching bench for a song! I am so excited. I have already sewn some quilt blocks and started thinking of all the goodies I can make. It is sooo relaxing sitting and rocking the treadle. I just love it!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Garden June 2010

The weather hasn't been cooperative, lots of heat little rain. I've had to reseed some parts but thats ok. This picture only shows one end of the garden I'm standing at the end looking back. The chickens run is on one edge of the garden. In one of the pictures, the one with Agnes our Orpington hen, you can see the hops that I grow for our homemade beer. It does double duty as shade for the hens and believe it or not they won't eat it. Guess its not to their liking.

At the end of the garden near the shed I have my farmgirl bathing area. Yes thats a red clawfoot tub behind the grape vines and yes I have used it. Gardening doesn't have to be all work you know!
This year we expanded about 150-200 square feet and have several raised beds throughout the yard. My garden and yard have been chemical free for 12 years. Just good ole compost and hen manure.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The "Glamper" is getting dolled up!

On a recent trip to a family reunion in southeastern colorado I played a little with decorating the insides of the camper. a little cutsie but fun! I still need a name .........hoping it will come to me soon.

Felt Needle Book Swap, Mary Janes Farm

These are pictures of the Needle Book I made for my swap partner Elisabeth. I sent some fat quarters along with the book for her next project. I love swapping with my Farmgirl Sisters!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Yummy Christmas Cookie!

This is one of my favorite recipes from Paula Deen.

Pumpkin Spiced Toffee Thins
Makes 4 dozen

1 Cup butter, softened
1 CUp firmly packed brown sugar
1 Large egg, seperated
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
2 Cups All purpose flour
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 8oz package toffee bits

Pre heat the oven to 350*. Spray a 15x11 inch jelly roll pan with non-stick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, beat butter and brown sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add egg yolk and vanilla, beating until combined. Gradually add flour and pumpkin pie spice, beating until combined. Stir in toffee bits. Press the mixture evenly into the prepared pan.
In a small bowl, lightly beat egg white; brush over toffee mixture. Bake for 11 to 13 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let cool for 5 minutes; cut into desired shapes. Let cool completely before removing from pan.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Woke up to icey snow and no school! The district called school because of the poor weather and anticipated worse weather as the day goes on. I'm thinking it's a bread baking day.....maybe cookies? Definately STEW!

Matia (My puppy) and I headed out at 4:30 to feed and water the hens. The hens don't seem to mind the weather I guess it's those fluffy coats they carry around. Matia got a little froggy and danced around in the snow for a while. It's time to head in and get the stew going and do a little catch up.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Coop

In February of 2009 the city of Longmont Colorado, after much debate, decided to start a pilot backyard chicken program. For now we have to have a permit and there is a limit to how many permits are available. I am one of the lucky ones and received my permit (#3) and away I went! There have been a few set backs. As I may only have 4 hens and received three roo's in my first batch of pullets I was getting a bit discouraged. I re-homed the boys and started again. I did get 4 hens finally and thought all was good. Unfortunately one of my misc. breed hens started to be a neurotic mess. Screeching at all times of the day if she didn't get her way with the other hens. This didn't sit to well with the neighbors and so as not to lose my permit I had to relocate her. I have a friend who agreed to take her to her ranchette outside of town to live with her hens and so far she's doing good......still gets vocal from time to time but much happier.
I have my flock for now, 1 Austrolorp, 2 Orpington's. They are all laying now and it's so wonderful to crack open one of their eggs, a deep orange, and take that first bite. YUMMMMM.... Now let me tell you a little something. I used to not be able to eat eggs by themselves for many years. I had picked up an allergy. Since I now control what goes into my happy hens I no longer have this issue. Believe it or not but I am now completely sold on the idea of trying to produce as much as I can for my family, garden etc., and what I do purchase I make good decisions and use the farmers market and as much organic locally grown items as possible.
I know a gentleman from work who has done some marvelous things here in Boulder County. Please stop by his web site, , and check it out. I think every city should have something like it. By the way Kipp has just begun his journey into the world of backyard chickens...Yeah Kipp!
So for all those people out there that have always wanted to have chickens and be a little more self sufficient just do it! Check your local laws and then just jump right in!
Having chickens is one of the best things I've done recently, OK besides my cool Camper project, and as I sit here blogging, drinking my coffee sitting next to the Coop watching chicken TV, I am reminded just how lucky I am and how it's the simple things in life that truly matter.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Ladies lookin for grub.........

Here's my girl's. They just started to lay and seem to be living up to expectations. I am getting one to two eggs a day. I'm waiting on the last one to start laying.

The Glamper, maiden voyage

This is the after picture so far........I'm using an antique ironing board as a table outside. It works great for a place to have snacks and then I place a pitcher and bowl on it to "freshen" up at before dinner. The door was badly damaged so Dave (my hubby) quickly rebuilt it in the plank board bunkhouse theme.
Went took off for the long weekend and ended up in Cheyenne Wy. antique shopping. Have glamper need goodies! At the camp ground we had lots of other campers (huge motorhome mansions!) Stop by to peep in and say hi! It's a conversation opener for sure. I'll get some construction photos up soon and I have to say a big THANK YOU to my farmgirl sister Grace in Washington for all her cheerleading! She gave good ideas and cheered me on.
Here's the camper on it's first day home. A lot of work is in store for us but in the end this should be the coolest camper ever!