Let's see. You've got the full update on the bees. The bees! Oh, how we are loving the bees...and learning so much about them too. Like on this very hot day when I found them all bearding outside the hive for a little bit of ventilation. So very cool and brilliant, those bees.
But there's more than just the bees here right now! We're joined this summer by two new additions to the farm, Salt-n-Pepa (named, of course, after the girl duo. My boys are enjoying a trip into the world of late 80's hip hop). Yes, we've named our pigs once again and will continue to do so - we enjoy, know them, and treat them so well while they are here, it only makes sense (to us) to give them names.
Having the pigs here in the summertime has been quite different than the wintertime. With the ground not frozen, they'll spend the whole time continuing to turn over sod and brush, clearing this new area for future/someday larger-livestock pasture. Summertime also has presented us with so much more food 'surplus' in the way of our garden (and more to come), thereby cutting down considerably on feed costs. Steve is quick to mention the summertime bonus of not having to shovel out the fence line (a serious bonus). And of course, the weather conditions have also meant that we're able to be outside with them so much more (if you can't find Adelaide with the kittens, try the chickens, then the pigs!)
Oh, there's so much we're learning. And all the while, enjoying their presence.
And, the chickens! Oh my, how they've grown since we last spoke about them! We introduced them to our older ladies many weeks back now, and they are all living together quite happily. (In joining them, we followed some of the good advice found here.) We made a few revisions and additions to the existing structure we had for them - adding much more roost space for all these girls, and external nesting boxes and such. Their coop is inside a one-acre fenced-in pasture, where they can be a bit protected from foxes, racoons, coyote, dogs and other wandering, curious predators.
That makes for 15 Rhode Island Red's, 15 Araucanas, 4 Buff Orpingtons, and 1 lone, but happy Pekin duck who believes herself to be a chicken (she really does). The Rhode Island Red's "belong" to Calvin, my little entreprenuer with grand plans and a desire for Itunes cash. Adelaide has a name for each and every one of the 'rest' of the birds and claims to be able to tell them all apart (oh, how varied and lovely the colors are on those Araucanas!). And Harper is fast on his way to becoming a Chicken Whisperer himself.
How could I mention the farm animals and not mention the barn cats? Three kitties have found loving and wonderful homes with friends, where regular postcards and photo updates have been requested by Adelaide. Miss Sally (one of the kittens) stays, and all other appropriate cats have been fixed. Phew. (Oh, but those kittens were such fun!)
Family/farm head counts are comical around here these days, and tucking everyone into bed at night (so to speak) has grown into quite a long production. There are moments then when it gets a little harried and overwhelming. Luckily, just when that feeling strikes, Steve and I can usually find each other somewhere amidst the flurry and the chaos, take one look at each other for the reminder to step back...and laugh. Because this? This is just how we want it to be. It's better - and crazier - than we ever could have imagined.
I love this company we keep.