Friday, May 10, 2013


It has been way too long since I've updated!

So much has happened here.

We added a new animal to the "farm".

Meet Peter (yes, as in Peter Rabbit).

My daughter really wanted a cat, but allergies didn't permit that. I've looked at small dogs, but never found one that I thought would "fit" her. My son has a dog, but Loki (118 lb German Shepherd!) was not snuggly enough for my daughter. When I came across this little guy it was an instant "fit". He is an 8 week old Holland Lop. His ears will eventually lop when they get a little bigger. He is snuggly and will sit in her lap as long as she wants. Rabbits are surprisingly a lot like cats.

My husband just hopes that Peter eats dandelions.

The Goats:
All three of Penny's babies have gone to their homes as bottle babies. Penny also found a new home. I am down to just Felicity and Pippa, but have a mini-nubian on loan for a few days. I have been able to freeze quite a bit of milk for future use making cheese.

Penny's babies (Natasha, Elliot, and Kasey) were all back this week for disbudding (burning of the horn buds so they don't grow horns). It was great to see them as see how well they are growing!

I am hoping to get another doe in milk soon and let our little herd settle in. It is so nice to be done with kidding season. I loved it and will totally look forward to it next year, but it's also a lot of work.

The Bees:
My husband got a package of bees a few weeks ago and now we have an active bee hive in the backyard as well. He ordered Italian Honey Bees. They area actually very friendly and cute.

Here is the box they came in. You can see the top of the can that has their sugar water for food during transport (from California to The Ballard Bee Company to our house) and the little metal clip just to the left of the can is the top of the hook for the queen bee. She has to be in a separate box while the other bees get used to her otherwise they would kill her and that would be a bummer.

Here is my husband with with the queen box. On one end is an opening with a cork stopper. He pulled the stopper out and put a marshmallow in. In the time it takes the bees to eat through the marshmallow the queen's pheromones will have established her as queen and she will be in charge of the hive. 

Dumping the bees into the hive...

After much research, my husband decided to go with a Warre type hive. It is a bit more of a natural habitat and requires much less work on the part of the beekeeper. It currently has a top and bottom (the bottom you see in the picture has been replaced with a slightly different one. This one was just for the first couple of days that we needed to keep sugar and water inside the hive) with 2 boxes between. We will be adding more boxes as they build honeycomb.

Here they are after all the bees were out of their transport box. Most of them ended up in the hive, but some were dumped outside. They all eventually made their way inside.

We spent a bit more and got boxes that have removable planks on the back and plexiglass windows. It's great to be able to see in and see what is going on.

My daughter loves the bees and has no fear. Here she is with my husband checking out the new hive.

She also has no fear of the front of the hive and will stand right in the take off path of the bees and watch them. I think she would snuggle them if we let her. Good thing she now has a bunny for that!


  1. Awesome! Bees are definitely happening in the future for us but we have a lot to learn first! Where did you guys get your hive from?

    1. Kelly, We got our hive from Bee Thinking in Portland. You can follow the link to the Warre hive. It was a more expensive start than other options, but we really like it. The only change we would make would have been to go ahead and order the hive with the copper top. When we get another hive we will go with that option. We ordered our bees through the Ballard Bee Company and they have been super helpful in getting us started. Good luck!

  2. I wanted to let you know how much your blog has encouraged me. We live "in town", in Oregon, and I have recently become interested in starting our own little herd. We currently have 2 chickens and are trying to convert the carport into a goat shed. :)

    This will be our first year joining a fruit/veggie CSA. I would like for us to have our own garden but we have a lot of feral cats that like to, ahem, dig our dirt. So it's easier to get food from our local farmer.

    For the longest time I though I had to have a lot of land to live this dream. Now I see that I can work with what we've got...and that it WILL work.

    Oh, and my husband isn't completely thrilled with the whole animal thing. He, too, is like a frog slowly being boiled. He does enjoy the benefits of owning our own livestock though. Fresh eggs. Yum!

    1. Goats are definitely a challenge in the city but also definitely possible. You should check out the book City Goats. It is super helpful for those of us trying to have goats on a small lot. Plus Jeanie is very helpful. I've emailed her a couple of times and she has pointed me in the right direction.
      Good luck with your urban farm!