While shearing our older sheep we were horrified to find Flystrike!
She always has a soiled behind but I guess the
warm winter and more parasites this year than ever she suffered a terrible case of flystrike. I had no idea of what to do but I started with a good washing after shearing and packed and powdered her back side with Kaolin clay. In my opinion Kaolin is something every farmer should have on hand. I use it in the 'orchardina' to protect the early fruit from flies laying their maggots on young fruits and spoiling them. It can also be used in animals to stop diarrhea (kaopectate). It is an all around good thing to have.
Now we know: Symptoms
soiled areas of wool
loss of enthusiasm and appetite (I thought she was just hot)
Treating our Bessie girl:
Washing daily and hand picking maggots (with gloves)
Packing the wet area with Kaolin clay daily
Garlic, whey, molasses, honey puree in daily grain feeding
She is doing great but has a bare pink back side. Poor thing... at least she can see it!
We went out to see the bees last night and found another swarming new colony about 10 feet away on a downed tree branch. After a day of exhausting work I had to sit down and gather my thoughts a bit.
With my lack of experience how was I gonna get this colony with no equipment? We have an order on the way. My husband went hunting for a box which turned out to be a drawer from our old kitchen. He built a bottom board quickly with scraps in the wood shop. Then we all walked out. We suited up for the occasion and got in there with a plan of action.
As I checked them out I tried to find the queen in the mass of bees. It was just my lucky day... She was perched about six inches above the mass on the branch by herself plain as day! I couldn't believe it! In my little bit of experience I can never find the queen and there she was!
All I had to do was gently scoop her up and move her into the box. Then I place the box entrance under the swarm and brushed the swarm down onto the box over the entrance so the bees would know where she was and freely go into the
So we went out to add some bee tea to the hive feeder in hopes of keeping the bees happy and drawing comb. While I was suiting up my middle girl noticed a pile bees across from us on a vine on the ground. It's spring and they produced a new queen and sprang.
A little sugar water spray.
Aaaaccckk! I had no extra equipment except an old bottom board to work with. My better half knew exactly what to do and had some excellent advise from our farmer friends at Urda Farm. He grabbed an old bowling pin crate from the shed we call a barn. It fit perfectly over the hive bottom. I scooted the hive bottom up as close I could to the swarm and he place the box over the new colony. Little by little we inched the box back over the hive bottom board and the bees followed the darkness into the makeshift hive box. The weather worked in our favor because it turned unexpectedly colder and misty and the bees don't like that.
nevermind the shovel. no scooping happened
This morning during farm chores I peeked under the box since it was cold and there were no bees moving around. Sure enough there was cluster the size of a volley ball hanging inside the box. I guess I just got a nucleus hive goin'. This was all so exciting and a cool experience in my learning process as an absentee beekeeper. I think best of all my hubby is absolutely inthralled and may be turning into a beekeeper.
Addy, Eva and Zephy busy at work. Photo by Jennifer Turturro
There are many families in Rockland who are committed to the effort of micro-farming, and having a homestead. One family who has truly taken the concept of a home farm to heart are the Turturro’s of LillyZoo farm. I had the pleasure of spending a few hours at their homestead in Airmont, New York. This wonderful experience was organized by Jill Cruz, and held at the home of Jennifer and Anthony.
Upon arriving at Jennifer’s home we were welcomed by her children holding their favorite chickens. Looking around, you notice a beautiful old house which is the hub to acres of flat lands encompassing multiple fenced gardens of flowers, chicken coops, sheep, vegetable crops, a solar water system and a beehive.
It is obvious to all how much hard work and dedication has been put forth to achieve this. We were all invited there to learn about how to put a small farm together in our own backyards. Though our group spanned many different levels of experience, all were eager to learn more.
A timeline of the farm, including pictures, was laid out nicely on the table for all to see. The home was purchased in December 2008 and the work on the farm started in March, 2009. The original house was a Dutch colonial and was owned by Henry Tallman who was the first postmaster in June 1860 at Tallman Station, now Airmont. The Tallman family settled a number of properties in the area.
As the farm work started in 2009, they got busy with multiple projects including their first batch of chickens, moveable chicken coops, maple syrup, sheep, planted four beds of veggies, blackberries, pears, quinces, chestnuts, morels, canning, and then a new baby girl!
Beehive at LillyZoo. Photo by Kristina Wodicka
In 2010 work continued on all of the above projects, while planting another crop, raising chickens, building a rock wall, and continuing the effort of restoring the Tallman House. In 2011 they built a spiral garden for cut flowers, installed a hive of Italian honeybees, and harvested chickens. Of course work continues on the farm, and their next big project is renovating the original barn that sits on the property!
The feeling for all of being on a sustainable farm, especially if it is your own is hard to describe. Here is a freedom and a beauty to holding onto part of the traditions of the past and keeping life simpler. The children are allowed to just be children and take in all that nature has to offer. There is such a learning experience for little ones when there are no schedules and they are helping with the work involved at the farm.
Collecting eggs, moving the sheep, feeding the animals, helping with the compost are all jobs that are enjoyable to children. They get to see where there food comes from and even get to wear the clothing they help to make from the wool of their own sheep. Each aspect of the day can be a learning and bonding experience for the entire family.
A lot of people may think well I don’t have acres of land and I don’t know how to farm. Micro farming is micro for a reason. It can be done on a very small parcel of land. How do I start it? All it takes to start is some commitment, desire and some knowledge. Jennifer started by reading and gathering as much information as she could.
There are many great books available for farming on a small scale or large and with different levels of experience. There is a useful book list on the Lillyzoo website, http://lillyzoo.blogspot.com. And if you are wondering where the name Lillyzoo came from, Jennifer said she had it for 6 years and “it just popped into my head early one morning”. Jennifer can’t stress enough how important it is to “put one foot in front of the other and make it happen!”
In looking around the property I saw many projects that were all hand done by the family. This gave me the permission to allow myself to try some projects on that I wouldn’t ordinarily. I realized that nothing has to be perfect and it’s more important to just try it yourself, and feel the pride of your own accomplishments.
There is a definite movement happening all around us and it is inspiring. Chickens seem to be popping up in neighbors’ backyards lately and I love the sound of a cockadoodledoo!
Mama Chicken. Photo by Jennifer Turturro.
Kristina Wodicka, DC, has been in practice for over 15 years in Nyack, with specialties in chiropractic, nutrition, and is also certified in the N.E.T. process of allergy elimination. She has her own chickens and has completed the year-long training in Biodynamic Farming.
Every year my internal clock is ready to start seeds in February. The seed catalogues roll in and my obsession begins. I have lived in the northeast for 14 years now and I know it's not time but I can't help it. Every year I try to start my own seeds indoors but the kids or the dogs get into them, they are over watered (by the kids)or under watered. My sunny spot is too cold and plants don't thrive and die. Inevitably I have to buy plants at the local garden.
I want to start my garden from scratch... I purchased a small green house ($62.95) and 2 adjustable T5 grow lights on stands ($59.95). I think I can get 8 to 10 grow trays in there. The girls and I assembled the greenhouse in the cellar near the wood furnace.
Our heirloom seeds will be Baker Creek and Renee's Garden as well a what I saved last year.