Saturday, November 15, 2014

Winter Fodder

We have chickens, sheep and an angora rabbit that love to have something green in the winter months, so I have started seeds to make fodder.  We purchased two 25lb bags of forage seed at Tractor Supply to seed the yard for the deer but seeing it in action, I realized that it would make good fodder for this winter.

At the dollar store I picked up trays and poked holes at one end so the water could drain when tilted. After soaking the seeds for 24hrs and rinsing them I just water twice a day and let the water run off. 

The tray on the left is 6days old and the tray on the right is 3 days old.

At 9 days it makes a tasty treat for all the creatures here at the LillyZoo.

Sir Bun Bun sure enjoys it!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Wrapping up the 2012 year

Canning our tomato sauce

Tomatillo sauce

House repairs

Apple picking at Fishkill

Getting it done

Closing the roof before the first snow
Well we had a bumper crop in the veggie garden in 2012 and with pregnancy of our son it was a tiring year. I could hardly keep up with how well we produced.

May 4th 2nd Swarm
May Day Hive split and captured swarm

April 28th More of everything seeded

April 14 Gladiolas, Dahlias, and Lilies planted in the spiral garden

Kristen F helped plant the strawberry patch

March 28th Carrots and Beets seeded directly

March 26th onion sets in the ground

March 21st Kale planted in the garden

March 17th workshop given to the Weston A. Price Foundation's local chapter

March 8th Veggie and flower seeds started

Feb 23 a quart and a half of syrup from neighborly sap

Feb 18th 2 quarts of maple syrup from about 20 gallons of sap

Feb 11th made 2 quarts of maple syrup from 24 gallons of sap

Feb 9th brussels and some sprouting garlic cloves in my little greenhouse

Feb 4th Started Lacinato Kale and Onions in my little greenhouse

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A few harvests

Harvested a watermelon eater

some onions

todays harvest

An old harvest

Friday, June 15, 2012

Washing Wool

 Our friends offered to help with washing wool and hang out and play while we cleaned a fleece.  Great conversation and many hands make fast light work!

Fleece in a bag

2 Washes in hot water and dish soap close to 150 degrees but not lower than 110 for 20 minutes a wash.

Many hands


laid out to dry

and ready to card and spin or felt

This method is the norm and resulted in a fleece that was fluffy and soft

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Shearing and Fly strike

Premier one shearing supplies and instruction

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 
Feeding electrolytes
Ivomec treatment 
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!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Second Swarm

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 box.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Split Hive

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. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Beekeeping behind schedule

With all of the unseasonably warm weather, the bees are way ahead of me

I had an empty level on the hive for ventilation and for fondant cakes 
through the winter on top of the honey super

We discovered lots of pollen cells and honey left but a new 
problem... the queen laid eggs in the bottom rows of the honey super.

Everything I have read said just let it bee... they will hatch and the workers will clean up.

So at the end of the clean out.  I added a 2nd brood box then a honey super then a feeder box filled with bee tea syrup at the top and of course the inner cover and outer cover. 

Like every beekeeper in the spring I am hoping the hive doesn't swarm...

Thats all for now from the absentee beekeeper

Thursday, April 12, 2012

In the Rockland County Times

Micro-farming in Rockland 


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, 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.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Bringing up the horn

Planting Kale on a Leaf day

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Building a maple evaporator

This has been our way of boiling sap in past years.  We have wanted to buy a little half pint from Leader then Ant had an idea... He will make one from our old tank. 

He borrowed a stainless steel welder

cut our old stainless tank down

Began adding the dividers

and welded away

Great Job honey but you better hurry the trees are dripping...

Bracing the fire box with angles

Adding the flue

cutting out the fire door on the fire box

Leveling and adding the fire bricks to the fire box

Man GO make FIRE!