Monday, June 20, 2016

21 days of homegrown food

Hello! So I am really really trying to keep this blog going but its just so busy. planting, weeding, harvesting , weeding, butchering chickens, beekeeping,  harvesting honey,
selling at the market, opening a 150 yr old general store, participating and being on the Local Farm tour have kept us busy to say the LEAST.. its been a complete whirlwind...
I figured I could atleast leave you with some pretty pictures! I started an album on my facebook page, called 100 days of homegrown food posting a daily bounty for 100 days... I leave you with the first 21 :)




Monday, May 9, 2016

Right place at the right time.

                             A worker bee, checking out the new Queen , second after being placed in the hive..

An hour sooner or an hour later ,checking the hives, and we would have missed this! We were able to watch 4 Queen Cells emerge  from an emergency cell in a Queenless hive.  All have been place in new nucs( hives.)
you could hear them chewing there way through trying ever so hard to make their way out of the cell, it was really a cool event to witness.
what a blessing and how grateful we are for these experiences on our farm!!!

I hope you enjoy the photos!


Saturday, April 23, 2016

Dreams and gardens are Growing!

So, Its that time of year,, its bee season and garden season. and I just cant seem to sit down and blog! At night I am just too tired to try and conjure up the words and explain to you the gazillion things we have going on.

In the past couple weeks we
*got our gardens in
* have been building bee equipment
* inspecting bees and getting ready to rear queens
*weeding, watering, watering and watering( we finally got rain)
* remodeling our honey "house" and putting new equipment in
* spoke at the Mother Earth news fair out bees
* spoke at Eustace Conways Turtle Island preserve ( about bees)
* working with Blue Ridge women in agriculture as we are going to part of this years farm tour,,

oh and did I mention,, ??? we bought a 150 year old General store?? yeah, true story...

We are now on top of everything else ( almost) the owners of a 150+ year old General Store Located in the middle of the National Forest on a wild n scenic river.. * Coffeys General Store* ( its one mile from my house and has been closed down for years) it has survived 2 Historic Flood a great depression and has so much history. the antiques in it are amazing,,  It's  almost overwhelming ... so much history in the store!! and yes everything in it comes with the store ;)
  it will be a bit of long road and a 5 yr vision to really have it how we want, but we plan to open on July 4th of this year.
   the goal : you can get your essentials here for camping, our local produce, honey, eggs, soap, Chicken, ( pork eventually) etc

This is going to be a beautiful extension of our homestead!

The gardens : so all 5 gardens received a wonderful steady rain yesterday( after about 3 weeks of nothing) so everything should really start filling in!!
Its just me working these gardens so its quite a bit of work, but I wouldn't have it any other way.. :)



 so if you follow my blog you are just gonna have to get used to a lot of info crammed into one post,, haha...
we have a lot on our plate right now, but I will continue to update your on our homestead , store, off grid life, market, bees etc...

So as you can see our gardens are growing and so our our dreams!!
Yay for new adventures!

and please forgive all the typos, I know there are more than a few ;) headed out the door and getting started on my day!! Have a beautiful day!

until next time

The Cools

Friday, March 18, 2016

Progress and Simple Pleasures


Robb and I spent the day on Monday getting our row cover up for our cabbage and broccoli. I am done dealing with Cabbage worms. They are the sneakiest most destructive little suckers, and the squish squish method just isn't doing it anymore... Its easy to get them out of the broccoli, but the little worms borrow inside the inner leaves of the cabbage and its impossible to get them. I have had some gorgeous cabbage over the years , only to be destroyed...
So this cover will keep the moths from laying their eggs on my plants ( which eventually hatch and turn into little worms that munch away on my Brassicas.
It was a bit of work and dealing with frost cloth in wind, I forgot but was soon reminded that it is nothing short of aggravating.. I also managed to really smash my finger.. But I am sure it will all be worth it when I am opening a fresh jar of kraut this winter!

We have also been working on some new chicken tractors for our meat birds. This year we did not skimp on materials and made them the "right" way so they will last us many seasons. We just got tired of weathered rotting wod and things falling apart because we decided to use recycled items. don't get me wrong, recycled is great, but the maintenance and time we spent on these older tractors for them to just start falling apart made us realize we need to use new treated wood. These are some nice tractors!
Robb managed to get 2 done this week! Ill have more photos soon, they are pretty nice. Each one will fit around 10 birds. We will move them around the property as needed, giving them a good life of bugs n fresh grass!

I have planted nearly all my seed potatoes! 40 lbs!  I am glad to have gotten them in the ground, just in time for a much need rain, forecasted for tomorrow.

Simple Pleasures

In between all the work, there are always moments of simple beauty in spring that make my heart sing. I am so happy another season has arrived! The first bouquet of the season, our girls pollinating the peach tree, and some baby chicks are truly life's simple pleasures!

Happy ( almost) Spring!


The Cool Family

Monday, March 7, 2016

and just like that, Spring has Sprung

Getting ready for life in the Fast lane, so to speak, here at our Homestead! It looks like Spring is jusssst about here. Now I am quite sure we will get another frost or 2, and probably one in late April ( Ya know that one that always makes ya freak out, because you have everything planted in the gardens). But for the most part it looks like temps are steadily rising.

The bees are out! and dang happy too! We have been feeding them some pollen substitute . A good source of protein for them before the Alders and Maples bloom( which are in Fact in bloom right now!)

Ive started all of my seeds. Some are being transplanted now, and other have a ways to go before that happens...
A lot of my cool weather crops are going  in now. I have 4 pretty good size gardens, and like to take my time getting stuff in ( instead of doing it all in one day) so I started planting last week and hope to  have all my cool weather plants in , in the next week or so.

Norah has been busy Fishing, Playing in her Tree House, and Bringing insects into the house ( the first sign of spring around here.. hahaa) ..  She even found some Frog eggs in the pond, that we are going to raise up and release, when time :)

It feels good to be outside with hands in the dirt again!

How are Temps In your Neck of the Woods???

The Cool Family