Friday, August 19, 2016

Exhaling and updating

Well after an insanely busy summer, we are at the Beach for a week of R & R.. I am so sorry I haven't blogged, but Ive been exhausted at the end of each day at the homestead, I just didn't have it in me...
So here I am ocean view, coffee in hand, and ready to tell you a bit about the last 2 months?!?!? wow it has been a while since Ive blogged. I cant believe fall is almost here!

Farm Tour  

So this year we were part of the High Country Farm tour put on by Blue Ridge woman in Agriculture. An amazing organization that is dedicated to strengthening the High Country's local food system by supporting women and their families with resources, education, and skills related to sustainable food and agriculture.


Every year they put on a farm tour for a number of counties. You pay around 20.00 a carload, map out the farms you want to see in that county, and then drive from farm to farm for a tour. Its pretty cool..

We had so much fun doing the farm tour and had a really great turn out!! I couldnt find the pictures of the actual tour in my files, but here are some photos of us getting ready and making sure everything looks nice ;)

Summer Honey Harvest

Expectation for our summer flow were low. After a very rainy spring, which started out nice, but turned into a 2 week cold and rainy event, which killed our Spring Honey flow ( the bees stayed inside and ate the spring honey they had brought in, since they weren't able to go out and forage), we braced ourselves for a similar event for summer. We figured this year would just be a bad year for honey and we would except the disappointment with bigger hopes for next year.
We were WRONG! We endep up pulling aroun 1000 POUNDS!!! a far far cry from our anticipated disappointment! the honey a floweth! I am so happy for My husband most of all, who worked endlessly in the beeyard making this happen. ( yes assistance in the bee yard increases honey flow) and bringing us from  a horrible loss of around 30 hives (back down to 35 hives coming into the spring from 65 hives going into last fall) and bringing our fall hive count to around 85 as of right now.

How does your garden grow??



Bountiful INDEED! I was a bit worried about our tomatoes this year. Many of of my plants fell over ( and they were extremely tall, things get tall here in the holler). While i did have some staked, I never got around to staking all of them with the tall stakes they needed . Add a pretty bad storm with a 65 mph gust of wind and you can guess what happened..
But the bounty was incredible, I put up around 10 quarts of tomatoes, and about 42 pints of salsa.. The canning will resume when i get home. :)

Coffeys General Store



SO as many of you know that follow my blog, we recently purchased a 120 year old General store in the middle of the Pisgah National forest. And while its 12 Miles of gravel in any directions to arrive at this destination, our first month open has been a success!
The store is located in Edgemont a sleepy isolated town with about 8-10 full time residents. Located In the Grandfather District of the Pisgah National Forest and right Wilson Creek ( a designated Wild and Scenic River). Our cliental include but are not limited too, Kayakers, campers, hikers, swimmers , and old timers that just want to comeback and reminisce.  Its a weekend Gig! so works perfect with our homesteading life! I will have time to keep up on the gardens, housework, bottling and labeling of honey, etc..
My daughter has had a rough summer >insert sarcasm here< swimming in the creek, eating icecream, and even busking/ playing here fiddle to support her icecream habit.

We are on our last day at the beach. Every year this is a much needed week for us. Could we go without it? sure.. but a recharge is always nice.. When we get home this week, we  will be extracting honey,, canning more bounty, planting our fall garden, feeding some of our hives, doing a full inspection, starting to split a entire seasons worth of firewood ( yeah we are really behind), and getting back into the groove of Homestead life...

I hope everyone has had an amazing summer!!!

The cool Family

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