If you are a member and have something to share that is "Bee" related such as a story or information, please send it to me by email.

Your host---Bee Talk---Days Gone By

Your Host

 The long anticipated fall flow turns out to be nothing more than a disappointing trickle. The nectar plants that survived the dry conditions of the past few months in the Bryan area have all but shriveled away. The lack of water has proven to be too much for the plant to produce a surplus of nectar. What plants survived to this point came to flower but did not have enough moisture to produce any nectar. The cool evenings took there toll on the plants as well. 

We were hoping for a good honey surplus and now we are hoping that our bees will be able to store enough food for winter so that we don't have to feed them. Farming has always been a tough business to be in. You never know what you will get from one year to the next no matter how much preparation you do. 

Make sure that your hives have a minimum of 35 lbs. in stores for the winter months. This will give your bees a good start for the spring time.     Dennis

Bee Talk

Hello everyone,

I had 3 more African swarms land on my hives this October. They land on the hive and send in scout bees to kill my queen and then move in a few hours later. Without a queen my bees will except their swarm. Below is a picture of one of the swarms.

Hey Dennis, 

I have been trying to reach you via your cell phone and with no success.  Have you changed numbers?   I have a bee question to the Bee Maestro. I started some hives again in my backyard.  Just couldn’t stand it.  Had to have bees.  I think you understand. 

Have you ever seen a bee fight?  Here’s what happened.  I took in a bee swarm which was sizeable—probably a good 3 lbs. of bees.  They have been outperforming the other three hives.  Anyway, Sue and I went on vacation and when we came back, I saw a massive pile of dead honeybees outside this hive.  There was still a cloud of disturbed bees around the hive. My immediate reaction was that someone shot them with insecticide.  When I opened the hive up, everything looked normal.  Good bee count and really good larvae production.  Do you think another hive tried to swarm and take over this hive?  I’ve never seen this before.  This hive is still kicking a__! 

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Hope you and Peggy are well.  Let me hear from you. 

Regards,       Wayne (Mr. Tejas)   Houston, Texas

Hello Wayne, 

Good to hear from you. It has been a while. Let me give you my website. It has my new email address as well. www.lonestarfarms.net  Things are somewhat different since you and I were stomping around in my bee yards back in the 1980's.  

My first thought would be that you are experiencing an African bee take over. It happens to me a lot. Just this Monday I had an African swarm land on one of my hives. Then they send in scouts to kill your queen and move in that evening. If I find a swarm on any of my hives, I always dig through the swarm and kill that queen. I had 3 last year and only one this year so far. Another one managed to take over another hive last year. That was a real mess. There queen is hard to find after they get established. Don't be surprised if that hive becomes real aggressive. If you had a marked queen in that hive, go in and make sure that she is still there. If you happen across a queen that is not marked, get rid of her and get another one from "B-Weaver". They are listed on my link page.

Keep me posted on what's going on. Tell the family hello from us. Dennis 

Hey Dennis,

I like your newsletter.  When the web page came up and I saw the guy running from the hive, I was reminded of another person who was wearing a “temporary” bee suit and got nailed on his behind because the suit split.  Ha.  Remember? I know you do.  

Regarding the swarm hive that I housed, I opened the hive to find a queen.  Since this was a swarm, I have not replaced the queen with a new marked queen.  However, I did not see a queen.  The brood had mostly hatched out.  Did not see new eggs.  Could have missed this because I did not have my reading glasses on.  I did see some queen cells hanging down and they were sealed.  This tells me that the queen must have died in the invasion and the workers are hatching out a new queen.  I probably need to try to get another B-Weaver queen and destroy these.  Your thoughts? 

Wayne,   Houston, Texas 

Wayne, 

When I was putting that logo together for my website I had you and your disposable bee suit in mind. I can't believe that it has been 26 years ago since my bees had taken advantage of you. I don't recall you saying anything about the bee suit directions stating, "Bee- ware. This bee suit could tear open in the crotch area and invite angry bees inside".

Time really goes by fast but not as fast as you did getting into the van that day. 

I think you should requeen as well. I spoke with Laura Weaver last Thursday and she said that they were just about finished sending out queens for the year. They also sell Australian queens but you should ask for a B-Weaver queen because they are mite resistant. Make sure that you can get a queen before you kill the queen cells. Good to hear from you.     Dennis 

Hey Dennis, 

Ever heard of a lure for wax moths which outwits the moths and traps them?  I read about this and the author is probably English.  

“Take a 2 litre plastic pop bottle and drill a 1 inch hole just below the slope on the neck, then add 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar, 1 half cup vinegar and finally 1 banana peel.  Wait a few days till it starts to ferment, then tie it into a tree close to the hives.  This trap will draw the was moth, they enter the hole can’t get out and drown in the liquid, this will even draw in and kill the bald faced hornet”. 

I’ve had to stack up another hive from wax moth destruction.  It’s one of the ……. queens.  Those bees just don’t have a lot of vigor.  Will not be buying these again.   Regards,    Wayne

 Hello Wayne, 

No I haven't heard of that one. As you know, wax moths and also beetles are opportunist. They will only be a problem if the hive is weak. Keeping a strong hive is the best solution. 

Dennis  

Hi Dennis, 

It has been 2 days of monitoring my vegetable board and have not found one mite.   Either I'm doing something wrong or I'm doing something very right... I will lube up thicker and test again. 

But it’s plausible.  This queen is hygienic and the hive tossed all its drones during the dearth.        Jim Thompson---Austin, Texas 

Hello Jim,

It sounds to me like you have a very hygienic queen in your hive. Run the test again and let me know the results.   Dennis

 Hey Dennis, 

I need your advice.  I checked my bees today and they don't seem to be drawing out any comb in the honey super I put on over a month ago.  The two brood boxes are full.  Do you think they just don't like the plastic foundation, or maybe they are lazy, or what?  I have noticed them bringing lots pollen into the hive, so I know they are getting pollen.  Or do you think I put the honey super on to soon and they possibly took the wax off it and now do not like it?  Or am I just jumping the gun and need to be more patient?  Another thing, there are lots of bees in the honey super, but all they have done is glued the frames together with a dark wax.  Any ideas?  

Thanks,   Jeff------Franklin, Texas

 P.S.  really enjoyed this month's club news!  I'm slowly making my way through the archives.  Do you have an archive somewhere for the recipes?   I didn't get a chance to print out the honey taffy recipe from last month.. 

Hello Jeff, 

It is always best to place the honey super on after the bees have filled up their 2 brood boxes. The honey flow started about a week ago in your area. Right now would be the time to put the honey super on. I usually give the bees the first week of the flow to fill their boxes for winter. When I was a commercial  beekeeper I could not afford that luxury. Because my yards were so spread out I needed to super up early in order to have all my hives ready in time. When you are a hobbyist beekeeper you can take the time to make sure that your bees have been taken care of first. 

Check the top brood box to see if it is filled with honey. Look for the fresh white comb that is always present when there is a honey flow. If this is present and the frames are full than the bees should be moving into the honey super. I have found that bees like real wax foundation better than plastic and will take longer to move onto the plastic. If you have a queen excluder on the hive, remove it. The queen will not usually lay above the second brood box. I would give the bees another week on that honey super. They will fill their space first before moving up into a honey super. 

Keep me posted. The bees should be going up into the honey super within this next week. You can also tell a good flow by all the activity coming and going at the entrance. It is much heavier than normal when there is a flow going on.     Dennis

 Howdy Dennis, 

I worked the hive like you suggested.  What I found was all the frames were glued together with comb.  It did seem to be only on the wood and not foundation to foundation like I had feared.  However, I was only able to lift out the second and third frames because the rest were stuck together so much that I was afraid I would damage the frames or comb if I pulled any more.  As a matter of fact, the second frame broke at the bottom as I pried it out.  The bees had even glued it to the frames in the first box.  A bit of good news though, the frame I took out looked like it was full of capped honey and they had indeed drawn out the plastic foundation, but I did damage some of it pulling it out due to the comb being stuck everywhere.  I hope these pictures help a little more.  I wish I could have gotten more of the frames out, but I didn't want to disrupt the colony any more than necessary.   Should I just leave them alone until next year and then work out one frame at a time or what?   Also, they still haven't drawn out the foundation in the honey super.  Should I go ahead and take it off? 

Thanks,    Jeff-----Franklin, Texas 

Hello Jeff, 

If this hive were mine I would go back in and clean out all the burr comb that is in between the top bars. Then I would separate the 2 brood boxes and scrape off all the burr comb from the bottom bar and the top bar on the bottom box. By doing this you will accomplish several things. You will be allowing more ventilation to circulate through the hive. You will be eliminating areas in the hive that beetles can hide in. You will lower moisture build up in the hive during the winter and you will be able to work the hive much easier. 

This burr comb should be scraped off each time you work your hive. While you are in there you should check for diseases, a good brood pattern and to make sure the bees have enough food stores for the winter. Let me know how it goes.     Dennis

 George, 

Thanks for getting back to me. At present we are having classes at least once a month always on Sat 9 to 1. We don't actually have meetings, don't do the business type stuff.  

We are all new to the chemical free thinking and some of us are new to beekeeping. We have developed a camaraderie and enjoy sharing stories, money saving tips, bad ideas not to do and great ideas of things that work well. 

I really enjoy the classes. Dennis is a fun teacher, one of those teachers who makes the class a "look forward to" event. 

I am going to be doing the bee thing on a transitional organic farm that we are developing to help Native American people re-enter society after life changing events like incarceration, addiction and abuse. Dennis has such a passion for his bees that I leave class feeling like I can be a bees friend. This friend of bee thinking will be a very therapeutic, calming and ultimately a self reliant teaching to pass on to guys who most times are pretty non self reliant nor self respective. Oops sorry got off on my passion. Well anyway we in class all seem to enjoy what we learn and it's a great thing to have learn and enjoy in the same sentence. 

Check out the newsletter on the website and go to the archives to see all the past newsletters. 

Look forward to meeting you and hearing back from you. How many hives do you have? Are you raising your bees chemical free? 

Blessings and bee happy,  Teddi-----Spring, Texas 

Teddi, 

Yep.  No chemicals in my hives except the paint on the outside.  That's about as close at it comes.  I am down to about 25 hives I thinks.  I have my main apiary in Rosharon.  Started one in Pearland and in Santa Fe.  Plus I have some in Benbrook (near Fort Worth) and in Arlington.  My brother takes care of those.  I have been with the Harris County Beekeepers for about 6 years now.  Learn allot from those guys and gals.  We are around 98 members.  Of course not all of them show up to our meetings.  We average about 25-55 members a meeting.  I just wanted to see what yawls association was all about and just broaden my skills.  You can never learn enough about bees. 

Recording Secretary,  Harris County Beekeepers Association,  www.harriscountybeekeepers.org  George Rodriguez----Houston, Texas

 Dennis, 

Thank you for your quick response the other day.  I've been a little slow in saying so.  I am trying to find a weekend to attend one of the classes. Life always seems to get in the way.  Have you ever tried a long hive? I've been thinking about building one but wanted some more information on them before I started. 

Thanks,    Jerry---Hearne, Texas

Hello Jerry, 

I think you would learn and enjoy the classes. I have not tried the long hives. I know a couple beekeepers who have over the years but they went back to the standard hive. Bees like to move up and down rather than to move sideways. Even in the wild you will find that they build there combs more vertically than horizontally. Up North there have been times that a beekeeper who was using the long hive has found his bees dead from starvation even though there was still honey in some of the frames closer to the sides. It is easier for the bees to move up on the frames to new honey storage than to move sideways. They have to cross over frames when they move sideways.

I hope that this helps. Dennis 

Dennis, 

I just checked my board after a day and half on my hive.  There were 12 mites.  Would you suggest re-queening if I can still get a queen from B. Weaver?  Please let me know a.s.a.p.

Thank you for all you do for all of us who are learning about this great work of keeping bees!   Chuck Durham—College Station, Texas 

Hello Chuck, 

Is the queen you currently have a "B-Weaver" queen? Dennis 

Dennis,

Sorry, I forgot to mention that. NO she is not!  I got her through ……… (Cordovan).  Thanks,       Chuck 

Chuck, 

I would email Laura Weaver: info@beeweaver.com and tell her that I said if you beg her and say a couple of pretty pleases she might come up with one. Explain to her that you need to requeen with her queens because you have more mites right now than you want. If not than you need to dust with powder sugar every 7 days for 4 weeks. You will need to separate each box and dust 1 cup per box. Do you only have 1 hive? After the dusting, check the mite level again. You will want to requeen in April when the queens are available. Are you coming to class Sat? Keep me posted. Dennis 

P.S. It is best to splash water under the hive right after you dust if you have screen bottom boards. The bees will go after the powdered sugar under the hive and the mites will get back on them. The water will dissolve the powder. 

Dennis,

    I didn't see your e-mail before I called Ray back this morning.  He said he had a queen for me.  I'll be glad to check for more queens, but we didn't discuss how many he had available.  Really nice guy.  We talked about "chemical free beekeeping."  I asked him if he needed my credit card and he said, "Nah, just send me a check with the invoice."  I like working with guys who'll trust you.

    Question:  Will I still need to dust with powder sugar, or just let the new queen's offspring do the job?    Thanks mucho!       Chuck—College Station, Texas 

Hello Chuck, 

Ray really is a nice guy to work with. If I were going to re-queen a hive because of a high mite count, I would dust the hive as discussed. See you in class. Dennis

Dennis,

    My hive has one deep brood box and two medium supers of honey on top (the bees have filled the one nearest the deep; are filling the top one).  Do I place the queen cage on the brood chamber crosswise to the frames (with the short special super box around her) and place the honey supers back on top of it?  Or, do I just place the queen cage on the top most super of honey?  I want to do this right.  I don't remember your hive you re-queened in class having a super of honey on it. Thank you for helping me!     Chuck

Hello again Chuck, 

I hope that you will have more questions. I have been keeping bees since 1964 and I still have questions.

You are getting the knack of this bee stuff. Because of the hive setup you have, you are correct in using the spacer box between the brood and the honey supers and placing the cage cross ways on the brood box top bars. It makes it a little more difficult to do because of the honey supers but the operation remains the same. 

Remember, if the queen is not out by the 4th day, let her out. After 3 more days you need to go in and remove all queen cells. If you miss one the colony will either swarm or the virgin queen will kill the new queen. Sometimes it is easier to find the new queen and check the frame she is on the best you can for queen cells. Set her aside and then you will be able to shake the bees off back into the hive with the rest of the frames You can see the frames much better without bees on them.

From you questions, it sounds like you have advanced in your beekeeping knowledge and skills. I guess by me hitting you with that eraser a few times when you drifted off in class paid off. Ha!  Dennis

Dennis, 

 My queen arrived today.  I picked her up at the P.O.  She came in a funny container, not the wood box with cage top, it's a plastic cage with a spout on top.  Anyway...with the weather weird this morning - cloudy and light rain - I'm thinking NOT a good time to try to put her in my hive.  How do I hold her over and make sure she's okay?  I placed her in an igloo container like you had your queen in.        Chuck 

P.S. I graduated from a small town in the TX Panhandle - Adrian, TXon I-40 (the old Route 66).  I started in 1st grade there and graduated 12 years later with 7 of my 1st grade classmates (my total class had a whopping "14"!! in it).  But I hadn't told you, my best friend in school was a guy named "Dennis Brown" :)  Go Figure!! 

Hello Chuck, 

The first thing you need to do is dip you finger in some fresh water and dab it on the cage so the bees can get a drink. They have the candy to eat already. You should water them 2 or 3 times a day. 

The cage you described is a new plastic style cage. (Not my preference.) The long end is the candy end and that will be the end you will uncap to expose the candy for the queens release when ready. You should position the cage like we discussed in class across the top bars.  

I hope that your friend wasn't a weird and cranky old beekeeper like me.  See you in class tomorrow.  Dennis 

Dear Dennis;  

 I am retired (since 2-29-92) as Extension Entomologist at TAMU/Texas Ag. Extension Service (1957-1992).  I've been a member of the Texas Beekeepers Assn. since 1950.  I noted your effort to rally support for the re-institution of the Boy Scouts Beekeeping Merit Badge program (ABJ April 2010 issue).

I'd like to visit with you, if you are interested.

Regards,
John G. Thomas
805 Vine Street
Bryan, TX  77802
979-846-5068   
 

Dear Fellow Beekeeper , 

  Still No Beekeeping Merit Badge,
But We Got Their Attention


The national office of the Boy Scouts of America has recently received a number of requests proposing reinstatement of the Beekeeping merit badge, in part because America’s bee populations are declining. After receiving input from youth members and review by merit badge volunteers and professionals, the BSA has formulated a way to bring greater exposure of beekeeping to youth.

The plan includes the following:

The BSA believes this will increase the awareness of honeybees and their critical impact on our environment, and training America’s young people about caring for this important natural resource.

The Boy Scouts of America invites those associations and experts in the beekeeping community who are interested in helping with this project to e-mail us at merit.badge@scouting.org. Please put “bees” in the subject line. The success of the merit badge program is enhanced by qualified merit badge counselors; if you are interested in serving as a merit badge counselor, contact your BSA local council to initiate the process.

Hello Jerry, 

What do you think about the BSA approach to the Beekeeping merit badge? Have they taken it just far enough to have everyone get off their back or should we keep up the pressure? Thanks,    Dennis Brown Bryan, Texaswww.lonestarfarms.net

Dennis,

An opinion is like a nose everybody has one. Here is mine. For reasons unbeknownst to us the BSA has made the decision that a focused effort on the importance of Honey Bees, ie. pollination effects on both agricultural crops and in the environment, honey production, queen rearing, package bees, pests, parasites and diseases and how all this weaves itself into an abundant, stable food supply for humans , livestock, pets is not important and has been minimized. I guess giving awards for video game performance is more important and a money maker than this part of agriculture and the environment. Having had an opportunity to see how the leadership of the BSA at the top works over the last few months I am glad there are committed volunteers on the ground because the head scouts are highly paid unengaged bureaucrats. Feel free to quote me. Thanks  Jerry Hayes---contributor to the American Bee Journal 

 DENNIS, 

I WILL MAKE CLASSES WHEN I CAN.  YOU TEACH GOOD STUFF. 

I HAVE DECIDED THAT CONSERVATOR BEST DESCRIBES WHY I'M WITH BEES.  I AM NOT INTRESTED IN THE PROFIT FROM THE HONEY.  AT THIS TIME I JUST WANT TO PROVIDE A CHEMICAL FREE HABITAT FOR BEES TO GROW.  IF I HARVEST ANY HONEY, THAT WILL BE GOOD, EVEN THOUGH IT’S NOT IMPRORTANT.   

THANKS FOR THE HELP, 

STEVE K---HUNTSVILLE, TEXAS 

Steve, 

Over the years I have found that the best beekeeping is not for profit but for enjoyment. Dennis   

 Hello everyone,

I just got a swarm call. The bees are located hanging from a tree branch about 9 feet up in Bryan, Texas. Contact: David Murphy <dmurphy@calvarybryan.org>

 Make sure to register for the upcoming class. Thanks, Dennis

 Dennis, 

Would a swarm this time of year be Africanized bees?  Is it worth trying to get a swarm this late in the year?  Please advise.  I'll get it if it's worth it.

Chuck Durham----College Station, Texas

Chuck,

The chances of this swarm being African this time of year are much greater than it being a European swarm. It is rare for our European bees to swarm in mid October. Dennis 

 Hey there Dennis,

I just joined the club today.  I plan on making some of your classes in the future.  I am new to all of this and am only going on things I have read here and there.  I started with 2 BeeWeavers packages back in May.  One of the colonies is strong.  It has 16 med frames full of honey (I use the 8 frame hives).  I took only one frame of honey and am leaving the rest for the winter.  The honey is great!!  It’s real dark.  Anyway…back in June the other hive only had a few bees buzzing around and I checked and there were no eggs, no larva and only a couple of frames of drawn comb.  At about that time a friend called me and I went and removed a hive from an old shed of his and put it in with my hive that was dying out.  Evidently I got the queen as I have eggs, larva, and now a frame of honey!  It is still small.  I plan on replacing the queen in the “orphan” colony.  I plan on buying my queen from the Weavers.  I know you taught a course on re-queening, but obviously I didn’t get to take that.  I want to know when I should re-queen, and how in the world do I replace the one that is there?  .  Sounds like a dumb question, but I think the only dumb question is the one I don’t ask.  As I said, I know you gave a class on this subject so I won’t ask you to teach me how to do this for free via email.  I would be glad to pay you for your time.  What do you think the best way for me to obtain this information is?  I am not adverse to traveling down there to see you.

Please advise, and thank you for your time.    Jess----Bartonville, Texas

 Hello Jess, 

Thanks for joining. It is hard to requeen this time of year for a couple of reasons. Number one is that queens are scarce right now. B-Weaver is a good queen and I recommend them but this time of year they don't sell their own queens. They sell queens from Australia. Those queens are not hygienic against mites.

Depending on how small the hive is, it might be best to find the queen and dispose of her and unite that hive with the other hive that you have. It is not good to go into winter with a weak hive.

The other reason is that queens that have mated in the last couple of weeks and from now until spring will not have a large drone pool to mate with. Most hives have already kicked the drones out for winter. Queenswill mate between 10 to 15 times before they start laying. If there are not enough drones out there the queen will not be able to keep up and the workers will want to replace her. This time of year the bees will not be able to replace her and the hive will suffer.

I think the best option at this time of year is to unite the hives after you dispose of the queen from the weaker hive. I hope that this has helped you. You can always email me with anymore question you might have. Dennis

Dennis, 

Thanks for your timely response.  That helps a whole bunch.  I will try to do that.  Last week, when I was working the hives, I tried and tried to locate the queen.  I just can’t find her.  I know she’s there, but I just need to keep looking.  Any tips on how you find her?  I guess it just takes time to learn.   Jess

Jess, 

To find a queen just takes experience. You will get better at it the more you work your hive.     Dennis

 For a special treat I would like to post this life long dream that one of our members is about to make come true. There really are some people left in the world that want to make a difference. Here is Teddi's dream.  

WHY AM I ATTENDING FOI CLASS

Foi is the Choctaw word for bee, pronounced fo wi 

IN A GOOD WAYis a project in the works. Our website www.inagoodway.org and all our information is written in the present tense as though we are established. It is our belief that what we envision done will be easier to accomplish. We have been working on the details and planning for 2 yrs and now we are working toward our groundbreaking. 

This organic farm will be built in Oregonand I will be moving to Oregonin a year or so.  My son, Greg and I, will be running the farm together along with an experienced farm manager. 

I think our Mission Statement will explain what our goal is and below I will tell you a little bit about what we plan to do to make the project a dream come true. 

MISSION STATEMENT:

 IN A GOOD WAY is a non profit goal-oriented transitional organic farm that provides tools to improve the lives of Native American people returning to society and family after life changing events; incarceration, addiction or abuse.  

It provides an actual home on a working farm. Agricultural experience and training is the framework for our program goals. For each resident, we aim for an independent, responsible, and productive return to the community, with an emphasis on Native American heritage.  

All of our residents will be provided agricultural training and will work on the farm. At the same time, each resident develops a Master Plan for the future. A range of services are provided including skill assessment, educational assessment and assistance, drug and alcohol counseling, and psychological counseling. We give daily support for recovery, a chance for hard work, agrarian skill development, and communal support based on Native American values. As Master Plans are refined and implemented, this approach encourages an independent and productive future for these men.

The last two years have been full of classes, research, meetings, and thank heaven milestones.  We have established our non profit corporate status in Oregonand now we are trying to raise the $850.00 that Uncle Sam wants up front for our non profit status.  I think the $850.00 is to make sure we will start non profit. J. To get our 501 c 3 (non profit status) I must file a form 1023 which has a gazillion questions, a financial statement, and yes, pay the $850.00.  

I have attended classes on raising goats, how and why to grow organic, green thinking, composting, soap making, etc. I’ve never been a farmer so all the classes have been enlightening and educational.  I have been told by old time farmers that starting new in this “new thinking and innovative time” not knowing anything is not all bad. Trust me I’m way ahead in the not knowing anything department. 

As you know I am attending classes including the Bee Class so that I can pass the information on to our residents. I have found the information I’ve gained and the folks I’ve met in the Bee Class to be a very positive experience. I thought I would learn a lot but the one thing that I didn’t know I would learn about insight into and passion for bees. I don’t know about you but I’ve found Dennis’ love for the bees is contagious. Who would have thought I could learn to love bees. I just hope that I can pass this “love and respect of the bees” on to our residents. I think raising bees with love and respect will be therapeutic for our residents. 

We will be raising goats for milk, yogurt and cheese, alpacas for wool, sheep for wool and cheese, and heirloom chickens for organic eggs. We will have a rotational 4 acre grazing area so the livestock can have free range grazing.  The chickens will follow the goats, sheep and alpaca in the rotation to be able to eat the uneaten grain and to eat parasites. We will only be able to milk a total of 9 sheep and goats before we have to purchase pasteurization equipment. We will limit our milk herd to a total of 9.  Our wethers (cut males) goats and sheep will be rented for target grazing in vineyards and places that need weeds removed and be sold or given to petting zoos.  We do not want to send our wethers to slaughter. 

We will raise an extensive garden to feed our residents and to sell at farmers markets.  We will be a CSA (customer’s pre buy produce and pick it up on a weekly basis). Vegetables that we plan to grow are Yukon gold potatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, okra, tomatoes, beets, turnips, spinach, lettuce, radishes, kale, cabbage, cucumbers, pumpkins, eggplant, green beans,  peppers, onions, garlic, leeks, carrots, parsnips, and of course we will grow the traditional and cultural crop known as three sisters.  Three sisters is a grouping of vegetables with corn planted in the center, beans to grow up the stalk of the corn and pumpkins to grow around the base of the group to provide nutrients and retain moisture in the earth. Three sisters was the mainstay of Indians in years past. 

We will grow many types of herbs including those considered Indian medicine such as lavender, sage and tobacco.  We will use and sell the herbs fresh and dried. 

We will also sell starter plants and seeds.  We will have a farm store where we can sell produce, eggs, canned/preserved items, and craft items we make. 

We will grow fruit trees such as apples, peaches, apricots, cherry and plums. We will grow fruit plants like blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, marionberries, and black berries. 

We will grow both a winter and a spring garden and crop. 

We will use guineas and pheasants to graze our garden as they are great when it comes to eating bugs.  We will use “good insects” like preying mantis, lace wings, and lady bugs to eat unwanted insects.  We will raise bats to overcome mosquitoes. My son trains hawks; we will use hawks to keep the birds off of our berry and fruits. Our poultry will wear hen savers to protect them from the hawks.  Aw, you know you want to ask about that one. 

We will compost our waste to provide nutrients for our crops. We will also have vermiculture bins (growing worms). We will brew compost tea to spray our fields. 

We will grow a large cash crop like lavender or garlic. 

We will practice rotational gardening, no tillage of the soil and will grow a cover crop in the winter that can be used for fodder or hay. 

Everything we grow will be organic, chemical free, and heirloom. 

We will use green thinking throughout the farm. We will manufacture as much energy as possible through wind and solar power. We will conserve water from the roves of our buildings and save it in underground bladders. Even our electric fences will be powered by solar. 

We will use Akbash dogs (a Turkish large guard dog) and miniature donkeys to guard our flocks from predators. And yes, we know we have to train the dogs not to eat the poultry and train the donkeys not to stomp the dogs. Such drama. 

Oregonhas some extreme land laws that we are battling, to give you an example of what you can NOT do with EFU – exclusive farm use land; they do not want you to build a house on farm land.  If you purchase land that has the rights to build or rebuild a house only 5 unrelated people can live in the house. It is very trying.  We have faith that we will work it out. I know it sounded preposterous when I read the law but it’s real.  They say these laws were established in the 70s when the hippies and communes were coming into Oregonfrom California. 

If you have any questions please feel free to email me at inagoodway@ymail.com  Teddi Irwin---member of the “Lone Star Farms” bee club.

 Days Gone By