We are very particular about what our honeybees feed on because it winds up in the honey. We live in an area where there is not any row crop farming so there really is no pesticide used in their feeding areas. Bees will travel a few miles to get pollen and nectar so we try to stay informed about what the neighbors are using.
The clarity of the honey as well as the flavor will vary greatly depending on what they were working on during the nectar flow. We are proactive with this and have a lot of blackberries and trees and garden plants around for them to work on. We don’t use any sprays on those plants so there is no chance of harming the bees or tainting the honey.
It’s an easy choice to loose a plant to squash bugs even though we know if we sprayed it we might save the plant, because we are keeping the honey pure for everyone who buys it.
Keeping the bees healthy and the honey pure is extremely important to us! We use no sprays or synthetic inputs of any kind ever because we want the best for our family and yours!
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I have been moving cattle, strip grazing every day and in conversations it usually goes something like this; “isn’t that a lot of work” or maybe “man how do you get anything else done”?
Normally I move the temporary fence and the cattle move themselves. As they get used to this they will meet you at the fence just waiting for you to move it. This goes really well until you get a day like yesterday. About 25 head got out. These are calves and they were wild and free! I called and they didn’t come, so I went and found them and they took off like they were wild, tails up running nine-o. Nearly anytime I’m out on the farm I have the dog with me because she loves to go.
I got around them and got them turned and they headed in the right direction for a beat and then turned took off again. About the third time we did this the dog was ready for some action, she starts with a kind of whine and then goes up to a bark to move the calves before I actually let her work them.
I am not a dog trainer and this dog has had no training other than what she does by instinct and a few commands that I have taught her. She will occasionally be in the wrong spot or bust the group make matters worse but more often than not she knows where they are supposed to go and can’t wait to get at ‘em. These calves headed for some thick trees where I couldn’t go so I let the dog out to do her thing. About 30 seconds later she had them turned and back in the area where they were supposed to be. I’ll tell ya, watching a good dog or a horse or both work and be helpful and productive on the farm is really a joy for me!
I didn’t get any pics yesterday but here she is when she was a puppy helping me get a cow in that was not interested in being caught. The cow went to the pond so I couldn’t get to her.
Here is a short video of the calves a few days in to managed grazing on the sudangrass.
I think as we take a holistic look at how we do things on the farm we really can’t deny that cattle really enjoy grazing. These calves have had access to this patch for about 3 days and they are really doing well. They are picking up trace minerals from the soil through the plants they eat and really balancing their own ration. You can see toward the end of the video where they were the day before all grazed down and tromped into the ground. This creates a residue from the crop that shades the ground (which keeps it cooler), smothers weeds and stops the erosion from wind and rain. Another great benefit is all their manure deposits they leave behind is like money in the bank! This will break down and help build organic matter and decrease the need for commercial fertilizer.
One benefit for the cattle is by moving them to fresh grass everyday they enjoy a clean environment, their parasites go down and there is less chance for sickness. The cattle love it!
Pastured to perfect.
We got a freeze this week, a sure sign that fall is here. I had a few leftover tomatoes, okra, peppers, and pumpkins still growing but their demise was sure to come.
If you had leftover veggies growing in your garden that were killed by the frost, or died of natural causes, be sure you get them out. Leaving dead plants in your garden over winter can actually harbor insects and cause diseases. I know you weeded and watered and harvested and spent a lot of time out there this summer and you thought you were finished but don’t skip that last step of cleaning everything up. Set yourself up for a successful season next year by spending a few minutes getting your plots clean. Go do it right now!
The other thing I like to do is plant a cover crop that will stay green all winter and turn it under next spring for the green manure benefits. I planted Austrian winter peas this year which will put down nitrogen as the grow too. My bee yard is close so when the peas bloom the bees will enjoy them as well.