Monday, November 10, 2008

New arrival

We welcome the newest member of the family, James Oliver Wilkes, 8 lbs 14 oz, 22 inches, 12:52am, November 10. Mother Shannon and baby are doing very well after an intense, short labor - Shannon went from 5cm dilation to a delivered baby in 20 minutes!

Not much time to post now as usual. Pictures coming soon.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Swarming Bees!

Once again, I've been lost for several months ... notice it coincided with the growing season on the farm. Anyway, now I'm back with a bunch of videos from the spring swarming season. Here is the first one with more to come hopefully:

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Home alone - day 2

This will be short. My hands are very weak and shaky from two days of pounding a mushroom inoculation tool! I estimate I filled 2000 holes in logs with mushroom spores in the past two days. So now you know what we did this afternoon, the final 29 mushroom logs. Here is the rest of the day:

5:45-7:15am: delivered baked goods to Bald Guy
7:15-8am: animal chores and breakfast
8am-noon: assembling racks and supers and putting in foundation (it was 22 degrees with an inch or so of snow on the ground, so we had to delay working outside)
12:30-1:22pm: animal chores
1:22-4:22pm: mushroom logs

papa left (thanks for two great days of work papa! He's such a good father to me.)

The remainder of the day involved wandering around doing animal chores, cleaning eggs, riding the four wheeler and pushing the four wheeler (it wouldn't start after I turned it off about a mile from the house ... luckily it is mostly downhill from where I was so I coasted), planting 15 Christmas trees, hauling wood, and eating pizza. Now I am going to bed. For Shannon: I tried to work on the shower, but no luck yet.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Home Alone

Shannon and the children left this morning to go to the beach for a few days with Ron and Marcia, Reine, Clark and Britney, thus leaving me home alone. I have to go to work Wednesday, but in the interim, I have two days to work on the farm!!! Papa Bob (aka the great actor in several of my videos) came up this morning and is spending the night.

Today was quite busy. After finishing the packing and saying goodbye to the beach bums, I called a local Christmas tree grower and ordered 200 seedlings to replenish our tree patch. He just so happened to be coming this way and agreed to bring the trees with him and meet me at the corner store. As I waited for papa and the trees, I began assembling racks and supers. Papa soon arrived and joined in the assembly. We built 6 or so supers with frames with foundation in a couple of the supers before I went and got the trees. I ended up with 250 from the generous nurseryman. By now it was time for lunch. After lunch we drove across the creek and through the woods to my mushroom tree spot and cut down two more trees. I hoped this would be enough to get us over the 200 log goal. We brought the logs out of the woods and began the innoculation process. We fixed about 20 logs in the next two hours and then counted. We were at 168 logs and there were 29 left on the truck. Do the math ... three short. I'll have to cut one more tree.

Throughout this day, other farm chores were performed: gathering eggs (27 today!), feeding and watering chickens, catching and feeding escaped goats, feeding and watering rabbits and making sure the baby rabbits were alive (they were), and feedinng cats and dog. Oh yeah, it was darn cold today too and we ran out of wood at the house, so we had to take a load to the house from the barn.

As the day drew to a close, I decided we would plant a few Christmas trees as a test to see how long it would take us to plant all of them. The first tree was in the ground when a few flakes of snow started to fall (did I say it was cold?? it had been snow showering off and on all day). We continued without much thought and before we knew it, everything was getting white, our holes and seedlings were getting covered up as fast as Papa dug the holes. I was timing the planting of ten trees so I could multiply by 20 to get the time for 200 trees. It took us 17 minutes to do 10 trees. The snow fell so hard that in 17 minutes everything was white. At least half inch had fallen. We went inside to stoke the fire, scramble some eggs, fry some bacon and toast some homemade bread. The snow fell for another 17 minutes or so. We had more than an inch of accumulation, but now it was clearing off.

After supper and the evening animal chores and cleaning 27 eggs, I had to wrap 2 dozen muffins and a dozen cinnamon rolls to take to the Bald Guy at 6:30 in the morning. Which means it is time for bed! I'll give you another post tomorrow evening summarizing tomorrow's exciting events ... as if anyone out there is really reading this. Of course, Shannon will have to read it.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Going on the Web

Faith Mountain Farm is developing a web presence:
We are doing everything "in house" using simple google apps, so it may take some time to get the site up to speed. However, if Margaret gets hooked on the web page design side, we'll have things built sooner. Note that we are also launching a new venture in beekeeping: Check it out!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Barrel Rolling

While cleaning up some bee equipment we found a barrel. The boys wanted to play with it. Another barrel (our barn trashcan) was soon involved and a new past time was born, barrel rolling, along with ancillary activities like hula hooping, riding inside barrels, and babies crying. I hear a more sophisticated act involving pieces of wood and an incline are in the works!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A Tractor Tale

The boys and I were getting oak logs to use for mushrooms out of the woods on the trailer. When I turned around to make sure no logs were falling off the trailer, I drove the front of the tractor into a branch next to the road. After trying to back out and using a come-along to no avail, I decided to drive down the hill and into the creek. It was a little hairy at times, though hard to tell from the video, and required taking down two fences, several small trees, and a big rock, but turned out okay. Much of the video is boring back and forth on the tractor, showing the persistence required to get out. We were quite happy in the end.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Bridge Building 101

Since we moved to the farm, the only way to get across Big Laurel Creek to the bulk of the property was to use a foot log or ford the creek. Having company almost always resulted in a visitor plunging into the creek from the foot log. We have remedied the situation by building our very own bridge that is large enough for lots of people, strollers, lawn mowers, four wheelers, and vehicles for the brave (it is quite narrow, but I drove the tractor across it as a test!).

The short video shows the new bridge on the day we did most of the work. Prior to the video, my 83 year old neighbor helped me get the locust trees out of the woods and onto the old bridge pilings last summer. I then leveled them up as best I could and spaced them for putting on the planks, which is about where this video begins.

Four Wheeler for Christmas

This blog has not really gone as planned, which was supposed to be a chronicle of life on Faith Mountain Farm. Let's try again. Much has happened since catching that bee swarm, but let's just fast forward to Christmas. The Casner Family blessed our family with a four wheeler for Christmas. Watch the video to see the boys' response. Look carefully at the four wheeler because it will never be as clean again after the past couple of weeks of riding!