Monday, November 19, 2012

Florida Recollections

Anna Marie Island


Evening bridge


 Clouds, rocks and sea

 Sunset over the sea

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Weekend in the Sunshine State

We had business in Florida, 
so spent  a weekend exploring the sunshine state.
One of the places I wanted to see was
Myakka River State Park,
one of Florida's oldest state parks.
 Thanks to restoration efforts, 
large expanses of rare Florida dry prairie can be seen here.

The Myakka river and two shallow lakes flow through the park.
  Dozens of wetland creatures live here,
including lots of alligators. 
 We saw plenty of seabirds, such as this roseate spoonbill.

Myakka River also boasts a canopy walkway & tower
providing a way to observe life in the treetops.
It is the first public treetop trail in North America.

Looking down on the 85 foot long walkway
which is suspended 25 feet above the ground.

A view from the tower which rises 74 feet above the oak & palm forest.
 This is old Florida, with its spanish moss, live oaks and alligators.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Farm Chores

Our neighbors raise show cattle.
They needed help with morning chores while away at a show.
I was happy to visit the animals give them their breakfast.
 First to be fed were the barn cats.
Its hard to ignore seven hungry cats.

Next, the dogs were let out and fed.
Wrigley promptly ate his breakfast, leaned against my tire and supervised.

These to show cattle had to be fed a special grain.

The rest of the cattle were out at pasture and feeding on round bales,
so I checked to see if everyone was on their feet.
 My next stop, the hen house in the background.

 Chickens fed & watered.
I found one egg.
 This newly weaned calf watched me warily as I finished the chores.
There's never a day off for the farmer.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fall Beekeeping

The bees have given us honey 
and now its time to get them ready for winter.
Many things can kill a hive over winter.
Parasites, cold, damp conditions and even starvation.
I mixed up a sugar syrup and added a medication to prevent nosema,
a winter parasite.

 Each hive got a feeder full of the medicated syrup
on a warm Autumn day.
I also added an insulated cover.
Didn't have time to paint it.

The hive produces moisture as it generates heat to stay warm over the winter.
  The warm air rises and then condenses on the cold ceiling,
 dripping back down on the bees, stressing and killing them.
This winter cover has a piece of styrofoam in it to insulate the top.
In addition, I placed a board under one side of the hive to tip it slightly, 
allowing the moisture to run down the side instead of dripping on the bees.

 An entrance reducer is used, 
taking the entrance from this,

 to this.  
It keeps mice out of the hive
 and reduces the amount of cold air coming in.

Each hive has at least a full super (box) of honey to feed it over ther winter.
Around December 1st, I will wrap the hive in black roofing paper
 to help keep out drafts and absorb the winter sun.
Fingers crossed our bees survive the winter.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Boy Scout Motto: Be Prepared!

Hubby has big plans for our maple syrup harvest.
Last weekend, he set up his new evaporator.

 Working on the smokestack

 Test boil

It works great.
We are ready for February!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Building a Better Mousetrap

We have mice in the barn.
No big surprise, living on a farm.
But they aren't welcome.  
Soft hearted me hates killing them so hubby built a new trap for them.

A different mousetrap with peanut butter in the bottom.

 It worked!

This lucky guy got relocated. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

First Snow of the Season

Temps in the 60's yesterday,
snow today.

 Footprints in the hayfield.

 Sentinel tree

 Bo looking over Hinkle Creek

Snow covered dog

Snowy seedhead

Saturday, November 10, 2012

November Trail Ride

Even though the leaves have fallen and cooler temps have invaded,
 a few friends & I managed to squeeze in one last trail ride at Strawtown.

We head out along the river and under a bridge.

 The boardwalk is always a fun obstacle.
This photo shows just how long it is.

Its fun to hear the clip clop of hooves on the wooden walkway.

 There are only a few things more beautiful than the view in between a horse's ears.

A great way to end the riding season.