Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Raspberry Honey!

We're enjoying a great Spring and the weather has been nearly ideal for the bees. We enjoyed our highest winter survival rate ever for our bees with only a 10% loss of our hives, and the bees came on strong as the spring bloom got underway.

Early nectar and pollen sources included willows, maples, oaks, and dandelion followed by Russian olive, clover, honeysuckle, and raspberry. Yes, raspberry has been a fantastic nectar source this year as you can see by the picture, above. Beautiful in color and great tasting, we've never experienced anything like it in our eight years as beekeepers. We're seeing it in hives on both sides of the Connecticut River. Meanwhile, during a drive back from Hartford today I noticed the sumac is starting to bloom. That signals the last significant nectar source for the spring/summer period. By early July, a dirth of nectar and pollen will begin until late August when we'll begin seeing purple loosestrife, goldenrod, and eventually, asters.

We're happy to report our organic honey was showcased in the June/July issue of "NUTMEG", a beautiful food and lifestyle magazine 'from West Haven to Westerly' (contact NUTMEG Publications at 646.320.8959 for more info). We hope to have our first harvest in mid-July, assuming the bees finish 'capping' the honeycomb. This occurs when they have evaporated the honey down to about 17 percent moisture content. At that point the pH of the honey will keep it from spoiling--nature's only naturally preserved food!

For ordering info be sure to visit our website Three Sisters Farms.

Let the Picks begin!

Hard to believe our pups are now seven weeks old! They're showing their age--increasingly independent and curious, they're now willing to embark on new adventures away from the pack to explore the new and unfamiliar. Great if you're a puppy; not so fun if you're the person in charge of keeping an eye on them. It's not uncommon to have several puppies go in different directions--all at once.

Our new puppy pen is a great place for the puppies to get some fresh air, romp on the rocks and childrens' playscape, and generally get as dirty as possible by rolling in the dirt! Once this litter is gone we'll plant grass!! In the meantime, with the weather so pleasant the pen is a great place for them to hang out. The most fun is when we open the gate and take off on a game of Catch-the-breeder. Nothing like eight little yellow guys running flat out trying to catch us as we trot around the yard.

We've had several puppies selected by their new owners. Wow! Only one week until they go to their new homes. Chase It, Sunset, Pig Dog, and Everglade are now 'taken', and we hope to have the remaining new owners make their selections this weekend. We still have a couple of females available--with a new ad in the paper, they'll be finding new homes soon, too.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

We've got the Munchies!

The pups had their first 'real meal' on Saturday, a few days later than we've started in the past, but the pups didn't seem to mind. Bromley, as always, has been a great mom and continues to nurse her babies willingly (oftentimes by four weeks the mother has initiated weaning--not Bromley!), thus there's been no need to thrust food on the little guys.

The puppies have their first several teeth and are just beginning to use them--on ears, tails, etc., which accordingly, results in screeches and whimpers from the unlucky recipient of the teething. When starting them on solid food we soak regular dog kibble in water until it is mushy soft (about 20-30 minutes). We've started this litter with two serving plates for sets of four puppies each. So far, there's been little pushing as they've each done a good job lapping up their fill. With some litters there's a frantic rush to eat but this group has been pretty mellow so far.

And 'mellow' is an appropriate label for this group of puppies... very easy going, content, no whiners or whimperers in this clan. They still do a lot of sleeping but enjoy getting a chance to play and explore when we let them out. The recent rain was a damper on their outdoor fun but today they enjoyed scampering about and interacting with Grandma Caicos, Aunt Mingus, and half-sister Sedona, along with Bromley mom. We're just beginning the fun puppy phase!