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Manda

Homestead/ Life in General

The Future is Chickens

For the past several years, I have causally brought up the idea of having chickens, but I was the only one who thought it was a good idea. And while I could have gotten chickens anyway, I wanted the rest of the household, i.e. my husband, to get on board with the idea. And I am happy to say that he has finally started to warm up to the idea.

With that said, however, we’re not getting chickens just yet. I want to wait until next spring to give us time to research more and learn as much about them as possible. So we’re just in the planing stages at the moment. My husband is excited about creating the chicken coop, and making cool chicken gadgets, and I can’t wait to raise feathered dinosaurs. But we want to make sure that our future chickens will have an awesome coop and run that will keep them healthy, happy, and protected from predators.

So, what does this exactly mean?

Welp, it means I’ve been, and plan on continuing to, pin a shit ton of chicken-related things on Pinterest and trying to learn as much as I possibly can. But I am so excited!

Life in General

No New Year’s Resolutions

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Instead of New Years resolutions, I’m making goals. Why goals and not resolutions? Well, almost every year I make a bunch of resolutions, which I stick to for a few weeks, and then abandon before Spring hits. Resolutions seem more of a “I will definitely get this accomplished this year”, while goals have a more relaxed and laid back type of vibe. And I like that.

Anyway……

The goals I have set for 2019 are obtainable ones that I’m pretty confident I can achieve this year. In the past, when I would make New Year’s resolutions, it would be something that was much more difficult to accomplish. While things like ‘lose 50 pounds’ is possible in a years time, it takes a great deal of dedication that I just don’t know if I can complete. So that’s why I have decided to set real, obtainable goals for this new year.

Improve my Sewing Skills

Towards the end of 2018, I finally got our sewing machine out and made myself learn how to properly use it. And with the help of some Youtube videos, I was able to make my first ever not-sewn-by-hand catnip kicker. I have also made a couple of plastic bag holders — which surprisingly turned out okay — and want to continue to improve on that ability. I would like to the point where I can sew a skirt, dress, or pajama pants with ease. I’m not sure if I can accomplish that in 2019, so I’m just setting out to improve my sewing skills no matter how little that improvement may be.

Get Out of the House More

And I don’t just mean to the grocery store. While I don’t want to set a larger goal of “traveling abroad”, I do want to go out and do more things, even if it’s just in the town next to me. I spend way too much time in the house. I work from home and relax at home, and while I do love being home (that’s where my kitties are after all) I also want to get out and explore, and do things that require leaving my house.

Ignite my Lost Passion for Photography

It wasn’t that long ago that I had a Nikon D90 and I would plan trips to local areas to snap some pictures. I loved photography, and was rather decent at it. And then, at the start of 2013, I had to get rid of my camera, and I just never got another one. But this past April my husband bought me a camera for my birthday. I was so happy to finally get a DSLR again, and then I just didn’t use it. I’m laying some of the blame on my phone because it’s just so much easier to grab the phone — which is almost always within reach — and snap some pictures then it is to get up, walk to where I keep my camera, take it out of it’s case, turn it on, get it set, blah, blah, blah. It feels like a chore. And this saddens me so because, at one point in my life, my camera and the act of shooting photos brought me so much joy. It gave me a reason to go outside, and it allowed the creative side of me come to out. I miss it and want to get that passion, or at least a small portion of that passion, back.

That’s it. Three goals. Three not-too-complicated goals that I have set for myself during this new.

What about you? Did you set goals or resolutions for the new year?



Life in General/ The Bee's Knees

I Married a Beekeeper

For years Mike had toyed with the idea of raising bees, but for one reason or another, he would always put it on the back burner. At the moment, however, we’re in the position where he can dive head first into this venture. In February, he preordered 2 sets of Nucs from a somewhat local beekeeper and started the month long process of beekeeping classes. He was originally suppose to receive the Nucs in May but, because of the abundance of rainy days, it ended up delaying the growth of the hives, which meant waiting until June.

It’s been a few months since he started this venture and things seems to be going well. So well, in fact, that we’re planning on adding a few more hives in the spring.  I’m learning so much about bees (like did you know that honey is essentially bee vomit!), and what is required to properly care for them. I’m also learning just how much of a negative impact we humans have on them.


Why Are Bees Important?

Bees are amazing creatures that pollinate over 80-percent of all flowering plants. This includes 70 of the top 100 food crops consumed by humans. According to a wide array of experts, one in three bites of food we consume is derived from plants pollinated by bees (as well as other pollinators). That fact alone should be enough to convince even the most stern bee-hater just how important these buzzing insects are. Without bees, thousands of plants wouldn’t be pollinated, which would have a direct and extremely negative effect on our lives and the life of our planet.

Furthermore, most honey bees aren’t aggressive unless they feel their hive is in danger. I wear nothing more then my normal clothes and flip-flops when visiting the hives, and I have yet to get stung. And I’m right up there inside the hives with Mike, snapping pictures and recording videos.

How Can I Help the Bees?

You don’t have to be a beekeeper to help bees, though having a backyard hive is a great way to improve your garden while obtaining a bit of honey and beeswax. You can also just let your grass grow a bit more between mowings, and try not to hate dandelions so much.

I honestly never understood why dandelions, which is technically an herb not a weed, have such a bad rap. They brighten up a green landscape with their cheery little yellow faces. And they are one of the earliest food sources for bees. If you let them grow some before declaring all out war on them, you’ll provide bees with food to help make them and their hives strong. You’ll also reduce the amount of time spent mowing your yard so it’s a win-win situation!

Another option is to forgo chemical pesticides that cause more harm than good, and instead try a safer route that is more bee-friendly. For example, a mixture of salt and vinegar is a less harmful weed killer that still gets rid of unwanted grass and plants without the potential of harming beneficial insects.

Seek the Help of a Beekeeper

If you do happen to find a hive somewhere on your property or house, don’t destroy it and don’t call a pest control company. Instead, reach out to your local beekeeper. They have the knowledge and tools to safely remove the hive and transport it to a local apiary where the hive can flourish away from people’s homes. What’s even better is that local beekeepers won’t charge you a cent for removing the hive!