Monday, April 11, 2016

Busy Busy as a Bee

Bees have been on my mind. I really want to get into bee keeping and I have researched and talked and questioned and still can't get past the danger of African-ized bees. When I do jump in, I found a source for bees with a pre mated queen (promising no African mates). Bees used to be more gentle but since the western expansion of the African bee invasion, many hives have become more aggressive. 

The most pressing project I have before me is switching our herd. We just can't keep enough sheep to satisfy the county agriculture board, they decided we need 69 more sheep for their quota. Else loose 18 wooded acres of AG. We already have 21, on a wooded 25 acres. The math doesn't work. It's sad news for the kids, we will miss the sheep,  but we need to stay in Ag. 
So that means 5 cows. The math still doesn't add up for me, but sheep are rare in our county, and apparently don't want to have them on the rolls, so we need to get on cattle ranching and conform.
So I've been heifer shopping, wishing I had Ralph Moody with me. Leaning toward Herefords.

But we would miss Cody toooo much!

After freshening up the chicken coop, we have shavings everywhere.

The second project pressing is attention to our fruit trees. Some are having difficulty adjusting to the soil and some of our grapefruit lost all their leaves and looks like we might have lost the plums all together. We aren't alone, the county Master Gardener reported others had problems as well, so the grower may swap the trees for us.

The chicks and ducks are growing well. Some may be old enough to move in with the year old chickens, but, I've hesitated due to a raccoon and opposum  sighting by the coop.

The garden had a slow start with the cold snaps, but now is taking off. Rain today will help.  Need to plan weeding into my schedule.

We took a day trip to Austin and split the visit with my parents and my mother in law. My MIL has a great view of Austin from a balcony at her home. 

We enjoyed a visit from friends on a beautiful day which called for a nature walk.

We past a house fire coming home the other day. A sad reminder of risks and problems of living in the county. There was one fire truck there, but it was too late, looked like they were just letting it burn itself out. The little girls were with me and decided we needed a fire evacuation plan. 

4H has also been keeping the kids busy. We have our district roundup at the end of the month, with various competitions. We have our county BBQ fundraiser this month too. They are working on projects that will be up for auction to help fund future projects.

The kids took time from construction projects for a good game of tug-of-war. Lilly's team won.

Teenage boys can be lots of fun for five year olds.

We had some friends from church over for Sunday dinner. A sweet, precious family with six young children. They enjoyed the farm animals. They played with the baby chicks, went swinging, ran around. Great visit!

Sharing a secret after mass.


Have a great week!


  1. Replies
    1. Our tax system in Texas is based on property values. (County funds are used to fund county public schools based on a rate x value). Taxes are assessed on the value of land. If we're not "in Ag" meaning using our property for agricultural uses (to the county government's specifications) the land would be valued and taxed higher than we could afford. (At least x10+ what it would be under Ag). They would claim each acre to be valued what it would be in a neighborhood or commercial use. We want to use this for Ag, and betterment of our community and follow what we were told initially for number of sheep required for our land, now I am told we are not really a sheep community, we are cattle community, so.... :/
      The whole thing sounds crazy: where's my freedom & justice? I homeschool and I don't use the county school anyway. :p

      Is the tax system different in Australia?

  2. Oh wow! Keep us posted on the cattle / sheep situation. Did you ever think you'd be contemplating these issues a few years ago?

    1. Haha, no I did not. There is a lot more to the Ag exemption than I thought. There is a third option we may get in gear for next year: switching the property to wildlife status. I think it's more fitted to that anyway. But we have to go through this first.