Tilly's Tiny Family Farm
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2015 Blogs

January to June

January 5, 2015 Update

Small update, we got our snowplow....and alas there is no snow. We have been hoping for some decent snow. You know how all those drafts in the house magically appear once it gets bitterly cold? Yah, we have that going on in our house now. We usually bank the house with snow if we get any, but 1 to 3 inches that get blown away right a way isn't helping much in that. We are hoping to be able to reside at least one side of the house this Summer to solve part of that problem. We can't afford to reside the whole house at once, so we thought if we did one side at a time... its still 1/4 of the problem solved each year until its done and its less and less fuel we use to heat the house each year as we get it done. We also hope to have a greenhouse on the south facing side eventually to help bring in heat in the Winter and to start seeds sooner in the year.

I also am revamping the way I draw/color comics. It might cut the time it takes me by ....well.... a LOT! So I might be able to get my comic strip started soon. Anyhow, off to do some website updates for some family.
Toodles peeps!

January 14, 2015 Plans
We've been drawing up plans for our future barn (which is waaay in the future), an addition for the house (kids need their own rooms and I'd love a commercial grade cannery/workspace), and hopefully a chicken coop. The coop is a project we'll have to work on this coming summer since we will need a bigger one. We think we need to double our coop and we want to fence the whole back yard for them to free range.

I had my 2 bottom wisdom teeth removed on Monday so I'm a little sore and craving solid foods. Honey is my friend. It is sweet, slides off a spoon nice, and has medicinal qualities. :D

Well, not much else to update you guys on yet so toodles peeps!
January 26, 2015 Update

All you peeps should be able to get to the different chicken pages using the buttons above now if you hover over chickens. Not all the links are working properly on the Chickens page and its an issue I'm running into with this weebly builder. Tho free things sometimes glitch right?

On my fourth batch of soaps. First three batches were Castile bars (all oil is olive oil). This new batch I made has olive oil, coconut oil, and cocoa butter. It hardened a lot faster and I had trouble getting some dinosaurs out of their molds. Good thing some of these are going to friends and family to test out.

Found a new place right in town here to sell my eggs to. We have a place called Terrapin Station (which is an awesome place to hang out). They sell some health food as well as food grade essential oils. They have a stage for musicians and schedule events and sell musician's music. They also have pretty art work and a mural on the side of their building. I love stopping over there. I can order my gluten free all purpose flour through them in bulk and it saves me a bundle. Turns out their former farmer that supplied them with farm fresh eggs for sale was the farmer's market manager for the markets I joined last year. Well, she moved away and now I'm in charge of the markets. I also have a closer place to sell my eggs than the feed store in Park Rapids. Feel free to check out Terrapin's website by clicking here. I'll provide them eggs year round as long as they're open. :D

Have a nice night, toodles peeps!

February 10, 2015 Kicking em When He Is Down

So our 2nd rooster we kept was way too aggressive with our hens. Yesterday my husband cornered it in the big fenced area outside and put it out of its misery. No sooner does it stop twitching... the Alpha rooster, Mr. Soup, runs over to him and kicks the tar out of the body, gives a satisfied little huff, and then runs back to his ladies. Wow.... talk about kicking him when he is down huh? No respect LOL. The dead rooster is now cleaned and slowly stewing in my crock pot...hopefully he'll be edible today LOL. Oh and my ladies are much happier now.

New soap recipe is almost done setting, I seriously need to take photos of all of it and post it up. Should also put photos on the facebook page. I can't wait to test out the lather on this one tho. After a couple more batches I'll experiment with colors.

Working on a brochure and flyer for the 2015 Farmer's Market Season. I hate mental blocks. I have the logo pretty well done, but I'm not sure what information people would want to read about on it. I don't want it too full, but I also don't want it to be empty.

Anyhoo...off to take my little princess to the dentist. Yay.....eh.
Later peeps, toodles!

February 20, 2015 Bees and Brooders

Not pictured are the two incubators we started with fertile eggs from our chickens. Next week one set should start hatching, so my hubbie is making a new brooder for them. Got all the lamps, bulbs, food, and waterers so once they hatch I'll have to post more pics and the chicken page will get some more updates :D.

Well, toodles peeps!

So I ordered up my basic bee safety gear and essentials yesterday. It came today already so I decided to test out the fit. Here I am in my headgear and gloves. I have plenty of light colored clothing to use with it when handling my hive this Summer. I also ordered my nuc of bees today. I will be picking them up May 15th in Fertile, MN. Next year I hope to go up to three hives, but I'm starting this year with just one so I can get in the swing of things. I also want to see how much honey they go through in a Winter. So I will not be harvesting any honey from them this year unless the hive gets pretty close to full. Even then, any honey from this year will probably go to friends, family, and my teas for Winter unless there is a HUGE surplus.

I also finished another batch of hand painted Owl garden rocks. All seal coated, inventoried, and stored. Ready for Farmer's Market. I can't wait! To the left is a pic of the owls I just finished and below the promised pic of one of my batches of soap. You'll see plain bars of my soap and Firefly class spaceship shapes of the Serenity. I have dinosaurs too, but didn't make any on this batch.
February 26, 2015 Babies are Hatching!
The eggs in our incubator are hatching! We are up to 3 little chickens and another one currently trying to break free. My hubbie set up a webcam so feel free to watch the babies here: Decaf Is For Wimps!

Toodles my lovelies!

March 10, 2015 Update

Ended up with 13 chicks from our first batch. 2nd incubator failed due to child tampering. 42 eggs in our next incubator run. Took down the live stream for now. We want to put it up again when the chicks are close to hatching. Our 13 chicks seem to be growing faster than our mail order chicks of last year... hubbie is working on a bigger brooder...those 13 seem to take up an awful lot of room.

Two tires had to be replaced on our vehicle too, thankfully I was not in the vehicle when one of the tires blew. The 2nd one was close to blowing.

Almost time to start transplanting nursery plants. We're also trying to get more paperwork in for the grant for a greenhouse. Waiting for a response from them now on what is left to fill out before halfway through April.

Anyhoo toodles peeps! I'll have to post photos later!
March 16, 2015 Dusty

March 21, 2015 Livestream

We have some eggs hatching in the incubator, here is our livestream link

Decaf is for Wimps
Sold 10 chicks today and got a few calls for more. Guess we better get the other incubator going. We have one hatch about to go into lock down.

Here's the picture of Dusty the Americauna who lays our olive eggs. Ironic that my Grandpa's nickname was Dusty.

She also loves snow. She is the first hen out of the coop and the last one back in. She will burrow down into the snow and then fluff up and eat some of it. Then she is up and scratching in it.

Have a good night my lovelies and forgive me for the reorganizing I'm doing on the website. Toodles!

April 3, 2015 Incubators

Hubbie found a good deal on two more incubators and a turner. That gives us 4 incubators and 3 turners. We can now do a hatch each week. The incubator without the turner will be our hatcher for lockdown. We have a good demand for chicks already so we will just keep rolling with it. Maybe sometime this Summer we'll be able to hatch some more for ourselves :D.

Toodles peeps!

April 11, 2015 Chicken Delay

Got a call saying there weren't enough hatchers to fill our order for our new breeds so our shipment will be next week if the hatch rate is right.

We have all three incubators going with our Black Laced Silver Wyandotte and Wyandotte/Americauna eggs. About the 16th we will have some hatchers :D And then every week after that until things wind down.

Been busy working for my mom next door, transplanting season for the greenhouse. She opens Monday already. Perennials come this next week and trees and shrubs will follow soon. I started a lot of seeds and ran out of room, so I need to wait a bit to plant the Pink Banana Jumbo Squash seeds I got. Can't wait til I can start getting my gardens planted up, I have so many flowers to plant with my vegetable plants this year... my bees are going to love them! I get my bees in May :D

Anyhoo, I should run off to work so I'll talk to you all later my lovelies! Toodles!

April 18 , 2015 Livestream

Livestream is up again for our new batch. We even got a yellow chicken out of this hatch :D


April 23, 2015 Babies!
Our babies came! 5 Blue Polish, 21 Black Laced Golden Wyandottes, and 26 Black Australorps. I will update the chicken page today as I get everything organized so feel free to check on that too! We also have these and our current hatch together in 1 brooder so we moved the livestream over to that brooder. I'm going to add a link to the notes on the right side of the page for a permanent livestream link for quicker reference. Toodles peeps!

May 4, 2015 Update

East Garden planted with carrots, onions, beans, peas, rutabagas, turnips, and flowers along with some herbs. Small garden on the West side of the house is almost all planted too. Radish is in and the pickling cucumbers and louffa gourds will hopefully go in tomorrow. I have 1 huckleberry plant that came up so at least that is planted. Hubbie is tilling up the East field garden and we'll get raised beds made out their too. True raised beds where you can plant in the sides as well. I planted my uncle's canoes, which I painted a dark purple since they were due for paint :) , with herbs that get really pretty white and purple flowers that bees love.

Our double flowering plum shrubs are about to bloom soon, I hope it waits until I get my honey bees on the 15th. Pear trees are blooming and the Crabapple trees are about to as well.

Sold a few dozen eggs today and we're getting prepped for Farmers' Market which starts at the end of the month. At the rate its going I won't have any eggs to sell for market :D they keep selling!

Bought rhubarb seed and I now have 25 new little rhubarb plants. I hope its enough. Between selling it as is and jams and jellies it will go fast. Plus there is a rhubarb dessert (the only rhubarb dessert in my family) that I want to make in small batches to sell at the market. We'll see how much time I'll have.

Well, anyhow I need to go write down all the stuff I got planted today for future records, toodles peeps!

May 10, 2015 Snow?
Early Tuesday morning they are predicting snow. We already have 2 gardens in if you count the small ones to the West of the house as one. I hope it doesn't snow, but at least most of the garden is still under the dirt. I have some cucumber, louffa, and huckleberry plants that I have already planted that may need to be covered and turnips that have started popping up. I really hope it doesn't snow. I have a few herbs that I could plant again if needed and a few flowers too. Hubbie says we should be able to turn the sprinklers on for a few hours if it snows and a layer of frost will form and protect them. We'll try it if we need to, but I wish I had a greenhouse.

Well, toodles everyone!
May 16, 2015 New Journey, Bees!

Yesterday morning my family woke extremely early and set out to do two things. Drop off sold chicks and pickup honey bees. Its always nice when you can multi task, tho my husband claims uni tasking is much more productive. Once we dropped off our tiny, healthy babies to their new owners, we continued our journey to Fertile, MN where a few bee businesses thrive. The one we were looking for was Crossroads Apiaries LLC. Armed with directions and ambitious excitement, we made our way to their farm and pulled up to a nice building with a big sign telling us to pick up nucs here. We were greeted by two, friendly, and excited beekeepers. I let my 3 children out and they proceeded to run off to play with this young couple's lil boy. We were invited to try honey candy, honey lemonade, and some donuts from a local bakery. We chatted and discussed a few questions. One being the foggy, misty day they were having and how bees can't fly in this type of weather. I admit I was worried it would be a little misty at home by now too so my husband and I took their advice to heart to make sure they had plenty of food. The gentleman loaded our 5 frame nuc into our vehicle and we soon headed home.

As we arrived home, there was a renewed excitement as we gathered our bee equipment and placed our homemade top bar hive where it will stay for the Summer. I was a little nervous as it came time to open the nuc. I removed the rubber bands off the box and gently removed the lid. Bees started flying everywhere and my nervousness became a strong anxiety in the pit of my stomach. It was not as misty at home as it had been in Fertile. The unexpectedness of the flying bees made me start worrying about stinging and every horrible bee story I had read about the last 2 years. I had not thought ahead to get the smoker ready and the frames were sticking in the box. Where was my brand new hive tool? Hubbie responded it was in the house...with the smoker. So while he cautiously stepped away from the camera and gathered those two tools, I investigated our new adventure with a little trepidation.

Then I realized, they aren't stinging. They don't even seem upset or angry. They just seem confused and thankful to be out of the box and let free again. A few landed on me here and there, but it was almost like they were rubbing against me trying to cuddle. A few left trails of pollen on my gloves. The hubbie returned with the tools, and tho we did light the smoker.. it went out after the initial puffing. I wasn't as worried, since my unsafety geared hubbie was right in the midst of all this and had yet to have any aggressive bees go after him. I used the hive tool to wiggle the frames out 1 by 1 and into our hive. Frames don't fit in top bar hives, but done right they can be placed in their temporarily until all the brood has hatched and the honey eaten up. Then the frames are removed. The 1st frame had our huge, black queen on it. What luck to get a small video of it.

Once the frames were inside and the hive all shut up and secure, my hubbie and I just smiled and started planning the next 2 hives I want him to build for me. A new adventure always starts with risk and a healthy dose of anxiety. After the first hurdle is jumped, it becomes a wonderful memory.

Enjoy the pics. I plan on adding a bee section on the site once it stops glitching on me. Have a lovely week and toodles peeps!

May 25, 2015 Busy Weekend
Between Farmers' Markets that started Friday and Saturday and working for my mom at her greenhouse biz, its been a very busy weekend. Thankfully its raining today since I have to go to work at my other job and would otherwise feel guilty leaving mom with a rush of peeps on Memorial Monday. Thankfully shes got lots of backup this year.

Managed to kill my bread machine while I was making gluten-free goodies for the market. I let it cool the required amount of time and it still gave me trouble. Oven has been out all Winter. We got another one only to find out the stove part is the only part that works, even tho it said it had been tested. Thankfully it was only $20 to begin with. Have to hunt down something that is not flattop before Thursday so I can bake for market.

Also need to pick up chicken wire to enclose more of the back yard for the chickens. They've already massacred all the grass in the area we moved the portable fencing to. We'll hav to replant with buckwheat or something just to get greens growing again. New chicks arrived Friday morning before market, so they are all cozy. Few new breeds, mostly butcher birds, but we'll see if there are any roos we want to keep or not. Winding down the incubators. They've been filled 1 last time so we should have our last hatch about mid June. I'll be saving all the hens for making the flock bigger. I would like to at least triple our current egg rate. I can't keep up with demand. With the timing of the birds, they'll start laying about February-April. So that will be perfect.

I have pics to show once I find the camera again, so I'll post those when I do. Have a good week peeps, toodles!

May 30, 2015 Good Tired

Yesterday was cold and rainy as we set up for Akeley Farmers' Market and it just got colder. At least we had a sunnier day today at the Nevis Farmers' Market. Getting closer to having enough for either a working oven or a bread machine. I have been baking cookies and banana bread in our toaster oven. It works eh?

Checked on our bees, slowly building comb and making a bit of honey. Going to be a while before I can harvest I think tho.

Here's some pics of the free exotic chicks we got with our fryers.

Here's a pic of some of the fryers, lil girl scared em a little and they huddled in the corner.

Below is last week's picture of the Akeley Farmers' Market.

We got a lot of planting done this weekend too, hope to get more done Sunday. Just a good type of tired now. Anyhow, night peeps! Toodles!

June 9, 2015 Gardens are in!

Well all of this years gardens are in finally, I waited til the rain perked them up to take pictures. Now to start back at the first garden with weeding!

Radishes posted to the left are coming nicely, lettuce on the 2nd to the bottom left is popping up, tomatoes are doing well, and the new experiment this year is posted below. We got Molokai Purple Sweet Potatoes. Only a few plants, but if we can get them to grow nicely, we might be able to propagate them for the future and offer local sweet potatoes for sale.

2nd from the top picture to the left is the big field garden. We hope to make 1 more this size next year so most of the gardens are in the field. The one next to the house is a bit too shady. Its been working, but I would like to use the space for a greenhouse instead. It would work nicely for a shade greenhouse for nursery plants.

We want to add a greenhouse on to the south side of the house as well, for starting our plants from seed without using so much space in my mom's greenhouse.

Today we have our last batch of chicks going into lock down for hatching. If we don't get enough hens to triple my laying flock for next year, I may have to order some new fun varieties from Cackle Hatchery so I can fill all my egg orders next year. We're selling out so fast!

Well toodles lovelies! I have to go check on my honey bees.

June 21, 2015 Chicken Fencing In!

Well, quite the busy week for us so far. Farmers' Market has been going good, tho it rained us out a bit on Friday. We finally decided to go home after waiting for an hour and a half to see if the rain would dissipate so we could set up. So the kids had a lot of gluten-free goodies to munch on when we got home. Hubbie at least got one small loaf of banana bread and he has dibs on the snicker doodles.

Hubbie went over to a customer's place to help set them up for incubating some fertile chicken eggs. She has her grandson visiting for a month and they thought it would make a nice project. They both sound excited for their new adventure. We wish them a high hatch rate!

We also got the fencing finished for the layers. Instead of moveable, temporary, kennel fencing; we have chicken coop wire around about half of our backyard now. The little ladies and gentlemen were so happy when we let them loose into their new enclosure.

We took pictures quick before we let them loose upon the vegetation. The stump was a rotting red oak we had to cut down, it was leaning towards the house! You can see where the edge of the temporary fencing was sitting. They started eating the bugs that were in the old leaves that had accumulated around the edges of the fencing.

Well, we have to be off.... we have to put up fencing for the meat chickens. So toodles my lovelies!

June 24, 2015 Caterpillars, Cars, and Cameos
Checked out the garden today in the field and I have baby blue hubbard squash, baby pumpkins, some green tomatoes, and Monarch caterpillars.

Caterpillar 1

Oriental Mustards

Baby Blue Hubbard Squash


Caterpillar 2


Also weeded the veggie beds. I tend to leave any milkweed in the center of the walkways for the Monarch butterflies.

Transmission went out in our Ford on Sunday.

Wednesday's Northwoods Press newspaper had me on the front page. I didn't realize my interview about the Farmers' Markets would be on the front page, its pretty neat! I'll have to post the clipping or something once i get access to a scanner.

Anyhoo, I need to get kids off to bed, toodles peeps!

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