Slip, Slop, Slap, Splash

This is exactly how we are walking now.  Slipping on the ice hidden under the slopping water and slapping and splashing about. Nice though. Huge puddles everywhere. Everything is sloppy wet – because it is warm. By afternoon most of the ice was slush and our work pants were wet to the knees.  Gracie fit into one of my pairs of overalls, jammed her feet into gumboots and immediately went to work. We worked without gloves. Oh the joy of it!

Much to Poppy’s delight she is showing signs of coming into heat. So this morning semen is being collected from a very virile looking Hereford boar (I do not know how they collect the semenfrom a boar and frankly do not care to know) an hours drive from here and today John will drive over to collect two straws of handsome pig semen. A task he never saw himself doing when he was growing up listening to Bob Dylan and dreaming of the big city.

So this afternoon my friend, who knows about pigs,  will come over and if Poppy is in Standing Heat we will breed her both tonight and tomorrow morning.  Standing Heat means you can put both hands on her back from behind and push as hard as you can and she will not budge.  And she will stand to be bred.  Poppy standing still for anything will be something to see!import-then-delete-3359

Sad news. I opened the bee hives yesterday afternoon and there were only a few bees there and they are long dead.  Dried up dead. I remember last summer they were slow to thrive.  Such a disappointment. Ah well.  I have given bee-keeping a really good crack. Time to close this one down though. I will no longer be keeping bees.  Such a shame.  But sometimes trying again and again and again and failing means it is not to be. Time to move on. big calvesOne thing I am getting right (touch wood) is raising these calves. They are looking great.

I hope you have a lovely day. Fingers crossed that Poppy does not go past her fertile moment before we get her bred.  Do you remember her when she was this big?dog-and-pig

Love your friend on the farm,



72 Comments on “Slip, Slop, Slap, Splash

  1. I am sorry to hear about the bees, but I agree. You gave it your best effort. Hoping the the standing with Poppy proves fruitful for you tonight or tomorrow. Be careful on the slippery ground.

  2. Oh my goodness, there is nothing quite like a baby pig! I’m glad you explained standing heat. As soon as I read it, I wondered “what is that??” And voilà, there was the answer. I’m sorry about the bees, but once again, I love your philosophy about moving on. You did try.

  3. That is too bad about the bees. Thanks for posting that adorable picture of little poppy and boo. Hope you have a great day and good luck with poppy!

  4. Sorry to hear about the bees, but we have been there and done that as well. Each January we toy with getting it going again, and it just never happens!

    All the best with Poppy! I hope she is standing well for you :*)

  5. Good news and bad news, the stuff of which farm life is made. Fingers crossed that Poppy’s heat will be just long enough to breed her and not so long that she drives you nuts with all the hormonal yelling and banging…
    Sad about the bees. I wonder if you’ve ever thought of putting the hive high up inside the barn with a small access hole to the outside? It would catch the rising warmth of the animals in the winter, which might be just enough to allow the bees to make it through the winter…

  6. So much snow has melted, we still have a lot. Good luck with Poppy, I sure hope it goes well. So sad about the bees.

  7. you are doing a splendid job Miss C…praise from someone who knows nought about farming but you must be doing it right cos everything turns out super (eggs were exception, but not your fault)…baby piggies..hpw thrilling…
    Hello to Miss are you m’dear. It is lovely that you come to help Miss C on her Farmy…I envy you!

    have a good day all

  8. Hooray for the thaw – at last! 🙂 Suddenly the Bobby’s are towering over Aunty Dell. I’m sure your beautiful gardens in summer will attract the bees from elsewhere. Laura

    • Yes, you are right Laura, a lovely positive thought, we have huge flower gardens and wild flowers along the ditches so we do have quite a few wild bees here too.. in fact there were a hive of wild bees camping in the attic of the old farm house a few years back.. much love c

  9. To keep bees, one has to have the environment set up for them – lots of flowers growing and food for them during the warm months. But there are many kinds of bees and honey bees are not native to this country – they are European. Instead perhaps it would be a good idea to support native populations by providing them an insect hotel. Insect Hotels Provide a home to pollinators and pest controllers. Tidy gardens, lawns and lack of dead wood, mean less and less habitat for wild bees, spiders and ladybugs. This way we can survive even if our honey bee population wanes. For one thing, if they aren’t kept fed all during the winter, they have a rough time. That means knowing what to feed them when they run out of honey. Several Permaculturists suggest putting bees in a kind of protected shed which shields them during the coldest time of year, where they can come and go freely all year, but are sheltered. You can put several hives in such a shed here and there throughout the property so they have enough space. Also, growing bee specifically friendly plants like Bee Balm and Butterfly Weed (there are many) give them sufficient foraging areas. If there are farmers that spray insecticide in your area, you have to find a way to keep them from roaming there by making it so bee friendly they don’t need to wander. Either local bees (for pollination) or honey bees will benefit from this, which is why an Insect Hotel is such a good idea (and can be quite beautiful as you will see in those sites listed above). Di

  10. Yes, we had a bit of sunshine, here in Scotland yesterday. That feeling of sun on your back – and front – well, anywhere really – fab!
    What a shame about your bees. All the best for Poppy’s prospective pregnancy. The calves look most handsome. Here’s to springtime.

  11. So sorry about your bees. And I love the line about Dylan and the big city!

    On a different note, if you still want a t-shirt, Miss C, do let me know. No pressure, of course. Orders going to printer on Wed. Email or just PayPal w/ instructions:

  12. Rather planned or not, it always seems as if the farmy knows well what will work…bees not so much, but goats and turkeys on the way. Best with Poppy. What a very small window to be successful in breeding a pig, perhaps if you give her a flower and whisper in her ear first she will be more accommodating to the process…of course promise her a lovely pig treat after as well 😉

  13. Oh Poppy! How amazing it is to see her as wee Poppy! Hopefully all will go well with the “procedure”. 🙂 Too bad about the bees but now that means you can concentrate on something else, right? 🙂

  14. Bummer about the bees. I had so hoped you find success this time around. Bees are such an important part of farming. Although, being next door to the corn and soybean fields may have contributed to their demise. Farmers use so many pesticides and those pesticides are killing the bee population. I wonder if we could raise bees here in our little town? Maybe I should look into that 🙂

    I hope you find much success breeding Poppy.

  15. I LOVE your snow shots. ( I’ve said this before ) It reminds me of Rothko, but very much yours. And very real.

    Also, don’choo love how “straw” means ” a container for carrying semen? ” So simple a word, but the possibilities are profound!

  16. I’m sorry to hear about the bees. Listening to Bob Dylan and dreaming of life in the big city, how many of us had the same dream?

  17. Oh dear, sorry about the bees. I remember reading somewhere, that it was pretty expected to buy new bees every year for a bee keeper. I wonder where I read that. Must have a look for that book. Speaking off, just finished reading The Bucolic Plague, by Josh (double name one of the Beekman boys) It was entertaining and I enjoyed the candid peek into their city slickers turned farmers life, but in one instance he was walking on the slip sliding, wet, slush over ice in his suit and slipped and fell into a slush puddle and had to get to a business meeting! He could have used your brilliant wadding overalls. (No idea why I’m telling you this…lol)

    • you are telling me that because if we really WERE sitting down with a cup of tea and chatting that is exactly the way our meandering conversation would go.. and such a treat that would be!.. c

    • Oh my gosh I pity him. I was out there today, step, slide, step, slide, retrieving the horses and donkey for their pedicures all the time thinking how very unhappy I’d be if I fell in that stinky slop and I was wearing my grubs. (Barn clothes). However, it hit 50*F so I’m telling myself, I will embrace this slip slidy smelly mud!

      • Oh gosh Sherry, sounds like an adventure! 😀 I used to figure skate so actually love slip sliding away…but not in my finest business garb.

  18. I’m so sorry about the bees. Like you, when these disappointments happen often enough, I see it as a sign to move on. You gave it your best, as did the bees. And doesn’t Poppy look happy? I loved your thought-provoking words this morning… the lull between the last of wicked winter, and the softening towards spring. We have a slow rain and drizzle today, birds singing and Canadian Geese honking above headed north. I love the noise of the woodlands in the spring… so busy with chatter.

    • Those honking geese, i think we live on some kind of dividing line they fly back and forth, north then south, south then north until it gets properly warm.. I love the sound of them and how they just appear so close overhead. .. and you know about me and birds.. I just duck automatically.. c

      • Birdy, birdy, flying high, dropped some whitewash in my eye. But I’m a big girl and did not cry, I’m just glad that elephants don’t fly!

  19. Oh I am so sorry about your bees! Wish you were closer you could come and get some of the hundreds my little dish of sugar water seemed to attract! I have had to move the dish further down the garden as me and the animals were getting dive bombed by bees on the deck all day yesterday. Hope they find where I have put it now. Cleaned the Green House out yesterday and I am now ready to start some seeds – can’t wait to get dirt under my nails – they are looking too clean! Even got a bit of sun burn on my face yesterday, it feels a bit tight this morning. Loads of rain though forecast for rest of week. Oh well at least it is rain and not snow or ice.

  20. Keeping bees always sounds such a romantic pastime but the reality seems much more fraught. Finding a beekeeper who’d like to keep some hives in the fields seems a better way for us – on the next door farm they grow borage which is always popular with bees.
    Have fun with Poppy – the most wondrous thing we found with AI was the corkscrew catheter.

    • Borage is a huge attraction for bees, we grow hundreds of them every year just for honey is a shame however with the huge number of flowers we have it will be interesting to see what the wild bee population is like.. morning anne

  21. For a good laugh YouTube has a video called Screaming Goats. Maybe I’ve mentioned this before. Might cheer you up over the bees loss.
    And a special thank-you for that baby Poppy and Boo photo. Soooo cute. Much luck with her. (Now I have to look up borage. Not the same, I guess, as forage.)

  22. That is sad about the bees. There are so many things that can kill or hurt them nowadays, thanks to the movements of humans – varroa, nosema, tracheal mites, EFB, AFB and plain old persistent rain or freezing temperatures to name a few. Wish you better luck with the rest of your livestock.

  23. Now they are words I’ve always wanted to use in a sentence…..” just going for a drive to pick up some pig semen”…..yep, life is good on the Farmy. Boo has that lovely soft still eye as he gazes at Poppy, a calendar shot for sure.

  24. Celi, will you also have some boar urine to splash around Poppy’s nose? I know that sounds weird, but we learned this from Youtube when getting read to AI our sows, and it was confirmed by the man in Iowa that we bought the boar semen from. Also, he sent 3 tubes of semen so we could do it for 3 days in a row. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that all goes well!!!

  25. Hurray for the melt! Today we saw GROUND for the first time in SO long. By this afternoon I was digging trenches with our handy new ice axe. I’m hoping to keep at least part of our paddocks dry! Glad to hear the geese are on their way. The ravens and the crows arrived yesterday. What a ruckus they’re making out there trying to establish their territory. It’s happening – spring is really about to arrive. Congrats for making it through another wicked winter! Hugs from the ‘north’.

  26. Your views and pics of them are something else. Wide, wide skies. Sorry news about the bees… but you will still get lots of local insect life and wild bees? Just not the honey. I know nothing about bees by the way. Poppy’s smile is wonderful, as is the pic of her as a wee one with Boo. Hope the AI is timely and productive. Nice you have Gracie visiting and helping – you’ll have fun catching up. Love the coo line up. I enjoyed the shot of their behinds (yesterday maybe, or the day before).

  27. Lovely to see Gracie there and all ready and willing to muck in! You have agonized over the bees enough: obviously the Prairie life is simply too much for them . . . so now ‘we’ look forwards to the goats and turkeys and more chickies and perhaps even piglets . . . just do be careful on that ice, both of you 🙂 !

  28. I had visions of myself as one of those women who was at one with the bees. How wrong I was. Between our horrendous winters, bears and the fact I didn’t want to get stung, it was not a success. After losing hives 3 years in a row, I sold all my equipment to a man who had kept bees for years, and just needed a gentle push to do it again.

  29. I hope Poppy has piglets if only for Nanny Boo’s sake. I know nothing about pigs but It would be lovely if Poppy shared her babies with Boo.

  30. I’m so looking forward to pictures of babies again. I miss that. All your animals look happy. Sorry about your bees

  31. Holy moly, look at those bobbies! They are looking positively beefy! (haha!) Like teenage linebackers on the high school football team.

  32. Ha! No, I don’t remember Poppy’s baby pictures! Sorry to hear the bees didn’t survive. The calves do look hale and hearty. Had to chuckle at Poppy standing still. She is one busy girl.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: