In-side the cloud

Yesterday the warmth brought a heavy mist and I worked within the cottony echoey warmth of a wet cloud all day.

old barnThe pigs loved the misty warm weather – they were outside in their field almost all day.

The view from the clothes line – everything is gone.

This is the view to the North.



Even the tiny feet of the chickens have turned their field to mud. But that’s OK – in the spring three of these little fields will be locked up and resown in my special pasture cocktail for late summer feed.

I am introducing even more edible flowers this year in the hope of attracting more wild bees. Plus – did I tell you I am also going to make mason bee homes. And secrete them about the farm. And I may even buy in some cocoons once I have finished my reading. (My neighbour gave me a good book in the summer).  If I cannot have my own honey bees I intend to encourage the solitary native bees for pollination. There are a number of native bees that are great pollinators and because they are natives they are even better pollinators than the honey focused honey bee.  Do you know of any good little mason bee houses?

There is even a native bee that just pollinates squash plants.

My research continues.


Did I tell you I have called this cat Moon.  He is very friendly now.

Soon I will take Moon and That Cat to the vet for their castrations or we will have nothing but cat fights all spring.

There is  thunder and lightening and raining ice pellets hard on the roof  this morning.  The windows are still dark so it is hard to know exactly what is going on but the clouds must be still low for it to be so dark still. I don’t know when the weather service changed the name of freezing rain to ice pellets. I think the description is interchangeable.  But even without the names it hurts when the ice is raining on your face and the ice will be building back up. The barn doors will stay closed again today. I turn all the lights on inside the barn on days like this so we are not working in the dark but we all still hate to be locked in. But a good day for cleaning animal bedrooms.

The weather has a huge influence on farming. This is a little business with no roof and a lot more of this unusual winter ahead of us.

I hope you have a good day.

Love celi


77 Comments on “In-side the cloud

  1. It’s windy, rainy and warm here in Maine today. No ice pellets, thankfully! Love the photo of Tima and the chickens. Looks like happy havoc.

  2. I have a couple of these bee houses, and have found some success with them. I can’t remember why you do not have honey bees? I know it can be difficult to keep honey bees because of the colony collapse disorder, especially if the farmers around you use herbicides or pesticides.
    We are getting the warm weather today, hope to get some outdoor tasks tackled before the cold returns!

    • I could not get a hive to establish well enough to survive the winters, after four years I quit. The biggest problem for bees in these areas is lack of flowers – there are no wild flowers – everything is mown nice and tidy so few flower gardens. Then the planes will come and spray us all! So yes – it is an uphill battle.. c

  3. Hey i have a solitary bee hotel and it is fascinating to watch these ladies come and go. Moon has huge paws, must be some Maine Coone in his recent past. I will give you link to people that I bought my bee hotel from, it is South African but has some interesting stuff and a FB link too. Laura

  4. Ice pellets sound horrid! We are meant to be getting some snow this evening 2 -3 cm! Heathrow has already cancelled some flights in anticipation. If we get some snow all travel will come to a standstill, as is the way here. It’s a good job you are not coming here now. 😀

    • Merciful heaven – if i can get out of chicago and then heathrow is closed – I will just SPIT! My holiday over there is so short I have no time to spare.. ah well – we will see.. it is winter after all.. c

  5. [J+D] Wonderful moody photos! And the cat and pig photo is so charming – and it certainly lives up to your pledge to take photos that tell (or imply) a story. We can virtually feel the change in weather, and the almost warm-damp and earth smell, the sound of mud squidging under feet and hooves! Alas our endeavours with honey bees failed due to the fact there are no others on this island or others for nearly 100 miles. It would need a concerted effort by many to establish viable honeybee population, with successful breeding (at the ‘drone cloud’) between colonies. However we umpteen species of other bees, including now rare types of bumble bee. Mason bees have a hard time of it here – the Lewisian Gneiss bedrock is too hard, and the masons use compacted boulder clay instead! Tioraidh an drasd’ – J+D

    • I wonder if my swamp soil will be clay’y enough for mason bees – though I really want to go with the bees that are native to my area – my research continues

  6. Bees!…I wonder what will be next?   You really are a person who tries everything…..Its heavy lingering cold snow here in Bulgaria which has halted my Nordic walking…and although its ok to  walk in snow at 77 years I am afraid of I have bought a treadmill for such occasions  

    Sent: Thursday, January 12, 2017 at 3:09 PM

    • You are determined to stay fit with a treadmill – does it face the television? I think I would do it if i were listening to a story or watching a movie or something.. c

  7. Gosh, having bees is certainly not as easy as it was years ago! Long ago one could almost be a ‘hands off’ beekeeper, and just the provide shelter of a good hive to live in, and maybe some additional food during inclement months. But nowadays, it is difficult (for us, and many of our fellow beekeepers in the area) to keep healthy hives going. I have lost hives to wax moths one year, and to hive beetles another. Friends have also lost hives to the varroa mites. Last year we replaced the two hives that we lost. We are so hoping that they both survive the winter and become strong hives this year. But we must be vigilant, as the hive health seems like it can fail so quickly!

  8. Ton looks as if he was dashing into frame so as to not miss being in shot!

  9. Chickens out the kazoo! Look at all those little fannie’s up in the air while the peck at the roof! Does Moon dance? (aka Van Morrison’s Moon Dance) It is going to be in the 80’s with high humidity in N. Texas today. Sun too. Love it but hate it as I fear the plants will start budding and we still have February to go through. Grandfather said to never plant anything until the day after his birthday (3/20 1 day of spring) as we will always have a hard frost between the 15th and 20th.

    • The budding is always my fear too – especially in my wild fruit Fellowship orchard down the back – I must get my orders ready for spring – we are sowing all your wild flowers too this spring – opening up a new area right by the road so everyone can enjoy native trees and flowers. Hope it works – keeping the weeds down will be the challenge.. c

  10. I think that’s a great idea to attract wild bees. Oddly, I believe there is a huge boom in keeping bees in London. I remember a bee keeper beating similar from rural Dorset on flavour!

  11. love all the chicken butts. as we said in Jr. High … “Guess what?” … “Chicken Butt!”

  12. I have very poor luck with masons bees. I inherited a wooden house from my late aunt and buy the cocoons each spring (here they cost about $30 for 7 bees) then dutifully put it under the house on the little shelf for them to hatch and climb into their house and I very rarely get even one. One time a spider ate them just as they were hatching! It’s so wonderful to promote bees though. My neighbour planted a bed of bee friendly plants (bachelor’s buttons, cosmos and calendulas) all along her street verge, and the whole ‘hood noticed a boost in bees.

  13. Unfortunately, you must deal with the surrounding fields that are sprayed with chemicals each year. As a result, keeping bees and butterflies alive would certainly be an uphill climb. At the same time, I understand the need and desire to keep trying. The best garden I ever had was the year I planted Borage at the end of my garden. It flourished, right along with the bees. It also has some wonderful medicinal benefits.

    • I have Borage too – I LOVE it – great in salads and once we put the flowers in ice cubes. yes. GM has not reduced the spraying at all, and when the planes come over I just groan. c

  14. Your breakdown luck has filtered down to us. Today, in addition to the broken ride-on mower, we have a broken whippersnipper and a broken push mower, and the living room air conditioner is only blowing cold air out of one third of itself. And it was 32°C/90°F today. Tempers got a little short… I love the idea of wild bee houses all around the Farmy. Pictures, please, when you’ve settled on what they are to be?

  15. A great resource for attracting and identifying wild bees is The Xerces Society ( It’s good to know what kind of bees are in your area, so you can provide what they need. Here in Northern CA, I provide hollow bamboo clusters hung up around the house, brush piles, dead holey wood, and some bare ground (no mulch) for ground nesting bees. I have water available, and food in the form of lots of native plants. We tend to get a huge amount of native bees visiting the yard (and possibly living here – I hope so). My feeling is that the water and plants are the most important things you can do. Cheers!

    • You are right about that – water and flowers – especially those natives – i agree with that 100 percent. Feed the locals local food and reset the balance. c

  16. The weather is absolutely wonderful here in Florida. Our vegetable garden is still looking great even though the weather got down to the low 40s last weekend; that makes the collards taste better. My eggplant is so pretty and has beautiful blooms but no fruit; what could I be doing wrong. I love your posts and look forward to them; the photos are awesome. God bless.

    • It may not be warm enough for them to set, the days not long enough yet OR make like a bee – get a kids paintbrush and go from bloom to bloom sharing pollen – it does work. c

  17. We make bee boards and hang them all around the farm on the buildings. Just drill holes in a nice sturdy 2 x 4 that is cut to three foot lengths. Hang the boards here there and everywhere. We hang under eaves of the buildings or put a little cap on them. Here is a good site

    I also put up bat houses, but I put them in places I don’t want the bats living. For instance I don’t want bats in our attic.

    As for bumble bees (which I adore) I make sure there are piles of wood around so they can nest under the pile and feel safe.

    After a couple of years I take the boards down and start over again. Right now I’m in the start over stage or I would post a photo or two for you.

    Good luck!

    • Yes, they say the holes in the boards are often infested with pests too so i guess you do need to take them down and start over – so i guess you do this in winter.

  18. It is freakishly warm here, too!

    I know nothing of bee houses. I am not encouraging them around my house because I live with someone who is phobic of stinging insects. One day, maybe.

  19. “Inside the cloud” is right! Over the past 24 hours, every time I looked or went outdoors, it was a different weather scene. It ranged from windy, to foggy, to rain, to sleet, to snow, and now it’s just plain cloudy. I have some errands to run but I’ll wait until tomorrow. Things are a bit too icy for my taste and heaven only knows what else the weather gods have in store for us.
    Your idea of drawing the native bees is a good one. I hope it works out. They need all the help we can give them!

    • I know – isn’t it crazy. The ice just sat here the whole day – i was meant to go to the supermarket after putting it off for a couple of weeks now but no way was I going out on the ice! Maybe tomorrow. c

  20. Well, bother, we’re stuck again, the parking area and alley are coated in thin and very slippery ice. The front sidewalk was cleared of a good 3″ thick coating from the leak above the hill from us, but it’s forming again because it’s still leaking, you can see the water running down the sidewalk. I know it’s expensive to replace the water line from the city main to the building but waiting until the city gets involved is only going to make it more expensive. I feel sorry for the owner of that building, but the leak makes the sidewalk completely impassable. It wasn’t too foggy here, yesterday, the freezing rain was not welcome and poor Smoky was shaking in terror at the thunder and lightning. Stay dry and warm.

      • It’s a 5 flat with two units rented. The owner doesn’t want to spend the money to fix it, this isn’t a new problem as we’ve found out from others living here. The previous time there was 6 inches of ice, this time 3 inches. There is a very narrow parkway between the sidewalk and a busy street which goes up the hill we’re on. We had to replace the water line from the city water to the house about 15 years ago and it was $6000 then, this is a shorter distance but I doubt that would make it cheaper. I feel sorry for the building owner, he’s an elderly man but he’s going to have to get it fixed or the city will do something (fines, citations, maybe condemn the building). You’re right it’s very wasteful, doesn’t matter there’s a huge lake supplying the water. It’s also dangerous, even if it isn’t frozen. I looked a few minutes ago and there’s about an inch of ice on the sidewalk now with the water running underneath it and going down the hill.

    • I have lots of messy gardens and fallen wood – no problems there! I wonder if we have the same native bees as the aussies though? Our natives are tiny wee things – plus those HUGE bumblebees that I have not seen in a few years. I will check out her designs – thank you.. c

  21. I think our location must be conducive to native bees. They love the flowering trees, shrubs, natives in our garden and especially the Oriental Raisin Tree and the palm tree flowers. We leave the grass long when the dandelions are in flower, and let some of the veges/herbs go to flower/seed. We see some non native bees too. We have of course, a bee water dish with multi-hued marbles inspired by a Farmy posts.

  22. Our summer has been unusual too, Celi. I just published a blog post about the changes we are seeing. I remember the cats fighting when I was a girl and we had a pet cat. Would keep us awake half the night! Best to you with the challenging weather conditions.

  23. Moon is a great name. Our just-retired cat tree had a box at the bottom, and we called it The Moon. “Guess where Spottie is?” “In the moon?” “Yes!” Now I love your Moon as he will make me think of my lost boy Spot.

    • That is so cute – I love those little family jokes.. We had a cat that loved my fourth son – he had a name but no-one can remember what it was – he lived for years and years – when my son left home the cat went with him – we just called him FatGuts! he was huge.. c

  24. Some beautiful photos of the calm before the storm. We just had a hum dinger of a snow storm here. Schools shut down for 3 days because the streets are still impassable. Ice everywhere and cold like we have not seen in decades. Brace yourself. But I hope it misses you.You are so smart to get moon fixed before there are many moons. 🙂 He’s a cutie. I love winter until it gets ugly. It’s ugly now. I hate the way most people farm, spraying chemicals everywhere.

  25. If I had that view to the north, I think my soul might just fly up and away, ascending like a released helium balloon… and I would very happily go with it like the tag-along wagging string.

  26. You have a lot of chickens! Ours are down in numbers and we will probably have to add to the flock in the spring. The skies are dark here this morning, and we’re expecting freezing rain and ice. I’m staying inside except to do chores!

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