Adventures Among the Bees

This past week we opened up the bee castle for the first time since the royalty arrived on Livewater farm. The bees have been busy since they were dropped here collecting nectar and pollinating all around the farm.

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A few puffs of smoke calms down the bees as I prepare to breach their home.

After about ten days I figured the bees would have filled out most of the available space. Upon opening the lid I could see the bees had started filling out three of the four new frames. This confirmed my anticipations of needing to add the new deep super with ten fresh frames so they could comfortably expand to the second floor.

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Once I had inspected to my satisfaction, I added the second box, careful sliding in over so as not to crush any of my new serfs. All the while puffing smoke to keep them calm.

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With additions complete I replaced the cover and admired by happily buzzing hive.

 

Tis’ the season

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Livewater Dairy’s Fresh Smoked Mozzarella: Moist and rich fresh mozzarella lightly smoked in natural hickory chips. Available fresh form the farm or find it at our Local Farmers Markets.

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The West River Farmers Market kicked off this past saturday, making it a beautiful start to the season and a beautiful memorial weekend.
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The farmers market has sushi!
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The Putney Farmers Market opened Sunday featuring rhubarb as our product of the month! We were also treated to a visit by the Morris dancers.

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Thanks Brittany from Mad Raddish CSA for hooking us up with a whole bunch of yellow storage onions, I stuck the sets as soon as i got home, just in time for the evening showers.

Follow the Flowering

Ahhh…. With summer closing in upon us, everything, including the farmer, is well underway making busy with the newfound warmth and daylight. A sure sign that life is about to get a lot more interesting is the arrival of the spring flowers. Pushing forward, reaching out into the world, apple trees, lilacs, strawberries, and plant beings all around our state have begun displaying their fragrant and sightly flowers for the pollinators of the world.

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One of new approx. 12,000 residents helps itself to some dandelion.

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One of my favorite spring time treats: the blooming lilacs. Fragrant and beautiful, they are guaranteed to make any queen in your life buzz.

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The healthy  apple blossoms are always a positive sign that things are going smoothly. Incredibly sensitive to cold, like most fruit trees in our area, apples can sustain tremendous damage from an untimely late frost. Lucky for us, we escaped the last cold snap with only a few damaged flowers.

Honey, I’m home..

The coming of the bees!

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A hive super with some frames in it.

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A hive frame, with wired, wax foundation for the bees to build upon.

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The Smoker: a crucial tool of the beekeeper.

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Making sure the hive is set firmly, level from side to side with a slight pitch forward. You can see my homemade entrance reducer; a rough strip with a one inch notch cut into it. The entrance reducer helps the bees by giving them only a small opening to defend.

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A few puffs of smoke… all of the frames have been successfully transferred from the nuc box to the hive body.

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Dumping in the remaining bees…

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Many bees stayed in the nuc box, I simply set it directly aside the hive and all the bees moved themselves inside.

Rhode Island Red Migration

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The great chicken migration of May has taken place. With 100 of the laying birds transported without incident, we can now sit back and relax and watch our little grazing hens gobble up protein and green grass and produce rich fresh eggs daily.
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A noticeable difference in egg texture and yolk usually accompanies the move outdoors in the spring. Even though the bird are supplied with grasses and hay to nibble on through the winter, we just cant match  the nutrient and protein uptake they get while pastured. Not to mention the rise in chicken moral!

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Around the rolling house we set up and electric chicken fence, which serves just as much to keep the birds in as to keep predators out!
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While enjoying the sun, the birds will scratch and gobble up bugs and grubs but most importantly, especially these days, the birds will eat ticks.

Whats the Buzz at Livewater Farm

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With the hive ready and the pick up date for the bees less than a week away, anticipation is rising for the arrival of our new royalty. Bees, like people are social, caring, productive, driven organisms with an astounding ability to work together. Along side us, the bees will be busy working all summer gathering sweet nectar, pollinating and making honey to feed themselves through the winter.

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An apple blossom opening up.

On top of honey production, bees are crucial to pollination of flowering plants. As we establish fruit crops such as apples, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries bees will be crucial to spreading pollen and fertilizing the fruit flowers.

 

Raw Milk: Have you herd?

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“Raw milk” is the term used to define milk we consume which is not   pasteurized. The Pasteurization process requires that the milk be heated to a minimum of 145°F for at least 30 min. This is done to ensure that any harmful biotic element present in the milk will cease to exist. Milk as it occurs naturally is a rich microbiotic environment the composition of which is heavily influenced by the conditions of the animal along with what they are fed and the environment in which they exist. The majority of these micro organisms present in the milk are beneficial to our human digestion and the overall health of our own bodily flora. Unfortunately the pasteurization of raw milk may not only destroy any harmful elements but will most certainly affect the positive biological elements if not eliminate them entirely.

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In our culture of mass food production and distribution, steps like this are absolutely necessary. Without preventative elements like pasteurization, incidents of contamination, harmful or not, would be widespread. However a lucky few in this country have options. People everywhere are remembering  that raw milk was a part of human diet for thousands of years and are now actively trying to reintroduce it to our daily lives. If you are lucky you may be able to find a farm near you that produces and sells raw milk, or may know someone who does.

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Here at Livewater Farm we are proud to provide some of the highest quality raw milk in our area. 100% grass fed, our dairy heard has been developed over the previous fifteen years to provide us with optimum quality milk: fresh, rich and produced using only the most organic methods. For over two decades we have been providing raw milk to our local community and neighbors. Open daily we welcome new customers and encourage the community to embrace and support local agriculture while providing the very best to yourself and your family.

Rise up!

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Tomatoes, peppers, cabbages, and herbs are underway and coming along strong. Using plain old full spectrum fluorescent tubes, we can provide enough light and just enough warmth to get these starts established before they are moved upstairs and eventually out to the greenhouses.
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Four trays are comfortably lighted by four florescent tubes.
Though we are still using the old fashioned ones for now they are still relatively inexpensive to run.

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Raised beds stretch down the sides of one of our high tunnel green houses. Excellent for commercial and home garden operations alike, raised beds help aid in weed control and water efficiency plus they bring the ground a little close to you. All around can make life easier.

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A bed of mustard. Behind it work is being done on more of these raised beds.

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Fresh spinach available daily along with mustard greens, kales and lettuces.

Let There Be Light

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A guy showed up selling LED lights,
and I bought some…..

Turns out that when Joe pulled into our driveway in his brightly green painted, decaled cargo van I was ready to send him off, but then he started talking… Turns out hes been traveling the country to sell their product in the lower forty-eight . Lavalux Led lights claim to have a life span of thirty years, come with a five year warranty and supposedly can save up to $30 a year per bulb in electricity cost according to their website. The bulbs were retro fitted to go right into a regular florescent lamp, all we had to do was disconnect the ballast and direct wire in the two ends of the lamp and presto, daylight. We’ ll be on the look out for Joe’s Discovery channel show about challenging America to go green, and well keep you updated on how these light bulbs perform.

Where’s the cheese?

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Pieces of cheese stand at attention, ready for delivery.
Raw milk Tomme, Scamorza, Burrata, Smoked Mozzarella
and Fresh Mozz.

Good News Everyone! Livewater Dairy’s cheese are now currently available in three new locations. In addition for finding our products at the Brattleboro Food co-op, the Putney Food co-op, The Grafton Cheese Factory and of course at Livewater Farm itself, you can get your local offerings at the Putney General Store, The Saxtons River Market and the Walpole Grocery. Furthermore my cheeses have also used by local restaurants including The Gleanery in Putney,  Rigani Pizza in Brattleboro and the Valley Cafe in Bellows Falls. Whether you’re a looking to  try a new local product, or you’re  looking for where to find our products stop in at anyone of the locations mentioned and ask about us. If you’re feeling really adventurous feel free to drive out to Livewater Farm in westminster west Vt and visit the up and coming Livewater Farm-Stand.
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Using a ‘Cheese Trier’ to sample the core of the wheel
and test for maturity.