Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Difference Between a Package and a Nuke KBB Post

There are a few different ways to purchase a new colony of bees but packages or nukes are two of the most common. In this article I describe what each is, and some of the benefits/drawbacks to each.

Click on the link below to read more!

The Difference Between a Package and a Nuke

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Pecking Order Explained CC Post

Learn about the complex hierarchy of chickens in my latest Community Chickens Post

Pecking Order Explained

Monday, March 6, 2017

CC Expand Your Flock With Mail Order Hatching Eggs

Can't find a local breeder that raises the birds you want? Consider purchasing hatching eggs. Learn how in my latest Community Chickens post Expand Your Flock With Mail Order Hatching Eggs!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Visiting Wolf Park Indianna

Most of you have probably already seen these photos on our Facebook page, but as this blog is a sort of journal to our lives I wanted to make sure I included a post about visiting this amazing sanctuary!

Zach gifted me with the most amazing early birthday present! I've wanted to visit Wolf Park, Indiana since I was in High School and I finally got to go yesterday! It was incredible! It's a wolf sanctuary that is home to both Grey and Timber wolves that have been deemed unfit to re-enter the wild. It is also home to Coyotes, Grey Fox, Red Fox and Bison. Such an amazing educational experience! I will be sharing some of my favorite photos from the day.

Later in the evening we attended Howl Night where we got to hear and see the wolves and coyotes howl. It was eerily beautiful.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Birding at the Tobico Marsh

Zach and I made sort of a spur-of-the-moment trip Tuesday afternoon. Spring is coming and it's the best time of year to go birding. The migratory birds are heading north again to their breeding grounds in Canada and it's a great opportunity to spot some otherwise rare birds as they stop over.

I've noticed that the Sandhill Cranes, Mute Swans and other summertime birds have returned from their winter break. I also noticed that the Common Mergansers who usually stop over on a local lake for a few weeks before continuing north have arrived. This gave me the cue that other birds like the Snowy Owl, the Tundra Swan and many others would be stopping over in the Bay City area.

The Bay of Michigan is the area between the east side of the "Mitten" and the web of the "Thumb". The bay forms a nice little nook in Lake Huron filled with marshes, inland lakes and the Saginaw River. A perfect place for birds, especially waterfowl to take a rest.

The coast is bordered with several state parks, wildlife preserves and sanctuaries that provide miles of beautiful hiking trails, boardwalks and lookout towers. The area has an active birding community and there is a lot of information about local sightings, and signs and directories for helping visitors to see the most birds.

The park we visited Tuesday night was the Tobico Marsh. It's about an hour 10 minutes away, and not something that we'd usually do on a Tuesday afternoon, but it was supposed to be the warmest day of the week before the temperatures go back down below freezing. We have Evelyn now, our 5 month old daughter, and I didn't want to take her out in the cold for long periods of time. So off we went.

Tobico Marsh is a beautiful place with interesting trails that include several footbridges that wander over the marshiest marsh spots.

Red Winged Blackbird on Cattail

The marsh runs in miniature streams above and below the dead grasses and reeds

Pussy Willow just starting to bloom

Red Dogwood

It was a dreary day and the lime green moss seemed to glow on the forest floor.

Most likely a patch of Violet Toothed Mushrooms


One of the many footbridges

This might be Sheep of the Woods mushroom but much of it has broken off.

One of the lookout towers. We found a geocache near it!

These are the Bufflehead ducks. New species for me! They were really far away but the park provided high powered binocular viewers and you could clearly see that they were Buffleheads.  

Here is a closer image from

Friday, February 3, 2017

Lavender Logo...Feedback?

Hi all! For those of you who don't know, Zach and I are opening a U-Pick Lavender Farm summer of 2018. I've been working on the Misty Meadow Lavender Logo and I would love your feedback! I'll take you along the process of designing it so you can see what's involved and maybe you all could give me some suggestions.

 This is the finished logo. I knew I wanted a circle in keeping with the Iron Oak Farm logo, so both brands would be reminiscent of each other.
I see Iron Oak Farm as more of a rustic...salt-of-the-earth brand, but I wanted the lavender logo to be more crisp, clean and Spring-like.

I started in Photoshop with the most basic shapes of each lavender bud. I shaded them and added some detail.

Lavender Bud Side View

With Blossom

Bud Direct View

Blossom Direct View

Some leaves

A stem...

Now shrink it all down and put it together...

A completed stem.

Now the building process. In many ways it was like creating a real lavender wreath.

The finished wreath.

I'm still working on some font ideas. I like the structured, classic look of Times Roman, but I was also thinking of a softer cursive font, even just for the word "Lavender". Maybe with an extended tail on the "L". I'm also deciding between color for the font. I like the green, in that it stands out from the lavender, but I'm also playing around with lavender color.

Let me know what you think.

And visit the Misty Meadow Lavender Facebook Page.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Loom Knitted Stocking Hat

Winter is in full force here in Michigan. We got 5 inches of snow last night and the temperatures have been bitter cold.

The secret to staying warm in our climate is to wear a hat. If my head is warm, I can sometimes forego my winter coat altogether and be outside in a heavy sweater or flannel.

My favorite, favorite winter hat is starting to look pretty raggedy. I got it 6 years ago at an underwear store of all places. Aerie by American Eagle. And the faux fur is getting matted and it's just dingy all around. I'll still use it to work in, but I wanted a nice warm hat to wear out running errands etc.

I saw this pattern on You Tube over at Easy Me World. She has an easy-to-follow video that explains step by step the loom knitting process and the pattern for this hat.

I did change things up from her example. I made my hat on my 41 peg round loom because I wanted it nice and loose fitting.

I also did the brim 24 rows wide for a 12 row folded brim.

The yarn I used was Big Twist brand the 100% acrylic Chunky Yarn #271012 in colors:

Chunky Cloud White #12001
Chunky Dove #12003

I am in love with this yarn! I believe it is exclusive to JoAnn Fabric, but it might be available online. It's a super soft yarn with a clean nap and has substantial weight. I doubled the yarn for this project and I still have more than half of each skein left.

In the video, she suggests using one skein of each color and pulling from the inside and the outside of the skein. I've tried this several times and I always end up knotting up the skein so I bought two of each color. If you can successfully use her technique, then 1 skein of each color will be plenty for this project.

To make the pom pom I used my 36 peg loom and wrapped it around the front and back, then tied it in the same way she describes in the video.

The whole project knitted up very quickly and I love the resulting hat!