Friday, April 17, 2015

Spring Means Business

Eastern bumble bee on blueberry blooms
It seems we went into spring at full steam,  It all of sudden means there is no time to sit around and write unless it is raining or too wet to plow as they say which is the case this morning.  I have just recently taken some pictures of my blueberry bushes specifically looking for native pollinators which are responsible for most of the pollination of these plants.  Here is one of those pictures.

And who can stop the most aggressive plant at the farm now, the hop.  Once she gets out of the ground, is is on.  The constant battle of trimming out unwanted bines goes on until the day they settle down for the winter.  I just finished stringing up and pruning my plants last weekend with the help of an old friend.  It took around 20 man hours.
Although I usually don't have to string my hops from a ladder with my system, occasionally I have to go up and fix a problem using one.  Here is a shot of me on the ladder adjusting a line 18 feet above the tiny 3 foot long bines.  Hard to believe that in one month, they will be close to the top.  They grow about 3 or 4 inches a day right now.

I often ask myself if it has been worth it to grow this crop and each year I say, this is the last, but I somehow can't seem to give it up just yet.  They do draw a lot of attention to my agritourism farm business and do make me some money.  I figured with sales, workshops, and festivals, I made a whopping $4/hr last year.  Sales alone would not even pay for the first month of work. The bottom line is "It's all about beer", and what's there not to like about that!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Last Of Winter?

It has been quite some time since my last post, but, when the farm doesn't change much during the winter, there is not much to see, except for these pics of our last snow.
vAlthough this light 4.5 inch snow was only the second for the year, our first snowfall of 3 inches occurred just two days ago.  Our average for winter here in this area of NC. is about 28 inches!
The butterfly fight house
One of the wildest things on the farm was the butterfly flight house under a cover of snow.  This is why we don't have butterflies in the winter.

The Ruth Collins Butterfly House
The entrance of the house looks the same, but inside the house was really a different look for me.  It appeared to have a hard covering over it.
The other photos are of the Bee Hotel, and The Chicken Coop (as seen from Mars)
Inside the butterfly house with snow cover
Native Bee Hotel 

The chicken coop as seen from space
If the earth thaws and it doesn't rain, we are going for a whole new crop planting.
More to come on that.

Sunday, September 28, 2014


We are planning our annual monarch tag and release on Oct. 4 at 1 pm on the farm.  This is a great event for the family as we will hopefully have several monarchs that we have both in the flighthouse and outside available to put tags on the wings and send them off to Mexico for the winter
Male monarch
The event is free to the public but a donation is a great thing to have as well.  Kids will have the opportunity to catch wild monarchs outside if they are here for the tagging.  We will also have kids butterfly nets, milkweed plants, and seed kits for attracting monarchs for sale.

For more information, call the farm at 828-664-1166.