It has been a year since we decided to make the plunge and move from suburbia to a county island to raise our bees. When we moved in here, our neighbors couldn’t figure out why we lived with all this space when we didn’t even have a horse. We had two small dogs that really serve to be decorative. Now, a year later, we are regulars at the local feed store, have eaten and canned more fresh tomatoes than I have eaten in the last 5 years combined, and accidently found the life I never knew I wanted.
Here are 5 things I know today that I didn’t know a year ago.
- I can identify a guinea hen. Not only do I know what one is, I know I can order them online and have them MAILED to me at a day old, and that they are excellent for natural pest control, and as alarm systems too. There is nothing cooler than walking out of the post office with a chirping box. You get a lot of curious stares. They are also fantastic in your garden because they love bugs, and won’t eat your plants. They are also really loud and will make a big fuss if they feel at all uneasy. This is a helpful organic alarm system for the other livestock that make up our small farm
- Pigs need more child locks than a toddler. Our pot belly Geronimo can open doors, cabinets, and low drawers when bored or hungry. If he is feeling like a snack he can go ahead and help himself. Some of the more strange snacks he has had this last year are seed bombs, shea butter, corks, and potting soil. There isn’t anything he won’t get into if he is left unattended.
- What the heck irrigation is. I thought it was all the holes they put in golf courses to get the grass to grow. Around here it is a purposeful flood we sign up for every 13 days to water our pasture. It can start at 4 pm or 1am. You don’t know until you are assigned. Then you need to hoof it out to the back of the pasture and open the gates and let the water on in. An hour later you are ready to build an ark, and if one of your neighbors forgets their water, you may have the garage or pool flooded.
- Turkeys get crazy in a storm. Here in Phoenix there isn’t much weather to choose from. It is warm and beautiful, or hotter than Hell. We do get some crazy dust storms or monsoons without a lot of warning during the summer. Every time we do the turkeys start doing nutty things like roosting on top of the house, or flying off to a neighbor’s pasture, or all gathering under a water trough. It seems like when the weather changes they go a little crazy and it will always involve me going out to rescue them from wherever they have gotten themselves, because they always end up somewhere strange, but can’t ever figure out how to get back.
- How to milk a goat. In all my life I never envisioned myself getting up at the crack of dawn every morning to milk any animal, and especially never a goat. That all changed when I got my Lily girl and her 3 beautiful babies. As soon as I saw her I was immediately in love with her long ears, beautiful golden eyes, and her funny naaaahhhhh! she yells out when she is hungry. So now we own 4 goats, a milking stand, and all the fresh goat milk we can drink. Although milking a goat is a lot more complicated than it appears, I am honestly so content with this chore every morning. It starts the day off with a pail of milk and a feeling of accomplishment.
When we decided to change our business from extermination to rescue, I hadn’t realized all the crazy, fun, tiring, dirty, and fundamental changes this decision would bring to our lives. Our lives are fundamentally changed from where we were a year ago. I owe those bees a debt of gratitude, because when we opened up our lives to the bees, the change that came with it was all the changes to our lives and our family that have brought adventure and joy…… and goats!