Mount Sunapee Homestead

Homestead honey and the honey bees. It’s all here!

Homestead Fall Roundup!

Snow on the homestead

Long time no write!  We’ve been busy buttoning up and preparing the Homestead for the impending cold weather (which seems to have already arrived).  I thought a quick update was in order and, as soon as the livestock chores quiet down, a revival of recipes and activities! Sewing We’ve taken on a new endeavor at the Homestead: sewing!  Take a look at the most recently completed project for the baby (and, yes – I’m quite proud how it turned out).  If you’d like the hat pattern, take a look at FleeceFun.com for some great ideas and free patterns for all sorts of things!   Turkeys Our turkeys are enjoying their last days on the field as they will soon be headed to brighten Thanksgiving tables around the state!  We have one left for sale for those interested!  Feel free to email or connect on Facebook:) Pigs Our pigs are growing fast and eating plenty!  Unlike their turkey neighbors, the pigs seem to really enjoy the warmth of their house and are smart enough to get in out of the weather.  We are sold out of pork this year, but please let us know if you’re interested in any next fall!…
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How to Move Beehives…and not get stung!

how to move beehives

Step 1 – Lighten the Load Ever think about how much a hive weighs?  Me neither…until you have to lift it.  A full frame of honey from a deep box weighs roughly 10 pounds.  There are 10 frames per deep box.  Each hive has 2 deep boxes and, usually, 1 or more medium boxes.  If everything were full of honey we’re talking the neighborhood of 300 pounds!  Trust me…harvest your honey before trying to move the hives.  You can always put some back after the move!   Step 2 – Get up before the Bees. Why?  Simple, if you don’t beat the bees, they’ll already be flying about.  That means they’ll be agitated.  More importantly, many bees won’t be in the hive to move:  they’ll be flying around gathering pollen! What does this mean for you?  You’re up before dawn, or you’re picking a cold day (which I wouldn’t recommend in case there’s a draft in transit).   Step 3 – Close up the Hives You don’t want bees escaping while you’re on the move!  We used duct tape, but if you don’t have a mouse excluder in the way, you can stuff grass into the entrance.  And, don’t forget…
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Hungry for Homestead?

Homestead products

Hungry for Homestead Products?   For those who don’t know, here at the Homestead, we’re passionate about eating.  And we’re equally passionate about knowing what we’re eating.  In the near year since we launched our site, we’ve had dozens of happy customers (who we thank and appreciate greatly!), but thought it was time for another shout out about what we offer! So, without further ado, our homestead offerings include:   Meat (all pasture raised and available fresh!) Chicken roasters Pork Thanksgiving (or anytime) Turkeys Eggs Although we can’t free range due to predation, our hens have plenty of room and fresh air! Chocolates/Baked Goods We’ve been known to whip up some pretty tasty wedding favors! We’re hoping to offer some honey this year, but that’ll be up to the bees! For more information, or to order, contact us and/or checkout our Homestead Products Page!

The Spring Homestead Checklist

Spring Homestead Checklist

The Spring Homestead Checklist Some folks may wonder exactly what we homesteaders are doing when the snow is still on the ground to the time the summer sun shines bright overhead.  Well, take a peak at our seasonal chores below.  Of course, fellow homesteaders may have more or less tasks depending on their holdings.   For those looking to start homesteading, check out the Homesteading 101 post for more chores by seasons! Livestock Order any piglets or poults from farmers or feed stores by late winter/early spring. Prepare brooders check heat lamps from last year review poult care check cage wires to keep mice out if brooder will be in garage or barn Pick up chicks/poults, lambs, piglets, etc Assist with livestock birthing (if not ordering) Check any pasture fences to prevent escapes Install electric fences and train livestock to fence Garden Ensure seeds are ordered by late winter/early spring Start seeds indoors according to packaging Purchase any started plants in late spring to transfer to garden Till the garden when ground thaws  Plant cold-loving varieties (e.g. spinach, chards) Begin to harden off seedlings Prune any fruit trees before budding occurs Bees Prepare hives to install any new bee colonies…
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The Dark Side of Beekeeping: Honey Robbing

honey robbing

The Dark Side of Beekeeping: Honey Robbing It’s always hard to see someone ganging up on the little guy.  Sadly, that can be the darker side of beekeeping. Taking advantage of the unseasonably warmer weather, I went out to crack open the hives and give each a fresh sugar supply.  They have both survived the winter so far as I’ve seen both hives send bees out flying over the last couple days (again, that strange warm weather).   Geared up, smoker running and loaded down with white sugar and my hive tools, I approached the hives only to find the scene below: Everything looks great, right?  Lots of bees flying about, must be a good thing!  Wrong. That hive on the left is a weak hive.  In fact, I was surprised they’d lasted this long.  And that mass of bees in front of the hive?  Those bees belong in the big hive on the right.   So, what are they doing going in the wrong hive?   They’re invading. They’re attacking. They’re honey robbing.   Like I said, it’s always sad to see the underdog going down, but this is worse.  It’s like watching your oldest child steal all the…
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Homesteading 101 – How to Start a Homestead

Homesteading 101

  Homesteading 101 – How to Start a Homestead So you want to start a homestead?  CONGRATULATIONS!  Homesteading can be a very rewarding lifestyle (or even hobby) for anyone looking to feel a little more independent.  Not sure if homesteading is for you?  Keep reading, because, my friends, homesteading can be so many things.  It’s all up to you to decide what your homestead will look like – that’s part of the fun! What is homesteading? Homesteading is a very broad term applied to anyone with a DIY, self-sustaining attitude.  Although homesteaders can range from full-scale self-subsistence live-off-the-land type farming all the way to people who want to make their own soap, most of us fall somewhere in between!  Homesteading can include any or all of the below activities (and many more that I’m forgetting): gardening canning the harvest soap making raising chickens for eggs raising livestock for meat beekeeping boiling sap for maple syrup home cooking with homemade ingredients (such as vanilla extract or yogurt) Simply put: homesteading is making as much as you can yourself with ingredients you source/make yourself. Why Homestead? Take a look on the internet and you’ll find hundreds of blogs related to homesteading (my…
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How To Winterize a Beehive (and what are they doing in there?)

How to Winterize a Beehive

How To Winterize a Beehive (and what are they doing in there?) Bees that live in the harsh northern climates (think New Hampshire) need a little extra help in the winter.   I’ll cover the basics of how we prepared our beehives for the snow and cold temperatures ahead.  As this is our first winter with bees, we relied on the information from others scattered about the internet.  Since I couldn’t find a quick, compiled checklist of How To Prepare Your Bees For Winter, I thought I’d write one! What do bees do in the winter? Bees are truly amazing creatures.  They are smart enough to stockpile food for the winter ahead and smart enough to stay out of the cold!  Although there are gads of scientific analysis and dissertations on the exact movements of a hive preparing itself for winter, I’ll keep it short and simple (the way I like it!). As the days get shorter, the bees are cued to reduce the size of their hive.  Yes, this means killing off all the worker bees that don’t need.  Practically speaking, it’ll be too cold for the workers to go collect nectar and they’re really just extra mouths to…
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