Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Today Mamma Bear doing Better.

Mamma Bear is using her right hand now. She can hold her coffee cup, can't open doors with it,
but she is trying. Mamma Bear write with RIGHT HAND now!!!! It's hard for her, but she deal with the pain. Left leg has 97% narrowed or hardening artery,We didn't have a good day today. Has problems with speech and getting words out. She tell me I know I know I know, but she know in her head what she is saying, but the words aren't coming out. Antidepressant help some! I thank all of  you for prayers and get well soon, we need all prayers we can get!!
 I will let Mamma Bear, answer all her comment from everyone. I hope soon!
Papa Bear

Monday, September 29, 2014

Mamma Bear

To all that reads Challenged Survival.

Mamma Bear has had a Stroke, on August 20,2014.
For months she has not felt well.
A week in the hospital, and twenty one days at Health South Rehabilitation Hospital.
Mamma Bear is home now. We have a long way to go.
We need a lot of PRAYER from every one.
 The LORD will heal her, and she will be back soon!

Papa Bear

Friday, May 23, 2014

Remembering our Heroes

Have a safe Memorial Weekend my friends.  We will be attending a flag retirement ceremony and picnic with the VFW on Monday.

Thanks for the replies and emails wondering if we were ok. I will try to do a post next week.  We have been extremely busy when we weren't flooded in!

Please watch this video Mansions in honor of our fallen heroes.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

My Apiary has Doubled!

I went into this season with 3 hives and now I have six!  This week I have caught 3 swarms, one of them twice! I have now put a piece of a queen excluder over the entrance as Pioneer Preppy suggested.  I love this idea to keep them from swarming again but then again I am  concerned if it is a virgin queen she will not be able to mate.  Oh the worries.

One swarm was huge and it was not a good catch.  Maybe that is why they swarmed again the next day.  I pissed them off royally.  The pictures do not even do it justice.  I took the trap down from the tree and it was heavy.  After I got the trap open and lifted the top up, the beard hung almost to the ground.  Unfortunately I could not hold the trap and get that picture at the same time.  When I moved to put the top over the hive and shake it, I tilted the top causing half of the beard to break and land in a big clump beside the hive.  Mind you I am working in the dark with only a light I have on my golf cart seat aimed in my direction.  This picture is from the first shake into the hive.

These were the bees still left clinging after my first shake.  There were just as many in the other half of the trap. I had to shake them back down and bump them hard again to get them in the hive.
These were what was left on the ground after I brushed some with the bee brush into a bucket and put in the hive.

I knew I had the queen when the ones remaining outside were doing the bee butt dance and started heading in.
 The next afternoon they decided to swarm again but I caught them in the act.  I saw them land in the small cedar and weighing down the limb.  I went and suited up and this time remembered to put a sheet on the ground where I was working.  They were bearding on a limb just above my head.  Papa Bear took this picture after I had climbed the ladder.  You can see the limb I cut  on the ground and the bucket with the bees after I shook the limb.  I got that bucket load shook into the hive, bungee corded everything up so I could go back and get it early evening.  All the strays will head inside one they catch a whiff of the queen.

While I was getting these bees into the trap, I was all of a sudden in another cloud of bees.  A swarm was coming across the bee yard from the back of our property and heading for one of my traps on the east side of the apiary.  For once I know I caught a swarm that wasn't my bees!  It was awesome!
Here they come!  Pouring into the trap.  I got them last night too with no incidents.  I worked all of my hives yesterday and have honey almost ready to harvest! 

It is definitely swarm season in NW Florida!  I only have one more empty brood box.  I have to get busy and build more or take down my traps.  I do have two five frame nucs should I catch a small swarm.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Are they going to Swarm?

I went out around 7 AM to the apiary to feed the new girls some sugar syrup and saw this on the front of one of my hives.  Is it a start of a build up for them to get ready to swarm?  I have seen them do this when it gets very hot here but the temps are cool in the 60's this morning and very cloudy.  If they swarm I hope it is to one of my traps!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Caught a Swarm today!

Papa Bear found a swarm on one of the traps.  I don't know if they had stopped to rest or were trying to make up their mind if they were going to move in.  They were bearding up on the bottom of the trap which is only about 5 feet off the ground.  It is real close to my apiary so it may even be one of my hives that swarmed.

I decided not to wait until night to get them just in case they were resting.  I put on my bee suit and got my gear together.  I put the new brood box underneath the trap, removed the top and the frames from the center and shook the bees into the brood box. When I opened the trap there were about 50 or so bees inside so I am glad I decided to take them as they were probably just resting there.  It took a while for them to settle.  I was beginning to wonder if I had the queen as they started gathering on a nearby fence post and were making very little attempt to go into the brood box.  I finally decided to leave them alone and see what happens.   I went to check on them a few minutes ago and there are only a few outside the brood box.  Most have gone in and they are no longer roaring like before.  Just at dark I will attempt to move them to the apiary.

Three more of my traps are showing a little activity at them.  Maybe I can make them stay this year.  The two swarms I caught last year absconded in a day or two and my splits just never worked but I learn something new each time.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Bee Swarm....or not

This morning Papa Bear came down to the garden and picked me up on the golf cart to look at something.  It was one of our bee traps that I have not checked on in a few days.  This is a new one on me.  Maybe Pioneer Preppy can explain it.  The bees have built comb underneath the trap.

We watched it a few minutes and watched bees come in and out of the traps entrance but never saw any land on the comb.

I thought we had a swarm so I went to the shed and got the brood box my son sent me last year for my birthday.  I had promised him to name it the CHAD Colony for the grand kids the next time I caught a swarm.

The C is for my granddaughter, the H is for another granddaughter the A is for "And" the D is for my grandson.  I got this painted and set up and went back to check the swam trap.  My plans were to get the trap early evening when most of the bees were back in for the night.

I don't see any activity.  I walked under the trap and lifted it to see if there was any weight to it.  If there was it was not much.  A bee did come out of the entrance to greet me.  I watched it a few minutes and did not see the activity I saw earlier so I don't know if I have a swarm or not.  I still plan on taking it down this evening and having a peek. I am befuddled...maybe the bees are playing an April Fools joke on me!

Now that's a lot of fried chicken!

Breaking News! New six-foot tall chicken breed discovered deep in the Amazon ... 

HT: community chickens

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

For all of you still getting snow

The Fun and Games Continue....

Challenges just hasn't stopped here in the last few weeks.

Yesterday morning I decided to move some of the does and kids.  I thought I had the right kids with the right does...Nope, I had a bunch of screaming kids and mad does.  I finally got them back where they were to begin with.  Gave the doe who I've been treating for infection her shot and came inside to the computer to order more medications from Jeffers.  I also found some temporary collars (ID bands) that are assorted colors you can write on.  When they come in I will color code everyone. When I see a kid nursing and the doe is not shoving it away I will figure out who belongs with who.

After placing my order I went out to check on my doe who is due to kid any moment.  She doesn't look like she has any intention of giving up those kids any time soon.  I met up with Papa Bear and we walked around to the see the new pigs.  It has become a habit to count them all each morning to make sure they are all there.  Miss Piggy was nursing them.  When she got up and all the little piggies started running around I saw one of my worst fears.  One of the bigger piggies had been stepped on and had a gaping wound from his neck down and around to his shoulder.

Papa Bear got a loaf of bread to try to keep Miss Piggy occupied so I could get the baby out.  I finally caught the pig and handed him across the fence to Papa Bear while dodging Miss Piggy who was highly upset.  We got the little pig into the kitchen, threw an old towel on the table to "try" to lay him on so I could see how bad it was.  As little as this piggie was, he was strong and did not stop squirming. I have a suture kit here but when I pulled the huge patch of skin back it was very nasty with dirt and pieces of hay.   I was afraid I would not get all the trash out and cause a huge infection so I called my vet and left a voice mail.

By the time I had put on clean clothes I still had not had a call back from the vet so I decided to take him to the large animal clinic a little less than an hour from the house.  I called and told them what had happened and was on my way.  My niece told me not to worry about the Marine.  She would stay late if need be.

The vet assessed him and said she could fix him but he would require anesthesia, cleaning the wound and inserting a drain to drain off any infection and then closing the wound.  She said it would be approximately $200.00.   She also told us most people would just put that young of a pig down.  He is only 12 days old.    I looked at Papa Bear, he looked at me and then he told the vet to fix him.  She said to come back and pick him up between 4:30 and 5:00.  When Papa Bear went back to pick him up the bill was $165.00 a little less than we expected.   Gourmet Bacon for sure now! 

So Porky Pig is in the house in a large bin until I can take take the drain out in 5 to 7 days.  I will also have to give him a shot of Pen G every day for 7 days.  He hates the baby bottle.  I finally poured some milk in a pan and got him to drink a little of that.  If I can continue to get nourishment in him.  I think he will survive.

Now I must go and wrestle a goat for more milk.  Have a great day everyone!

Saturday, March 15, 2014


To say we've been so busy we didn't know if we should scratch our watch or wind our butts would be an understatement. Never in my life will I ever again allow 14 does to be bred in a two week period.  Thank God 3 of the 14 didn't get pregnant.  We still have one more doe who should give birth around the 18th.  So far we have 6 sets of twins, 2 sets of triplets and 2 single births.  Eight does and twelve bucks so far.

 Papa Bear was so tired he laid down in one of the stalls that wasn't occupied at the moment and fell asleep.
 Goofy Lacie wants to know if she can have the stall when the big blue thing is finished.
Lacie had two beautiful does.  One is solid black.  We have never had a solid colored kid before now.
 I had to take her in and show her to the Marine


All of the kidding went well except for the last one.  I thought we were going to lose the kid and doe. She is a first time freshener.  The kid had one leg folded back and the does pelvic area was too small for me to get my hand in far enough to release the leg.  I even tried to push the kid back in to reposition it and that didn't work.  Our vet has moved and is over a hour and a half away from us so there was no need in even calling.  The kids tongue started turning black,  the doe was weak and screaming I knew I had to do something.  When the doe gave a couple of more weak pushes I held around the kid behind the leg showing and pulled down on the kid as hard as I could and got him out.

The doe was very weak and showed no interest in the new kid.  I got both of them cleaned up, gave the doe a shot of pen G in case of infection and then took the new kid around to a couple of does that had recently given birth hoping to adopt it out but had no takers.  I finally got one doe to stand still and let it nurse for a moment.  I even rubbed some of her milk all over him hoping to get her to take him in but she was having none of it.  I finally took the kid in the house and put him on a towel in a laundry basket and set him by my side of the bed.  I don't have any fresh colostrum in the freezer so I still have to go back out to the barn and wrestle a new mama to get milk for the new kid.  That was fun!  I finally got enough for a few bottles if I needed it.  I am glad the kid only woke once during the night wanting milk. The next day I took the kid back out to her.  To begin with I held her in order for him to nurse but now she has accepted him.  She doesn't do a very good job of cleaning him yet so I am still having to wipe his butt several times a day so it doesn't become plugged.  The does vagina is very swollen.  I can't tell if it's a prolapse or not.  I am rubbing Preparation H ointment on it to get the swelling down and will continue with the antibiotics twice a day.  If it continue to look bad I will treat it like a prolapsed rectum which I have treated before.  You do the same for a vagina or rectum.This week has had  several cold and frosty nights but everyone is doing well.  The kids only have a few hours of shaky legs and then leap around like they have springs on their feet. 

They are so joyful to be alive and a joy to watch.
Triplets and such an attentive doe.

Springtime.....So close!  I think we have had our final frost.
Our Camellia Bush is in full bloom.
 Almost every bloom has a honeybee in it.
Magnolia Jane busted out in full bloom.  I haven't noticed any bees on this one.

 I still have not planted the apple trees.
The little piggies are venturing out further into the pen.
When they hear Mama grunt or huff, they run scurrying back to their nest. They are too funny and look like they have doubled in size in a weeks time.

The pear tree blossoms made it through the last freeze.  We may actually have pears this year!  Hang tight everyone.  Spring is just around the corner.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

First Spring Kids on the Ground!

I found these two kids this morning.  I did not have the doe in the kidding stall as she still had another couple of days.  Surprise! One buck and one doe.   The two does I do have in the kidding stalls are still hanging on to theirs.  Goats...never a dull moment!

This one is the little buck.

The one hiding under mama is the little doe.

After this excitement I went in to clean the pig stall and play with the baby pigs for a few minutes.  You can almost see them growing!  All 8 of them are still doing fine.

Yesterday I snitched one out of the pen to show the Marine.  Every picture I took blurred.  Those little critters move fast and are loud when you take them away from Mama.  This one was screaming to high heaven by the time I got it back to the pen.  Good thing Miss Piggy is so mild mannered or I may would have gotten beat up.  She still wasn't too pleased with making her baby squeal!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Derby Day (Grandma and Grandpa's Brag Day)

Today was Derby Day for the local scouts in our county.  The scouts had to make their own cars with a little assistance from parents of course.  Grandson got his badge for participating.

The green car in front is grandsons.  Spider-Man and Hulk are driving!

Grandson took FIRST PLACE in his age division!

 and THIRD PLACE in all age divisions!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Of Pigs and Goats

Wednesday morning Miss Piggy's hooha was swollen, she was making her nest and when I checked her teats at 7:45am I was getting droplets of milk.  All of these are signs that birth is 12 to 24 hours away.  I texted a picture to a pig person friend and she even said that it looked like Miss Piggy had 6 to 12 hours.  So began the watch.
One sign of birth is most pigs will turn down their food.   Miss Piggy was still eating like a pig.

All day long Miss Piggy would tear apart her nest and rebuild it.

 She drank massive amounts of water.  Mom brought her snacks of sour cream and a loaf of bread.  She ate it all!

By 9:30pm there were still no piggies.  I needed a shower and sleep.  I set my alarm clock to go off every two hours and Miss Piggy was doing the same she did all day long.  
11:30 PM she would work on her nest, drink water, pee, work on her nest and lay in it for 30 seconds...no kidding I timed her. 
1:30am she was doing the same, 3:30am the same, since it was close to my regular getting up time, I just stayed up.  Around 6:30 am I poured her grain in her trough.  She sniffed at it but turned it down.  Miss Piggy never turns down food. 

10 AM Miss Piggy finally laid down in her nest and started having contractions and pushing.  My pig friend text me to see how many piggies I had and I told her none, that she had just started into labor.  She asked if I wanted company and I said sure as this was my fist piggie births.

Before my friend arrived Miss Piggy jumped up and had the first Piglet standing up.  I grabbed it, dried it and when Miss Piggy laid down I put it on a teat to nurse. 

Almost an hour later we had two.  Miss Piggy did the same thing.  She jumped to her feet and had it standing up.

After the second one, she had a very large piglet that was stillborn.  After that one things began to happen fast.  I could not let the others nurse as Miss Piggy would jump up and step on them, they would squeal and upset her more so Papa Bear was taking them into the house and putting them into a box to stay warm until Miss Piggy finished giving birth.  She had the last 4 lying down.  Papa Bear and I tied off all the umbilical cord with dental floss and dipped them in betadine and took them back out to Miss Piggy.

She had a total of 9 including the stillborn. Here they all are lined up at the milk bar.

It was very cold yesterday and all Miss Piggy had was an open shelter.  Papa Bear put up two half walls to block the wind and hung a heat lamp.  Miss Piggy was still jumping up and stepping on them.  Kermit the  boar in the pen next to Miss Piggy was going nuts, making Miss Piggy nuts.  Around 7PM last night I couldn't take it any longer.  I wondered if any piggies would be alive this morning. 

I had just made it into the house longing for a hot shower and a nap when Papa Bear called to tell me our doe Brownie had lost her mucus plug.  Brownie is not due to kid until March 18th.  Everything I have read on premature kids is they very seldom survive and if they do have health issues for life.  I put my jacket and gloves back on and found Brownie with no other signs of impending birth other than a little mucus stringing.  I had read that a doe can loose her mucus plug several weeks before giving birth but ours never had before.

I finally got my shower and had a good nights sleep.  When I went out to unlock the gate this morning around  5am I could not stand the torture of not knowing if I had piglets still living.  I took a quick peek and they were piled up asleep next to Mama.  I could not count them.  Hopefull when I go feed in a few minutes I will find them all there safe.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

When it rains...it rains some more

Since the Marines illness and  hospital stay.  We have fallen behind on a lot of our must do projects.

First of all I thought Miss Piggy was due to give birth the first week in February and we had not built her a separate pen and shelter from our boar.  As it got closer to the date I saw no signs that birth was imminent so we didn't get in a hurry.   Not that I or Papa Bear are experts.  This will be our first rodeo but according to everything I read and pictures I saw she wasn't close.  Thank God I looked at the gestation chart wrong. 

In November Miss Piggy became so frustrated with Kermit our boar that she tried to show him how the deed is done.  OK...she had it backwards too,  but you get my meaning...hahaha  piggy porn!

If they finally got it right and the deed was done during this time, I should have piggies the first week in March.  If she didn't get pregnant during this heat cycle, then 21 days later will be toward the 3rd week in March.

When we got home from the hospital we had so much rain that the pen Miss Piggy and Kermit were in had massive mud puddles.  I had nightmares that Miss piggy was going to give birth and all my new piggies would drown.  Papa Bear and I recouped a couple of days from the day and night shifts at the hospital and then got busy.  We got a new pen put up adjoining the one shown in the photo above with a gate separating the two.  A larger shelter was also built.  

This is Miss Piggy in her new digs.  I had to put a bucket in the corner and tie it to the fence until I can get an automatic waterer installed.  I have to fill it up a couple of times a day.

This is a picture I took today on the 26th.  Any piggy experts out there who can guess if she's due anytime soon?  It is supposed to freeze here again tomorrow night.  Murphy's law and all you know.  I will get as much hay as I can moved in there with her tomorrow.....just in case.

I told you when it rains, it rains some more.  Yesterday I noticed Calico, one of my pregnant does limping.  I am way behind on trimming goat hooves.  I know...bad goat mama.  I brought her into a stall and put her up on the milking stand so I could save my back from breaking.  Sure enough.  She had a lot of extra growth with dirt packed under it that was causing her to limp.  I got the hoof trimmers and pick,  got one front hoof done when Papa Bear handed me a new pair of trimmers.    I trimed her back hoof and went to the other side and got the back trimmed and started to do the front and saw a pool of blood.  OMG.  I thought I was extremely careful not to cut too close.  I called Papa Bear and told him to bring me the ground Cayenne pepper.  He wanted to know if I had cut myself...I said no...the goat.  I got a bucket of water and paper towels and still could not see anything on the hoof and then I felt the blood oozing through my fingers where I was holding around her pastern.  I had cut a nasty gash with those new clippers and didn't even know it.  Calico never flinched or anything.  I got it washed and poured the cayenne pepper on the gash.  It clotted the blood in just a few seconds. (Cayenne Pepper is a great item to have in your survival gear.)  I have used it on myself.  It does not burn like you think it would.

Once the bleeding stopped I put some Colloidal Silver gel on the wound and wrapped it to keep the dirt out of it.  Today she is just limping slightly.  I'll take the bandage off tomorrow and see how everything looks.  I probably should give her a tetanus shot too if I can remember.  She's just going about her usual business like nothing is wrong other than the small limp that I caused!  Her kids are due in March.  It's going to be a busy month!

While running back and forth between the goat shelters, pig pens and house I noticed the pear trees have started blooming.  This is what happened last year.  The trees bloomed out, we had a late freeze that killed the blooms and had no pears.  It is supposed to be 29 tomorrow night.  Such is life.

On a brighter note.  The Marine is doing well.  He is sleeping here through his Nebulizer treatment.  He told me he didn't mind being a lab rat...More on that later.

His fur babies are glad he is home.  We only allow one at a time to sleep with him since his illness instead of all three of his babies piled up with him.  It was Freeway's turn last night.  He just propped up on the Marine's leg and decide he wasn't moving!

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