Phew, what a busy week!
First, an update on the toddler. I have been anxious to try out all the good ideas you gave me, but due to the death of one of their family friends and various other things, they have been too busy to come over the last couple of weeks. I will let you guys know what happens next time they are able to make it!
I did write to the local newspaper regarding racing and my idea, and hopefully they will publish my letter this weekend. I am almost done with my letter to the Jacksons and Eight Belles's owners, too. Just trying to get it "just so" before I send it off. There were some good comments in the previous post on that issue. I encourage you to read them!
Something else that happened in the last few days was I decided that this fall I intend to get bees! I have thought about it off and on for a few years. My grandfather used to keep bees years ago, and so he has a lot of knowledge about it and would be a big help. Bees do take a lot of checking (not a lot of time, but a lot of daily attention) and that intimidated me in previous years, when my job situation was always fluctuating and I couldn't predict things more than a few months ahead.
But now I finally got tired of reading about the bee die-off crisis. I have been trying to ignore it, because I am trying not to get too worried about all the bad things happening that I can't help. The bee problem is serious - over 1/3 of our food is only there because of bees - and in some places 80% of the bees have died. Nobody is sure exactly what is causing it, but it is a very new and unique problem. Not only are bees dying, but sometimes they will up and abandon the hive and the queen and fly around aimlessly and then die. Nobody has ever, ever in centuries heard of bees doing that! I have read that when they dissect dead bees in the hard hit areas, they have found that the bees have every single disease known to bees - like bee HIV or something. Since bees have been around pesticides for decades and not had this dramatic of a thing happen, my personal and firm conviction is that the Genetically Modified plants are to blame. Genes are too complicated for humans to mess with like that! Anyway, I like my food, and prefer to be able to keep eating a lot of different things.
So, I decided to do something about the problem. Over the summer, I am going to find out how to establish a patch of alfalfa. That is not only good for horses, but it is one of the BEST bee fodders out there. I will also be planting other nectifarious plants... We were planning to get more chickens soon anyway, so probably what we will do is mark out a patch for the alfalfa, put a fence around it, and put all the horse manure there every day. The chickens will eat all the fly larvae and get plenty of protein and keep the fly population under control, and they will aid in decomposing the manure and loosening the soil. In the fall it should be a nice, rich patch of earth ready to plant. Then we can move the chickens to another spot. We might put one of the dogs up there next to the patch to keep deer away... I'm not sure what is the best season to get bees, but I'll find out. I'm really looking forward to this project! I've discovered the only way to get rid of the rather frantic feelings I tend to get after hearing/seeing any world news is to do something, and it's amazing how well it works! We don't use any pesticides/herbicides at all on our property (even the fly spray, when I use it, is organic) and I have a great idea about the neighbors. I think after I've had the bees a little while, I will invite the neighborhood to a party and serve honey-themed dishes and have little tidbits about bees and what they do for us and what chemicals do to them, and alternatives to chemical use. Not in a preachy way, just little pictures and clippings on the table.
Well, so long for tonight!