Swarms, chickens, homebrew, and the hillbillification process

Yesterday, I was watering in a layer of mulch and soil around the potato plants when I heard a strange buzzing sound. I ignored it, and it got louder. Could the neighbor be home from work already, running some sort of machine? I turned off the water and the sound was much clearer. It was the sound of tens of thousands of bees bearing down on me, a huge black cloud the edge of which was only about 20 feet away.

I reminded myself that honeybees aren’t aggressive, particularly when they’re swarming (seeking a new hive), and stood my ground. For about five seconds. They were headed straight for me, and I ran like hell toward the house.

I dashed inside, got some local organic raw honey, and smeared a little bit into our recently purchased bee box. Ran back out the the garden with the box, but I could hear that the bees had already moved on, across the road. Oh well, that’s a project for next year anyway – we’ll probably buy a queen and workers from a local business called GloryBee. It would have been great if they’d decided to settle in with us, though.


Bees can wait, but with organic eggs at $5/dozen, chickens can’t…so a new coop is rising from the rotted ruins of the one that was here when we arrived. It’s made of scrap lumber from a local sawmill and the better pieces of the old coop:

The most labor-intensive part of making your own beer is the bottling. Using bigger bottles helps, and replacing a rubber gasket now and then seems more sustainable than using new crimp-on caps every time, so we got a bunch of used Grolsch bottles…bottling is so much easier with pint bottles that don’t require use of the capper device.

Hillbillies from Brooklyn
Some might say we’re getting a little redneck-y out here in the mountains. I guess so, considering that a holiday decoration from last December is still hanging around:

One thought on “Swarms, chickens, homebrew, and the hillbillification process”

  1. Mary Jo & Robert

    The hillbillification requires that at least one of your volkswagons is on blocks (maybe with the chickens living in it) and a couch outside! Don’t you remember traveling through Florida? Great pictures and your garden is growing!

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