. . . that they may be called oaks of righteousness . . .
Nix Tidbits

News From the Farm

Hi all,
It has been some time since we have sent out a newsletter update and we have been busy since then. I hope you will enjoy reading our updates on how the things are going at the farm. We have been blessed to have started connecting with our local community through Glory Baptist Church. This was the church I was a part of while growing up on the farm. We have also been blessed with many visitors from the Cities during our workdays and at other times. We are thankful that God has brought us here and has not been stingy to us in connecting us with His people. He is a very good Father who provides wonderfully for us all!

In Christ,
Mathew, Katie, Peter, Silas, and Josiah

Sweet Success


The maple syrup season has ended with great success. We were able to produce 16 gallons of the sweet stuff and it is now for sale. Some of our customers have said that our syrup is the best they had ever tasted. What an encouraging compliment! We are thankful that God has prospered our efforts. We are already thinking about next season. How we can improve our equipment and work flow. We have sold about half so if you would like some be sure to contact us soon! If you are located near the Twin Cities we have stashed some syrup at Mathew's parents' house in South Minneapolis, so you don't have to drive all the way up here to get it. You can either contact us directly by email or phone to order some maple syrup or you can fill out our order form and send it in.

Busy As a Bee

Shortly after our maple syrup season ended our bees arrived. I had much apprehension in both handling bees and having success in establishing them. Well, God has been good to me and I have yet to be stung and both queens have started to lay eggs! The eggs are a sure sign that the worker bees have accepted the queen. There is about a one week period after putting the bees and the queen in the hive in which you wait to see if the queen was accepted or rejected. If she is rejected then there will be no eggs thus no new bees and the colony will die out unless you get another queen.

Peter and Daddy checking on our bees.

I am learning that much of beekeeping is like managing an apartment. The bees mostly take care of themselves, you don't choose what they eat or where they go during the day. The beekeeper mainly makes sure their home is secured and well maintained. Bees are not a domesticated creature, we've just figured out how to make a place that they will choose to live in. But if the beekeeper doesn't maintain the "apartment" the bees will start looking for another place to live. Bees will not tolerate slum lords :-)

A final note about Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). There are many environmental stressors (pesticide applications, extra wet and cold spring, presence of mites, etc.) that can cause the bee colony to decline and ultimately collapse. This is called Colony Collapse Disorder. For the last five years this disorder has accounted for the loss of roughly 1/3 of all the colonies in the U.S. each year. As the numbers for last winter come in it seems that CCD has claimed 50% of the hives in the U.S. in 2012. Since there are many factors (some have identified up to 32) contributing to CCD, it is virtually impossible for beekeepers to fight CCD on their own. Yet as research progresses on CCD action steps are being developed to reduce the possibility of CCD. If you are interested in helping fight CCD, two action steps have been identified for the general public to follow. #1. Do not apply pesticides during the day when bees are out. And use the pesticide only as directed on its packaging. #2. Include pollinator friendly plants in your yards and gardens. (Dandelions are a great source of food for bees, a good reason not to fight their invasion of your yard :-)) To learn more about pollinator friendly plants you can check out this fact sheet the Xerces Society has published. If you are interested in learning more about CCD check out this page from the Agricultural Research Service of the USDA.

As I learn more about beekeeping I find myself asking God more and more to keep the bee colony strong and healthy, because He is their provider. I am mainly an observer.  

Feathered Frenzy

We are now up to 4 batches of chickens (approx. 400 birds). We have ages ranging from 9 weeks down to 6 days. Soon we will begin processing our chickens right here on the farm. We received the processing equipment a couple weeks ago and are ready to start using it. Our equipment comes from Featherman Equipment. We now have kill cones, a scalding tank, and a plucker. This equipment will help us process more birds at a higher quality than if used an ax and chopping block, a wood fired water tub, and plucked by hand. We are excited to get the processing under way! We might even take our maiden voyage with the equipment during this upcoming work weekend with a few of our bigger birds. If you are interested in purchasing some healthy, pastured poultry you can either contact us directly by email or phone to place an order or you can fill out  our  order form and send it in.

Peter enjoys a walk to the Big Pine Tree with his friends Ira and Jamin

His Invisible Attributes...Have Been Clearly Perceived...

As I am writing this I am looking out onto the river that flows in front of our house. We have had rain the last three days which has caused the river to rise above the banks and flood the lowland around the river. Spring flooding is a common event for anyone who lives near a river or stream. This seasonal flooding is yet another commonplace part of God's creation that points toward Him. If we pause to consider our floods we are reminded of The Flood in Genesis. We are reminded that God is holy and does not tolerate sin - The Flood was a means to bring about justice against the great wrongs (sin) mankind was doing against God. We are reminded that God is powerful and mighty - He can wipe out all living things on the earth with a great flood. We are reminded that God is faithful to His promises - He promised Eve that her descendant would bruise the head of the serpent. If there were no survivors of the flood, there would have been no descendant of Eve to fulfill the promise. We are reminded that God is rich in mercy and great in patience - God promised that He would never again destroy the earth with a flood. We have the rainbows to remind us of this. In that promise God displays great patience and mercy to us. It wasn't long after Noah and his family were out of the ark that sin was back in full swing. Yet God's judgement was delayed; it was not dismissed for that would have been unjust. Rather in the fullness of time, at the cross, God poured out His just wrath and anger in a flood upon His Son Jesus for our sin. So now for God's people, those who believe in Jesus, there is no longer any condemnation. Yet for those who do not trust in what Jesus has done on the cross for them, there is still a judgement to come that will be worse that the Flood.
So as you see a flood or hear about one, remember God. Remember that He is holy, He hates sin, He is almighty, He is faithful, He is rich in mercy, and He is long suffering. What a terrifying, amazing, and loving God we have the privilege to call Father!

 

Work Weekend This Friday!

We will be hosting our 4th work weekend starting this Friday. Some tasks we will be trying to tackle will be building a moveable chicken pen, constructing some bee equipment, and decluttering one of our sheds. If you are planning to attend the work weekend please let us know so that we can prepare food and a bed for you!

 

Upcoming Events

May 24-26:   Work weekend at the farm.
June 3-7:      High school students visiting from AFSA.
June 28-29: SAYes Junior High girls visiting from Minneapolis.
If you would like to visit our farm or bring a group to visit we would be happy to host you. Just contact us to set up a time.

 

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