Adventures of a townie homesteader

Our second colony of bees arrived today via the good ol’ U.S. Postal Service. I had to cover an arraignment this morning in Illinois and thus missed the fun when Ron installed the girls in their new hive, but he reports that they seem to be as saucy little wenches like every other Buckfast colony we’ve ever owned. I’m pleased. I like Buckfasts. They have attitude problems, but they tend to be healthy and incredibly productive. I’m willing to endure the occasional sting from an overzealous guard in exchange for good harvests and healthy bees.

Meanwhile, we’re down to eight quail. Three died a couple of weeks ago of mysterious leg issues that I suspect had something to do with sloppy breeding, and I had to cull a fourth today when I came home for lunch. Little snot beat up one of his broodmates last night, so I switched him to a different brooder and mixed up the flock a bit to shuffle the pecking order. This just gave the bully a new crop of victims, and by the time I got home this afternoon, the little turd had bloodied another bird, so I spent part of my lunch hour teaching myself to dress quail.

It wasn’t terribly difficult or messy, and as I told my mom: I’d rather dress out a clean, healthy bird I raised myself than handle factory-farmed poultry from the grocery store, with all the risk of food poisoning that entails.

In related news, I gave the quail tractor a shot of lacquer and plan to spend tomorrow morning clipping some little birds’ flight feathers so they can go live outside. (Just the thought of that makes me deliriously happy. These little guys are cute, but I’m tired of dealing with litter and the itty-bitty waterers that go in the brooders and have to be refilled umpteen times a day.)

Emily