Stephanie Strothmann: What’s down must go up?

Well, dear readers, it appears that it finally happened.

I missed putting an article in last Friday. Honestly, I can’t remember how long this little column has been running, but I’m truthfully shocked that it hasn’t happened before now. Perhaps advanced age is creeping up on me or perhaps it’s all of the happenings that have been going on lately.

A couple of weeks ago, I was heading down to the chicken coops to let the birds out in the morning. As I approached the A-frame chicken coop, which houses some of the small breed chickens, I was shocked to find that a dog was standing in the lower part of the coop.

A millisecond or so went by with my first thought that it was a joke to the realization that this canine had somehow gotten into the coop and had a buffet all to herself of eight chickens out of the 11 that called this structure home.

I work a full-time job throughout the week, so imagine what my supervisor must have thought when my excuse for being late that day was due to dog attack and cleaning up of fowl.

The morning didn’t end either with me shouting at the dog to “get out of the coop.” The Jackson County sheriff was called to file a report and upon further investigation found that the guilty dog was picked up later in the day with a microchip that was registered to an owner in Texas. How the dog made it up here I will never know, but I’ve definitely been humbled in thinking that even those birds who are locked up are safe from the ever-watching eyes of predators.

Fast forward to my next snafu in thinking I could easily split a beehive into a separate hive this year. Being a member of the local beekeeping group, Jackson County Beekeepers of Indiana, I had learned how to do a walk-a-way split and figured “Heck, I can do that.” So I pulled some frames from my strongest hive that had eggs and lots of bees on them and did a few other tricks and then placed these hives in the new box.

All I had to do was wait four days and I was told the bees would create their own queen and thus a new hive would be started. Four days went past and I eagerly walked down to the bee yard to check. As I approached the front of the hive, I didn’t see any bees but figured that was just because they were still tending to their business within the box. Nope, I opened the lid and I was greeted with absolute silence. The bees had all taken off.

Farming definitely comes with its ups and downs, and after a couple of downs, I figure it’s about time things start to go back up. The first full farmers market of the season is getting ready to take place this coming weekend, from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, and I figure I’m due for a good market day. With any luck, the weather will hold and things will start to turn for the better.

In the meantime, look for me trying to repair the chicken coop and start another hive split.

Until next time…

Stephanie Strothmann owns Purple Shamrock Farm LLC in rural Seymour. Send comments to [email protected].