Welcome to Cranky Puppy Farm!

This blog belongs to two Gen X-er's smackdab in downtown Kansas City where we've been renovating and decorating two old Victorians built in the 1890's. Our life is filled with 3 demanding Pomeranians (1 of them cranky, of course), honking cars, noisy neighbors and the hustle and bustle of city life but we dream of the day when we can move to our 40-acre farm and hear nothing but the wind and the cows next door. Until then, we're chronicling our triumphs and mishaps here as we try to garden and preserve on 2 city lots, raise chickens, and learn all those things we should have learned from our grandparents. Welcome to our world - we hope you'll stay awhile!

The Rumors of My Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

Friday, January 01, 2016


Is anybody out there?

Well, the prodigal urban farmer has returned.  Sure did take long enough!  In addition to missing all of you, I have endured a massive amount of browbeating for having not gotten back to posting here. 

The reality is that, after my back surgery in April, I've spent 8 long months in physical therapy trying to build up all the muscle tone that I lost after a year spent sitting and laying on the sofa.  Not being able to walk without pain just...well...sucks.  So you can imagine how happy I was to be pain-free a week after surgery.  I felt (and continue to feel) that I had gotten my life back and been given a second chance.  So I hope you understand my having taken the last 8 months to live rather than sit in front of a computer writing about living!

So here we all are in 2016 with the shiny promise of a better year ahead of us.  I have so many things to tell you about!  How about:

  •  another project house that we bought a few months ago
  • our plans for expanding the urban farm and this year's garden
  • an update on our solar project (one year later!)
  • a new addition to our barn
  • some new recipes
  • ....hmmm...what else?
But I'm going to leave you hanging until next time for the really good stuff.  Gotta ease back into this posting thing, you know?  Wouldn't want to sprain something...  ;-)

Until next time,

Hey, Bees..Bad Timing!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

There's a well-known beekeeper poem that comes to mind today:
A swarm in May — is worth a load of hay.
A swarm in June — is worth a silver spoon.
A swarm in July — isn't worth a fly.

 With all these back issues in the past year, I've been a terrible beekeeper.  So I was so excited to see that my first hive survived their first year.  In fact, they seemed to be flourishing.   But here we are at the arrival of Spring and the weather has been awesome and I still haven't been able to get out to check on the hive. 
 
So you can imagine how mortified I was when J. showed me this picture that he had captured while checking on the chickens tonight.
 
Yep, the bees have swarmed up into the new sugar maple that we planted last year.  I'd say they are in a mass about the size of a bowling ball and J. says they're about 10 feet up.
 
I'd love to catch them and put them into a second hive that I had prepared for the day I could split the hive.  Question is...it's dark outside now.  Will they stay there overnight or will they be gone in the morning?  And can I even move them with this bad back of mine?   Surgery is in 36 hours!
 
I guess I can't be too sad if they are gone when the sun comes up.  Swarming is a natural lifecycle of bees and it just shows that the hive was really strong and outgrew their home.  Hopefully, the old hive should still be viable and working on getting a new queen up and running.  J. certainly isn't going to check given his bee-phobia and there's no way I can do it until I've recuperated. 

This swarm may have to be the one that got away.
 
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