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!

Our Solar Design is Approved!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I just got an email from KCPL that our solar array design was approved!  We submitted it on March 10th and then resubmit due to a misunderstanding on the form, so it took right at the 30 days that the utility promised.


Now the real fun starts.  We've got a chicken coop to move out of the way and 3 baby apple trees to relocate before we can start putting the support posts in place.  We have to have the system operational by June 30th, so we have plenty of time.
 
I'm so excited that we can finally move forward with this project!  If you want to start from the beginning and read more about our design, etc. just click here.

The Bees Are Here!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


The past week and weekend has been a whirlwind for me - I got an unexpected job offer for an excellent opportunity that I'm really excited about and I must have been so excited that I ended up sick with a temp that went as high as 103.8 degrees.  If it had gone any higher, I told J. he was going to have to drive me to the hospital.  Luckily, it came down within 24 hours.  So forgive me for the long silence since my last post.

On Thursday, I got a call from Joli at Heartland Honey that the bees were in and could be picked up either Friday or Saturday.  Since I was on vacation Friday and all of next week, I decided to make the drive down to pick them up on Friday. They come in a little box with screen sides, and I was deathly afraid they would get out and come after me on the 30 minutes drive home.  We buzzed along all the way home...

The whole kit and kaboodle!

The bee hive that I won came in pieces and had to be put together, but it wasn't too hard and it came with everything I needed except for the wood glue.  Just wood glue and screws.  Then two coats of good exterior latex paint.  Bees like light colors, so I used our leftover house paint that's called "Plantation White".  Zippide doo dah, zippidee-ay!  My, oh my, what a wonderful day!  (If you don't get that Chevy Chase reference, click here!)

Gluein' and screwin'.  Oh, and some clampin' too....

Having read that early evening was the best time to install the bee package, I tried to stay in bed as long as I could.  My temp was down to 102.9 when I suited up to take the hive out and put them in.  Yep, I felt terrible, but I would have felt worse if I didn't get them in there and they started to die off.

J. carried everything out for me and helped find a spot in the corner of the yard where they won't be bothered.  The first thing you do is remove the inner three or four frames.  Then spray the bees with syrup water (ratio of 1 water:1 sugar).  This calms them and gives them something to eat as they lick each other clean.

The top of the package has a can in it that contains more sugar water.  When you remove that can, the bees can get out, but you need to remove it to get the queen out.  She's suspended in a cage so that the other bees can't sting her before they accept her.  (These are not HER bees yet...)

You suspend her in between two of the frames and then shake about half a cup of the bees on top of her. Then the rest get shaken into where the frames were that you removed.  Replace the frames gently, add the inner and outer cover and....voila!  You now have bees.



Not all the bees will come out of the package when you shake it and that's OK.  The rest of the bees in the box will eventually follow their fellow bees' pheromones out and into the hive.  When I checked on them today, everyone had made their way out.

In a couple of days, I'll have to go in and release the queen from her cage.   The bees are feeding her through the cage and they need to get to know her before accepting her as queen of the hive.  All in all, this has been a pretty cool experience so far.  We'll see if I say the same thing when I get walloped with a stinger.  Hopefully that never happens!





I'm sharing this with post with this week's Homestead Barn Hop and the Backyard Farming Connection. Go check 'em out!
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