Kenny and I attended the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) Field Day on Friday, June 1, 2018 in DeRidder. The overall topic was “Methods and Benefits of Native Plant Establishment”. The purpose was to educate landowners and professionals on the basics of native plant establishment. Several agencies were represented including NWTF, Roundstone, Louisiana Wildlife & Fisheries, NRCS, Forever Quails, Louisiana Beekeepers Association, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, & IFCO.
Some of the topics discussed were:
- What are natives?
- History and Production of Natives
- Applications, Uses, and Benefits of Native Plants
- Proper Site Prep & Planting
- Equipment Overview
- Site Conditions
- Planting Demonstrations
- Program Opportunities with NRCS & U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
We appreciated all the hard work that went into the field day. Everything was very organized, the sign in process was quick and easy, we learned a lot of information from the speakers, and the BBQ lunch was delicious!
We learned a lot about native plants. They have longer root systems than introduced plants. The native grasses are more beneficial for quail because they grow in bunches with bare dirt in between. They are slow growing and more drought tolerant (because of the root system). They respond well to prescribed burning whereas introduced plants will die off.
Wild Life and Fisheries told us about a 3 day training program available at LSU that you can complete to be a certified prescribed burner. They talked about the benefits of prescribed burning and the availability of 3 prescribed burn trailers in the state. The trailers contain everything you need to have a prescribed burn. You rent the trailer for $50 for the first day and $10 each additional day. There is a trailer available at the Lake Charles office.
We were able to examine a grain drill and learned how to calibrate it. We also discussed other planting and cultivating methods. Seed bed preparation was stressed throughout the program.
I can’t believe it’s already been a year since we started our business! Our goal at this point was to have 1 bee hive and a few chickens. We now have 7 hives and 50+ birds with more hatching every day. And we have our seasoning. We are so excited to see what this next year holds. Thank you to all our family and friends for your support!
Every day I make several trips around our property to check on our animals. You may be wondering how often we check on the bees. I do a visual check of the outside of our hives at least 3 times a day. A lot of our bee friends just commented to themselves that 3 times a day is not necessary. They would be right. Continue reading
We’ve been learning a lot during our Introduction to Beekeeping Class and apiary days. Kenny and I have also been doing research so we can learn as much as we can about our bees. Our interest has grown so much that we decided to purchase another hive and to bring them to our house. We made the arrangements and picked up the hive around 8:00 PM on Tuesday, May 30th.
It was the first time we transported and unloaded bees on our own. We were like first time parents coming home with a newborn. Did we put them in the best location? Did we put them facing the right direction? Would they thrive like they were doing at their original location? It was not only a financial investment, but an emotional one too.
I checked on them (from a distance) several times yesterday. I could easily see them flying in and out of the hive. There was a lot of movement and I was glad we made it through the first 24 hours. Today was a little different. I really couldn’t see much going on. I told myself that it probably had to do with the weather. I was hoping the rain was what was keeping them inside more than yesterday.
This evening we decided to take a closer look. I can’t begin to tell you how excited I was to see our girls working so hard. There was a lot of movement in the hive. A few of the girls were flying in and out. And the ones flying in were full of pollen! It was such a relief to see that they have started to explore and are doing exactly what they should be doing. Hopefully this is a sign of good things to come!
Our main focus for Bearhead Creek Farms this year is bees. Kenny and I are taking a beginning beekeeping class through Lamar (Orange) Leisure Learning. Our class is taught by Brian and Tammy Muldrow of Muldrow Bee Farm. We will have both classroom and apiary instruction. Our class meets once a month in the classroom and once a month in the apiary. It will last an entire year. We purchased a hive from the Muldrows to use during class. At the conclusion of the class we will have experienced beekeeping through all the seasons and transitions of the hive. We will move our hive to our house after the class is over. So far in class we have discussed personal protection equipment, tools for the job, the hive, foundations, frames and bee space, bee biology, description of the bee body, caste system of bees, comparison of bee roles, and the life cycle of honeybees.
On April 15th, we joined our other classmates at Muldrow Bee Farm in Beaumont. We sat around the fire and had an open discussion. The students were able to ask any questions they had about beekeeping. We observed the bees earlier in the evening to get an idea of how active they were at that time of day. Later in the evening we took another look and noticed a significant difference in the bees. Most had returned to the hives. We selected our Nucs and taped up the entrances to the hives. They were then loaded into the back of a truck and moved to our class apiary in Orange.
Once in Orange, we prepped the ground with liquid soap. Then we lined up the nucs. We stood in front of our nuc and waited for the go ahead to remove the tape. Everything was very organized so that we minimized the chance of someone getting stung.
We’ve purchase additional bee boxes and equipment. We are learning how to assemble our boxes, frames, and foundations. Our class is very interesting. We can’t wait to learn more about bees and to work in the class apiary!
Like most couples, Kenny and I often discussed dreams and ideas for our future. Most of our future plans involve our property in Fields. Affectionately known as “Ma’s House” by family and friends, it is our plan to live there one day. We spend as much time as we can there. Our conversations about chickens, ducks, goats, rabbits, cows, deer, turkeys, ponds, gardens, etc. led to the decision to officially start a business. We wanted all of our products and services to be associated with this business. We made an appointment to get our paperwork going.
Then came the fun part…coming up with a name for our business. Sounds like fun, right? I thought so too. It was actually difficult. It was like naming a baby. We wanted something that had meaning. Something that encompassed all of our plans. Something that was easy to say and easy to remember.
We thought about using a family name. Our family had homesteaded the property a long time ago. Did we want to name it after that family? That would have represented the beginning, but did it represent where we were now? We thought about using our last name. That would represent the present, but it didn’t feel like it would show our growth and the future of our business. Going with a family name just wouldn’t work. There are so many families whose hearts have made an imprint on this land. There was no way we could show all that love and history by using one family name.
Some of us also refer to this area as “Bearhead” or “Bearhead Creek”. Bearhead Creek runs near our property. We decided that the creek was a connection from the past to the future. We knew that was the name we should use. So we became “Bearhead Creek Farms”.
Bearhead Creek Farms Family