Grassy Roads Farm Life

Rebranding as Backyard Ecology and a Request for Help

~ Other News and Special Announcements ~   Hi Everyone! I started this blog 5 years ago, and over the years, it has grown beyond anything I originally dreamed of. I am very happy with the way it has grown, and now it’s time for the next big step in […]

Bees and Butterflies around the Farm and Upcoming Events

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   I love taking pictures of bees and butterflies on the late summer and early fall flowers around the farm. So, I thought for this week’s post, I would simply share some of the pollinator pictures I’ve taken over the last few days. At […]

2020 Honey Harvest!

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   I usually rotate through the various topics of this blog in a semi-regular order. But…I couldn’t wait another 3 weeks to share pictures of my July 4 honey harvest. This article consists of a photo and video montage giving you a behind the […]

Announcing Something New and It’s Almost Honey Harvesting Time

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   Happy National Pollinator Week! The milkweed in our fields is in full bloom and the air has the most amazing vanilla-like scent. I’ve enjoyed watching all of the different bees, butterflies, and other milkweed flower visitors over the last week or so. I […]

Updates on native plants, duck eggs, and honey

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   Hi Everyone, I hope you are staying safe and healthy in these crazy, uncertain times. With everything changing so rapidly, I wanted to give you an update of some of the changes I’m making with the farm and nursery. I have decided that […]

How Life Has Simultaneously Changed and Stayed the Same

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   Life as we know it has been turned upside down over the last couple of weeks. I’m lucky. I’m in the category where if I catch the coronavirus, I’ll probably be pretty miserable for a bit, but statistically should recover and be little […]

Lots of Fun Stuff Happening

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   March and April promise to be busy months, but they always are. I’m in full production mode for the nursery, I’m going to several events and doing multiple talks, the bees are ramping up, the early spring wildflowers that I love to photograph […]

First Signs that Spring is Around the Corner

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   As I walked out to get the mail the other day, I noticed several harbinger-of-springs starting to bloom! Winter isn’t over yet – February and early March can bring our worst snow / ice storms – but it’s still exciting to find this […]

New Year on the Farm and in the Nursery

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   Ducks We’ve been spending a lot of time over the last couple of months working with the ducks. When we first got the ducks, our plan was to have a mobile house where they would go up at night and get let out […]

November Farm Life

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   I really don’t know where this year went or how it is already mid-November. All I know is that this year has been a crazy, fun ride. I may not have accomplished everything I had hoped to do by this time in the […]

It’s Finally Fall

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   It’s finally starting to feel like fall! I’m excited because not only is this my favorite time of year, but I’m also finally starting to get somewhat caught up from the hole I dug for myself by overscheduling stuff earlier in the year. […]

Seasonal Transitions

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   The wetter than normal summer has created a beautiful display of fall wildflowers on the farm. Goldenrod, thoroughwort, asters, ironweed, and many others are in full bloom and many different species of bees, butterflies, moths, wasps, beetles, and other insects are putting the […]

August Ramblings

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   How did it get to be mid-August already? This year has flown by and it doesn’t look like it will be slowing down anytime soon. Here’s a quick recap of some of the things that have been happening lately and that are coming […]

How Honey is Harvested and Extracted

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   I celebrated July 4 by harvesting honey from a few of my hives. I was very grateful that Anthony was able and willing to help. I could have done it by myself, but it made the process much easier to have another set […]

Honey Harvest Coming Soon

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   Bees I’m super excited! Before long, I should be able to have my first real honey harvest. (We’ve taken a couple little bits for ourselves in the past, but nothing more than a taste or two.) I started my beekeeping journey focused on […]

Hive Inspection Photos and Descriptions

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   As many of you know, several months ago I began sharing short videos of wildlife on our farm to Facebook almost every Friday. Last Friday, instead of sharing a video I decided to share some pictures of a hive inspection I did earlier […]

Crazy Month

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   Lessons Learned This month has been an absolute whirlwind of activity. If I’ve been slow to respond to emails, texts, or Facebook messages please forgive me. It’s been all I could do just to try and keep up with everything I committed to […]

March on the Farm

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   It’s March and everything is starting to wake back up as winter slowly starts to give way to spring. However, this is also Kentucky, which means winter isn’t over yet. Yesterday it was snowing and today it isn’t supposed to get above freezing, […]

Taking the Leap

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   I always look forward to this February warm-up. It’s a little taste of spring. It means the red maples will be blooming soon. It triggers the wood frogs and some of our salamanders to start breeding. It also means that although spring isn’t […]

New Changes for the New Year

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   As we move into the new year, I’m really excited about the way things are shaping up. I have a feeling that this year is going to be a year of changes. Of course, that’s usually the case. Nothing really stays the same […]

Happy New Year – 2019

Thank you all for being part of my 2018 adventure. Hopefully 2019 will hold many more exciting and joyous adventures for all of us.     Shannon Trimboli is a beekeeper, farmer, wildlife biologist, and author. She owns Grassy Roads Farm and Busy Bee Nursery & Consulting. Busy Bee Nursery & Consulting specializes […]

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Wishing all of you a season filled with family, friends, and warm memories.       Shannon Trimboli is a beekeeper, farmer, wildlife biologist, and author. She owns Grassy Roads Farm and Busy Bee Nursery & Consulting. Busy Bee Nursery & Consulting specializes in plants and habitat consulting services for honey bees, native […]

Getting Ready for the New Year

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   Now that winter has mostly set in, I’m obviously not spending as much time working with my bees. However, I still have to monitor their food stores and make sure they don’t run out. I couldn’t believe it when I used my thermal […]

Speaking Engagements and Working in the Apiary

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   Fall has finally arrived and with it has come a rush to get all of the end of season chores done. It seems like as the days grow shorter, my to do list grows longer. I love what I’m doing though and that […]

Busy Last Few Weeks

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   The last few weeks have been busy at the farm. Our fields are ablaze with goldenrods and the hives have taken on the distinctive smell of old, sweaty socks. For those who don’t know, when honey bees are working goldenrod flowers, the hives […]

Lots of Exciting News and Upcoming Activities

~ Kentucky Pollinators & Backyard Wildlife ~   Wow! The past two weeks or so have been crazy, but in a very good way. Lots of exciting things have happened, have been planned, and are on the horizon waiting to happen. In fact, so much is going on that I […]

Native Bees and Wasps around the Farm

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   The late summer and early fall wildflowers around the farm are magnets for many different types of pollinators. Last week, I shared pictures of some of the butterflies that are visiting our flowers. This week, I’m sharing photos of some of the native […]

Butterflies on the Farm

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   I took some time this week to walk around the farm and take pictures of the different insects on the wildflowers we have growing in our fields and flower gardens. Below are pictures of some of the butterflies I found. Next week, I’ll […]

Not at Farmer’s Market

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~ After spending every Saturday since the end of April at the Farmers’ Market, the next three Saturdays are going to feel a little weird. The reason is that I won’t be at the market. Instead, I’ll be a butterfly workshop this Saturday and then […]

Planning for Next Year’s Plants

~ Kentucky Pollinators & Backyard Wildlife ~   Many people who subscribe to this blog are also interested in planting for pollinators and wildlife. However, not everyone also subscribes to my other blogs and on Friday my Grassy Roads Farm Life blog dealt with a topic that I think many […]

What is on your plant wish list for next year?

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   It may seem early, but I am already thinking about what to grow for next year. Currently I’m just making a “wish list” of plants to consider and am beginning to look for sources of seed for some of the potential new species. […]

What to do with egg cartons

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   “I have a bunch of empty egg cartons. Would you like them?” is a common question that I get at the farmers market. My answer always comes as a surprise, “No, it is actually illegal to reuse egg cartons.” I know, many people […]

Mite Counts in the Beeyard

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   I have to admit, this is my least favorite time of the year. It is hot, humid, and absolutely miserable. Last week, the heat indexes were well over 100 degrees and just walking outside made me feel like I was melting. As much […]

Milkweed Math

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   Although native wildflowers are adapted to our crazy weather and soils, they can be difficult to start from seed in a nursery setting. Many need special treatments in order to germinate. Often the treatments need to be done for between one and three […]

Pollinators at Grassy Roads Farm

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   This week was National Pollinator Week, so I thought I would share some of the pollinators that I have been seeing around the farm. I had hoped to include pictures of beautiful butterflies feeding on our milkweed and other native wildflowers this week. […]

Bees, Bees, and More Bees

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   This spring we put a few swarm traps up around the farm. A swarm trap is an empty hive, often with a little old comb, that is placed somewhere in the hopes that a swarm will find it and decide to move in. […]

Duck Eggs vs. Chicken Eggs: Size

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   “Wow! Those are a lot bigger.” Is a comment that I commonly get when I show people my duck eggs at the farmer’s market. In general, duck eggs tend to be 1.5 to 2 times bigger than chicken eggs. However, there is a […]

A Busy Week of Events

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   The nursery plants keep growing, the ducks keep laying, and the bees are bringing in lots of nectar. All the normal stuff continues to happen on the farm and in the nursery. I’m excited that we’re also finally getting some rain. We must […]

A Little Bit of This and a Little Bit of That

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   The bees are going crazy building comb, raising brood, and storing nectar. It seems like everything has bloomed at once this spring. Two swarms moved into my empty top bars this week. That brings my hive total up from one at the beginning […]

Swarms and Trap-outs

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   April and May are extremely busy months on the farm. Between taking care of the ducks, working with the bees, transplanting all of the nursery plants that have suddenly decided to grow like crazy, and doing a variety of other projects on the […]

Duck Eggs, Farmers Market, and Learning to Balance Everything

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   The ducks are laying again! Actually, they have been for about a month, but I kind of goofed. In my excitement over having my book published, I agreed to teach at several bee schools and participate in several other Saturday events in April. […]

Taking a Break to Enjoy the Wildflowers

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   The end of March and all of April has been insanely busy. I’ve been running all over the state giving talks and selling my book. All of my seeds that germinated are growing rapidly and are looking really healthy. Despite the cold weather, […]

Salad Buffets and Crazy Weather

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   Kentucky weather has always been crazy. Kentuckians are proud of that fact. I grew up hearing “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes and it will change.” In today’s age of social media, numerous memes exist about our crazy weather. However, […]

Seedlings, Seedlings, and More Seedlings

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   The seedlings have really started to take off. This week I’ve spent a significant amount of time transplanting seedlings and am almost out of room in the basement. I’m also very grateful that I’m not too old for Mommy to come to the […]

The Honey Bees are Bringing in Pollen

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   This week’s snowfall did little to slow the arrival of spring. (Check out my Facebook page for pictures of the farm in the snow.) The trees are still blooming and my bees are still bringing in lots of pollen and nectar. Bees bringing […]

The Ducks are Laying!

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   I’m so excited – the ducks started laying this week! The Muscovy ducks laid the first two eggs of the year on Sunday, March 4. The next day two of the new ducks started laying. (I’m trying to break my habit of calling […]

Behind the Fun Outside Stuff

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   If you are like me, then you tend to think of farm life as taking care of plants and animals and just generally being outside. True, that is a big part of farming and it is the fun side. However, running a successful […]

Ducks and Plants and More Signs of Spring

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   This has been an interesting week on the farm. The big girls (our original ducks) have been getting out of their fence more and checking out their old nesting sites. They’ve even begun to reform some of the old nests again. Not to […]

First Signs of Spring

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   It may only be mid-February, but the first hints of spring are showing up in force at the farm. The spring peepers have been calling the last few nights as I put the ducks up, which has been a nice distraction because the […]

Announcing 2018 Plant List – Now Taking Pre-orders

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   The initial 2018 plant list is now available! I consider this a tentative list and may decide to add additional plants as the season goes along or may have to pull some plants due to unforeseen circumstances like poor germination. You can always […]

Making and Testing a New Waterer

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~ One of the many things I have been thinking about lately is figuring out a different way to water the ducks. I have been giving them open tubs of water, which they quickly turn into bath water, as well as, drinking water. Not only […]

Making Plans: Ducks

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   Cold winter days seem like the perfect time for planning things to do around the farm and in our yards once it warms up. We all seem to do it. Some of us pour over seed catalogs while planning our dream gardens. Others […]

Snow Days on the Farm

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~ The story of the week can be summed up in one word – snow. We woke up on Jan. 13, approximately 3 inches of snow. A good deal of that melted / compacted before the storm that was originally predicted to bring “little additional […]

Round 1 – Honey Bees: 3, Jack Frost: 1

~ Grassy Roads Farm Life ~   Being a farmer is tough. No matter what the weather is like or how crappy you feel, you have to take care of your animals. Recently we went for almost three weeks where the temperatures never got above freezing. We’ve enjoyed a brief […]

Kentucky Pollinator Blog – Growing and Changing in 2018

Over the last month or so, I’ve been thinking about the future of this blog. I know I didn’t write much last year because I was putting all my energy into my book. However, I would like to get this blog started again this year. I enjoy writing it and […]

To Bee Keep or Not to Bee Keep? – A Repost

April is the month when many new beekeepers begin their journey. As the days warm and people start planting their gardens, other non-beekeepers sometimes begin contemplating “getting a few bees for the garden.” While I love beekeeping and I encourage anyone interested to become a beekeeper, I also know that […]

It’s Swarm Season Again

Springtime is a busy time for honey bees and beekeepers alike. As more and more flowers and trees begin to bloom, the amount of nectar and pollen available for the bees increases. The queen is also busy laying eggs and the population of bees in the hive is rapidly expanding […]

The Life of a Beekeeper

I’ve been a beekeeper for almost four years now. As people find out that I keep bees, they often have questions about honey bees or how to get into beekeeping. I enjoy these conversations and sharing what I know about honey bees and beekeeping. That’s one trait I’ve found that […]

Pollen in January?

The weather this winter has been crazy. I was pulling weeds and running around in shorts sleeves on Christmas. We had a week or two of cold weather, but now it is January 21 and I’m watching the bees bring pollen into the hive. And not just a little pollen, […]

A Brief History of Beekeeping

Humans have a very long history of interacting with honey bees. However, before we go into that long history it is important to understand that not all bees are honey bees. While there are thousands of species of bees living throughout the world, only a handful of species produce honey. […]

Varroa Mite Monitoring in Honey Bees

In the late 1980s, the varroa mite (Varroa destructor) was introduced to the U.S. and forever changed beekeeping in this country. The varroa mite is native to Asia where its native host is one of the Asian honey bees. It is estimated that varroa mites began infecting European honey bees […]

Kentucky’s Pollinator Conservation Plan

If you are reading this blog, then it is probably because you are interested in pollinators. You are probably also aware that honey bees and other insect pollinators are declining. Facebook and other social media outlets are full of memes designed to raise awareness about declining honey bee populations and […]

Learning to be a Beekeeper

Beekeeping is not easy, nor is it cheap. It takes patience. It takes persistence. It takes a love for what you are doing and for the bees under your care. For those thinking about becoming beekeepers, I strongly recommend attending bee club meetings and bee schools. Meet local beekeepers. Ask […]

From Nectar to Yummy: How Bees Make Honey

Ask someone where honey comes from and the answer will likely be honey bees. Although that’s not a wrong answer, it isn’t completely correct either. Honey bees aren’t the only bees to produce honey. Some of our native bees, like bumble bees, also produce honey but in much smaller quantities […]