Friday, April 30, 2010

Paul prepares to inspect hives...

Bee Inspection




As planned, we opened the hives up to look things over and organize things for the summer. And the honey supers were added! Whoo hoo, hopefully, we will get lots and lots of honey this year.

Avalon looked great. There were eggs and larva and lots and lots of bees. We did not reverse our brood boxes, because they had laid eggs in the bottom box and we did not want to break up the nest by switching the boxes. So, we put things back as we found them (well, kind of, I had to fix things after we put it all together, took a deep satisfied breath, then realized I put the boxes back with the upper entrance facing backwards--oops). But all looks good, and we added the queen excluder and two honey boxes. The only issue was having to kill a bunch of larva that they had laid on top of the top box and into the inner cover. I felt so bad.

Bree looks awesome. Those boxes are SO heavy. It is very hard to move those boxes around without crushing bees and without killing my back! Yikes. Bree also was laying larva up to the inner cover and this was very sad: I had to kill larva with EYES! It was awful. Bree is full of lots and lots and lots of beeses. WOW. It was unnerving to work with them. But we opened down to the bottom and did reverse the boxes on this hive. Then we added the queen excluder and two honey supers. So, in theory, the most invasive inspection is done for the year! Phew.



And NO stings. Whoopie. Though, I guess a few stings is a good thing in a season....



So, now we watch the apple tree blossom and the bees grow and thrive. This will be the first time we have had two honey supers on our hives...how cool is that?

Now, I am off to get ready for the annual Walk for Meals on Wheels...and maybe I'll reward myself by ordering some of the bee supplies I need for the year! Fun fun fun.

Gardening


I am daring to put out three tomato plants into the garden under water tubes. This is the year of testing things and this is one of my tests. It seems as though we will be frost free for a while, so we are going to take a chance.

Paul cleaned out the chicken coop today and it looks beautiful. The chickens are so happy! Me too!

And laundry is hanging out on the line again...ahhhhhh, spring.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The most horrible thing just happened!!

A chicken got into the garden. She got stuck and we had to help her out, but I wanted to help her out and into the soup pot when I saw what she did while she was in there.

She ripped and mashed and mangled all the wheat that was filling in nicely.

She destroyed and broke and crushed garlic plants.

She ate and trampled and ripped the peas out of the dirt...and made a complete MESS of everything.

I am so sad.

Bee School

There are lots of dandylions out now and it's most definitely

time to put the honey supers on. Today it is too windy and so we will try tomorrow to open up and prep for Spring! Yay. After we know how the hives are faring, we will send out the final Bee UpDate for those of you in the Bee Share! Then the new season officially begins for the sharings. So we will have lots of bee news tomorrow, we hope.

We put the plants on the porch to soak up some sun and real life. I'm hoping it's not too windy, but eventually they are going to have to get used to being outside...they are quickly outgrowing their pots! Good thing May is almost here.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

At the bottom of Scout Landing and Angel's Landing Trail

Oh, Sorry Caitling's parents...really, she's fine!

UnFarming News



These are some photos from our trip to Utah to volunteer at Best Friends Animal Society. We also spent quite a bit of time at Zion National Park, which rates on the top of my list of Most Beautiful Places in the World.

If any of you are ever visiting out that way, stop a take a tour of Best Friends. It is not far from Zion and they run tours daily. It is an amazing place...and if you have any extra time, stay and volunteer! The animals always need socializing...and if you stay in the area, you can bring a dog or a cat, or even a pig for an overnight in your hotel room...just be warned: you just might fall in love:

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Weekend

I'm enjoying the peace and quiet in the house this morning, as it will be gone in a few hours and the rest of the weekend will be quite full.

I am meeting Janine at the Orange Armory, where she is giving free Reiki sessions for people who give a donation to Meals on Wheels. We did this for the first time last month and we were not sure how it would go over, but we had several people sign up for it. So, we decided to try it again. This time, we have some repeat guests and new ones. So we're pretty excited. For those of you who don't know, Reiki is a form of Energy Healing. It's been making it's way into mainstream hospitals and medicine over the past few years, so we're very excited to have Janine offering it for such a great deal...and of course, we're happy she's donating her time to Meals on Wheels. Though, I think she mostly enjoys helping people.

Then we have company coming. One of my friends from HIGH SCHOOL (!) is coming to visit with her husband and daughter. We were trying to figure out when the last time I saw Amy was and could not figure it out...but we realized that Paul has never met her. It's funny that he hasn't, she was such a huge presence in my life for such a long time. But I guess life has a way of giving us side roads and paths we decide to take...but it will be nice that our paths are going to cross again. I am pretty excited to see where life's taken her!

Then tomorrow, we've got Katie and the kids coming down. I was hoping we'd be able to get into our hives and 'play'. I know Katie was too, just for some refreshers on what to look for and what to do with bees that actually make it through the winter and into the spring season. But I am not sure that Mother Nature will be cooperating with us. But I am ready! I know what I am going to do when I open them for the first time this season...but I hope all goes well, cuz I am not as confident about what I'm going to do if something isn't right. But as they say, everything is a learning experience in BeeKeeping. Just as it is in all of life...there are no wrong choices, just learning experiences!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bee Hives

I honestly don't remember it taking this long to paint a bee hive. I have finished the bottom board and stand, as well as the outer cover of the hive, (though I would like to put a third coat on the cover). And I have two coats on one side of each of the two deep boxes. I may never finish. But, maybe, I can do one side of each box every day and be done by Sunday. For creeps sake...this is taking forever!

The dandelions are blooming away, though our yard is still a bit sparse. I was hoping to MAYBE reverse the supers on the hives this weekend, but with the crappy weather on the way, that may have to wait--besides, I don't want to rush the season: Bee Lesson # one: don't rush the season...of course, I think that lesson is after: always wear a veil and always carry Benadryl. Oh, and always have a smoker available if you're going in...

My last bee class at Bee School is tonight--I have to miss next week. But Paul's going to go with me tonight and I think he's really going to enjoy it, even though it's going to run pretty late. But the two lectures are: Pollen and Nectar Plants in our area and The Delicate Balance. I think both of them should be great classes...and Ken Warchol is teaching the Delicate Balance and he does a great job!

Happy Beeing!!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

24 hours in a Day

It's one of those days when you swear other people MUST have more then twenty four hours in their day. I feel like I can't keep up. I bought paint on the way home from work (Midnight Magic or BumbleChick Purple) for the hive and started painting. I feel like I haven't gotten anywhere. I've only got the two bottom pieces to the hive half painted, leaving the other half and the two brood boxes that are still in pieces in the shed to be done. I don't think I'll ever get them painted. And the bees will be coming.

I've got a BetterBee order sitting around waiting for me to call it in...and I haven't gotten to that...

Then, all I wanted to do before dinner was to get the laundry on the line and the dishes out of the dishwasher. I ended up unloading the dishwasher and there was a whole load waiting to go in, so I feel like I've accomplished nothing because now, a few hours later, it's ready to be unloaded again. The laundry did come off the line and I hung more on...and that felt like an accomplishment--I have to admit, I kinda like hanging laundry on the line...it's very Zen...well, as 'Zen' as I ever get. And I've been meaning to clean the bathroom for DAYS...(I miss you Ginny!!!) and finally just did a half ass job on it, just so that it doesn't look like we never clean, so that didn't feel like an accomplishment...it's still kinda dirty and only kinda clean.

And I haven't kept up with watering the peas and the wheat in the garden...and I think I might be paying for it, because none of them are coming up...and I've planted the peas TWICE. I really have been trying so hard to get into the garden every day to do something, but...but but...

I can't keep up. I've been trying really hard lately to just keep moving and to get things done a little at a time, but every time I turn around, there is more to do and what I've just done needs to be done again.

So, I swear, other people MUST have more than twenty four hours in their day...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Dandelions!!!!!


We made it!!! The first of the dandelions are blooming!!! It's spring! It's spring! And time to paint that last hive and figure out where to put it!

Now, what color should be paint the new hive? Hive C? We have BumbleChick Yellow on Avalon and Bree. I think it's time to change color to something else...

And we'll have to name Hive C...so much to think about!

Seedlings

The seedlings are doing great. I am going to begin to harden them off and so they have made the move from under the florescent lights to a sunny window. It's still too cold to boot them outside for any length of time, but I will send them out for afternoon play time on warm days so they can get used to the real world. They look so great, I just hope I can keep them alive during all those transition periods: out from under lights, outside and protected, outside for real, and then into the garden...yikes, my poor babies!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Weekend's Work



We spent the weekend in Maine, helping friends to chop up some of their downed trees. We got to play with chainsaws and log splitters! It was kind of scary with a bunch of chainsaws running and the log splitter busting up logs. But it was a satisfying weekend. We got the trees chopped up and split and piled. There are still branches to be chopped up in the chipper, but that had to be saved for another weekend. And we could not have asked for better weather...it was warm, but not too warm. It was breezy but not too breezy.

And I got to work on my vitamin D intake on Sunday...

Now, I think I need my own chainsaw and some steel toed boots, and some Rosie's overall's...and ummm, some good Stihl gloves...and umm, some chaps....and uh, oh, a log splitter...most definitely! And let's see, what else?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Project of the Day



It's not that often that I actually start a woodworking project and then finish it to any sort of satisfaction. This is a project I have been thinking about for a long time, but have been afraid to start because I can barely make a box out of wood without screwing it up. But today, I came home from work, pulled out the 'power' tools, dragged the scrap wood out of the shed, and just got started. I was mostly done before Paul got home from work. And am very happy with my new seedling shelf for the porch...which is the perfect place to start booting the started plants outside: it's kind of sheltered from the wind, but gets the warm (or these days, hot) southern sun.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Trying video on the blog

Don't know how we'll deal with video when it comes time to put the blog in print for 2010! Guess we'll have to deal with that later...

Much being Done today

Paul burned some brush and I cleared out the blueberry bushes behind the fire...that's going to be the location (ish) of the White Trash Hot Tub....one day!









The daffodils are blooming on the labyrinth...one of these years, the whole circlet will be of daffodils in the spring!



Busy bees today! They are loving this beautiful weather!






The garden!








This is what Paul did today while I was at work!

First Asparagus

Just popped up today!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Garden

Got into the garden and worked most of the beds into some semblance of 'ready for plants.' Took out most of the weeds. Still no peas up, so I hope we didn't drown them in those rain storms. Guess we might have to plant more...we will have to see. We planted two beds with wheat today, and I hope that the birds don't decide that I put out a new snack bar for them and eat every last seed. Again we will have to see. And Troy enjoyed chilling out in the yard while I worked in the garden. He was so happy! And I got a blister...

The bees are alive and happy...we're feeding them near a gallon of sugar water daily these days and I hope they're storing it away for a rainy day. Literally.

Goats frolicked for a while in the yard before dinner.

Chickens are so happy for this weather...and we still have that silly chicken who lays her egg from where she is perched on the stall door in the barn every morning. It's our morning mess! Goofy critter! And we ordered new chicks for this year: 3 Rhode Island Reds and 3 Barred Rocks. I hope our fox stays away from the chickens this year!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter

It was the perfect Easter! The weather could not have been more beautiful. The daffodils bloomed, as did some other random blue flowers in the yard. It was so warm, we all spent the morning outside and watched the 'big kids' on their egg hunt! We ate breakfast outside. We watched the goats run around the yard. The bees are busy, crazy, happy, and alive. The chickens were happily puttering and squawking...they even helped us out in the egg hunt by setting on one of the plastic eggs! And we managed to find some eggs from the scavenger hunt we had LAST year!

We had Easter Dinner on Saturday, which worked out so wonderfully. Everyone who drove in from far away didn't have to worry about getting home late (especially when the ham was behind schedule). Everyone was able to have some wine without worrying about driving. Family members who spend Easter with their 'other' half were able to come, because Saturday isn't Easter. It worked out GREAT.

And to complete the weekend, Paul and I went for a hike up Tully Mountain! It was just an incredible day and a perfect weekend...Life is Good!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Painting of Hive

Just was reminded last night in Bee School that even though it's warm and sunny out, there isn't a lot for the bee to eat right now, and it's still a month or so until the nectar flow! So, this is still a bad time, when honey stores are getting low, the need for energy is high, and there are still WEEKS until good food blooms! Yikes, now I'm all panicky again. Can't paint that new hive yet--I just know, as soon as I do, one of these hives is going to starve to its demise....

I never looked forward to dandelions as much as I do these days....

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Egg Totals for March

230 eggs for the month of March.
milk 0
honey 0
babies 0...ahhhh! (well, except lots of baby bees, we hope!!)

Spring time

That promised sun has finally arrived. The goats are sunning themselves. Troy is drying himself out. The chickens were racing for the light when I let them out today. The bees have got some serious spring fever and are going nuts all around the hives. The crocuses are bursting forth with new blooms. And so is some other flower in the yard that I don't know the name of since the rain and winter melted the words on its marker. The daffodils are growing by leaps and I am HOPING we might see some yellow over Easter weekend! And the new daffydils on the Labyrinth look great, and this fall I really am going to finish planting the rest of the daffydils on the second circlet!

I am hoping those peas we planted are going to soak up some sun, now that they've soaked up a LOT of water and will poke their heads up above the ground.

Lots to do. Bees to get more food to, and Bree needs her feeder put back on after a mold issue...but the rain has cleaned and rinsed the feeder out nicely, so it's all ready to go back on. There's a new hive to put together and paint before the new bees come, now that I am getting closer to believing that the two current hives are going to actually make it to the Dandylion bloom. New fencing to put up for the second garden. Yeeps.

But for now, I will just relish in the fact that the clothes on the line might actually dry.