Monday, June 28, 2010

A Co-op of Friends

A group of us friends got together and have created our first 'Canning Co-op'.  Each of our six members agreed to make an extra batch of two items they like to can and share them with everyone in the group, giving each other member two jars of each of their two items.

So, in exchange for making an extra batch of Zucchini Relish and Tomato Relish, I will get Apple Butter, Raspberry/Blackberry Jambol, Pizza Sauce, Strawberry Jam, Blueberry Jam, Salsa, Strawberry Rhubarb Jam, Bread and Butter Pickles, and two more surprise items!  So, what an exchange!!  I'm totally excited...but ask me again how I feel about it when it's August and I'm standing over the hot stove, with steaming boiling water in my face making two extra friggin' batches of relishes!!!

It's a really awesome idea and I am so excited for the extra items in my pantry that I wouldn't normally make myself.




This is the book I learned how to can with.  I LOVE it...and for a long while, it was out of print.  This is a new version of the book, but if it's half as good as the original, I recommend it!  If you're interested in learning to can...BUY IT!

And if you've got LOTS AND LOTS of extra money hanging around, you can buy a used copy of the old edition for around $100.00!

guineas

The guineas have found the walls of the stalls to perch on, so we predict that they will be off and wandering today.  I hope they know to come back home to the barn when it starts to rain!  Silly gooses.

We lost a baby over the weekend.  She got out and found her way into the middle of the huge rose bush where we couldn't get to her.  Paul tried to leave food for her, but she didn't make it.  Troy brought her home to us the next day, which was very yikky.  Poor girl.

We will be getting into Chalice and Dionysus this week...they need a peek and maybe some more boxes to keep them happy.  And me too, that means maybe HONEY for us!!!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Who doesn't LOVE Milkweed?


Have you ever smelled milkweed in full bloom?  
Yum!  
Milkweed will always be a part of our gardens here at BumbleChick Farm!

It is awesome stuff!
Did you know you can eat it...the blooms look and taste similar to broccoli before they open?
The fluff used to be used as stuffing for pillows...maybe this fall I will make small pillows and stuff them with milkweed fluff.  

Friday, June 25, 2010

Bee Inspection and Garden Goings Ons

We looked into Avalon and Bree this afternoon.

Avalon:  The top honey super we opened up to the Queen is empty of eggs and brood now and the bees are filling the now empty cells on that frame with honey.  I looked down into the top of the deep supers looking for evidence of a Queen (in my case, that would mean looking for eggs and larva, not an actual Queen among the thousands and thousands of bees).  I did not find any eggs, but the Queen actually peeked up to say hi and then she ran away!  She looked, to my untrained eye, nice and fat and capable of laying eggs...so, we closed up and put the Queen excluder back on and two honey supers on (One being the one she was laying in and is no longer).

We also added a propolis trap on the very top of the hive.  The bees are supposed to pack it in with propolis and when they are done, you freeze it, and twist the trap so that the propolis falls out like ice cubes from an ice cube tray.  Propolis is made from the pine sap of trees mixed with bee enzymes and the bees use it like glue.  Humans use it when making homemade creams and salves and cough syrups.  It's full of antibacterial properties...and I guess it's good for you and good for your teeth.  Some beekeepers will pop propolis into their mouth and chew on it like gum (or chewing tobacco).  We'll see if we can even harvest any before we think about using it!

A last note on Avalon: they are packed in with bees!!

Bree:  There is still very little going on in the honey supers.  I pulled off the honey supers to peek into the brood boxes, and peek really is all I did.  All the bees were busy bustling away down there when I picked up a corner of the Queen excluder for a look.  But I could see some beautiful honey up in the corners, so I am going to assume that they have eggs and larva down below that honey where I can't see it.  By The Way, this is a very bad assumption, but as there is little I can do to help out since Avalon is having their own issues right now, I figure I will mostly leave well enough alone...

Last note on bees: the Springfield Science Museum is having a bee exhibit, which I am told should be good.  We are going to try to check that out...and the Dr. Seuss museum too!

The Garden:  The garden is looking great.  The peas are busting out and giving us tons of peas!  If a gardening friend is correct, I hope this does not mean that next year will be a bad year for peas.

There are flowers on the tomatoes and now on a few of those peppers I didn't think would survive that killing frost.  One of the pineapple tomatillas has a tomatilla on it.  The artichokes look awesome.  I'm afraid to say this for fear of jinxing myself, but even the one the cutworm got its greedy little mouth on is coming back.  We thinned the turnips...but it looks like we lost our beets to bugs.  The zuke has a little zucchini on it.  The garlic looks awesome, and we harvested the last of the scapes off of them.  And the potatoes are beautiful...blossoming away.  I do remember the first time I dug up my own potatoes...I was amazed: you could GROW potatoes and DIG THEM UP and COOK THEM and EAT THEM!  It was SO cool!    Cukes are fighting the beetles, but making a good try and the spinach is slowly coming up.

The wheat...well, it really looks like something big comes by and sleeps in it...but the garden is fenced and we have a big dog, so I know that no deer is coming in for a rest in my wheat.  But it looks like it.  There are broken stalks and broken heads...it looks terrible.  I will try again with the winter wheat this fall.  I think I am going to plant that in the corn and winter squash garden.  And that garden looks good too, though a whole troop of weeds is encroaching fast!  Uh-oh.

Annie is giving us a little milk these days.  I don't know what's up with that girl, just when we think she's going to be done, we look and she's swelled up like a balloon.  If it's a plot between her and her daughter to get at us humans, it's working.

We opened up the chicks outer stall door today to let them come out and wander.  They haven't yet.  We are hoping our guineas, Rosie and Ginny, won't decide to leave us for the fresh open trees when they finally venture out.  They need to stay and eat ticks and cucumber beetles!  And we hope everyone gets along, big chickens, little chickens, guineas, goats, dog...

Well, that was a long one.  Thank you for any of you who suffered through the long monologue of BumbleChick updates!  Hope you enjoyed and weren't too bored by it.  I'm off to make pesto for dinner.  Yum.

Oh, and the honey extractor is coming next week!!!  Whoo hoo, I hope we all get to use it lots and lots and lots.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Mousers


Everybody should have a good cat or two to take care of the random mouse that gets into the bedroom!  

(it was a better picture when Cyclone made Cat Number Three, but it was still morning and she hadn't had her cup of coffee yet, so she didn't want to be in the picture....)



Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Summer Solstice Writing Contest Prize

We have chosen our prize for the winner of our Summer Solstice Writing Contest.  The Organic Goat will put together a $10-15.00 prize to be shipped directly to the winner at the end of July.

Remember, the deadline is by midnight of July 21st for any submissions.

By the way, I have been reading Wendell Berry essays lately, which made me think that I said short stories or poems...but essays are okay too!  Anything goes!  Don't be shy!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Happy Honey Bees

The girls are happily busy at work on the milkweed garden that is growing in the middle of our lawn!  Mostly it growing because of a late start on mowing for the season, but also because by the time we got our mower back from being repaired and we were ready to mow, the milkweed was so tall we decided to let it finish growing and blooming so the bees could enjoy it...and so they are.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer Solstice Writing Contest

Happy First Day of Summer!  It's the longest day of the year...make the most of it.

To celebrate the Summer Solstice, BumbleChick Farm is launching our first contest.  To combine our love of literature and reading with our love of farming, it is going to be a writing contest.

Here are the rules.  Don't worry, there are only a few.  We are looking for a work of poetry or a short story (not more than 2100 words).  There is one word we want you to think of when you are writing your piece and that is:

SUMMER

Be creative and have fun!

We will give you a thirty days to write and submit your work, that would be July 21st by midnight.  To be published on our blog on the first day of August (Lughnasadh--the Celtic MidSummer and the beginning of the Harvest Season).

Please submit your work to bumblechickfarm@yahoo.com.
Please do not use attachments...I will not open them.  Cut and paste your entire piece into the body of your e-mail.

I will have my husband open all submissions and forward them to me from his own account, so that each story or poem comes to me anonymously...so I won't be tempted to pick anything for any other reason than that it is the piece I like the best.

Prize will be announced later.  We have some ideas, but have not committed to one yet, but the approximate value of ten to fifteen dollars.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Beauty

because beauty is in the eye of the bee holder!

Friday, June 18, 2010

What does someone holding a bee in their hand have in their eye?

(no cheating those of you who know the answer!!)

Ginger Brew (non alcoholic)

Whew...that first taste is a DOOZEY!  But sweetened up a bit and cut with half seltzer water.  Yum.  This would be awesome on a hot summer day when all you want to do is sit in a chair with a drink and not move.

Recipe from Jam it, Pickle it, Cure it
Modified by Me:

1 1/2 pound ginger root
4 cups water
2-3 cups sugar
1/2 - 2/3 cups lime juice

Roughly peel the ginger and blend in blender with 2 sups of water for three minutes.
Strain into large canning jar or pitcher.
Mix the lime juice and sugar with the rest of the water and set aside.
Blend the pulp and half of the water, lime juice, and sugar mix for another three minutes.
Strain again.
Blend pulp one last time with the rest of the water, lime juice, sugar mix for another three minutes.
Strain really well.

Cut with seltzer water to taste.  Or if you are very brave try it straight.

This is from Jam it, Pickle it, Cure it.  Which has some very cool recipes, but borrow it from a friend if you can...of course, I am desperately trying to get rid of recipe books, so I am quite picky about what I really want to stay on my limited kitchen shelf space...(maybe I should use that recently saved Library in our town more often).  But if you are a recipe book collector, add it to the collection, it's worth it.

This is also where I found the potato chip recipe.  Baked or fried--I went with fried, of course!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Plant a Row

It's that time of year.  OK, well, it's past that time of year, but the Plant a Row project is up and running.  Plant a Row began in Anchorage, Alaska and encourages gardeners and farmers to plant an extra row of crops in their gardens.  The extra produce can be brought to drop off points that gives the food out to low income persons.  (I am working on getting our meal site as a drop-off point).

Website for Plant a Row:
http://www.gardenwriters.org/gwa.php?p=par/index.html

Here is the blogspot for the Western, MA Plant a Row:
http://parwmass.blogspot.com/

I am finding myself being domestic these past few days (must be sick).  Last night, I made homemade potato chips, which were really good, though I need to find a consistent way to slice potatoes thinly.  I did all right, but it's hard to cut  a potato really, really thin with a big kitchen knife.

Today, I made Jamaican Ginger Brew.  It's non alcoholic...well, at least, currently it is, until I tamper with the recipe a bit.  It's still straining, so I haven't tried it yet, but it looks like the picture in the book so I must have done something right.  I hope it tastes good...I have a 90-something year old guest who comes to our meal site who used to drink a bottled Ginger Brew, but she can't find one she likes any more...so maybe she'll like this.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Avalon

There are some serious issues going on in Avalon.  It was not a happy hive when I opened this afternoon, but I did pull off the empty honey super and took off the Queen excluder.  If there is any hope of them repairing whatever is going on in there, I have given them the best chance--if the Queen is in the top honey boxes, she can now get back down to where she needs to be...and if she's a virgin Queen, she can get out to mate.  I did not pull open and look in all the boxes.  They were not happy bees and with one swelling, massive bee sting already, I didn't want to risk another right now.  But we will keep an eye on things and keep you posted.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: 'the bee is the only creature in the animal kingdom, that I am aware of, that does not kill or injure any other being as it goes through its regular life cycle' --Ross Conrad

(thinking on that, we learned that the jellyfish is a type of plankton...hmmm, who knew?)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Garden Happenings

SOMETHING ate my artichoke plant!  I'm suspecting cutworms, as three of the big leaves look like they have been cut and then left to die!  What's the point?  Are cutworms just anti-plants and out to destroy?  Because it just looks like malicious destruction, not a ploy for food.  So, I am posting a picture of my four artichoke plants.  The one in front is doing well (so far).  There are two little ones in the middle that are from seed and lot smaller than the bought plants.  And the one in the background, with only a few leaves was the victim of the attack!

I sprayed everyone with garlic infused soapy water and hope that will help.

I took another batch of garlic scapes and cubed up another twelve cubes of blended scapes with olive oil to freeze for the winter.

The wheat has taken a big rain beating and is lying down on its side.  I am hoping that when the sun comes out, it will perk up.
 The tomato plants.  The larger three were the ones that lived under the water towers for a few weeks.
And the artichoke photo.

Fed Chalice and Dionysis today.  There is a dearth of nectar right now, so because they are still just starting out, I thought I add a boost to help them build up comb.  They can't build up comb without a nectar flow and a feeding of sugar syrup is the next best thing.

And when I was done and headed into the car...I got a nice good sting on my belly.  She must have gotten a bit stuck on the edge of my shirt.  Ouch.

I have not fixed Avalon yet.  I am waiting for sun.

Nashoba Valley Winery

Yesterday, we went to Nashoba Valley Winery with the Worcester County Beekeepers Association.  Yes, for those of you in the know, yes, we live in Franklin County, but Shhhh.

In the late morning, we met up and ate a lovely boxed lunch made by the winery.  Yummy.  We sat with Mary, the president of the WCBA, and we chatted quite a bit.  We talked about top bar hives, and regular hives, and she was a bit unsure about our Avalon Issue and told me to talk to Ken about it (Ken is the State Beekeeper Inspector).  Her guess was that the queen somehow got up there and started laying.  But I still don't understand why there are so few bees up there if the Queen was up there.

I did talk to Ken later.  He said it sounds like she somehow got up there.  She either put on those skinny jeans and snuck up or she was on the queen excluder when we put it on and got up there.  Honestly, I think I was pretty careful when I put the excluder and honey supers on, but as we all know, the bees are smarter than me and smaller than me, so maybe she did sneak by me.  In any case, what I think he's guessing is that we swarmed (a very real possibility, though we did not see it) and the virgin queen is gone.  He believes that the queen cups on the bottom of the frame are emergency cells and they are desperately trying to get a queen back into that hive.  But we do have to take the queen excluder off, so she can get out and get on her mating flights and get back to start laying some eggs.

And FYI, for other new beekeepers: when your hive swarms, there is a 25% chance that your new queen will not return from her mating flights and your hive will be queenless, so keep an eye on your hive and look for eggs and larva and if you can, the queen after a swarm.  She often gets snapped up by a bird or other predator while she's away.  I don't think I am ready this year, and it's a bit late in the season, but next year, I am going to try to be prepared with nucs to fix things that go wrong.  With four hives and nearby friends with four and other friends with bees...it could be a really good and useful thing.  Next year!

So, the rest of the day.  We took a wine tour...I'd love to do that with a smaller crowd.  They have a still, one of only six legal stills in the state--so they make everything alcoholic.  It was very cool to see the wine tanks and then the barrels of aging wine.  And even better to TASTE some wine.  Ahem, ummm, and then buy a case of wine for me and a case (OK a six pack) of beer for Paul (but I thought of other people in my purchasing: bought a Reisling for when Paul's mom is here and a Chardonnay for my uncle since I know he doesn't like the pink, fruity stuff, and a mead for beekeeping buddies...so it was entirely charitable of me--sorry, Kirk, no $56.00 bottle of Whiskey for you).  But we must take visitors here to see it.  They have a restaurant and judging from lunch and the menu, it could be very good!

And then, we opened up hives (in the rain) and got the BEST lesson in keeping bees.  It was so cool!  We learned so much.  It's the first time I've had a lesson out with the bees.  I loved Bee School from the WCBA, and they had great pictures, which I think really helped me learn a lot for this year.  But opening the hives with a bunch of beekeepers...COOL!  One of these Fridays, I'd like to go with Ken to the State Hives and work them with him.  How much could I learn then?   Wow.



this is the Avalon Frame with the queen cells on the bottom...

Friday, June 11, 2010

honeybee updates


a beautiful frame showing honey build up--Chalice



Where's the Queen?--Dionysus
it's a bit of a blurry picture, but it shows what the queen looks like compared to the other bees in the hive.  

AVALON:  I don't know what is going on in Avalon.  There is a frame of capped worker-bee larva in one of the honey supers.  There should be no eggs in the honey supers, as there is a queen excluder placed between the brood (egg) boxes and the honey boxes, but there they are.  Along the bottom of the frame are a few queen cells...so now, this is a mystery for the beekeeper (guess, I'm not as smart as I thought I was):  Did they move an egg up there and create a queen for a swarm we missed?  Or, how did a queen get up there to lay eggs?  (it's not a laying worker, because they only lay drones, male bees, which are bigger bees and larve and so are capped differently--it would look like little bullet shapes sticking out of the comb).  In any case, there are no freshly laid eggs, so there is no one currently laying up there.  I dug down into the boxes and pulled out frames in the lower brood boxes to look for eggs...I couldn't find anything.  Which doesn't mean that they aren't there...just that I could not find them.  In the end, I closed up the hive the way I found it and left to ponder what I saw.  

BREE:  I peeked a bit in the lower brood boxes and couldn't find eggs there either, but I didn't look too deeply or bug them too much.  They still have not moved up into the honey supers, but judging from Avalon's behavior, maybe I don't want them up there just yet.  But they look healthy and happy, but for a few ants invading the second box...damn critters.  So, again, I will leave them to do what they need to do and peek at them in a few days to see what new is happening.  

CHALICE: (the swarm hive)  Look phenomenal!  She is building up beautiful honey, beautiful eggs, beautiful larva, beautiful everything!  They are building up the bottom box and staying there for the time being.  Then they will, I assume, then move up into the upper box.  They have beautiful brood patters, surrounded by honey and pollen.  The outer frames are being filled with honey.  They seem to be behaving just like the books tell you they will.  For the record, honeybees, for the most part, do not read the beekeeping books or behave like the books say they will.  

DIONYSUS: There are eggs and larva and lots of bees.  They have moved up into the second box, I think a bit prematurely, as they are building up in the middle of both boxes.  Hopefully, they will begin to build out in both of the boxes and fill up the brood chambers.  But they are laying and growing and looking good.  I will probably add some sugar water for them...they are empty, but still seem interested.  (Chalice is empty, but they don't seem interested anymore).

All in all the bees are...active.  We'll keep an eye on Avalon over the next few days and see if anything happens with eggs or queens in the honey boxes...and figure out what to do from there.  I figure I am learning: I put everything back together to think about what the best next step is.  Usually, I HAVE to DO SOMETHING right then....and then, too often, later I have to fix whatever it is I did.  

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Garlic Scapes


Garlic Scapes and Radishes.  

I feel like most people know what garlic scapes are, having been growing garlic for a few years now, but I find that that's not the case.  Garlic is planted in the fall and grows like an onion in the spring.  About this time, it starts throwing up scapes from the center of the plant.  When the scapes curl over, it's time to cut them off.  This allows the plant to focus on the root, where the garlic bulb is, instead of on the growing scapes.  

The scapes have a garlic-y/onion-y flavor and can be cooked into soups and sauces...pretty much in anything you would use garlic and onions in.  

My favorite thing to do with the scapes is to grind them in a blender with olive oil, kind of like one would do with basil to make pesto.  I then freeze the scape/olive oil blend in ice cube trays.  When they are frozen, I take them out and bag them, label them (when I'm being smart), and freeze them.  I use them mostly in pesto and pasta sauces, but I do throw them in soups and stews...and whatever strikes me.  I usually make a batch of pesto with basil and herbs and scapes, but for the most part, I make and freeze them separately and combine them from the freezer later.  (I make pesto the same way, blending in and turning it into cubes!)

So, buy some garlic this fall and plant it!  
It is so easy to grow
and who doesn't love garlic?!?

the girl with the dragon tattoo

This is not really farm news, but I've become mildly addicted to the Steig Larsson books.  The trilogy begins with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which has one of the most unique characters I have met in a long time.  The last book has just come out in hardcover and the first movie is due out on DVD in July.  The movie was great...though a warning: it is subtitled.



Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Life is Pretty Good

Well, I went out to feed the kids this morning (goats that is) and Annie's udder was swelled up like a balloon again...so back to milking.  This is crazy, the girl just won't give it up.  Which, I guess is a GREAT thing...but we're just not prepared for milking right now.  Actually, if she doesn't fill up so much that we have to milk her twice a day, we should be all right.  And we don't have any plans to be away any time soon...so we should be counting our blessings for more milk for soap, instead of being exasperated.  So, I guess when we are told we have great milk lines, they ain't lying.

And speaking of soap.  I got my soaps from theorganicgoat.com.  At first, I was a little overwhelmed by the scents, as I don't use anything with scents on my skin (I'm allergic to everything these days, thanks Mom, so I'm careful).  But the soaps were BEAUTIFUL!  The color, the design, the feel...and they came on wooden dishes and tied with a bow.  They would make wonderful gifts, especially for someone you don't know what to buy for.  I also bought a body mousse, which I am loving on my legs...the texture is soft and luxurious.  And I bought a liquid soap which is now by the kitchen sink and foams up better than any homemade liquid soap I have ever tried.  I am really excited for her deodorant when she puts that up for sale...but I won't go into my deodorant rant right now.  In any case...check out theorganicgoat.com!  It's beautiful stuff.

I spent the afternoon weeding the garden.  I let Troy out and put in my iPod.  I've never listened to music while gardening.  It always feels like I should be communing with nature when I'm out there and not drowning it out with technology.  But I had a blast.  I cranked up the music, sang along...and was really happy.  Of course, I was glad that we're so far back from the road that no one could see me!  I just hope they couldn't hear me!  And I'm glad no one stopped by for eggs while I was singing away--but Troy probably would have warned me...if I could hear him!

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Three Sisters

We are making another salad for tomorrow's lunches with the lettuce and herbs from our garden.  And tonight we are having fresh picked kale from the garden: kale with bacon.  Yum.  I love summertime and fresh greens.

And we have more planting to do: I was given some french tarragon and thyme plants by one of our lunch guests at work!  I'm hoping I can get it to take over the 'burial mound' (our leach field) so we won't have to mow up the hill of the mound.  Thank you, J.  And speaking of the mound, I tried planting some bachelor buttons around the Labyrinth, but nothing seems to be coming up.  I was hoping and am still hoping they'll survive: they come back every year and the honeybees love them!

The garden is looking good, though I have begun a battle against the cucumber beetle.  They LOVE my eggplant and pineapple tomatilla plants.  And are nibbling on other things in the garden.  This morning, I doused the plants with soapy water with a touch of garlic tincture and I am hoping that will make everything a bit less tasty.

We built another fenced area for another garden this weekend.  We planted it with sweet corns and winter squashes and a few drying beans around the edges.  When the corn is up, we'll plant climbing beans around them and complete the Native American Three Sisters: corn, squash, and beans.

honeybees on a ride

they do not like the vibrations of the truck.
they do not like ani
her angry voice howling
the injustices of the world.
nor do they like my chemical romance
the beating of the drums
like the footsteps of many men
or black bears too near the hive.
she does not like the voice of npr
or the classical epics
with the grating of the strings
the fierce whistle of the winds
they crying out of an aria.
she does not like it.
she huddles with her own
wild murmuring and waits
until she can be safe
in her darkness
with her own quiet voice
of tens
of thousands of little souls.

c. 2010

Friday, June 4, 2010

Wheat and Honey


As you can see, it is possible to grow wheat in the garden.  We will keep you posted on the wheat processing part of this project.  

We snuck a peek into the honey supers of Avalon and Bree.  Above is Bree (who swarmed earlier this season), there is no activity in the honey supers.  What you see up there is leftover comb from last year's honey.  

Below is Avalon.  As you can see, it's slow going, but the bees are up there and beginning to work the super.  We shall have to be patient.  

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Pictures: Chalice and Dionysis


Frame out of Dionysis.  Honey in the upper right corner.  The dark caps are bee larva!  Some of the open comb has bee eggs and larva.  The other side of this frame had a ton of newly laid eggs.  


Queen cell out of Chalice.  You can see the bee larva around the capped bee larva.  You might be able to see very small eggs if you enlarge the picture.  


Bees on new comb with fresh nectar.  

Chalice and Dionysis

We named the last hive.  Hive 'D' is now Dionysis...and we're told that we should only make meads and alcoholic beverages from the honey out of Dionysis.

We opened both of our new hives today.

Dionysis is our Nuc Hive we put in last week.  She seems to be growing and has new eggs, so we put a second box on her.  I think we might have put the box on a bit early, but it is better to put a box on too early rather than too late...so that is the theory that I am going with.  She looks good!  We are happy.

Chalice is our swarm hive.  She is doing GREAT!  She is full of honey and eggs.  We pulled one frame and found a Queen Cell on it, so at some point, the hive made themselves a new queen.  I can't be positive, but I think it is off of the frame I pulled from the smaller swarm that had a few eggs but had lost all of her bees and we combined with Chalice.  So, I think she is going to come through.  We added another box...and she definitely needed it--there is honey and eggs and pollen and all sorts of great things you want in a hive.  When they say that a swarm hive grows better and faster than any other new acquisition, it's obviously true.  She looks amazing.

Both hives still have their feeders on, but they are not eating that much of it anymore, so next time we open things up, we will probably pull what's left of the feed off.

We have some beautiful pictures, including some of the queen cell, but the computer/camera connection is acting up, so we need to troubleshoot that.  When we get pictures, we will post them.

For anyone interested, we have a couple of sponsor spots left in our Avalon hive.  We had dubbed our first hive our Community Hive and ten people kicked in to help us begin our beekeeping endeavors--our sponsors helped us to name her Avalon and got a 1 in 13 share of all the products we took from her.  It was a slow first couple of years, but Avalon is continuing to grow after a harsh first winter, and we are hoping to continue to watch her grow and produce...if we can get her through another winter, we should do really well next summer/fall--honey-wise that is.  Now that it is time to renew sponsorship of Avalon, we have dropped our number of shares in her to ten instead of thirteen.  It's $25.00 a year to join us...please let us know if you are interested.  We will invite on a first come, first serve basis.

Thank you everyone who rejoined us on the Avalon Adventure!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

May Totals

Eggs: 233
Milk: 69.5 ounces
Honey: 0
Goat total: 8
Chickens: 11
Roosters: 2
Baby Chickens: 20
Guinea Chicks: 2 (Ginny and Rosie)
Honeybees: a G-zillion
Dogs: 1
Cats: 4

Troy