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.