Friday, June 24, 2016

June 22nd: Bee Inspection and a Happy Discovery

I decided to make a quick bee check before we took new baby Jude's siblings for a visit. Good news -- Queen Rachel is finally mated and laying. As soon as I saw a frame with brood (capped and uncapped) I closed up the hive. Better to let her just do her thing. There is lots of activity in both Bianca and Anya's hives with lots of capped honey, so hopefully we will have a real honey boom for the harvest. It will be interesting to see how it differs from last years honey. I still have two jars so a taste comparison will be fun. Every season is different and all the rain in May affected the locust -- there wasn't much so that will not be in the honey. But I've seen the bees on the lavendar and the white clover so they'll be adding to the wildflower mix. Can't wait to taste! I added an additional box to Bianca's kingdom so both she and Anya are now five stories high. Rachel's is only three, but having no laying queen in there for weeks slowed everything down so we aren't likely to get much honey from that hive.

Stay tuned for news about the honey harvest.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Grandbaby 24 Makes His Appearance on June 21st

His fan club is thrilled! Baby Jude is the tie-maker giving us 12 grandsons and 12 granddaughters. He adds another flower to Grandma's garden. We are thrilled!

Lots of hair and alert as can be at only hours old.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

A Poem for All My Little Bird Watchers

Cardinals and sparrows don't share well. 
I was cleaning off my desk today and came across a poem I obviously started when I was recovering from my rotator cuff surgery. How could I tell? Easy. I obviously wrote it with my left hand when I wasn't allowed to move my right arm -- at least the beginning of the poem. I apparently added some stanzas later after I could lift my arm and use my right hand again because those were in cursive.

I truly enjoy writing little poems for my grandkids. This one is about the birds that come to my feeder. How I love them. We took the feeders down for the summer. We start to attract bears in the late spring and that means they have to go. We don't want any bears near our bee hives!

So here it is:

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

June 7: Bee Check

Update: June 9th -- I added another box to Q. Anya's hive so it's no 5 supers high. The bees were bringing in only a little pollen at all three hives which made me wonder if they can carry pollen and nectar at the same time. Will have to do some research on that. Maybe if their nectar stomachs are full they can't carry the extra pollen weight.

Beautiful sunny day, light breeze and the bees were as calm as could "bee". All three hives:

  • bringing in nectar and pollen -- some pumpkin colored pollen
  • no ants in any hive
  • did not see the queens but Q. Bianca and Q. Anya are both laying well
Bianca is making brood like crazy. In fact, so much brood that we took two frames and moved them to Rachel's hive because there is still no laying queen there. The bees there aren't doing as well bringing in nectar. It will be interesting to see if this is a low/no honey season like two years ago because of the bad Spring weather. The bottom box is pretty empty so we aren't adding anything there. There were a lot of drones in both Bianca and Anya's hive. So we need to keep a close watch on them to see signs of swarming, although there were no queen cells in Q. Bianca's hive.

Both the queen cells we saw in Rachel's hive hatched so we probably have a queen there who hasn't mated and started laying. But that hive is going gangbusters collecting nectar and capping it. So with the extra frames of brood, that hive should do well as long as its soon queen right. We found an uncapped queen cell in Anya's hive with a good sized larva so we moved that frame to Rachel's cell. If there's a queen in the hive they may not cap it.

We decided to put a new box on Anya's hive since we saw a queen cell there and not many empty frames. We didn't look in the very bottom box though so that may have been empty. Didn't see any signs of backfilling so, even with the queen cell, the hive doesn't look like it's getting to swarm imminently. We'll keep a close watch.

We only spent about 45 minutes checking and all looks good.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Have you ever tried Kimchi?

Kimchi is a Korean dish reputed to be excellent for detoxing your body and improving your gut flora.
I read years ago that all disease starts in the gut, so what we eat makes a tremendous difference to our overall health. I haven't tried this yet, but next time I go to the market, I'm getting everything I need to prepare it. Here's the recipe which sounds pretty easy.

4 cups of water
4 tablespoons sea salt
1 head cabbage, shredded
1 cup daikon radish grated or 1 cup asparagus cut into one-inch pieces

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

May 24: Still No Laying Queen Rachel

Gorgeous day today, nice and warm with slight breeze -- perfect weather for a bee inspection. We only examined Queen Bianca's hive and what will be Queen Rachel's. Still no laying queen in Rachel's hive but two queen cells -- one in the middle of a frame (a supercedure cell) and one at the bottom (usually swarm cells, although this hive can't possibly be getting ready to swarm). All the brood we put in ten days ago has either hatched or is now capped.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

A Rainbow Kind of Day...

...dark clouds and rain one minute, brilliant sun the next. And what does that mean?