Saturday, September 12, 2009

transition and growth

aquamelon, red - green okra and pablano peppers

good news folks - rain has blessed bastroptown. the rain began early last eve and continued on through the night til near 6am. i woke several times through the night falling quickly back to sleep thanks to the gentle pattering of rain upon the roof above.

this morning's stroll about the yard was mushy and green. the bees were sticking close to home yet out and about ready for the sun's breaking through. there is action now around hive 2. more action than i have seen in a while. i'm making efforts to leave the hive be for a few days before peeking in. best to wait for a sunny dry day so as to disturb the hive's inner temperature least.

i have been freezing the frames that were plagued with wax moth larvae - freezing knocks them out but preserves the food stores the bees have worked so hard to collect. some of the frames were so plagued that i think better to freeze, then scrape the whole lot out before offering it up to the hive. better a fresh start in some cases. for now they work with fresh wax frames in a fresh super.

i did return the first cycled frames to the hive yesterday. i checked in on the queen and noticed that she had not yet made it out of her traveling package. the candy had not been eaten through enough so i pulled it out and gave her a little nudge out. i am going to give her a week to see how things go. i may then pull bees in a super from hive one to combine with hive two. there is not a whole lot of time for the queen to build up the necessary numbers to survive the winter so i plan to do what i can to help. we are in a milder climate and we are heading towards one of our productive flow periods so i remain hopeful. fingers are crossed.

in other news -
i have removed the shade covers from each of the beds as the temperatures have been hanging in the mid 80's and low 90's. a more than fair relief from our too hot summer.

i pulled apart a garden bed this early morning. i harvested the one remaining aquamelon perfectly ripe and ready for the taking. the greens and vines and weedy bits made their way into the chickeny coops where the girls quickly made way to investigate. nothing like a weekend treat to start the day. the treats included watermelon and muskymelon vines, grasses, purslane, chard, parsley and spent eggplants.

i've now hoed and turned the soil in the bed. i will next add a good dose of compost before replanting. that's all part of today's plan. i'm thinking this may be a good root bed. i will go in with a garden fork to make sure the soil is good and broken up way down deep before dropping seed.

a new group of cutie chickies arrived yesterday - 16 in all. sweet little beings who will join the flock in the metal shed brooder. this group includes a few golden laced wyandottes, australorps, buff minorca and speckled sussex.

time to get out and about - i will be back later with the days news

4:45pm

- bee update hive 2
  • the big split and mix
  • i spoke with a bee sage/mentor this afternoon. it was suggested that i go forward and make efforts to pull bees from my strong hive to add to my weaker hive. the sooner the queen is given support by young nurse bees the better. the bees in the existing hive may not be nurser bees so better to move a new group in as soon as possible.
  • the key to the mixing - be absolutely sure that you do not pull the queen when pulling bees from one hive to the other.
  • i moved one super full of bees and brood from strong hive 1 to weaker hive 2. i placed newspaper between the two supers with small cut slits in it in order to allow the bee pheromones to mingle while the bees slowly eat away at the paper. the theory is that the by the time the bees actually mix - having eaten enough paper to pass through - the pheromones have mixed and each group then considers each other family. hive 2 accepting the transplants from hive 1 and the bees from hive 1 accepting the queen in hive 2.
  • the bee sage/mentor believes the above should do the trick - fingers crossed this works
- bee update hive 1
  • as noted above, i robbed a super full of bees, honey and brood from hive 1 for hive 2
  • in turn i added a new super filled with new waxed frames
  • hive 1 is really doing well - loaded with honey and brood - i may be able to pull a harvest this fall which is very exciting.
  • the creatures were most agreeable - not a single sting to report
- garden update
  • i turned compost and composted manure into one of the garden beds watered it in and planted beets - shallots - pickling cukes and winter savory
  • i stopped by the locally owned garden nursery and picked up some herby plants - lemon balm, german chamomile and pineapple sage. i placed those kiddos into the keyhole garden in and around the carrot and onion rows- should be nice once they build growth - maybe we'll get some flowers for the fall
  • i put in a coral vine along the fence line. this is a flowering vine that bees simply adore. it's a summer bloomer and from all those i've seen around incredibly prolific.
  • i moved an elderberry into the front walkway garden. this gives it better soil and room for stretching.
  • i trimmed up the spent sage flowers - should be plenty of time for several new flushes before season's end
the chicky-girls were treated with wee little melons pulled from the spent vines from the west side garden. they were more than pleased to help clean up.

the day has been misty and mild - the mosquitoes are out with a vengeance - but just the same i am happy for the cool air and the drops of rain. i hope to spend the rest of the day reading. i have a lot to learn about the bee babies and other varied topics. so the plan is to get comfortable in the homey sweats, find a nice spot on the sofa and play like a student of nature.

cheers

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