Happy Independence Day!

4 Jul

fourth

As you are celebrating this Independence Day, I hope you are spending it with family and friends. I also hope you take a moment to reflect on what this holiday once actually meant. If you have not studied any old boring history concerning the hopes and dreams of our founding fathers, I wish you would take some time to do so. You will be shocked and appalled how far away we have diverged from their ideas. You can also read some writings from them and you will see they warned us about exactly what is occurring now, and how they urged us to be vigilant and prevent our current problems. Sadly, we have allowed our freedoms to slip away in the name of political correctness. God Bless America!

IMG_20150703_185850435

One of our local volunteer fire departments sells smoked pork shoulders to raise funds and we always get two to carry to the family get-together. I decided to try it out last night to make sure it was ok. I had a pulled pork sandwich with home-made slaw and a cold Sam Adams. That was mighty tasty, I might do that again tonight!

IMG_20150704_102543989

Even though it is a holiday, our local farmers market was open today. They had a big crowd of venders and buyers too. I bought some nice sweet corn to eat over the next few days. Sweet Thing doesn’t eat corn so it is all mine! BAH-HA-HA-HA!! Have a safe and happy holiday ya’ll!

A Bee Question

3 Jul

I have a bee question this evening. We have had two days of cloudy, rainy, stormy weather and my bees are in a bad mood.

IMG_20150703_155249931

I have stopped feeding my bees with sugar water, but I noticed them working my hummingbird feeder today. I thought I might help them out a bit.

IMG_20150703_173934348_HDR

I had a planter bottom I bought with the intention of giving my bees plain water. So today I put it out filled with sugar water and they went right to it. I have read not to do this because it encourages robbing behavior but this is 100 yards from my hives so I don’t understand the problem.

IMG_20150703_175343001

I saw a few bees drowned in the first container, so I put out this one with more rocks to keep them out of the water.

IMG_20150703_175634526_HDR

I noticed after they filled up with the sugar water, they flew up to the tree leaves right above the feeders for a few minutes before flying away. I wonder what they are doing? Drying their wings, cleaning their feet or just generally getting their act together? Who knows?

IMG_20150703_175224524

While I was standing there watching the bees, the hummingbird was able to get back to the feeder without the bees being in the way. I was standing about 4 feet away from the feeder when I took this picture, that’s really close to a hummingbird! Keep prepping everyone!

Another Swarm Trap!

28 Jun

IMG_20150616_171028814_HDR

This is my box style swarm trap hanging in a tree last Thursday. It must have been hot in that box, they had a small beard of bees on the outside. Sweet Thing and I went over about dark and picked it up yesterday.

IMG_20150628_140026139

I sat the trap on top of their new hive home and let it sit overnight. After church we went out to cut them out and it still must have been hot in that trap, there was a big beard on the outside! There were 6 really nice pieces of comb drawn out and attached to the lid of the trap. The comb had a good bit of uncapped honey stores, but I didn’t see any brood yet. We did a cut out and placed them in the new hive. The bees were so nice and calm, I didn’t even put any smoke on them. After we put the comb in the hive, I shook out as many of the bees into the hive as I could. Then I just set the trap down in front of the hive and it took about 30 minutes for all of the stragglers to make their way into the hive. I really hope this swarm stays!

IMG_20150627_143247124

You probably have trouble seeing it in this picture, but our lawn has a lot of white clover in it in this area. As I was mowing Saturday, I stopped and looked before I went over it and I saw dozens of bees working in the clover. I can’t run over those bees! So I just mowed around all the clover patches. I told Sweet Thing if she wanted the patches mowed she could go out about dark and mow after the bees quit foraging. She just gave me a really strange look, I didn’t quite know how to interpret it. What do you think it might have meant? Keep prepping everyone!

IMG_20150623_134438147_HDR

Oh, speaking of prepping, I found this can of fruit cocktail in the pantry and the expiration date was June 2012. I decided to take them for my lunch and give them a try anyway. They tasted just fine! They didn’t have any funny taste or smell, although the color may have been slightly pale. Other than that, the can was just fine. So just because something is a little out of date, don’t automatically discard it without opening it up and checking it out. I have several nice posts in my head to go along with the pictures I take everyday, but somehow I just can’t seem to find the time to type them out. More to come.

Swarm Trap Failure!

26 Jun

IMG_20150613_082403558_HDR

This is a picture inside my third swarm trap capture. There are not a lot of bees in the picture, there were twice that many on the lid of the trap and lots more circling around in the air. You can also see that beautiful, pristine, white comb they drew out. Sweet Thing and I cut out that comb and put it in a frame using rubber bands. I put it in a hive and shook as many bees into the hive as I could. We stood and watched for an hour and most of the bees went right inside the hive just as I wanted. I peeked back inside about dark and they seemed to be just fine. I looked in the next evening and Poof! THEY WERE ALL GONE!!! Not a single bee remained. I was really POed let me tell you. That night I went online and did some research and discovered it is not uncommon for a swarm to leave a new hive so I didn’t feel as bad after that. I read some suggestions to leave the swarm in the trap long enough for the queen to lay some eggs and hatch some brood in the comb so they will have more of a reason to stay. I have a fourth swarm in a trap in Missouri I planed on bringing in this evening, but it rained right where I need to go get the trap so I will have to wait a day or two. They have been in the trap at least 12 days as of today so they should be taking care of business. I have been having a problem with my two nuc hives as well. Oh, they have filled up the two deep brood chambers really well. They are so heavy I can hardly pick them up! One of the upper frames was completely full of honey on both sides of the frame. I decided it was time to add my medium super to the hive. After one week I checked it and the bees were walking around on the frames, but they had not drawn out even a tiny bit of comb, much less stored any honey. Again I went online and did some research and got some suggestions. The simplest fix was to try removing the queen excluder and spraying the foundations with sugar water to get the bees interested in the foundation. We shall see if that works. The next step might be to separate the two deep supers and place the new medium super between them for a week. Then if they start working it, I will move it back up to the top. I hope I get this figured out soon, I want those bees to make some honey! More to come!

Happy Father’s Day!

21 Jun

fathers-day-2015

Sweet Thing and I would like to send out our Love to all the Dads on this special day. To all the Fathers out there, new and old, we wish you all a Happy Father’s Day! On this special day give your Dad a call or better yet go visit him, you never know when it will be too late and you will find yourself wishing you had just one more day with him.

Workweek Update

20 Jun

Let’s see if you might find anything interesting about my travels last week.

IMG_20150604_133338543

These old cars are sitting in the backyard of a house on the edge of a field I check. I asked the man what he intended to do with them. He said he was going to get a couple of them fixed up and running.  That was over twenty years ago when he told me that and they are still sitting there! That’s just typical of us men and our “big boy toys” isn’t it?

IMG_20150604_120701269

I found my usual assortment of sharp, rusty metal junk I pick up to avoid someone having a flat tire.

IMG_20150604_121036634_HDR

I found these teeth on the ground. I don’t think they were human, they didn’t have any gold fillings at least!

IMG_20150605_084435378

I saw this painted turtle, and you can’t tell from the picture, but he is almost 12 inches from nose to tail. That is huge for a painted turtle! He acted like he was supposed to act. When I approached he just went into his shell and sulled up and didn’t run all over the place like that racing turtle I encountered last summer!

IMG_20150617_092300964

I also encountered this huge soft-shelled turtle. She must have been 18 inches from nose to tail! She was digging a hole to lay her eggs so I snapped my picture and moved on so as not to disturb her anymore.

IMG_20150615_102447270

I see several nice gardens like this one as I travel around. Someday I will have time for a garden like this one. Until then, how is your garden growing?

Bee Day!

19 Jun

Last week for the monthly area bee keepers association meeting we met on a Saturday morning and went to inspect some bee hives at one of the older members homes.

IMG_20150606_103937589_TOP

He said he was under Doctor’s orders not to pick up the hives anymore. I think he just wanted us to be there to provide some free manual labor to pick up and move the hive bodies as he inspected them.

IMG_20150606_105127592

This is a really nice frame of capped brood surrounded along the top with capped honey. That is what a frame looks like when you have a good, healthy Queen!

IMG_20150606_103741134

I was being nosy and checking out his garden and grape vines while I was there.

IMG_20150605_203357466

After we inspected the hives, we met back at an area community center and had hot dogs and hamburgers for lunch. Sweet Thing bought these cute cupcakes for our local baker. They resembled little bees sitting on top of natural bee hives. They were a big hit with the group!

IMG_20150609_191253605

I caught my second swarm of bees last week. This swarm went into a box trap with 2 empty frames and they drew out both frames with wax and had some capped brood in less than 10 days! Our neighbor came over and watched while we transferred the swarm over to a hive and he was astonished at how docile they were. After we finished with the new hive we went and opened one of my older hives that started from a nuc 6 weeks ago. I was pulling the frames up and showing him things and he said why aren’t they attacking us? He thought when you messed with bees, they just went crazy attacking and stinging! He said he might get bees of his own someday. We might have a new convert!

IMG_20150605_101631744

Some new bee hives showed up around one of the fields I check this past week. There were about 30 of these fancy, peaked roof hives. I have never seen professional hives look this nice and pretty so this must be an amateur like me, only with a lot more hives!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 289 other followers