Tag Archives: bee hives

Homestead Update 3/5/2017

5 Mar

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This week I planted some cold crops in my raised bed. The bed did so well last summer even with me neglecting it badly I decided to give the lettuce, broccoli and onions a try.

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I put together and painted some bee hive supers and assembled some frames. I even made some frames from scratch and they turned out really good. But, I have to say, if I can buy them from Mann Lake for 88 cents that is cheap enough not to make them myself.IMG_20170215_092921808_HDR

I saw this cardboard box on the side of the road near our house so I just had to stop and pick it up.

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Turns out, it was just filled with garbage! Oh well, you can’t find a prize every time.

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The wind blew our newspaper down the road and when I walked over to pick it up, I found this nice, Uncle Mike’s sidekick holster. Score!

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We spent the weekend in Memphis at the Peabody Hotel for a meeting I attended. While there we dined at Texas De Brazil. After consuming several pounds of grilled meats, I finished off my meal with Key Lime pie, vanilla bean ice cream, and coffee.IMG_20170302_201907071

Sweet Thing finished up with Pecan pie, ice cream, and coffee. If you go to Texas De Brazil, be sure to bring your appetite! Keep prepping everyone!

Homestead Update 2/14/16

14 Feb

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Today is Valentine’s Day and I hope you guys didn’t forget so you won’t have to sleep in the doghouse. I bought Sweet Thing some flowers, candy, and a mushy card. She said I did good!

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A few days ago, I was in my home office working on my income taxes. Yeah! Big Fun! Anyway, I heard my dogs start raising a ruckus and I knew someone was coming to the house. I went to the door and it was FedEx bringing my order from Mann Lake. He had six big heavy boxes and he asked where I wanted them. Fortunately, my pickup was in the driveway so I told him to put them in the cargo bed. That saved me from having to pick them up off of the ground myself, because did I mention they were heavy? The boxes were full of unassembled hive bodies and frames. I took the boxes over to my shop and today I knocked a few of them together for my swarm traps. It was too cold to do much more so I will wait until later to finish.

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Since it was cold, sleeting and dreary, I went inside and put together an AR-15 from a kit. That is something I always enjoy!

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You can go on-line at hundreds of sites and order everything you need to assemble a fully functioning AR-15, and FedEx will deliver it right to your door.

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Everything that is, except this little part right here. This is a stripped lower, and it has a serial number on it. Therefore, you must go to a licensed dealer and fill out a form 4473 so the ATF can find out where this gun is located and who purchased it. Someday they may want to confiscate all of our guns and it sure would be handy for them to have a master list of all the guns purchased since 1968 wouldn’t it? Oh, I don’t think they will have enough nerve to try it in the immediate future. They will have to go through a slow, gradual process of registration, taxation, forfeiture and regulation before they feel confident enough to try for full-fledged confiscation. I hope I am not around when that happens, it could get ugly in a hurry. I have enough to worry about with the declining dollar and the bloated national debt; not to mention our corrupt political system. I read a good account today in The Atlantic http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/04/a-guide-to-the-billionaires-bankrolling-the-gop-candidates/391233/ of all the billionaires that are contributing to all of the candidates for President. ALL of them are taking money from the elite, and you know those people are expecting some favors in return. All of the candidates are taking big money that is, except Bernie Sanders, the avowed Socialist. At least he has the dignity to admit what he is and not try to hide it like the rest of them do. Donald Trump is not taking Billionaire donations either, but I know he can be bought for the right amount. After all, he is THE deal maker and he is proud to admit it. It’s enough to make my head explode!

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Keep prepping everyone!

Homestead Update 1-31-16

31 Jan

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I am under my Doctor’s order to walk for 30-45 minutes every day. I don’t like exercise walking and I never have. It always seems like a colossal waste of time. The whole time I am walking I am thinking about all the other things I could be doing with my time. So, I decided since I HAD to walk, I would at least walk through the woods on the back of the homestead. I was walking down a deer trail and I saw this fresh buck rub on this cedar tree. I’ve always heard the larger the rub, the larger the buck. Well, this one must be a trophy because that small tree is between 3-4 inches in diameter.

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We are having some strange weather now. Last week the temperatures were in the teens with snow on the ground. Today the high was 74 degrees! I decided to replace this culvert that washed out a couple of months ago. The culvert ended up hung between two trees. I drug it back to where it needed to go.

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I placed it where I wanted it and covered it with some of the dirt I bought last summer.

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Last week I had to remove snow from the entrances of my bee hives. Today I noticed bees flying around all four of my hives. I lifted the tops and poured dry sugar on top of the inner covers. I hope they have enough honey to finish the winter, but if they don’t maybe they will eat that sugar.

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I finally took down this pressed fiber swarm trap out of a tree on the front of the homestead. I hate to admit it has been hanging there still, as it should have been removed the first of July. But surprisingly, the weather hasn’t affected it, and it seemed none the worse for being out in the weather for that long. I guess these traps are sturdier than I thought.

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This is a big pile of limbs, brush, and sapling trees that I cut down in the last two years. I noticed the pile was much smaller from settling down. I decided to use the front end loader on my Kubota to push the pile into a smaller concentrated pile. As I did, I saw a lot of nice compost underneath the pile. I was surprised those limbs were breaking down so quickly. I am not going to add any fresh limbs on the pile, I will just keep turning it over every so often. Maybe I will have some good compost I can use in the garden in a couple of years. So until next week, keep prepping everyone!

Homestead Update

8 Aug

I went to our local bee keepers meeting and asked questions about why my bees weren’t making honey. Apparently my hives are “honey bound”. My bottom deep super is full of brood, and the next super doesn’t contain any brood, it is all capped honey. The old-timer beeks said my queen doesn’t want to cross that capped honey so she is content to stay in the lower super and lay more eggs there. They suggested I place another super between the upper and lower supers. I did that as well as checker boarding the brood frames in the lower super and the new middle super which I added. Hopefully now the bees will think they have a lot of empty space to work with and they will get busy!

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I seem to have a lot of adult bees.

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I also have a good bit of old capped brood. I never did find the queen, and I didn’t see any small brood or eggs and that has me worried. I will check back in another week or so and see if I spot any new activity. I have a lot to learn about bee keeping. I should have done this a month ago but I depended on what I read in the books. According to the books, I am supposed to have two deep brood chambers topped by honey supers. Well, apparently my bees didn’t read the instruction manual! They stored an entire deep super of honey directly above their one brood chamber. I guess they felt like that was enough because they wouldn’t go up to the next super and store more. Some of the beeks suggested I take some of the honey out of the deep super to encourage them to replace it. I declined to do that, I want to be sure the bees have enough to survive the winter. If they do happen to make some more honey and store it in the empty medium super I placed on top, I might harvest some of that. Until then I will just let them keep what they have made so far for their own use.

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Sweet Thing went flea market shopping with her sister while I worked last Saturday. She brought home this nice piece of railroad iron I will use as an anvil. There is something nice and satisfying  about the sound of a hammer ringing off of a good piece of rail! I had looked at iron like this before when we were shopping together, but the price was always too high. She paid $9 for this and I said that was a price I would have paid myself. I put the rail to good use already; I used it to nail together the new frames I put in the new supers I just added to my hives.

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Last week while I was checking one of my fields, I rounded a corner on my motor cycle and flushed up 4 white rabbits. They took off in a flash before I could get a good look at them. I wondered if they were albinos or escaped tame rabbits but I couldn’t tell. This week when I approached that spot, I stopped my motor cycle and quietly walked around to where I spotted them and I managed to get up close to this one. Sure enough, it is a domesticated rabbit. It is mostly white with black ears, eyes and nose. Right after I snapped this picture, it took off into the weeds so they certainly aren’t tame anymore! Keep your eyes open everyone, you never know what you might see!

Another Swarm Trap!

28 Jun

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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.

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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.

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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!

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

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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!

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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!

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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!

Homestead Update

23 May

We had another cool rainy week around here. It is finally dry enough for me to go to work, just in time for the weekend! The weatherman is predicting rain everyday next week, I really hope they are wrong. I did have an interesting experience with my bees yesterday. I have been opening up at least one of my hives everyday for the past two weeks, without my protective gear and without incident. I have been refilling the entrance feeder with sugar water in my swarm hive everyday without incident as well. Today when I pulled the feeder out, the bees came out after me! A half dozen of them flew around my face and one stung me on the cheek. I finally managed to get the feeder refilled after 3 tries, and then I sulked away with my feelings hurt. The sting was no problem so I guess I am not seriously allergic to the stings. That’s good to know. I guess I am going to get a lightweight jacket and veil for quick checking on my bees. The president of my bee club says a sting on the eye can cause blindness and I can’t risk that so I better take precautions.

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I did some cleaning up and reorganizing in my shop. I went from the picture above to the one below.

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I still need more organization, but I have space enough to have a 4X4 wooden work bench now. I made one this week and I will show it to you next week after I get the wheels on it.

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I also built a screened wall in my new addition where I am storing my dirt bikes. The cats decided the seats on my bikes make a good place to sharpen their claws so I had to screen them out. They have already ruined the chairs in my man-cave, but I don’t need ruined seats on my bikes!

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I put a new carburetor on my Champion Generator. I left it full of gas over the winter and the carb was varnished over. I cleaned it up and the generator ran, but I couldn’t get the gas to stop leaking out of the carb. I ordered a new one from Amazon for $20 and after installation it runs perfectly again. Lesson learned!

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I found my first small pieces of Native American artifacts today!

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I also encountered this huge skunk in a field today. I’m glad I didn’t get sprayed! He was digging up insects and grubs to eat.

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I saw this on the road at an intersection and it turned out to just be a lug off of a semi-truck.

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I also found this piece of plywood on the shoulder. It is big enough to make two tops for my hives so it pays to keep your eyes open even if sometimes you just stop for a useless lug nut. Keep prepping everyone.