The temperatures have been unseasonably warm the past 3 weeks so we are having a false Spring. When this happens, we always get another hard freeze after the fruit trees have bloomed out so we will have no locally grown fruit this year. The daffodils are starting to bloom, the trees are budding out and the forsythia is blooming. This is 2-3 weeks too early for here. It has been so warm my bees have been really flying! They are not just cleansing, they are foraging and bringing in pollen. I plan on adding some sugar water to the feeders next week so they don’t starve. I went into Winter with 5 hives, but now I am down to 4 hives.
This is the dead hive. I was one frame short in the lower hive body so when I placed the medium super on top of it, the bees drew out the comb to fill in the space anyway. The comb just hung down from the frame above it.
I set up 7 hives in anticipation of swarm season and I will add 3 more hives next week. I am tired of the grass growing up around the hives so I put down a layer of landscape cloth before I set the hives.
I will come back soon and add some pine bark mulch on top of the fabric to hold down the grass.
I took this picture of a tree outside of one of my farmer’s shop.
That is what a 20 year old crepe myrtle looks like if it hasn’t been butchered back to keep it short. I really like the look of that trunk with the bark peeled off, that tree has a lot of character.
I used my front end loader and pushed up a pile of old limbs and I discovered this really nice looking composted material on the bottom of the pile. I flipped it over with the old compost on top of the fresher limbs on the bottom. I think in a couple of more years, I can get some good usable compost from the bottom of the pile. I also uncovered a big brown snake under the pile. I’ll have to start watching out for them now since the weather is so warm.
I put together this 12 inch bandsaw from Harbor Freight. And like anything from HF that has a lot of parts, following the instructions is a bit problematic because they are obviously written by some Chinese dude with only a rudimentary grasp of the English language. You really have to use your imagination and judgment to put this together. But after a little trial and error, I only had one small screw hole that had been drilled incorrectly, but I redrilled the hole myself so problem solved! I’ll have another post next week, until then keep prepping everyone!
I thought my psoriasis was getting much better until I went out to look at a cotton field and walked around for a couple of hours and got hot and sweaty.
Now I have this red, itchy rash again! Oh well, I guess Sweet Thing was right, it is too soon to get out and work. Man, I hate it when she’s right!
We were out looking at some cotton with a new disease for our area called Target Spot. If you look at picture closely, you can see a pile of leaves on the ground underneath the cotton plants. The leaves are supposed to still be on the plant, but the disease infected them and caused them to prematurely defoliate. That caused the cotton bolls to be underdeveloped and probably not be harvestable. There is really not a good cure for this disease, so that is just one more problem to worry with!
I did manage to check my bee hives again, and they were doing quite well. We harvested 4 frames of honey and ended up with almost a gallon of honey. Sweet!
My bees have been searching for water and I noticed them drinking out of this bucket I placed under the dripline of my barn. I use this water for watering my plants when the bucket catches some rain. I sliced some 1/4 inch slices of swimming pool noodles and placed the slices in the bucket for the bees to land on and get a drink. So far, they are not using the slices, they still land on the bucket and walk down the side to the water.
I filled up this plastic tray with rocks and fresh water and they started drinking from it as well. I guess I am going to start feeding them sugar water again. I have been looking around for plants that might be blooming to provide forage for the bees and I see very little available. I guess we are in the late season dearth. Some of the fall plants such as Goldenrod will be blooming soon, but until then they could use some supplemental feeding I think.I promised myself I would take better care of my bees this year. Last year I neglected them due to beginners ignorance, and this year I was unable to tend to them for 8 weeks due to my allergic reaction and psoriasis. Well, even though I missed the summer caring for them, there is no reason to neglect them now. Hopefully next year will be the year they finally improve and excel. Until then, keep prepping everyone!
The weather has finally taken a turn for the better, and the area farmers have done lots of work this week. Now we are wanting some rain!
Some of my regular readers might remember I plant test plots of seeds from the major seed companies to test out their newest varieties in an ‘on-farm’ environment. One of the seed reps showed up to help plant the plots with this rig and it really sped things up. After the planter travels through the field and plants 12 rows of each variety, the remaining seeds have to be sucked out of the seed hoppers before the next variety can be poured in. He had two vacuums and a generator mounted on the back of his ATV so he could move it right down the turn-row to follow the planter. It sure made the job easier!
I took off early one day to attend the local bee club meeting, and the person selling nucs of bees delivered them to the meeting. You can’t see the picture very well, but when he opened the back of his truck, he was surrounded by a cloud of bees! I told Sweet Thing “I’ll bet you’re glad we came in my truck instead of your SUV aren’t you?” She said “yeah, I wouldn’t want those loose bees inside with me.”
I put my two nucs in the bed of my truck and you can see the stragglers trying to get into the box.
The next morning, I opened the box and this is what I saw, hundreds of beautiful bees!
I didn’t even use smoke on these bees they were so calm. I just lifted them up out of the cardboard nuc, and set them down inside my hive. I have a sugar water feeder on top of the brood super but they are not utilizing it hardly at all. I think I will take it off this weekend and put another brood chamber on top of that one. Since these are 8 frame hives, they will only have three new frames to work with in the lower chamber. I checked them today on the fourth day and they seem to be content.
Shortly after a rain shower, you can see them still coming outside to go do some bee business. More to come tomorrow. Keep prepping everyone!