Category Archives: Bees

Lavender In Bloom

My sister sent me this meme yesterday.

I replied, “You know me well.” 🙂

Our lavender is blossoming right now.

It takes up a large portion of our prayer garden and is lovely in contrast with the red roses and the yellow evening primrose which are also in bloom.

The lavender is a favorite of the bees.

While the honeybees were indulging as well, the bumble bees were the ones that I could capture in my photos.

I do regret that there is no feature that allows me to share their wonderful fragrance with you over the internet.

Thanks for visiting.

Best Bees

Yesterday when my husband was doing some work with the bees, he called and asked me to share this message for him on my blog.

“The Carniolan honey bees (which are the breed we are raising this year) are the nicest bees.” In the past we have raised other breeds of bees and have found varying degrees of aggressiveness when working in the hives. He has not experienced any aggressiveness while working with these. According to this site their temperament is only one of the favorable traits of the Carniolan bees, but for us much of that remains to be seen. At this point we are pleased with our decision to keep this breed and if they survive though winter we will be thrilled.

Turning The Corner

As we turn the corner toward summer I’m going to back up into May and share some of the things that I didn’t get a chance to blog about as they were happening.

MOTHER’S DAY

Sunday, May 8th was the perfect day for the Mother’s Day picnic we had planned at the farm. Before going to the farm, I took a short walk in our back yard to see if the trilliums were coming up in the woods. My mom loved trilliums and each year on Mother’s Day I look for the trilliums because they are normally in bloom. This year they were not.

All of our spring blossoms are running about two weeks later than normal this year due to cool and wet weather conditions. Our cherry tree was full of blossoms the week of May 8th and buzzing with pollinators. Last year on April 21st I blogged that our cherry tree was blossoming, and we were worried about freezing temperatures that were in the forecast.

My two youngest daughters came out for the picnic. They brought me this t-shirt from all four of my girls.

Love you girls! 💞

RAISED GARDEN BEDS

I had mentioned in a previous post that we decided to plant some of our garden in raised beds this year. With prices skyrocketing, buying lumber to use as garden beds was not an option.

We decided to use something that we had on hand and were not using for anything else -barrels.

My husband cut the barrels into various sizes.

The portions that had a bottom in them he also drilled weep holes to allow for drainage.

We put paper bags on the ground before placing the barrel pieces in place. This will keep weeds from growing up around the garden beds. After we placed the beds in place we added a layer of pea gravel to help with drainage. We then added our soil mixture which included some topsoil and sand.

The tomatoes were planted deep in the barrel to help protect them from the elements.

They continue to grow upward, reaching toward the sun.

Marigolds are said to help protect against various pests so we planted some with tomatoes and peppers.

We also planted green bean, beet and carrot seeds – they have begun to sprout. Some of the beds are awaiting the arrival of our new strawberry plants.

OTHER GARDEN NEWS

The cabbage that we had planted in the ground, earlier in May, is looking good,

as are the potatoes.

This past weekend my husband finished planting tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. He has also planted sweet corn, a patch of buckwheat and a patch of alfalfa.

The garlic is up and looking good.

My husband finished up the blueberry patch. It is now robin-proof (we hope). Bring on the berries!

The apple trees blossomed and are now making fruit.

IRRIGATION

This pump is placed in the pond to pump water out. It is run by the windmill.

I don’t remember what day it was when my husband put the pump in the pond (sometime in the first half of the month). I do remember that, in my opinion, the water was not warm enough to be in.

I think my husband agreed.

One hose connects from the windmill to the pump. It pumps air into the pump when the windmill turns. Water comes out another hose that is connected to the pump. We run that hose into a tank like the one in the picture below.

These tanks are raised above ground level and a garden hose is connected to a spigot near the bottom of the tank. When we open the spigot gravity feeds the water though the garden hose, so we are able to water our plants.

BEES

We are not the only ones who have busy. The hives are all very active. After my husband removed the feeders and added new boxes, he said this is the nicest breed of bees he has ever worked with.

BEAUTY

When I left for my vacation the forsythia were still blossoming.

When I returned the lilacs were blossoming.

Their beautiful fragrance carried in the wind.

(I didn’t get a picture of them, but the trilliums were also blossoming at that time.)

My husband discovered these mushrooms growing near the prayer garden. While they look much like a morel, we are not mushroom savvy enough to try them. We decided just to let them be.

WISDOM

Lastly, I wanted to share this message. It’s what my sisters call tea bag wisdom. Some brands of herbal teas print inspirational messages on the tags that are attached to the tea bag. I received this message on my tea bag about a week ago.

Thanks for visiting.

Are you doing any gardening this year?

Are you ready for summer?

No Mow May

Our first dandelions have started to blossom so I thought it would be a good time to tell you about a pollinator conservation campaign that I recently learned about. It’s called No Mow May. According to Bee City USANo Mow May is a conservation initiative first popularized by Plantlife, an organization based in the United Kingdom, but which is gaining traction across North America. The goal of No Mow May is to allow grass to grow unmown for the month of May, creating habitat and forage for early season pollinators. This is particularly important in urban areas where floral resources are often limited.”  (Click link to learn more.)

Now I’m guessing that there are a whole range of responses to this – from people who would love any excuse to not have to mow the lawn for a whole month and those who will be happy not to spend the money on gas for the lawn mower, to those who would never consider not having the perfectly groomed lawn. Even if you are in the latter group the Bee City article is worth reading. It offers alternative ways to support pollinators such as planting flowering lawns (I love this idea), planting flowering trees and bushes or planting patches of native wildflowers. It also tells of a study done in Massachusetts that found that mowing every other week seemed to be as beneficial, if not more, than mowing every three weeks. That’s good news for those who, like me, think that letting the grass grow for a whole month is a bit too extreme – every other week’s not that bad.

Being a beekeeper, people often mention to me their concern about the decline of bees. However, they often don’t realize that honeybees are not the only pollinators that are in jeopardy. The difference is that honeybees are the pollinator that we humans attempt to manage. It’s not necessary to be a beekeeper to promote the wellbeing of pollinators. Simply creating a pollinator friendly environment will help.

Thanks for reading.

Time Is Flying

It’s hard to believe April is almost over already. This post contains some of the things that have happened in the past two weeks.

Chicks

After a week at the farm my husband decided it was time for the chicks to learn what farm life is all about. He opened up just one side of their pen so they could roam and learn to forage. It is amazing how they instinctually know how to find bugs and worms and grubs. Some breeds are said to be better at foraging than others. It’s a trait that we look for when choosing what breed(s) of chickens to raise.

It didn’t take long for them to spread out and begin scratching and pecking. They didn’t wander too far from their pen, or the coop and they mostly stayed close together or split into two smaller group.

They also learned quickly (within one day) how to find their way back into the coop which makes closing up the coop at night very easy.

They have been very entertaining to watch (Chicken TV). It’s always funny to see when one finds a big grub or worm and the rest of the flock begin chasing it to try to steal it away. At night they all huddle together in one or two of the nest boxes. It’s a tight fit but they seem to like it that way.

This year there was also a new star in the show. It was quite comical watching Ranger trying to wrangle those young chicks. I’m not sure what he was trying to do with them, and I don’t think he knew either. He would follow them trying to keep them all together as if herding them (he never tried to hurt them). If they went into the coop through the small chicken door, he would follow them in and as they exited through the big door, he was right behind them. If one or more of the chicks went under the coop, where he could not go, (it sits about 6 inches above the ground) we would hear BaROOOO. Again, I’m not sure of his intention. Was he trying to tell us that a chick was where it shouldn’t be or was he telling the chick to come out of there? I’ve not yet become fluent in beagle. LOL!

Bee Day

Our bees came last Saturday. This year we decided to try raising Carniolan bees, a breed we have not raised before. I didn’t go with my husband to pick up the bees or to the farm to hive them, so some of these pictures are from a couple years ago. We ordered three 3# packages like the ones in the picture below.

Most of the bees that you see in these clusters are worker bees and a few are drones. In the middle of the cluster is a small separate cage like the one in the photo below. Inside the cage is the queen bee and a couple of attendant worker bees whose job it is to feed and care for the queen.

Once the bees are in the hive my husband uses a nail to put a hole in the queen candy. That is the white stuff that you see in the end of the queen cage. He then places the queen cage in the hive. Over the next few days some worker bees will eat a hole in the queen candy that is big enough for the queen to get out of the cage. The reason for leaving the queen in the cage is that the bees will stay where the queen is and there is less chance that the colony will abscond from the hive.

This year rather than feed sugar water my husband had some frames of honey that he had saved from last year’s hives. Each new hive was started out with a couple of frames full of honey for food.

It was Wednesday before the weather warmed up enough for the bees to come out of the hive.

These pictures (above and below) were taken on Thursday.

Today, Friday, my husband opened the hives to be sure the queens were out of their cages. In two of the hives the queen was out, and all was well. In the third hive the queen was still in the cage and many of the workers were still trying to free her. She was alive so he opened the queen cage and released her into the hive.

First Flowers

We began seeing our first blossoms this week.

These mini daffodils are always the first to open.

Some of the larger daffodils have begun to open as well.

The chives are not blossoming yet, but I could begin harvesting them any time.

These primroses have begun to blossom – I do hope the chickens leave them alone.

I spotted this crocus in bloom. Last year we had more crocuses, but this is the only one I have seen so far.

The forsythias are taking their time but one bush has a few flowers that opened this week.

Tie Dye

One of the things I have have been doing is sorting through my clothes and getting rid of some that, for various reasons, I no longer wear. I came across a pair of white denim capris that I haven’t worn in sometime because they had some stains on them. They still fit and were in good condition, so I decided to tie dye them make them new again.

I’m quite happy with the way they turned out. Quite stylish.

Thanks for visiting.

Do you find that time is flying by?