My husband went to a class about producing queen bees on Saturday, and came back talking about a queen castle. Of course, I had no idea what he was talking about, but now I do. A queen castle is an oversized bee box with entries on every side. There are slots on the inside that allow you to divide the box into four segments, each of which is accessible from a separate entrance. It’s probably a whole lot easier to look at the picture from the link above than to follow anything I might describe! I’d show you the inside, but I forgot to take a picture before we put it in use.
As this is a queen castle, I wanted to paint it in a way that was fit for a queen — or for multiple queens. For me that meant gold paint. I really like the way all four sides turned out, but the design with the honeycomb is definitely impractical for frequent use. I love it, but I used an entire tube of paint and it took far more time than I really had to spend on it. Still, it stands out and it was both fun and relaxing.
We decided to label each entry to make talking about what’s going on with each section a little easier. Now that we have pretty much everything painted for this year, we’ve decided to color code the boxes when we add or repaint, also to make communication clearer and easier.
The first of the new bees will be here Saturday evening, and hubby is out setting up hives at new locations that are still close enough to home for us to maintain them, but far enough away to minimize competition for resources. We’ll need to drive back and forth from the farm and home next week so that we can keep checking on the new-bees. It would have been a little easier had they arrived on their original due date, but nature has its own time table and we are learning to be flexible.
Another thing we are trying this year is planting vegetables in straw bales. If this works, we’ll plant our first veggies at the farm this way. We may even try moving these bales to the farm at some point, but I suspect that will be impractical. It will take us a while to soften up the packed clay and condition the soil on our future garden plot, and this appears to be a solution. I don’t want to go a entire summer without fresh tomatoes, peppers, or squash, especially now that I know how easy it is to make and can salsa!
Last week was also the week that our 43 trees arrived from Arbor Day, so I spent two evenings planting trees in pots and setting them up where they will get enough sun and plenty of water from the sprinklers. The daylillies are burgeoning and the trees I am growing from seed are still hanging in there, although my tomato seedlings are currently bigger than my magnolia seedlings. In retrospect, having to make multiple trips to and from the farm is not such a bad thing as we are rapidly running out of space to store all the things that are sooner or later heading south!