We have our first 2019 swarm capture! Swarm might be an overstatement, but while we were adding and removing supers yesterday, Hubby went to grab some frames from a hive I’d baited with Swarm Commander and found a fat, active queen with a handful of bees in the center of the brood box. We’d just split a hive, so we ended up doing a newspaper introduction to the queenless hive as the poor girl didn’t have enough attendants to get her through a 38 degree night. Hubby just took a peek in the hive, and all looks good. He didn’t remove any frames, but the bees are very calm and clearly bees have broken through from the very full bottom box to where their new sovereign is housed.
Hubby purchased two Rapid Bee Feeders to try, so we gave that hive and a weak hive one each. We like the Pro Feeders, but we’ve also experienced some robbing with those when we’ve used them in a weak hive during a dearth. It’s tough to keep the girls fed when temperatures fluctuate as much as they are currently doing. Our goal is to build strength first and foremost this year as we have to get the hive beetles under better control than last year. We’ll move hives out of the lower apiary and into a sunnier area just as soon as we can install more hive stands. As any beekeeper knows, there are more things on the to-do list than there are hours to get them to-done at this time of year!
As for storms: a couple of months ago, we had such a loud clap of thunder that the dog sat on my lap shaking like a leaf for almost an hour afterward. The weekend before last, Hubby and BIL wandered around in the woods and came across a red oak that has clearly been struck by lightening, probably that night. One piece of the tree is splintered, but still attached, while other “splinters” are in concentric circles around the tree. The largest of these is about 12 feet long and was flung 100 yards into the woods. That’s certainly a tree we need to keep an eye on and not one to take a walk close to on a windy day.
The recent floods have also moved sandbanks around in the creek and washed soil away from tree roots, so there are a couple of large trees down in the creek that also look precarious. Even so, it was such a joy to walk the property boundary and watch the dog play in the creek yesterday. Sometimes we have to just put work aside and enjoy our home.
Talking of work, in anticipation of the new raised beds this spring, I’ve filled the greenhouse with seed trays! I have a few types of heirloom tomatoes and some heirloom carrots. The carrots are in a grow bag as I anticipate them being ready to eat before the raised beds are ready. The strawberry plants are in bloom, the blueberry bushes have been relocated to a better spot, and boysenberries have been added to that bed. We have a new pear tree to replace the one that died, although we don’t know which one survived as its tag disappeared. We had two varieties so that they could cross-pollinate — now we either have two different trees or two Kiefer pears. We’ll figure that out sooner or later.
Other than that, we’ve been busy with teacher stuff! Oh – we’re also making progress on the workshop. Did I already blog about that? Looking back, I guess not! I’ll snap some more pictures and blog about that next time we have a sunny weekend.
It’s amazing what a difference both of us living here makes. We’re able to accomplish so much more and I’m already envisioning jars of fresh honey and baskets of tomatoes in May. Of course, we’re also both happier living in the same city. Eighteen years and one day since we met and we still love spending time together –life really is good!