Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Trying The Bee Thing Again

This was our first honey harvest in 2014

Pretty great for a couple of novice bee keepers.

When we purchased our house in December of 2013, 
the old owners agreed to leave their hive of bees behind.
I spent a lot of time reading and researching bees during that spring and summer.

The husband and I really didn't do anything that first year 
but add a honey super and keep our fingers crossed.
Boy did we luck out!
The first harvest was a huge success!

Since then not one drop of honey has made its way through the extractor.

The next spring when I went to see how the bees had survived the winter I was shocked and saddened to see a frame full of dead bees.

After our harvest the bees failed to make enough honey
to sustain themselves through the winter.

Thankfully we had ordered another hive through our local farm store with plans to start another colony.

They arrived via mail buzzing happily away!

The hubby added them to their new home.

All went well until I went to check the new hive.
I wanted to make sure the queen bee had settled deep into the frames, ready to start her reign.
Sadly we had forgot to make sure the plug was out of the queens cage.
She had no way to escape.
She had died.

I scrambled to find another queen!
It was imperative to find a replacement before the hive decided to swarm in search of another queen.
I called all over the United States looking for her majesty.

The new queen arrived in all of this fanfare.
It was also the birthday of the queen of England
Hence the name Queen Elizabeth.

I released her into the hive,
fingers crossed that the bees would decide to accept her.

After checking a week later I could see new cells that the queen was fertilizing.
I was so excited to have a honey harvest that fall.

But for some explained reason the population of bees kept declining.
The only thing left in the hive were drone bees.
No honey again!

I placed an order with the same farm supply store for another colony to be delivered the next spring.

When spring arrived the date for the bees approached.
UPS sent me an email that they had been shipped.
I waited and waited.
I could track the shipment online.
The bees had never made it past a pickup point in Tennessee.
It took some phone calls but I found out when they arrived at that facility the hive was dead.
The "bee farm' didn't have enough bees to replace the order.
They would be refunding my money.

I called around to try and find another hive.

With the decline of so many hives the last few years
bees were hard to find.

The hubby and I just decided we would have to wait until the following year and try again.

The husband was telling all of this to a co-worker.
The co-worker said his brother was a bee keeper.
It just so happened he was getting ready to split a hive.
His brother was nice enough to give us his split hive for free.
We just had to hope that a new queen cell would produce the queen to reign over this hive.

Let me tell you from the get go this colony of bees is mean!
I have been stung twice!

But I am happy to report this colony made it through the winter!
(Maybe from their meaness!)

This past weekend the husband and I put on a small honey super.

I sure am hoping we can have our first batch of honey ready by June!

Friday, April 7, 2017

April Shower Brings...

We all know the old saying....

April showers bring
May flowers!

But around here it seems all April showers brings is

My plans were to add a layer of manure to the flower gardens, then cover them with some black plastic for a month.

All of these April showers have sure put a delay on my plans.
Heck I can't even get a pick up truck close to these beds for unloading any manure.

I can see weeds in one bed are going to be a huge problem!

The other big problem I can for see this coming season will be the ever present herd of deer that roam the yard.

All of the mud sure doesn't seem to bother them!

The temperatures this weekend are forecasted to be in the mid 60's to low 70's.  I am sure that southern winds will usher those temps in as well.  A good combination for drying up that mud!

I have lots of new seeds arriving daily.

Planning the dates for seed starting keeps my mind off of the mud mess.

At least for a little while.