Friday, May 20, 2011

LANDSCAPING, ISN'T IT FUN!

Our water issues are solved... at least I hope so. This is the first time we've ever used a landscaper and I'm glad we did. Since we moved into our home the backyard has been one big pain after another. First we had to remove numerous dead trees and way too many buckthorn to count, second was the rock. Rock, rock, rock, that is all there is and have you ever tried planting ANYTHING in rock? It isn't possible. This year it was the water. We've always had standing water in the back yard but nothing compared to this past winter. With our record snowfall we ended up with a pond in the yard that eventually connected with the pond in the park behind our house. One big massive pond equals one big massive mess (mosquitos and stench in the spring). Well, it looks like we may have a yard again thanks to the professionals **fingers crossed. Thanks to everyone that listened to me cry and complain about this disaster for months. Now it is time for a summer party on the new deck in the pretty yard! :)


See water? That is only the a 1/3 of it. The rest is underneath the snow.



Landscapers begin:



It is coming along nicely:



Almost done. Hubby and I spent 5 hours today spreading mulch in the paths to get ready for plantings. I look forward to working on this all summer:

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

BEE PACKAGE INSTALLATION

Today we received a new package of bees. At around 4 pm we did the install into the new hive. The process goes like this:

First, you spray the sides of the bee package with 1:1 sugar syrup. This helps calm the bees down so they don't go flying all over the place when you dump them into the hive. Then you give the cage a little bonk to knock all of the bees off of the feeder can so it can be removed.



Then you remove the feeder can from within the package in order to get access to the queen cage and dump the bees into the hive. In this photo I'm removing the can.



Once the can is removed you spray the cluster of bees inside to keep them calm as they have gotten a little agitated from the bonking of the cage.



Then you remove the queen cage. The queen cage is suspended from the top of the cage and in this photo I'm grabbing the metal lip that is attached to the cage and sliding it out through the opening.



Here is she is... all looks great!



Next, I pour the bees into the hive by rapping hard on each side of the package moving side to side.







Then the bees need to spread out along the bottom of the hive ("Like Spreading Sauce on Pizza.")



Once the bees are in the hive then I give the queen cage a little squirt of sugar syrup, open her cage slowly by removing the staple, and then let her crawl out slowly onto one of the frames within the hive. Which she did beautifully! Just like last years queen, this one had her nose poking towards my hand as if she knew I was about to let her free.

Once she's in place then you put the four frames that were removed back into place. This is done very slow as to not hurt the queen.



This is basically the end of the process. A pollen patty is put in place (probably not necessary since the other hive has clearly found sources of natural pollen), and sugar syrup is given. The entrance reducer is at its smallest, plugged with grass so the bees don't leave too quickly. I checked back later this evening as the sun was going down and everything looks great! The bees removed the grass from the entrance reducer and the remaining bees in the package found their way into the hive along with their sisters.

POLLEN COMING IN



I am happy to see pollen coming in. I don't know where the girls are finding it, I'll assume dandilions since those are growing all over my yard.

Friday, April 29, 2011

PARTIAL HIVE REVERSAL

A few days ago we actually had some sunshine, therefore, were able to get outside and do the partial reversal on the hive. For anyone that doesn't know what a hive reversal is, here is an image put together by Marla Spivak and Gary Reuter at the University of Minnesota to explain it:



The box in the very top position gets reversed with the box the middle section.

Things went well, better than expected. The bees were great! Not annoyed with us at all. They were humming calmly. A few checked us out but weren't that interested. This time I wasn't so freaked out about the exposed larvae we found when we separated the hives. Nor did I find it as difficult as the first time to scrape and toss them. We found quite a few moldy dead bees, mainly on the outer edges. The frames on both ends of the top and middle box were pretty moldy. Gary Reuter assured us in the course I took a couple weeks ago (part 2 of beekeeping) that the bees will take care of that mold themselves.

Here are some pix from the reversal.

Being silly with the smoker:


Pulling apart the hive. I did the prying with the hive tool while hubby did the lifting. Thank goodness for men because those hive bodies are HEAVY!!


Lots of comb built on top of the middle hive body that was sticking to the frames in the top hive body.


I had to scrape it all away. It was sad watching the bees huddle around the exposed larvae but, as I've been told, it has to be done.



All looks great.



It was very cool to finally see what aged honey comb looks like. It was so pretty and clean over the summer but you can see how much it has aged.

We closed things up, gave them some syrup, and then watched while the girls carried in bits of pollen. With all the rain and cold the girls won't be doing much but hopefully the sun and warmth comes around soon so they can get busy. Plus, it won't be long now and we'll have some new neighbors. The new hive arrives May 7th!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

BLOG UPDATE

What do you think of the new blog design? I think it fits better than the last :)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

THANK YOU JESSE FOR ARTICULATING MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY!

“You control our world. You’ve poisoned the air we breathe, contaminated the water we drink, and copyrighted the food we eat. We fight in your wars, die for your causes, and sacrifice our freedoms to protect you. You’ve liquidated our savings, destroyed our middle class, and used our tax dollars to bailout your unending greed. We are slaves to your corporations, zombies to your airwaves, servants to your decadence. You’ve stolen our elections, assassinated our leaders, and abolished our basic rights as human beings. You own our property, shipped away our jobs, and shredded our unions. You’ve profited off of disaster, destabilized our currencies, and raised our cost of living. You’ve monopolized our freedom, stripped away our education, and have almost extinguished our flame. We are hit…we are bleeding…but we ain’t got time to bleed. We will bring the giants to their knees and you will witness our revolution! “

-Former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura, April 12, 2011
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Saturday, April 2, 2011

NO DARLING, THOSE AREN'T RAIN DROPS!

I anxiously waited for my bees to emerge today. I knew they were alive a few days ago but hadn't checked since. It is a 50 degree day so the girls came out to play. Um.... no, not really. I forgot what they do when they first come out after being stuck inside for a long time so I did a very dumb thing........ I stood under a cloud of bees to take pictures and for a moment I thought it was sprinkling but oh no, those weren't sprinkles, I was actually being pooped on. I was being bombed left and right. Once the reality set in I made a mad dash for the house. Anyone ever try running in water logged clay soil??? Yeah, you know how that turned out. Good thing I had boots, sweatshirt and jeans on. Too bad I had my sleeves pulled up :( but... I am happy the bees made it through winter without any mite treatment last fall.
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