Honey I’m Home!

IMG_20160610_202359567We brought our 3 nucs home on 6/4. One was struggling and we lost many of them due to over crowding in the nuc. We got a replacement and currently have three hives working hard gathering pollen and feeding brood. We hope to add a 4th this week.

 

Here are some pictures of the install for those of you that have not experienced bringing home several thousand bees in a little box. 🙂

The small box is the nuc and the larger is the deep or brood box that will become their new home.

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You will see that there are 5 frames in the deep. There are also 5 in the nuc so after the install there will be 10 frames. The nuc frames go in the middle.

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This is the nuc after opening. You can see all the bees hanging out.

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A little spritz of sugar water calms them down a bit (who wouldn’t like a little spritz of sugar water?)

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One by one we added the frames from the nuc to the deep.

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Seeing frames full of capped brood (babies) makes you smile.

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And the last one goes in.

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Inner cover goes on then (the piece with the oval cut out) and then the feeder. Ball jars are perfect for holding the sugar for the gals.

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Another deep or honey super goes on to protect the sugar water and then the outer cover or lid.

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The girls are doing great and buzzing around. They are loving our clover and that keeps me from cutting all of our grass. I don’t have the heart to take away their food!

Do you have bees? Do you want bees? The honey is a great by product, but watching them is simply fascinating.

Happy Unleashing! BUZZ!!!!

FGU

Welcome Home Bees!

IMG_20160603_190827296We had a long trip up and back to pick up our bees today. The buzz coming back was noticeable as they stuck their little heads out of the screens. Only one bee managed to squeeze out and then she spent the rest of the drive confused and failing at attempts to rejoin her family.

They have a little longer to wait before settling into their final destination. You see it is sprinkling and threatening rain. To take the chance of having the nuc opened at a cloud outburst is too great. Bees do not like to get rained on! So we have them hanging out in our lean to against the pole barn. It is covered well and they will not get wet and they can simply remain in the home that they have known now for several weeks. We will introduce them to their new, larger digs over the weekend.

You may ask “what is that brown on the concrete next to them?” It is cinnamon. The lean to is famous for having ants and ants love to visit hives. Cinnamon deters the ants and should keep the nucs ant free as they hang out there this evening.

A nuc is special in that the bees that are in there are all related to each other and to the queen that is in there. They are family (I hear a song in there somewhere). They have been living in the nuc now for several weeks building comb, raising brood and now they are ready for their larger home.

So welcome home little bees! We will get you in your new place tomorrow. Sleep well.

Happy Unleashing!

FGU

 

Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #226

Welcome to the Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop!

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Today this is short but ever so sweet. We are heading on a little bit of a drive to go pick up our bee nucs. We have three coming and are very excited. We did get honey last year but sadly our 2 queens were weak and the hives did not survive the winter. We again have positive expectations and are starting over. The hives are set up in the back, sugar water is in jars and waiting and now we need to head to the car for our journey north about 2 1/2 hours to get them.

I love spring and gardening. Kathy from Oak Hill Homestead shared on her blog about her garden expansion and beds. Love the pictures and her budget conscience, beautiful build out.

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I am going to hit the road and ya’ll can get hopping. I will check in later! Happy Friday.

Here’s some simple guidelines!

  1. Write a post about your farmgirl lifestyle and brag a little about your farmgirl talents while your at it! Share what being a farmgirl means to you. Include lots of photos of your farm, crafts, animals,  quilts, home decor projects and thrifty make overs, your backyard garden, chicken coop, recipes, studio or workshop. You get the idea!
  2. Leave your entry in the  Linky tools space to your  Farmgirl Friday post.
  3. Please include the Farmgirl Friday button ( or link back here ) in your post and remember to share this hop with all of your blogging friends!
  4. Enter up to three entries per hop

Thank you for joining and sharing and visiting each other!

Farmgirl is a Condition of the Heart – MaryJaneButters



Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #212

FGF Logo

Welcome to the Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop!

We have went from snow and ice to 60 degrees this week. I love having a week where I am sandwiched between snow (which I really love) and the 60’s which I love because that tells me spring gardening is almost upon us! For those of you that don’t get to enjoy snow, I post some pictures earlier this week.

Last week was a myriad of blog posts. A couple favorites for me were Beekeeping and Neighbors from Eight Acres. We are beekeepers so a bee blog will always get my attention. We are also fairly new beekeepers and there is much to learn. This blog post is excellent for those considering bees. It has some good tips in it. Thank you Eight Acres for sharing!

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Another fav was I Feel Spaetzle from Ginger Dawn. Being from German heritage it was fun to read her blog, see the pics and totally relate to not only the process of making spaetzle, but remembering the yumminess of it! Thank for sharing Ginger!

And so many more. If you haven’t had a chance to read them, do! Lots of good nuggets in there.

What are you doing this week? You may be crafting, cooking, baking, gardening, caring for your flock or a hundred other things we farmgirls do. Whether you live on a huge working farm or live in the city or suburbs or an apartment–share what the farmgirl in you is doing this week!

Let’s get to the hop!

Here are some simple guidelines!

  1. Write a post about your farmgirl lifestyle and brag a little about your farmgirl talents while your at it! Share what being a farmgirl means to you. Include lots of photos of your farm, crafts, animals,  quilts, home decor projects and thrifty make overs, your backyard garden, chicken coop, recipes, studio or workshop. You get the idea!
  2. Leave your entry in the  Linky tools space to your  Farmgirl Friday post.
  3. Please include the Farmgirl Friday button ( or link back here ) in your post and remember to share this hop with all of your blogging friends!
  4. Enter up to three entries per hop!

Don’t be shy! This newbie farmgirl learns soooo much from all of you! Please round up your best of the week and share it here! Enjoy reading what your farmgirl friends are up to also! Have a great week.



Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #199

apronWelcome to the 199th Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop! Can you believe that we are about to hit 200????

Deb and I have a surprise for you on #200!

Deb has been harvesting rhubarb and she has a fabulous pie recipe (and beautiful picture) that she is sharing. Stop over and say hi and take a peak!

We have been playing in the bee yard and have added some more bees. 🙂

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What have you been up to this week?  Come on and share your doin’s!

Let’s hop!

More Bees to the Family!

If you recall we lost a hive over our first winter with the bees. We ordered two nucs in January to bring us to three hives this year and we started preparing their new home for them. Hubby added a pallet and concrete cookies to raise up the area and level it. Then added a deep or brood box for each. You can see our existing hive, Trudeau in the middle. The one near the fence is Green and the other new one is Sky Harbor. (can you guess the naming theme?)

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Then we got the call and went to pick them up on Sunday. We did not know exactly what to expect. Last year (our 1st), we order nucs and hive boxes from the same person. They delivered the hives with the bees already set up. We just suited up and watched. This year it was our turn to pick up actual nucs. Those little guys were buzzing away on the ride home!

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Once home we took them out to the apiary. They were heavy and we used Ms. Tupelo to haul them. We opened them up and …

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and boy oh boy were there a lot of bees in there!

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To add nucs you “simply” swap these five frames for five empties in the hive. You place the loaded frames in the middle. That sounds easy in class. What they don’t tell you is that a TON of bees like to hang out in the old box in all the hard to reach places and they can be very stubborn in your thoughts about moving them. 🙂

We finally got them all in, added their feeders on top and watched as the last couple headed in to see their new digs.

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We now have a lovely view of three hives from our house. We see them heading in and out so we hope they are well. We will peak at them in the upcoming week.

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Happy Unleashing (bzzzzz)

FGU

Signs of Spring!

I love the four seasons! It is one of the reasons why I love Indiana so much. And just like I get really excited about the snowfalls and seeing white, I get equally excited about the snow melting and seeing signs of spring.

As I walk outside there is still a bit of the white stuff hanging out in shady areas.polebarn snow

I look across the little run of snow and see the bird feeders that have been active with robins, blue jays and cardinals.

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My mucks have mud on them instead of slush which is a great thing! Mud season is here!

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And things are budding and blooming. My Japanese Cherry Tree is budding.

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The daylillies and tulips are popping up; I was so surprised to see these after the melt! Can you see them in there?

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Walking around to the front of the house, the weather is such that we can FINALLY get our last dormer sided. We were so happy to see our “boys” (as we affectionately call them) today! I know the temps are warming up when they visit!

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In the pole barn Ms. Tupelo is getting a new tire for the spring.

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My table has my heat mat and planting supplies ready for this afternoon!  Getting dirty in the pole barn while blasting favorite tunes is my TRUE sign of spring. This afternoon awaits…

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My garden table is done and will be hauled outside to the lean to this afternoon! Oh my goodness!!!! It’s a beauty!

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And we can’t forget our buzzing friends. Our bees in the Trudeau hive have been buzzing around. We are so excited to see them. This is a critical time for the bees as we don’t have nectar flow yet so we will be keeping close tabs on them and supplementing with sugar water and pollen patties right now.

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What are the signs of spring in your area? What speaks spring to you?

Happy Unleashing Spring!

FGU

Birds, Bees, Gardens and the Dog

pretty treeWe (hubby, Jasmine and I) trekked out to the snow covered gardens, beehives and bird feeders today under blue skies. It is so beautiful and at the same time cold! Jasmine did not mind. Her favorite thing to do is to visit the bees and gardens. Her second favorite thing to do is to bark at all the birds on the feeders, so this was about the perfect afternoon geteaway for her! She led the way!

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to the garden

First the bees. It is waaaayyyy too cold to open the hive and check on them. But we did know that the snow had blown closed their opening. That is not good for their exiting for cleansing flights and it is not good for airflow so our first stop was there to open that up for them

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Hives with Snow Blockage

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Clearing

We got their entrance open. We also noticed dead bees in the snow. That however is not a distressing sign. I had a session leader at Bee School tell us that when he sees dead bees in the snow he rejoices because he knows there is life in the hive. A bee’s life cycle is short and seeing dead bees indicates that life is continuing on in the hive. Let’s hope so!

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Up to the gardens we went. It was so beautiful. I had to pinch myself to make sure that YES this is really where I live! Jasmine knows this route and again she was in the lead.

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Garden Walk

There’s one of my scarepeeps!

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And another friend!

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The gardens under the snow appear peaceful and sleeping. I know there is much happening under that snow and deep in the soil however. Life continues!

Covered Over

 

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A view back at our lovely snow covered home.

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Jasmine enjoying the snow and sunshine!

Tree and Jazz

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We began to head back.

Garden and Dog

Next the bird feeders! Jasmine led the way.

Jazz and Birds

Feeding Birds

I love feeding the birds!

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It was a wonderful walk and great to get outside and see how everything was faring under the blanket of white

It was time to head back in; Jasmine again led the way.

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Did you get to enjoy some beauty today where ever you are?

FGU

Sometimes There are Disappointments

IMG_20141011_190339283_HDRI have said a number of times that our life here at Big Sky Acres is a living experiment. Everything we try is new and we have no experience to draw upon when it comes to bees or this land we are growing veggies in. We learn continually and sometimes those learnings coming with high fives and laughter. Sometimes they come with sorrow.

After a wonderful weekend away at the wood show and Lake Monroe we decided to take a walk around our property and check out the low tunnels, cold frames and bees. It was a beautiful day- 50 degrees and sunny.  We knew however that this 50 degree day had come after a string of frigid temperatures. We had wondered if things had survived and with hopeful hearts we wandered on back.

As we approached the one end of one of the tunnels was collapsed; not always a bad sign as sometimes the wind that runs across here will do that, but it felt like a red flag. As we peeked in we saw that all of our beautiful green babies had frozen and died. The cabbages and brocolini that looked so beautiful a month ago just could not handle the below 0 temps.

I ask myself, should I have added plastic or another layer of frost cloth? Probably one of those should have been done. More reading on year around gardening will give me the answer I suppose.  Since we are doing things before we read all the books sometimes the chapter you need is the next one and you make a mistake or miss something. You try again with some tweaks and hope for different results.

I also think that I planted too late. I was really close to the Persephone (less than 10 hours of light) when I planted. I have had a nagging feeling that would have an effect, but still wanted to try. That is how it is when you are a living experiment! Reading and tweaking is a constant here so I am in hopes that our wonderful low tunnels will supply us with produce in the spring when we try it again. So we say farewell to these for a few weeks…

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On a positive note, the cold frames seem to be doing well.  The arugula and lettuce are growing. They have a ways to go before harvesting and eating, but they are hanging in there. I am in hopes that the garlic that is under the straw is also preparing for it’s growth spurt in several weeks.

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We headed to the bees.  We have been concerned about our one hive, Green but we felt that Trudeau was well.  (yes we name our hives after airports).

On this 50 degree day we did not see any bees making their cleansing flights and only saw one bee in the sugar candy. We heard no buzzing in either hive. We feel they are lost too. We will get more bees and do it all again, but losing both hives is sad. We can’t really point a finger at anything here. When we last saw them there was buzzing and activity in both. We made sugar candy and put that and a pollen patty in there. They were used hives… could something have been lurking there? I have since read to NOT purchase used hives, so when we get our bees in the spring, I think we will trash these and get new hives. “Once burned, shame on you, twice burned shame on me.” I just feel to do the same exact thing again is not the right way to go. So sadly we say goodbye to our little bees and feel sorrow that they did not make it this winter.

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Life if full of experiences, isnt’ it? Some happy and some sad. I am blessed because the happy far outweigh the sad. I can be sad about these losses while at the same time look forward to the successes that will occur. Regardless of success or failure they are just that… learnings.

What about you? What are some tough lessons you have learned on your homestead? Do you have any tips for me, our bees or tunnels?

Happy Unleashing in your successes and failures!
FGU

Bee Visit with a Visitor

IMG_20141109_152626581When we got the bees in the spring, we bought protective gear to wear on our visits to them. I love the gear and it keeps me calm out there and totally focused on the bees rather than me. We had the great idea of purchasing one extra set of gear for visitors that might be here that would want to go see the bees. So glad we did that, because when Laura and family visited she wanted to go see the bees!
Like a good mommy, I made sure she was all zipped up and enclosed. She is a mommy herself now, but I still gotta do that! She indulged me…

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And off we went to visit the bees along with hubby. We showed her to smoke and how the hive tool helps us to pry things apart gently.

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We saw honey and bee activity and she was amazed at the little critters (same for us every time we visit them)

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Soon Laura had her hands in there and was inspecting the bees herself!

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She loved it; maybe a future beekeeper?

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This was really fun to share with her; glad we have the extra gear!

Happy Unleashing,

FGU