Monday, April 27, 2009

Charlotte Out to Pasture

We stopped by the Mr. J.'s farm first to check on Elizabeth and Fannie.  Both are doing well.  Added a honey super to Elizabeth and did some adjusting to Fannie before heading to the organic farm.
The organic farmer was kind enough to let us place a hive in one of his back fields.   We got Charlotte all situated and pried open the door - BOOM ..they were off.   Opted to leave a strap on her to ward off any wild visitors.  Straps looped through her cement block stand makes her pretty sturdy too.
The girls from Charlotte were in the branches within a few hours.  All his fruit trees are in bloom.  The view, the sun, and the flowers made for a perfect morning.  There is nothing better than sitting in a field- I could have stayed forever!
Back a the homestead...
The garden is drying out nicely!  Winter grass turned under last week.  Will be tilling soon.  So excited to get back in the garden!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Not Picket

Before the fruit trees could go in, we had to stack the wood we cleared for the orchard. It is still a bit too wet to haul it out, so we stacked a wall...okay, a few walls. I like it as a fence. Blocks the view of the back of one of the neighboring lots.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Garden Journal 2001

My current garden (and hive) records are in three ring binders and feeling a bit un-inspiring. In digging through my old journals, I came across this garden journal I started in 2001. It is packed with ideas, lists, wishes, pockets, tracings, and STUFF. It was fun to leaf through the pages and see what I had planned.  Made me feel inspired to start one for the suburban homestead!

Do you keep garden journals or records?  If so, share them with us on Flickr!

Friday, April 24, 2009


View of Spring in the apiary!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Feral Capture

Local beekeeping association captures feral hive.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


It is finally a blue sky day here today! The girls are busting at the seams! Sat in my mother's rock garden for a bit this morning watching the honeybees and the bumbles work it over.

I went in the new hives a few days ago and the queens had been released. Added more sugar syrup to their feeding cans and closed them up. Plan on checking the cans again today. Hoping for a few days of nice warm weather so they can stretch their legs!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Installing The Girls

Notes from last year on how to install the bee packages.

We were lucky to get an order in this year for a few more packages of bees.  They arrived almost a year to the day we got our girls last year!  After digging out my notes (last year was my first time installing packaged bees), we were ready to get them installed.  

Supplies gathered in the wagon.  I carried the bees to the apiary as to not give them a bumpy ride!

The girls arrived late in the evening the day before, so they had to spend the night in the garage.  The nights here have still been cool, but we were lucky to have 60 degrees and sun the following day to get them in the hives.  Pulled out our screened bottom boards, deep supers (some with drawn out comb), inner covers, feeding cans, lids, bee coats, gloves, hive tool and spray bottle with sugar water.
Two packages of bees.

The girls looked great in the packages!  It was funny to see their legs poking through the screens.  They really wanted OUT!!  We gave them a spray of sugar water and a "bump", then we were ready to open the box.

Queen installed between frames and open package of bees in the deep super.

After removing the cover and the feeding can, the queen cage was gently removed.  NOTE: Keep the hole where the feeding can was covered while you install the queen.  This will keep the bees in the box!  The cork from the bottom of the queen cage was removed to show the sugar plug, which the girls will chew out to release the queen.  The queen cage (suspended by the white tag) was placed between some frames of drawn out comb, leaving room for her girls to attend to her.  Once the queen was installed, we placed the entire package of bees in the hive.  

Feeding can with 1:1 sugar water, place on top of inner cover.

After placing the inner cover over the bottom super, we placed our feeding cans on the lids.  The girls were very docile and seemed glad to be in their new home!

We went out and checked the packages this afternoon.  All the bees were out of the screened boxes!   After removing the package boxes, we placed the remaining deep frames in the super.  I'll check on them in a few days to make sure the queen has been released.