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I know why farmers talk about the weather…because it is so important. A lovely long spring that produced wonderful peas and spinach turned into a wet early summer that washed out the squash crop, rotted the onions, and made it impossible to get into the fields to plant or weed. Things have gotten a bit better with a break in the heat wave and plenty of corn flooding in from the second planting. The beans are blossoming and there are eggs on the eggplants. We get about 2 dozen of fresh eggs each day. The four turkeys spend the night with the chickens and then free range during the day. At least one is a tom who is practicing his prancing.
Sunday, July 14, I picked up two “nucs” from my bee buddy. These boxes of bees include five frames of bees and a queen. The frames have capped comb that will hatch into new bees along with lots of honey. The honey is for the use of the bees. And, I’ve gotten fancy feeders that sit in the top of the frames with wire where the bees can feed. Nucs have to be fed nonstop so the bees have enough food to build up their own stores for the winter. I also added a small hive beetle trap to my original hive. It is filled with vegetable oil and appears to be doing its job.
The nucs appear to have different personalities. One is quite mellow while the other seems full of mean bees. When I went down last Sunday to check on them, they managed to find one small space of skin on my ankle and stung me. I swelled up and itched for days. I have to go back down today to feed them and I’m going to put on my suit even though I shouldn’t have to. Better safe than sorry.
We think two of the sows are pregnant. They gestate for 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days. However, since we don’t when they got pregnant, we really don’t have any idea when we’ll have baby pigs. They are happy with their bigger pen and I find them sleeping in a pile in the mornings.
In general, all goes well although the farm is really too much for just the two of us. We’re working with Virginia State University to see if we can get interns or an itinerant farmer to help us out.