Taking the Bad with the Good

July has arrived, and the rain has finally stopped. An early tropical storm in June soaked the place and then it just seemed to keep raining. We lost the early squash and zucchini plants that had just started to produce. Some of my flower seeds came up (you can always count on zinnias!) but others either drowned or rotted. We still have hay in the field as we just haven’t had the necessary dry days to be able to harvest it. What we did harvest was good and is now tucked safely in the former corn crib. The chickens and pigs love having a bale of hay to scratch and rutt. We added on to the pig pen and now they have a little woodsy area and plenty of space to run.

The bees continue to be a learning challenge. The split hive did produce a queen but she just couldn’t lay eggs and get babies hatched in time to save the hive. It might have been possible to pull frames of brood from my healthy hive to get them through but I just didn’t know enough to even ask. My mentor said he doesn’t think I lost all the bees. They probably joined the hive next door.

That hive seems to be going gang busters. I added a third medium box a couple weeks ago but they haven’t started it yet. The bottom box has three empty frames and the second box has about four. I suppose they will move up when they are ready. There’s capped brood and honey throughout the two boxes, and the frames are heavy. I’ve been feeding them and they go through a quart in about four or five days so they aren’t taking much considering how many bees are in those boxes. I didn’t see the red queen anywhere, but I also didn’t pull out all the frames. Perhaps she has been replaced.

I did get to try out some new equipment. Smaller gloves made it much easier to handle the frames. And I love my frame hangers. I put a new ventilated inner cover on that box and gave them a fancy hive excluder.

The plan is to get a nuc or two from another keeper in hopes of getting three hives up and running. I’ll have to feed them but he thinks I can get them through the winter. I’m impatient to get them going but am waiting for new equipment to arrive. He will swap me five deep frames for five empty ones and I’m waiting for those deep frames to arrive. I ordered lots of other stuff: top inside feeders, ventilated inner covers, stands, more mediums, a whole kit so we have two veils and other tools.

Your reward for reading this…a few photos from the farm.

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