Thursday, May 5, 2011

Bees! Crias! Soon....Chickens!

Rowdy is checking out the new chicken coop.  Kinda like the fox in the hen house!

Last week was just so hectic, something had to give and it was the blog.  This is actually rather time-consuming, though I do enjoy it.  So, now after a brief trip to Boston with my mother for the weekend, I am back and life is getting back to "normal".

We had our third group of Head Start kids out last Thursday morning.  One group had to cancel and have not yet re-scheduled.  But here is the group from Sardis Head Start:

This was a bigger class and more adults accompanied them.  Buck got rather unruly and had to be penned up so he wouldn't lick anyone too much.  I think the kids enjoyed the field trip.

The day prior to that, I drove up to northern Ohio and picked up our 3# box of bees.  It was a somewhat stormy day, but the bees had traveled all the way from California and we needed to get them into the hive as soon as possible, so when Sam came home, I suited up and hived the bees.  Kind of scary the first time.
The bees come in a screen box and there is a queen who is inside a smaller screen cage in the box.  She must be removed from the larger box and inserted, cage and all, into the hive before dumping in the rest of the bees.  Her cage has a small cork in one end and you remove that and replace it with a marshmallow, which the worker bees will eat through to free her from the cage.  As long as she stays in the hive, the rest of the bees will not leave. 

Shaking the rest of the bees into the hive
After installing the queen cage and dumping in the rest of the bees, I close the hive up and leave them alone for a week.  We will need to check inside the hive to make sure the queen is still there and remove the (empty) cage.  This we did yesterday.  The weather has been quite cool and rainy, so we have not seen much activity around the hive and we were concerned wondering if the bees were still there.  Here is what we found:  due to the cool weather, the bees

 are "clumping" togetherits hard to see, but there is a bit of yellow comb showing at the bottom of the clump!  They are not only still there, but are making comb.  While we were unable to see the queen (she will be at the center of the clump), we know if she were not present, the bees would not be here either.

brushing the clump of bees off the cage from which the queen has escaped
So I removed the queen cage from where it was hung and removed  a jar feeder I had placed in hive to supplement the bees at first and put the top back on.  All the while the bees are buzzing around me.  No stings yet.  I am sure it will 
eventually happen.

Queen cage

Of course, other exciting things have been going on around the farm.  While I was away in Boston, the first cria of the year came along.  Sam was out turkey hunting Saturday morning and came home to find that Carolina, one of our boarded alpacas, had had a bay black baby girl.  This is Carolina's first cria and things are going great.  Mom is grey and daddy is brown.  

Carolina & female cria born 4-30-11

Yesterday, while I was at work, Miracle had a fawn baby boy.  You may remember I did a series of photos last year of Miracle's first cria's birth.  Here is the link to that post: 

Her cria last year was a male also.

Miracle and male cria born 5-4-11

We still have 4 crias due in the next month or so.  I'll keep ya posted.

Spring is also morel season around here.  I am not a fan, but Sam loves them, so he spends a good bit of time hunting for them.  He has found quite a few this year.  The weather really makes a big difference in whether there will be lots of morels or not.   He usually dries them in the dehydrator as they seem to keep best that way.  Then I can put them in pasta or chicken marsala, which is one of Sam's favorite dishes.

One day's find

I came home from Boston to find a chicken coop in the yard!  My father-in-law made it for me.  He knows I am getting some chickens next month, so he went ahead and built it.  I guess he and my mother-in-law will be getting some eggs!  It is a very cute chicken coop and looks more like a playhouse.  I am sure my niece and nephews will love to collect eggs for me when they come.

Since my shawl is finished except for blocking, I have started spinning for a new project.  The fiber is a blend of really fine wool and alpaca which I had processed.  The processor damaged the wool, however, so it is more of a textured yarn than I had planned.  I am spinning it bulky to make a vest from.  It is actually coming out quite nice, despite the damage to the wool fibers, which causes lumps and bumps in the yarn.

And finally, lookin' out my back door between thunder storms a few days ago in the evening.  I hate when the sky turns all yellow, but it makes for nice contrast with the green of everything else!


  1. Are you a member of the Monroe Cty beekeepers?
    The guy from the SWCD office, Dave Schott, is a former co-worker of mine. He's a good guy - very funny!

  2. I may "bee", Lisa. I have been going to meetings and am on the list. Miss seeing you at guild.