Thursday, April 19, 2012

Bees, Morels, Yarn, Heavy Equipment

Ginger in the upper hayfield
We are definitely into the busy season here on the farm.  The days are longer and warmer and we are spending many more hours outdoors, which makes all of us happy.  We are not really indoor folks.  Our weather has actually been dryer than we would like.  We are never happy are we?  But we have lettuce planted and we are waiting for the asparagus to produce more than just a few spears at a time.  We did have a nice gentle soaking rain on Saturday.  We could use that type of precipitation every 3rd day or so.


Everyone has been enjoying the nice weather, including this guy, who Sam spotted sunning himself on a tree bark shelf just off the road up to the pond.  he's a pretty good sized black snake and harmless unless you are a rodent or slow-moving bird.  I like having these guys around.  

I traveled to the other side of the state on Monday to help out with my niece and nephews while my brother and his wife were out of the country.  My mother is staying with the kids, but they have soccer and baseball and need to be in too many places at once, so I thought I'd help out.  While I was away, our bees arrived and had to be picked up in Woodsfield (last year I traveled 3 hours each way to pick them up, this was better), so Sam picked them up for me and put them in his workshop until I returned home on Tuesday afternoon.  You should have heard the buzzing in that workshop!  Here is how the bees are packaged.

There are 3 pounds of bees in there.   In the center of the box there is a can of sugar water and a cage with the queen in it.  The queen has to be taken out and left in the cage and placed in the hive box before the rest of the bees are put in.  In this photo, the queen cage is suspended between two of the frames that the bees will build their comb on.  She has some attendant bees in the cage with her and you can see several bees on the outside of the cage.  All the bees will be drawn to her.  There is a candy plug in the bottom of the cage and over the next day or so the worker bees will eat through that plug and release the queen so she can begin to lay eggs and increase the population.

So here I am after placing the queen cage into the hive, dumping the rest of the bees in.  The bees are very non-aggressive at this point because they have nothing to defend.  Once they have drawn out comb and are taking care of brood (eggs, larvae) and storing away food, they will be much more likely to sting in defense of their home and family.  At this point you will notice there is only one small box for the hive.  I will be adding boxes to this as the number of bees grows and they require more room.  Eventually there will probably be 4 more boxes stacked on top of this one.  Hopefully one will be full of honey for me.

Unfortunately the noise you hear in the background of the video is caused by the heavy equipment that is preparing the drilling pad for the next batch of deep gas/oil wells that are going in just across the road.  The green at the bottom is our hayfield, then there is a creek and you can see the big track hoe flattening off the top of the hill.  The noise is going on pretty much all day.  It used to be so quiet here.   When they are done with this pad, they will start on one on the property to the southeast  of us.  It will be noisy for a while.  

Sam has been on his yearly spring search for morels.  It is either too early or else it is just not going to be a good year.  He has found quite a few, but they are few and far between.  

I have dyed 2 batches of my yarn.  I have 36 skeins, so I will be doing 6 batches of 6 skeins each.  The first one came out a little pinker than I planned.  Need to make my colors more saturated next time.  No worries, while it is not my favorite color scheme, someone will love it.

Batch number 2 is more to my liking colorwise.  I have not re-skeined it and it is still on the drying rack 5 days after dyeing.  I'll get to it soon, I hope.

                                  I also finished the hat I was knitting from the yarns I dyed and posted about last week, but I forgot to photograph it, so I will be sure to do so for next week.  This post is getting rather long anyway.


1 comment:

  1. Those sounds made by the heavy equipment surely disrupt what would have been a serene and tranquil view.