• Tag Archives honey house
  • Domestic, Horticultural and Apicultural Matters

    Lughnasa                                Full Artemis Moon

    Still waiting on the extracting equipment though I imagine it will arrive soon.  Then, setting up the honey house with the extractor and the capping knife and the capping container.  I’ll move some things around, get ready for winter storage of honey supers, put in a solid table for handling supers and frames and foundations.  It’ll be finished when I get the metal sign to hang over the door.

    Today found me at Home Depot early picking up a filter for the humidifier attached to the furnace–didn’t know it had one till gas repairman pointed it out–and a refrigerator coil brush.   Turns out refrigerators work more efficiently if their coils get cleaned.  Who knew?  Up the road on Hghwy 10 I went to Anoka Feed and Seed to order another 8 cubic yards of wood chips.  The sky has that late summer blue.  Autumn does not show through the sky and the winds yet, but it will.  It’s already evident in dying plants and woolly caterpillars.

    Back home I pulled some carrots, beets, chard and Kale.  I also dug for a couple of new potatoes, but I’m not finding as many potatoes as I found last year.  Hope I just haven’t gone deep enough.  That got my hands good and dirty.

    This afternoon I plan to get back to the exercise routine which has seemed too strenuous for the last two weeks while I was sick.  Looking forward to returning to that habit.

  • A Colony Divided Against Itself Can Stand

    Beltane                                      Waning Flower Moon

    The potato bed now has three bags of composted manure dug into it and the leek, sugar snap, bok choy bed has one and one more coming.  Kate has weeded several beds including the herb spiral and the sun trap.  It all looks better with the weeds gone.  I found the seeds purchased Friday, so I’ll be able to plant them after lunch and the nap.

    The honey house is swept out and ready for a large table and better organization.  It feels good to have a place just to store bee related things like frames, hive boxes, the smoker, smoker fuel, bee suit and gloves.

    I leveled the foundation for the divided colony and after lunch, as the winds die down toward mid-day, I’ll do my first division.  We’ll see how that goes.  This will be my third colony.  After this year I should run at four colonies until or unless I have a winter kill or disease.

    A full outside day with pleasant (60 degree) temps and a light breeze.  Not like the 40 mph gusts from yesterday.

  • Beesy Morning

    Spring                                         Awakening Moon

    Checked on the bees today.  They needed syrup so I put in two pitchers full.  They also needed another pollen patty. The colony looks healthy.  Lots of bees hard at work.  No stings.  I have a few things to check on in terms of what I need to do now.

    Got all the mechanical detritus out of the soon to be honey house.  Next is a good sweeping and a washing, then organizing a table and the rest of the equipment.

    (honey bee head under an electron microscope)

    General clean up.  Getting ready for spring, which has sprung on us with some surprise.  Bought the seeds for early stuff and I’ll plant the onions tomorrow morning after I plan the rest of the vegetable garden.

    We need rain.  If it fits in your faith tradition, please do a rain dance for us up here in Andover.

  • A Light Week Ahead

    Spring                                                    Waxing Awakening Moon

    Out the door to the grocery store.  It must be Saturday.  Finished revising the presentation for tomorrow morning and I’ll post it later today.

    Kate’s off at work, a now unusual Saturday for her.  She’s begun experiencing the old aches and pains, the ones from before the surgery that were brought on by too much physical effort over too long a time.  The good news is that when she slows down the aches and pains do, too.

    I have a quiet week coming up. No legcom meeting since the Legislature is in recess and no tours on Friday.  I do have a night meeting on Monday with the Sierra Club, something called strategic communications, whatever that is.  I’ll find out.  The night after that I start a three evening course on healthy eating taught by Brenda Langston, former owner of Cafe Brenda.  This is yet another stab at the great goal of eating only as many calories as I need.  I’m looking forward to it.

    The lighter week means I’ll have time to get in some work outside like cleaning up the yard outside the orchard and the vegetable garden.  It has a plethora of sticks, plastic objects, wire, fence posts that have been moved around over the course of the late fall, winter and early spring by Rigel and Vega.  They remain eager and energetic, digging deep holes here and there, running, jumping, barking, having a good doggie time.  But what a mess!

    I also have to get some work done on the beehive, not a big deal but I need to check it and feed them.  Note to self:  use smoke and wear bee suit.  I also need to get the old machine shed completely out and prepped for its conversion to a honey house.  All that can happen while we wait for planting season to begin.

  • A Warm-Blooded Insect?

    Spring                                         Waxing Awakening Moon

    Sunny, but cool though warm weather seems fated to come our way.  Ice out has advanced on Round Lake though there is still rough, weak ice over most of its surface.  Many daffodils have speared their way up through the leaves and other detritus from last falls end of the growing season.  I’ve seen a few hosta roll-ups, too.  I put in my last order of bee stuff yesterday, bringing seven honey supers, 70 super frames and 50 super foundations, a copper hive cover and 75 frame and foundations for the deep hive bodies.

    The old machine shed, now to be the honey house needs a thorough cleansing which will be an early task once the weather moves away from soggy and I have some time for outside work.

    Today, in just a couple of minutes, I have a call about Matt Entenza’s gubernatorial campaign.  They want my thoughts on environmental issues.  They can have every one of them.  After the call, on to the language of ancient Rome.  Later in the day I may revise Liberal II.  That novel just sits there right now.  Waiting.  Meanwhile my promiscuous creative spirit entertains other guests, a new project, a big project, that will follow After the Hawthorn Wars.

    Here’s another jaw dropper that I learned about bees during my bee course.  Over the winter the colony becomes a large cluster with all the bees hanging, literally, together, shivering.  The shivering produces heat and keeps the colony alive during the temperature drops of winter.  This means, said Marla Spivak, that in winter the colony, the whole colony, acts like a warm blooded animal.  The colony is a super-organism that gathers food, births larvae and nurses them, takes diseased and deceased members, defends itself and takes up a lot of time with architecture as well.

    Since the cluster happens inside the hive boxes, it is difficult to picture.  I’ve chosen a swarm in the picture here, to show you a cluster, but not like the one I had in my first colony this winter.