Last night we mowed the driveway path with the finish mower and it looks great. It was about dusk when the tractor was put up we decided to drive the path and on the way to the where our house will be Judith grabbed my arm and was stammering to get out “STOP!” She was looking at a huge bird on the last fence post driveway marker. She thought it was an owl, but I thought it looked like a hawk. We watched it for a couple of minutes and discussed its size, somewhere between 18 and 24 inches tall we decided. We moved closer in the truck to get a better look and as we eased up, probably still 30 yards away his head swiveled what seemed like 180° and he looked right at us! We froze! We could see his dark eye sockets when his head swiveled, and his coloring was brown with just a tinge of red in it. We watched him for about 2 minutes, but it seemed like forever as he sat there with his head spinning around, then he looked like he tried to grab something off the ground, then lit in a tree on the side of the field. We watched him for a few more minutes and then left, not wanting to harass him anymore. After we got home we looked it up in the Peterson’s Field Guide and determined it was a great horned owl. So we have owls at the farm! Now just to hang out one night and be able to listen to them!
We had our first official inspection by a state sanctioned inspector yesterday and it went GREAT! She went through the hive and we found the queen, checked for mites and hive beetles and only found one beetle. She said that the hive looked very healthy and there was a moderate to heavy amount of adult bee population. It was EXTREMELY encouraging to hear good things from someone who knows bees! She also suggested that if I am going to split in the spring, and I intend to, it would be a good idea to go ahead and feed the bees so they can have as many stores as possible to get them off to a better start, so I intend to start feeding solid food this week. All in all a good report and emotionally uplifting 🙂
This past weekend (Sat Sept 12) I got back in the bees again to check the progress and see how things were going. So at this point I have one hive with seven supers total. The combined hive was on top of the good hive. So looking in this weekend revealed that the third box (counting up from the bottom) now has brood and not so much capped honey, the fourth box has considerable brood (three frames) as well as lots of dark pollen left over from when it was a separate hive, but there is quite a bit of nectar in it, not capped yet, but certainly getting close. The fifth box was looking like 1/3 capped honey and the sixth box was all capped honey. The seventh box has one frame of capped, one frame of nectar and 7 frames of foundation. The drawn frames came from re-arranging the other boxes to 9 frames each.
So I guess what I’m hoping for now is another few good weeks of beautiful weather and the bees have enough time to get all the inside filled up with nectar and hopefully get some more frames drawn out on the seventh box. Who knows, if it’s all full at the end of October, I’ll be able to extract my first honey. Maybe I’ll even have enough to extract a whole super!
Well, the last experiment was splitting the hive and seeing if they would re-queen themselves. In short, it failed. There were some queen cells made and the cells looked like they hatched and the bees deconstructed them and the hive was looking great. All the comb was nice and straight and the brood area was all cleaned up and waiting for eggs, which never appeared. So I waited an extra week to make sure that there was nothing going to happen, and it didn’t, so I combined the hives again. So now, I have 7 boxes and they are full of bees and yesterday there was lots of activity. I’ve also spaced 5 of the 7 boxes at 9 frames each. Who knows, maybe I’ll end up with some honey before the year is out!
I guess I’ll just do swarm management next spring by splitting again… Hopefully I’ll get a little honey next year.
We started two hives of bees the first week of April this year. The short of it is that one queen was bad or died right off the bat and the hives got combined. They were split again the middle of July and we’re still waiting to see if the bees are going to re-queen themselves. Judith and I did a full inspection of the hive with the queen and a partial inspection of the other, just enough to see that there were queen cells drawn out. We’ll be checking again in a couple of weeks to make sure the hatched queen mated and made it back to the hive to start her queenly duties.
I’m looking forward to no more feeding! Hopefully in less than a month, I’ll be completely finished with feeding and will hopefully reap a little honey from the fall flow if there is one.
Here’s the new website! I’ve been playing around with figuring out how I wanted to do the hosting and now have made decisions and it’s all set up! This is the first post and since I’m kind of a dork it has the appropriately dorky title 🙂
More will be coming in the next few weeks including pictures and history and mission statements, but for now I’m just going to be excited about the fact that this is up and running.