Friday, May 8, 2015

Bizzy Buzzy Bee Day

The pkg bees arrived early.  I wasn't ready.  I got it done anyway.  I hived the two pkgs using the no-shake method (modified Lorge - no drawn comb, just foundation).  We'll see if they are out of the boxes tomorrow.  I would check tonight, but it started pouring just as I was finishing up.  Now it is thundering and I'm not going out there.  Anyway,  I also split the original hive-that-was-new last year.  The queen went with the split (and she was HUGE), so I gave the deep that stayed in place a new Italian queen.  I checked the split I did earlier in the week and found no queen and no eggs, so they got the new Carniolan queen.  I'm assuming the old queen is still in place in the old deep, but I'll check for eggs in a few days to be sure.  This equals six hives.  I still have to put together ten more frames for the two nucs I use as swarm traps, and get one of them up on top of the duck coop (mmm roast duck with honey... look!  a chicken!) and find a location for the other one that is upwind of all the hives, just in case any of the splits are still of a mind to throw a swarm.  Or I get lucky and catch someone elses.  Oh, and did I mention hauled 12 concrete blocks up to the apiary to build three hive stands because there was no way to get three wood ones built in the time I had.  S'okay with me - we had the blocks on hand, so this was free.  And all three went together in five minutes.  It would have taken me at least five hours to build wood ones, if you include the time wasted going to the store to buy the 2x4s and 1x6s.

Then the Pirate and I made dandelion fritters for supper.  (Her idea - I came into the kitchen and she was getting everything ready).  Dandelions are plants.  So we will call that a nice healthy salad... NOT!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Not what I thought I'd be doing today

Instead of digging more trenches and planting the taters, I spent the afternoon dealing with the bees.  It is 75 degrees here.  The bees were in their two hives, with two deeps each.  Hive One had bearded up the front of their hive, almost to the top.  Hive Two, commando types, had multiple entrances/exits to their hive, and were bearding above two of the three.  This would be great build-up, except that it looks like swarm prep to me, and I DO NOT WANT THEM TO SWARM!  My swarm trap is not ready, and there is no guarantee they'd use it anyway.  So, I did a quick split on Hive One and gave each of the original deeps one more deep above.  I didn't bother to check for the queen, or even for eggs in both deeps.  Yes, yes, I know I'll have to go back and do that.  Later.  They weren't grateful for the extra real estate and stung me right thru my suit.  Twits.  Then I gave Hive Two an empty super to play with.  They were far less annoyed.  Obviously, I need to spend some time this week putting together more woodware and getting three more bases made, because I have no more, and I have two more packages of bees coming next weekend.  And I'm supposed to paint the toddler room at church this week.  And plant the rest of the garden.  I beelieve I 'll bee bizzy.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Dandelion Fritter time!

I took the girls over the hill and down to the river for a short homeschool field trip today, so we could check out the blooming spring beauty (corms taste like water chestnuts) and bloodroot (we did the face painting thing two years ago, so this time we just took pics).  Then the Pirate collected a bunch of dandelions because she remembered the fritters from last year and wanted them again, and I grabbed some wintercress that was also blooming.  I couldn't find last year's fritter recipe, so Pinterest came to my rescue, and I found another one that I think was even better - the batter was much lighter and thinner, and I just dipped the dandelions flowers in whole and tossed them in hot oil to deepfry.  Quick, easy, and we'll pretend that it's healthy.  Then I made "cheese sauce" for the wintercress buds and flowers (yes, I did the boil twice thing first).  Really, I just melted some Velveeta because I didn't want this to be a huge production.  I ate it all.  Tasty!  If I have time, I'm going to grab some ditchlily (those daylilies that have naturalized along every country road in this state) roots and do something with them, too.  Haven't decided what though.  I'll be real happy when they are blooming - I love them stuffed with cream cheese.