Sunday, April 14, 2013

My bees are here!!!

 Friday was a very long day. And it ended getting bees.

I went to my friends house at 6:30. He hooked up his enclosed trailer to his truck and we headed out. We had to go to Sale Creek, Tn, not too far away. We got there before dusk. Then more people came. Thank goodness we were first. We had to back the truck into this narrow space to those hives. Then Lynn, who is an engineer, had this elaborate system to get the 3 hives into the trailer. There was a dolly, lots of straps and metal bars across the tops. I had brought my full bee suit, but it was dark by the time we loaded them, so I just put on a long sleeve white shirt and Lynn's wife's hat.

There were a lot of people standing around. Lots of red lights all over. I helped get the straps on the hives. Held lights. I felt something going up the back of my right leg. Then felt a little sting. I tried all I could to get that bee out of my pants! It really didn't hurt bad. But the I heard one in my hair. And I have really thick curly hair. Finally got that one out and headed to Lynn's house. (That's my hive in the middle with the white box in the middle of the hive.)

When we got to Lynn's and to where he had his bee stands, it was about 9:30. And when I got out of the truck, I put my ear to the trailer. And I heard bees. Loud angry bees. And lots of them. So we went to the house, ate some cornbread soup, (it was SO good. I'll have to tell y'all how to make it later.) suited up, lit the smoker up. Headed back to the trailer. By then, they had settled down again. He smoked through the cracks and lifted the door up. My hive was in between his two. And the hive on the right was crazy mad. There were dead bees all over inside. I felt so bad for them.

We got up in the trailer and brought the bad hive out first. Got it up on the stand. Now Lynn, who I mentioned is an engineer and has a shop on his farm, had made the nicest bee stands for his hives. Out of stainless steel. On metal posts about a foot off the ground. In a nice little stand of trees. So those hive stands ain't going anywhere.

Got back in the truck and headed to my house. It was about 11:00 by then. Got my hive out onto my trusty yellow wagon and pulled it down the driveway to the sheep yard, where I was putting my hive, in the corner by the big maple tree. On a wooden pallet. With a little field fence yard for them to keep the sheep away. It was 12:00 when we were all finished. I was perty tired by then. A very long day. But I was very happy to have my bee hive in place at Outback Farm.

This is the front where you can see a few bees on the pallet. It had an entrance reducer for traveling purposes. I went out later last night and pried it off with my hive tool. I missed the little nail the first time and I heard the bees then. I got it the next time, dropped it on the ground and shut the fence and ran out! I need to pick it up and save it for winter.

They were really active yesterday. It was sunny and warm out. It took them awhile to get going though, since it was cold in the morning. But I watched them all during the day and they were busy little bees.

I had signed up for a bee workshop a few months ago and it was Saturday. So I went and learned SO much from Samantha, at Barefoot Farm. She and her husband have had bees for years and years. And I know now why it's called Barefoot Farm. They have a lot of kids and they were all barefoot. Even the husband. They were so knowledgeable. I learned that as long as I am BEHIND the hive, I will be ok. If I am in FRONT of the hive, in their flight path, I better watch out! I also got a great book called The Backyard beekeeper by Kim Flottum. Good book. Also got a pint of their honey. It is so good.) I so enjoyed that class and feel more confident. Although, I know that I will learn so much more as I go along on this journey. I also bought an extra box with frames that Samantha said I should put on the top later on this week. She said I should leave them alone for at least a week to settle in. Then put it on.

I have a hive tool, but not like this one with the hook on one end. She's had this one for years. And the tool on the left is a frame lifter tool. Very handy tool to have. We have a bee store in Lafayette that is all things bee. I'll go Wed. and get some more things I'll be needing. (Look at her. And 7 kids too.)

This is her observation hive. So interesting. We got to see drones, workers and finally found the queen. She isn't a very strong queen though. So she'll be watching her. If she doesn't do what she's supposed to do, lay eggs, she will have to be killed and a new queen brought in. Bees are so amazing.

And this is the back view of my hive. The entrance in facing East. I want to make a deck here under this maple tree. I was worried at first then when I found out we would be ok behind the hive, I'll go ahead with my plans now. I will love sitting here and watching my bees.

I am SO glad I went ahead and jumped into this adventure with bees. I have always wanted bees but kept waiting. When I heard that Eddie was selling all his bees to retire and move to Montana, I just jumped and told him I wanted a hive. I so wish I had gotten 2 now. But I hope to grow this one into a split and then add to it. I'd still like to have one out back.

But right now, I am just enjoying them and hoping they will be happy and healthy bees. And that they will pollinate everything and take all the pollen they want! And some honey would be a really nice reward.

Friday, April 12, 2013

More sheep shots

I put the sheep out on the front pasture. It's finally looking good and green and full of grasses and clovers and all kinds of other things sheep love.

Can you see part of Lookout Mt in the background? I love this view.

The lambs have really been keeping me on my toes lately. They are just the right size to get through the field fence where I've had to cut either ram heads out or goats with horns. So I need to go put wire across the holes. These lambs are sneaky little devils. And of course, what's on the other side of the fence is SO much better. If you can see here, all the lambs and Amarillo are at the front fence, climbing it to get to the honeysuckle vines. And this is a very old rickety fence.

This is the lowest spot and it always fills with water to make a pond after heavy rains, like last night. It looks like the lambs are wondering what that is.

And this is what makes up for all the headaches these little devil lambs cause me. They are so funny to watch. Here is Tater Tot leaping in the air.

Here ia another view of Lookout Mt across the pasture next door. That I wish was mine. But isn't. And this cattle panel is about to fall over. Another way for sheep to get out and over into this paradise.

There are a few sheep missing. Darla is sick. So her boys are staying with her. She might have pneumonia. Again. She so needs to be sheared and it's been SO hot this past week. And the other day, I gave them too much bread. So the wool sheep all had runny poop the next day. I am seriously thinking about selling all the wool sheep. I have more trouble out of them than the hair sheep. They are never sick or puny like the woolies are. So I think I'll sell the wool sheep and get a few more hair sheep. Such easy sheep to have.

I love the day after a heavy rain or storm. Every thing is so green and fresh. And all the pollen is washed away!!! It's been so heavy here with pollen. I can just feel it in the air. And it's so think on everything.

We're going tonight to get the bees!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Around the yard and gardens

This is just part of my front yard. If you look at the top, where that white pallet is, that's where the bees will be going. When I get them. I'll put a fence around it to keep the sheep away. My yard is full of dandelions. Which I love. And I cry when I see those horrible commercials about Roundup to kill them. I use the flowers for tea and jelly. And the leaves are good to eat. And the bees LOVE them! How can anyone kill these plants? There will always be dandelions and violtes and henbit in my yard.

This is a view of the "wild" garden to the side of the yard. To the left top corner is where the bees will be. I have 7 blueberry bushes, so far, wrapped around this garden. I planted sunflowers seeds and some herbs in this garden plus lots of other flowers will pop up too.

This is the rock garden. This is the newest little lilac bush. So pretty. The bees should really like this bush. I also have some small butterfly bush, spirea and lots of peppermint and other herbs and Black-eyed Susan flowers. Plus dandelions all around it.

I have 4 fig bushes. Or are they trees? I don't know. They are all getting leaves now! You can see my sheep in the side yard. I put Abraham back in with the ewes today. Maybe some September lambs?

This is my grapevine row in the garden. All of them are getting leaves now. You can see the kale and collards to the right. Potatoes to the left.

I have 3 really old apple trees in the side yard. All of them are getting leaves and are full of buds ready to blossom out soon. I also have 6 newer trees down below the garden. And 3 pear trees. All getting leaves and buds too.

I found some Adirondack Blue and some white potatoes from last year in the garage. So I cut them up and planted them today. I dug a trench, put the potato pieces in that, then covered it all with a heavy layer of old hay mulch.

So it is really becoming spring around here. We're in for some strong storms tonight, so lots of rain too. We kind of need it right now. Strange to say that. But the ground is quite dry. My little baby plants need water.

Just a little view of my yard and gardens. I think my bees will be ok here. Plus there are 2 mountains on either side of us here, full of trees.

No bees yet

We were supposed to go about 6:30 tonight to get the hives in Sale Creek, Tn. But, we are in for some pretty nasty storms right between 5 and 8 PM. Right in the middle of when we were going. So we will go tomorrow. I am not looking forward to storms. In April. Those are scary. So I'll do a post about my yard and garden instead.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Mulching the garden beds

 I did do quite a lot Sunday. I know, it's a day of rest. But when the mood hits, I jump.

So I got the wagon and loaded up 3 huge loads like this one of the best hay mulch. This is where I fed the sheep hay and it's sat here all winter. It's FULL of big red worms. I mean FULL. Every time I got a fork full there were worms.

This is where all that went. On the cabbage and onion bed. It's really deep too. Still have a flat of cabbage and some broccoli to get planted. It will get done.

I have all this to get on the garden too.  Under the sheep shelter. Lots of good stuff. Then there's the other shelters. The chicken coop. And the goat barn. I should have lots of good arm muscles soon!

What do y'all use for mulch? I like this because it has all the sheep, goat and chicken manure mixed in with it. So good for the garden. And I can mix it in later to the soil and it makes it richer.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

So tired

I don't know what's wrong with me. I am so tired. Can't seem to do anything. I have no strength. I get worn out so fast. And I have SO darn much to do. I think I'm depressed. I cry at the smallest things. I get upset all the time. I am just so tired. I lay in bed at night, thinking of all the things I need to do. I can't sleep. I have to get up and take a sleeping pill. Then I have to get up at 6 am to get my grand daughter on the bus. It's getting daylight again now, so I stay up.

Already today, the sheep were outside the electric fence. In the rock garden. I was on my way down the driveway to plant some flowers under my farm sign when I saw them. They must have just gotten out so hadn't done much yet. The little piece of field fence was down. SO I ran and got some feed and got them back in the sheep yard. Then had to fix the boundary fence to get them over next door for a few days. The grass in that yard in nice and pretty tall and so green now.

I was going to mow along that fence so the sheep wouldn't be tempted to go under. But  the grass is so tall, the mower keeps shutting off. And it wears me out to have to crank it up every few minutes.

But earlier this morning, I tried the new milking machine on Zarah. I had put her kids up last night so I could milk her. I could not get ANY suction. Nothing. I tried the bigger machine on Penelope. No suction on that one either. So had to hand milk them both. I got so upset and just cried buckets. I feel so useless. I know it's something simple that if my husband were here, he could get it going. It just makes me mad. And I cry some more. Poor me.

I did make some farmer's cheese for a farmer's get together and seed swap tonight. I want to go so bad. But it starts at 5 and goes til 9. Right in the middle of milking and feeding times. Aren't these farmer's too? Don't they have evening chores to do too?

And now my camera is not working. Something about the lens. I should know not to carry it in my pocket all the time. And I just got it not long ago.

I think I'll go back to bed now.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Arlo's gone

I just sold Arlo Guthrie and Trudy's buckling! So I have enough money to buy my milk machine! I am so happy that Arlo isn't going to be sausage. Now to find a new home for John Henry. And Ira Joe.

I'm going in the morning to get the milk machine. I hope I don't get lost. Nashville is not the easiest place for me.  It's got a lot of highways and signs and way too much traffic. I hope I can find the place.