Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Spring Garden....Barely!

It has been a very unusual spring in Texas. Here at home we have had over 10 inches of rain in May! Because of the rain (and a 4-week ear infection) part of my garden was planted in April and is coming along well and part of it was just planted on May 10th! Since I garden for pleasure, I have decided enjoy whatever I get this year! Next year will be another chance at an early garden.

Some of my garden was planted, part of it wintered over from last year, and here and there are plants that came up on their own! They are special surprises that will be revealed in their own time!

Flame acanthus, unknown squash or pumpkin, thyme

Various squash getting a late start

Rock rose

Pumpkins! (Note the unexpected pumpkin patch in the background. 
These came up in the compost pile!)

Sage and basil (the wintered-over arugula has gone to seed in the background)

Tomatillos and cucumber

A swallowtail caterpillar! I remove them from the fennel and place them on the dill that comes up year after year in this spot.

2nd season of fennel that wintered over, tomatoes and borage in the background

Beans and artichokes

Various peppers


I enjoy going out to my garden several times during the day. It is my happy place!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Beeladee: Hive Inspection 5/2/15

Rainy weather, sickness, and being busy at school have delayed my latest hive inspection. This delay made me nervous since I wasn't too comfortable with what I saw during my last inspection (Beeladee: Spring Inspection 4/14/15) I took advantage of the beautiful weather today to open my hive.

I usually move bars from right to left and begin a detailed inspection as I replace them. As I started sliding empty bars and entered into the comb area, I was a bit alarmed. The comb was nearly empty of bees! As I continued to pry and slide the bars across, removing propolis and allowing it to drop to the bottom of the hive to be reused, I saw more and more bees. They were docile and appeared quite young, with unfrayed wings.

I finished sliding the bars apart and moved to the far right to begin my inspection. I gradually began to see some pupae, more larvae and some capped brood. There was increasing evidence of a strong queen and I decided that my hive had requeened itself! I did not see the new queen herself but felt confident of her presence. While I took notes, I smoked and moved the bars back in place with the feeling that the hive was recovering well.

Although there was pollen and syrup, there was no capped honey, which probably contributed to the calmness of the bees. I gave the hive some of last fall's comb from the freezer to give them a boost. I also moved some of the old dark comb toward the far left and culled out a couple of bars of old comb. I moved the newer comb to the right and dispersed the partially built out bars throughout the hive.

As I finished up my notes, took a couple of parting pictures and closed up, I felt that this hive was once again on the right track. I will wait a couple of weeks before inspecting again.

This is comb from last fall. It fell during an inspection. Since it was uncapped, we could not eat it. I put it in the freezer to replace in the hive as needed. I lay comb, pollen patties, etc. on an old cutting board that spans the hive body. This helps keep these food supplies from attracting ants and robber bees.