Bee Keeper vs Bee Haver

My intent has been to be a bee keeper, not just someone with a hive or two sitting down the hill in an electric fence enclosure. These bees came to me via local purchase in the spring and were diligently set up with the idea of being successful this year. Then bursitis in my left shoulder, followed by a ruptured bicep also the left (my dominant side), then the heat. The bees have basically had to fend for themselves, though I did do one hive inspection, finding old larvae and low population in one hive and no evidence of the marked queen, and new and old larvae and much higher population in the other hive, but again, unable to find the marked queen. I closed them up and hoped that the first hive had made a new queen before the marked one took off with her helpers.

Yesterday, my bee keeping, spinning friend offered to come over today and help me do an inspection. Walking up to the hives, we weren’t hopeful with the first hive, but found eggs (which I can’t ever see), young and older larvae, capped brood, some honey, and some stored pollen, but not enough. The amount of brood is hopeful that the new queen is doing her duty to build up the population before it gets cold. The second hive is thriving. We pulled a lot of drone larvae off for the chickens, it is about time for the workers to kick the drones out anyway. We pulled the queen excluders, and decided that since there isn’t enough honey stored for winter, that I should begin feeding them 2:1 syrup that they can cap and store for winter. Next week, it is supposed to be cooler, so we are going to treat both hives with Formic acid pads to kill off any mites before it gets cold.

Not a single photo was taken today, but the hives are set up with an empty box on top to hold two quart jars of syrup per hive. A need to purchase a 20 lb bag of sugar on the list as I used all that was in the house. Four quarts of syrup are cooling on the counter and I’m waiting the the thunderstorm that came up to pass so they can be taken down and put on the hives.

After we were done, both hot and sweaty, we visited over a cold lunch of Quinoa salad that I had made this morning, then picked her a few gallons of apples to take home. Though it wasn’t as hot as the past week, it was still plenty warm in long sleeves, long pants, boots, hood, and gloves.

My appreciation of her help can’t be explained enough. With the difficulty of lifting the heavy boxes and the inability to see the eggs in the cells, it is great to have her younger eyes and greater strength.

Soapy Day

The schedule has had a soap making day floating around it for several weeks. Today was the day to begin for this year’s supply. My potter friend who loves my soap asked for a batch, Son 1 needs about 20 bars for personal use and gifts, hubby and I are each on our last or near last bars of our preferred ones.

Because it is a home football evening at the University, we went into town a bit earlier, got breakfast and supplied for the week at the Saturday Farmer’s Market, and because of the football game, all of the parking near where we wanted to begin our daily walk is off limits, we headed to a more distant portion of the trail and got our walk in. With those daily tasks completed before noon, the Orphan chicks were moved to the outdoors for the day and the kitchen set up to begin the soap making production. Three of the batches were the same scent, so they were done first as it didn’t require significant clean up between batches as long as I tared out the scale before measuring the oils and fats. They all go in loaf molds. The fourth batch for the day using the sheet of round bar molds and is for me, so I didn’t care that a little bit of the scent from the other batches would blend in with my Eucalyptus and Tea Tree which is my favorite, and that batch was also made and the four batches are curing overnight. Tomorrow, if they are sufficiently cured to unmold and cut, two more batches will be made. The molds are all currently in use.

Tomorrow’s batches will make 6 done for this year’s use and all of the equipment will be again packed away until more is needed. With no shop and no markets, less is made these days.

Soon there will be a hands on class at the museum. I need to find another emersion blender before then and order molds that won’t come back to me after the class.

Olio – September 1, 2023

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things

The garden is a mess, the two pumpkins vines have taken over and what isn’t under their leaves are weeds. The zucchini finally quit, the cucumbers are scarce, but there are many pickled in the refrigerator. The tomatoes have produced well but many were lost with a period of rain and then being away for 4 days. A bucket full is awaiting attention on the kitchen counter. It will be turned into sauce this afternoon and what isn’t used for dinner will be frozen in quart freezer bags as I still haven’t the drive to can this year. The Tomatillos are producing fruit but it is rotting on the vine or getting eaten so only 1 have been brought in. The peppers are still not doing much.

I did get away last weekend for an annual fiber retreat in beautiful Black Mountain, NC. The group was on the smaller side due to some folks that had to drop out at the last minute, but I did meet some new people and look forward to seeing them again maybe at Hawk’s Nest in February or next year at Black Mountain.

A morning walk while there an encounter with a very tolerant hen Turkey and her three poults.

Once home, the Mama Hen has started making her 5ish week old chicks get up on the roost at night. The two orphans spend the night hiding behind the feeder and waterer and the day roaming the coop. They have only ventured out twice and both times have been attacked by the flock of hens. Today we purchased a wire dog cage and I put them in it where they will be seen, but protected. On nice days, I will pull it out and put it in a shady spot in the yard and hopefully eventually they will be accepted or will at least be big enough to defend themselves.

Not much else happening.