|Posted on April 22, 2016 at 7:50 AM|
We are happy to report our swarm of bees has adapted to the top bar hive! There is a huge amount of honeycomb hanging down. The top bar hive is the most natural way to raise bees. It is basically a box with bars laying across the top in which the bees can attach and make their own comb. Hopefully we will have honeycomb for sale next year. The bees spend so much energy building the comb it is not recommended to harvest the first year. In a month 2 packages of bees will be arriving. I'm preparing the other top bar hives by cleaning them out and adding lemon grass and waxing the bars. The lemon grass is attractive to bees because it is similar to the pheromones of the queen bee. Lemon grass is also great for repelling mosquitos, just remember it attracts bees! Every morning I have been taking a sugar water mix and inspecting the hive and I think I saw the queen! In package bees the queen is marked on the back so it will be easier to pick her out in the package. The feed is suspended in an upside down mason jar. Using the open ring lid I cut old window screen and wax paper to size and secured in under the ring and turned the jar upside down which creates a vacuum. The bees are able to sip through the small opening with minimal loss of feed. Last year I was experimenting with feed for my first package bees, I used a gallon ziplock bag with tiny slits and layed it across the bars. It was easy and minimally evasive. All was going well until I made one of the slits too large and the bees ended up inside the ziplock bag. I lost nearly 3 pounds of bees that day as they had drowned in the bag.
Andrew's blackberry field is growing well. He says the vines are growing as fast as the weeds. It takes him 2 days to trim the weeds. If he wants to plant 3-4 more fields he will need to hire a crew to help maintain the weeds. It would be easy to put chemicals down, but we are keeping the field chemical free.
The grassy field waiting for the arrival of another 325 laying birds is almost finished. Andrew has been busy preparing for the arrival of the pullets in late May. He has about 2.5 months before they need to be turned out on the grass. He is way ahead schedule. Good thing he is thinking ahead. Summer will be hot!
Looking forward to a beautiful day at the Waco Downtown Farmers Market. My family is going in all different directions so I enlisted a friend to help Saturday morning. Hope the morning is not like last week. The boys were gone and before leaving for market I was chasing a calf through a muddy field (he should be slaughtered first). Actually the calf was easy; the horse knows when the gate is open and started to run toward the gate. As luck would have it, I beat the horse to the gate, but not without a twisted ankle. Andrew is usually the shining beacon at the market; the customers where expecting a beaming boy, not his frazzled filthy mom.
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