May 28, 2013
Spring is finally here and boy everything seems to want our attention all at once. The month of May is quickly coming to a close and it seems spring just began last week. We have had measurable snow and freezes right up to this past Saturday. 2 calves were born mid month, a heifer and bull, both sired by Thistle Creek Jack Straw. Both calves are doing well and growing fast. I'm so glad we raise Belted Galloway and moved our calving season to coincide with nature. Fawns are born mid May on and so are our calves. Well this year it seemed as though the calves were coming in March weather, we thank God Belties are born with spring jackets, because it sure was chilly, but the calves weren't bothered, they were able to take shelter behind clumps of grass during the worst of the weather, their medium length coats repelling the snow and cold rain.
Most of our bee hives are big and robust. I have delayed making nucs or splits this year, waiting for queens from a VT apiary to diversify our honeybee gene pool of Northern Survivors. I plan on raising queen daughters from these VT queens and mating them with drones from our winter survivor hives. Everything seemed to be going according to plan till this last batch of cold wet weather set in. I hope to check all our hives in the next couple days, but they maybe getting ready to swarm do to the crowding and inability to fly or work this past week. If so I will be forced to make splits to keep from loosing our worker stock. The VT queens may end up in smaller nuc hives than I intended if this happens. Our biggest hurdle for the apiary right now is keeping up with their woodenware needs. I hate too, but I may offer some of our nucs for sale to cover our expansion. Speaking of expansion, we secured another bee yard location in the heart of Mink Hollow Valley in Centerville. We will be moving bee hives to this location very soon and look forward to the mutifloral honey this area has to offer, apple, honeysuckle, sumac, basswood, goldenrod, just to name a few of the prominent species in the yard area. Very exciting.
April 21, 13
Wow were has the time gone since the last report? Phil rescued one of our young cows, KD. She had herself in a royal predicament, luckily he found her in time. She had laid wrong on a hay pile with her feet pointing up hill. If she had been a horse this wouldn't have been a big deal, she could have rolled over, getting herself out of the situation. Needless to say being that she is a cow and cows aren't designed to roll over or be on their backs for any length of time, she was in a life and death situation. Phil tried to help her sit up but was unsuccessful in his attempts as she was too heavy. Finally in sheer desperation as she was struggling to breathe, he used the tractor and tow straps to pull her around and then the tractor's bucket to help her sit up. She made a speedy and full recovery. We are grateful along with her 4 month old calf, Gemini. I'm so happy he found her as I was in town and the results wouldn't have been so happy by the time I returned.
Spring is coming painfully slow this year. It snow again last night, a light dusting covered the ground this morning. This past week had a few wonderfully warm days that has woke the grass up. Good thing, we are down to 5 bales of hay. Extra hay is hard to find this year and very expensive. The horses have been moved to fresh grass during the day this week and I left them on a temporary pasture over night for the first time last night. Unfortunately someone figured out the wire wasn't hot and from all the tracks they had partied all night long, all over the place. Phil and I have been taking turns checking and repairing fences. The cows are on their second pasture change, man, only just being on that project.
Looked at bees today, all the hives look like they will make it, except one. #8 had nearly a 3/4 full box of bees last check, so wonder if there was some human error that occurred last time I looked at them. They are all important to us, so loosing a single one is concerning. The poplar and willow trees are just starting to offer pollen, I did see some colt's foot around a building this week, but we haven't had any real decent flying days for honeybees yet. I'm sure the bees could really use some fresh pollen about now, its there if they could just get weather that would benefit them.
Till next time, Jenny.
Happy Easter Eve
Final report of the month. It was a busy one today. The Cows were itchy so I lice wash & karanja oiled them. Checked the bees on our neighbor's. What survived looks good and their honey stores look adequate. One sad note. #3 hive, our 1st cut out hive from a building next to the Mile Stone Bar didn't survive. They had been an impressive colony for 3 yrs. Only good thing that may come from this is they seemed to harbor a heavy mite load no matter what I did. Two winters in a row all the colonies around them have died of mite diseases. 12 in total. So now that their gone we'll see if their row can stop having heavy winter losses.
March 29th, 2013
Checked our home bees today. One hive has a small cluster, the rest look strong, but honey stores are getting low. Many people don't like dandelions, but they are one of the first nectar flowers of spring and provide the bees bright yellow pollen too. We will be checking the Warre yard tomorrow.
Late March 2013
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