Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Swarm Chasers

I had my day planned to the minute. Bake, deliver, pick up chicken feed, raid greenhouse, a.m. barn chores, an alpine doe kid was to be picked up and finally the garden was going in TODAY. Rain was in the forecast, so if not today it would possibly be another week. It is late already.
All was going according to plan. I had just finished milking when I saw the bees acting a bit strangely. Suddenly the air filled with bees and I knew we had another swarm on our hands. I called hubby. I know you don't want to hear this but the other hive has swarmed. I think they may be headed towards the pear tree. Well, he said, I can't get home and you may not get this one. Could he have waved a BIGGER red flag?
I watched as they flew through the pear and then headed to the bush where the last swarm landed. I hurriedly started gathering equipment to capture them once they had clustered. In the mean time, I called my sister to have an extra set of hands. She wasn't home but later told me she was afraid of bees so she would have been of no help. I then called my mom. How would you like to add beekeeping to your resume? She was game. I mixed up sugar water to drizzle over the frames. I remembered doing this last year and it helped attract the bees. (I did not do this last week and sadly, the swarm we recovered left. A bee keeping mentor told me not to be too sad as that happens.)
Once clustered, we suited up and positioned the hive under them. I held  my breath and gave a hard shake and watched as the bees fell into the hive. We put the top on and stood back to watch. Bees are such amazing creatures. In about 30 minutes they were all in the hive and had started to work.
Now, I could head to the garden!  Being that she was here, Mom stayed and helped. We worked for several hours, stopping only long enough to put a roast in the oven for supper. Tomato and pepper plants went in the ground. Two types of green beans, a fillet type for steaming and eating fresh and a new one called "Venture". Venture is supposed to be an excellent canning bean and unlike most beans they all come on at once. I am curious to see what kind of yield we get. Three rows of corn were planted. Several hills of cucumbers and zucchini along with carrots and two types of radishes were also planted. I planted the "Watermelon" radish again. I loved this one for fermenting.
The things already planted are looking good. Potatoes and peas are up.The garlic looks great and the onions have settled in and turned bright green. The strawberries are hanging full.
Doug arrived home and tilled a couple more rows for planting next week, pulled dirt up around the potatoes and then we walked the new large garden. He thinks we can get it plowed in the next few days. A long but productive day on the homestead!

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