Saturday, March 30, 2013


With my rush to get garden work done I also wanted to get into the hive to check on the ladies and give them some food if need be.  When I got inside I found a dead hive.  We were mistaken that the hive might be alive, it must have been other nearby bees robbing our dead hive of it's honey that we mistook for life from within our hive.

It was really disappointing to find this.  I had hoped that the activity we saw outside the hive was the signs of success, but it wasn't.  I tested a few frames by sticking a toothpick into the remnants of the honeycomb cells.  Thankfully I did not find goopy, rope like strands when I pulled the toothpicks out, a sure sign of American Foul Brood.  Instead it seems that everything left behind is old packed pollen.

Empty hive bodies on the lawn is not a welcome sight to a beekeeper.  The honey supers still looked good but all of the brood chambers looked dark and dirty.  So I am going to strip out all the comb and foundation, scrap and scrub them clean and then pop in new foundation.

Below you can see a dark spot that does not look like a bee (or the dead wasp you also see that got into our hive) is a small hive beetle.  I saw at least five on the screened bottom board.  The small hive beetle is one of the newer pests that plague honey bees.  They could have definitely contributed to the death of our hive.  It might be time to rethink some of our hive management procedures.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Garden Work Has Begun!

Today the weather was warm enough that I was able to get outside and do some work.  Work that was LONG over due!  It was a rush to get things done since we're going to be gone over the Easter weekend and when we return it should be raining.  Here are the garden beds at the beginning of the day after a long winter without any work.

This is what I accomplished today:
*clean the straw and leaves off the beds
*pull plants that finally gave out over the winter and harvest any left over roots.
*prune back perennial herbs.
*amend beds that were going to receive seeds.
*turn over/loosen soil in the in-ground bed.
*Finally created draft garden plans so I could figure out where to plant some of my seeds.
*planted the following seeds: peas, kale, lettuces, carrots, and radishes.

Here are what the beds look like now:

Not perfect, but immensely better.
I still need to:
*amend remaining beds.
*plant spinach and chard
*finalize garden plans for summer plant placement.

Seeing the garlic growing without the straw and the pea tepee supports in place make it really feel like the gardening season has begun.

Spring Break?

I am on Spring Break this week.  Although it should be called Winter Break #2.

This is what is looked like this time last year.

This is what this week has looked like.

We got this snow on Monday and it hung around until Tuesday.  The snow has melted over the past couple of days and the temperature today is getting up to the low 50s.  I am hoping that the soil won't be too soggy and I can actually get some things planted!  I am more than ready for winter to finally let go.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Bee School

Over the weekend we attended a bee school/conference for the 3rd year in a row.  We always enjoy this day because it gets us excited for the upcoming bee season.  We get to share stories and tap into other's knowledge.  There are also vendors selling all sorts of beekeeping books and tools.  This year we finally invested in a full beekeeping suit.  We bought one that will make sure to fit both of us and I feel like a huge marshmallow in it but I won't be worried about a bee finding an opening in my clothing.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


Yesterday we only reached a high of 38 degrees. A week ago I thought spring was arriving.  I was wrong.  

It's been too cold and wet to get any seeds in the ground.  I am hoping to get some in next week!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Signs of Spring

The garlic is coming in through the straw and the chives have already started new growth.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Overwintered Hive?

Could it be that we actually overwintered a hive, even without medicating or really trying?  On Sunday when the temps hit over 60 degrees I was surprised by the amount of activity that was coming in and out of the hive.  I thought they might have died but Andy was convinced they were still alive.  It looks like he is right or there are a lot of bees robbing our hive of it's honey.  We definitely need to get in there asap and find out what is going on.

Monday, March 11, 2013


All my seeds have arrived.  I am hoping to get lettuces, greens and peas in the ground this weekend.  But I don't have a garden plan yet.  I really need to sit down and figure out where I want everything to go in this year's garden before I can put a seed in the soil.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Spring Is In The Air

This is what the garden looked like on Wednesday when we had a snow day.

Seeing this gal collecting pollen as I walked around without a coat today put a smile on my face that Spring has arrived.