Beekeeping, Gardening and Quilting in Eastern Wake County, North Carolina

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Bee Check Up

Friday afternoon I added more sugar syrup to the hives. The jar was empty and the other three hives needed syrup - their baggie were empty.
This photo is looking at the super on Nuc #2 - the baggie are put right on top of those bees. I did see right many hive beetles - a little surprised but nothing that can't be dealt with and it may be due to the baggies on top of the supers. I'll check on that later - lots and lots of bees though.

This is the front of Nuc #1 - lots of bees and activity. It's turning cold today (Sat afternoon) and possibility of snow Sun/Mon.
Glad I got them fed so they're all set for staying inside a couple of days.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Ethel - The Pink Egg Layer

ETHEL was still on the nest when I went to water and feed yesterday morning and she's the one - the pink egg layer!

She's not as big as the other hens and right now is laying maybe 2-3 times a week.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Drought 2009

Severe drought - 15 counties
Moderate drought - 48 counties
Abnormally Dry - 37 (including Wake)

As of last Friday, year to date precipitation in the Raleigh area was half the normal for this time of year - so far only 3.42 inches.
The driest place in the state is Asheville - it gets less than 40 inches of rain a year. And one of the wettest places is 25 miles away in Brevard - it gets more than 80 inches. The mountains never fully recovered - they're facing a third year of drought.
We've recovered from 2007 in most areas in the central and eastern part of the state. In the east some wells are still low - some areas, notably around New Bern haven't fully recovered.
I try to keep fresh water out for the birds and particularly for the bees (although they like yucky water).

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Folk Art at Fearrington

Fearrington Folk Art Show and Sale this weekend at the Barn. It was a great show with a wide variety of artists. So creative and fun.
Yep, we saw the Oreo cows too!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Raised Beds

I'm doing some more raised beds in the garden. This is an area that was covered in brush - you know, all those limbs, bushes, etc. that you can't burn. It accumulates like crazy but over time decomposes into good mulch and compost.

I'm making the beds 4x8 with some old lumber - nothing fancy and if it rots in a couple of years, I'll just replace them.

And I'm going to dig out some of the soil and put down cardboard and newspapers then add the soil back to the bed.

It was windy and cold on Saturday but the bees were flying so I went to work too. I had lots of help as usual.

This is the new brush pile - it's along the fence and out of the way. In a couple of years, I'll have more mulch and in this area I would like to plant more hollies and maybe some more camillas. Definitely evergreens.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Killer Bees in the Beehive State

From "The Salt Lake Tribune" 2/11/09

State and local officials have been anticipating the bees' arrival since they showed up in Mesquite, Nevada in 1999, just a few miles from the Utah line.

Although Africanized bees look like European honey bees, they tend to get irritated faster, respond with more firepower and stay mad longer than other bees. Their stings aren't more powerful but they're just more aggressive.

The bees are the result of interbreeding between European honey bees and bees from Africa. They were "inadvertently released" in Brazil in the 1950s. They were first spotted in Texas in 1990 and have since been found in several other states, including California, Florida, Arizona and Nevada.

They are widely feared by the public but since their introduction to the US in 1990, only 14 deaths have been reported over a period of several years, which makes them less hazardous than venomous snakes.

So far, we don't have any reports of Africanized bees in North Carolina.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Chickens Win a Place in Durham Rules

Chickens crossed into the city limits Monday night.

"What it really comes down to is a question of freedom, and that's what Durham is about. Live and let live," said Durham City Councilman Eugene Brown.

There's lots of stipulations but Durham joins Charlotte, Raleigh, New York City and Seattle in a nationwide fashion for "urban chickens".

A hard fought battle for the Durham HENS "Healthy Egg Neighborhood Supporters".

Buttercup in the Yard

Friday, February 20, 2009

A Little Dusting

A warm, sunny and dry patch of dirt - just right for dusting!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Six Hens - Six Eggs

I'm getting 6 eggs almost every day now. Since every egg is a different color you would think I could figure out who's doing what - not the case. I thought Dumpling (the white speckled hen) was laying the pinkish colored egg - no, now I'm thinking it's Lucy - she's the smallest Ameracuna and very flighty and skittish. Miss Minnie (the boss of the crowd/Red Star) is laying the dark brown, Ellie Mae (the always talking/Black Star) the light brown, Lucy (the dark red headed EE) the light blue and Dumpling is laying the greenish/gray egg. Oh and Buttercup (the golden EE) is laying the larger blue or she could be laying the greenish/gray - it's confusing!

I need one of those webcams and I could figure this stuff out.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Sunday I checked on the hives - filled the jar feeder again. Put baggies with sugar syrup in all the other hives. They are working hard - bringing in yellow pollen.

I'm not planning on replacing Hive #1 unless I get a swarm. My plan for this year is to put double brood boxes on my hives. The reasoning being with two brood boxes they will have a better chance of survival in the winter - a double brood box full of food and a full super - they should make it through the winter without any help from me.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sunday, February 15, 2009

To Be a Bee

Q: What are the life stages of a honeybee?

A: The queen lays an egg in a cell of the honeycomb. The egg hatches in about 3 days, whereupon a larva emerges and develops for about 6 days. Then, a worker bee seals it in its cell, where the larva pupates and becomes an adult in 8 to 14 days. Queens develop in about 16 days, workers in 21, and drones within 24.

To Be a Bee from The Old Farmer's Almanac 2009 Gardening Calendar February

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Must for Valentine's Day - Sweetheart Candies

Look for the new message this year "Recipe 4 Love"

Sweethearts Conversation Hearts "Made in America" by NECCO - they manufacture nearly 8 billion sweethearts a year.
Sweethearts got their start in 1902 and they still use the same formula to produce the candy today.

"Be Mine", "Kiss Me", "Call Me", and "Miss You" - just a few of the messages.

Friday, February 13, 2009

How to Store Eggs

Never buy eggs that are kept at room temperature. Any bacteria on the outside of the egg will multiply quickly at warm temperatures and can contaminate the egg when the shell is broken. And never wash eggs before you store them. It can make bacteria more likely to get inside, especially if the egg is warm and you wash it in cold water. Always keep eggs in the coldest part of the refrigerator.

Well, now I know - no more leaving the eggs on the counter, no more washing that guckey stuff off the shell. And here I thought I knew what I was doing!

Ethel - one of my Ameraucanas - they are such pretty chickens and I love getting blue eggs.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Bees Getting Water

The weather this past week has been wonderful. All the birds and bees were out looking for water over the weekend - the goldfish pond was a perfect place for the bees to get some water.

At one end of the pond, there are flag iris - an old fashioned yellow iris. This is what the bees were sitting on while sipping from the pond.

My Favorites

Be My Valentine
Little Debbie - the very, very best!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mary Janes Farm Magazine

Mary Janes Farm , The Everyday Organic Lifestyle Magazine

Vol. 8 #2

This magazine has everything and more you want to know about bees - getting started, recipes, a honeycomb quilt, true lessons of beekeeping, all about honey and much, much more. I picked up a copy today - if you don't want to buy it, at least check it out in the bookstores (got this at Borders).

I love to promote and put a plug in for businesses we have in the Old North State and listen to this - Kristin Keliher and Christen Ward started Honeywear, Inc. and they were a finalist for a $100,000 prize in's "Boost Your Business" contest. This is a grassroots, mom-run, organic children's accessories and clothing company based in Asheville.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Full Snow Moon

Since the heaviest snow usually falls during this month, native tribes of the north and east most often called February's full Moon the Full Snow Moon. Some tribes also referred to this Moon as the Full Hunger Moon, since harsh weather conditions in their areas made hunting very difficult.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Palm Bay, Florida Ban on Beekeeping

An interesting true life story about beekeeping in Palm Bay, Florida. Michelle Provencal will not be allowed to keep her domesticated honeybees after her neighbor called City Hall and complained, despite the testimony of bee experts on her behalf at a public hearing.

But if the bees were feral, Ubaldo Diaz (who is responsible for removing feral bee colonies in Palm Bay) stated even if her neighbors complained about their presence, he could not remove them without her consent.

So in the City's eyes, she would be well within her rights to keep a feral bee colony on her property, but her well-managed, unaggressive domesticated bees are deemed a nuisance.

One of the council members (the only dissenting vote) is hoping to introduce new legislation that would allow Michelle and other city residents to keep honeybees on their properties.


30,000 bees saved from an ancient oak at Wake Med Hospital's long term care facility in Fuquay Varina

Friday, February 6, 2009

Quilting Bee - Fabric Swap

Last Saturday our quilting bee did a Cutting Bee based on a Fons & Porter swap in their May/June 2000 Love of Quilting magazine. Everyone brought 1/2 yard cuts of yellow, blue and green - 3 of each color - each 1/2 yard was cut into two 4-1/2" strips and three 2-1/2" strips.

Then the fabric strips were put in color groups and we went around the table and picked up one strip from each group - around and around and around! It was great fun and I got fabrics I would never have bought and some "new" stash. No cost fabric shopping!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

"We do not need chickens in our backyard"

At the Monday night meeting of the Durham City Council - 17 spoke in favor of allowing residents to keep hens. The Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People, made impassioned statements against changing the law to permit chickens. Activist Victoria Peterson said, "We do not need chickens in our backyard."

Durham City Council members want more time before deciding . . . . to be continued.

I don't think my opinion should be made public.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Beeyard in February

The Beeyard in February
Hive #6
Hive #4
Nuc #1
Nuc #2
Hive #4 with jar feeder and all others with baggie feeders inside the hive.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Poor Management - Hive #1

Yesterday was warm but windy and I felt it was time to open Hive #1 and see what was left inside. In my previous posts, I had stated the hive starved to death and that's exactly what had happened. There were not any stores in the hive - none. Poor management on my part in not checking and knowing they needed to be fed.

But that said and done, I took the hive apart.

This is the only hive that had a full bottom board - all my other hives have screened bottom boards which is what I prefer and feel is better for the bees in our area.

All the bees were clustered between these two supers.

These are the frames taken straight out of the hive - there were not a lot of bees in this hive but if I had been feeding, they would have probably been okay through the winter.

The queen - I was glad to find her just to know there was a queen in the hive - you can tell she is bigger than the workers. She looked fine as did all the bees - other than being dead!

I cleaned everything up and put the brood box and supers on the stack with some moth crystals.

Hard lesson.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Groundhog Day - February 2

I sure hope Punxsutawney Phil does not see his shadow - I'm so ready for SPRING!

Here are some answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the holiday:
Yes! Punxsutawney Phil is the only true weather forecasting groundhog. The others are just impostors.
How often is Phil's prediction correct? 100% of the time, of course!
How many "Phils" have there been over the years? There has only been one Punxsutawney Phil. He has been making predictions for over 120 years!
Punxsutawney Phil gets his longevity from drinking the "elixir of life," a secret recipe. Phil takes one sip every summer at the Groundhog Picnic and it magically gives him seven more years of life.
On February 2, Phil comes out of his burrow on Gobbler's Knob - in front of thousands of followers from all over the world - to predict the weather for the rest of winter.
According to legend, if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter weather. If he does not see his shadow, there will be an early spring.
No! Phil's forecasts are not made in advance by the Inner Circle. After Phil emerges from his burrow on February 2, he speaks to the Groundhog Club president in "Groundhogese"(a language only understood by the current president of the Inner Circle). His proclamation is then translated for the world.
The celebration of Groundhog Day began with Pennsylvania's earliest settlers. They brought with them the legend of Candlemas Day, which states, "For as the sun shines on Candlemas Day, so far will the snow swirl in May..."
Punxsutawney held its first Groundhog Day in the 1800s. The first official trek to Gobbler's Knob was made on February 2, 1887.
So the story goes, Punxsutawney Phil was named after King Phillip. Prior to being called Phil, he was called Br'er Groundhog.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


I'm getting 3 eggs one day - 4 eggs the next. When they all six start laying, I'll have more eggs than I know what to do with.

Right now I'm getting one dark brown, two light brown, two blue and one blue/gray.