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

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Cab Ride

With the Holidays upon us I would like to share a personal experience about drinking and driving.

As you may know some of us have been known to have brushes with the authorities from time to time on the way home after a "social session" out with friends. Well, I was out for an evening with friends and had several cocktails followed by some rather nice white wine. Feeling jolly I still had the sense to know that I might have been slightly over the limit.

That's when I did something that I've never done before - I took a cab home.

Sure enough on the way home there was a police road block, but since it was a cab they waved it past. I arrived home safely without incident.

This was a real surprise as I had never driven a cab before, I don't know where I got it and now that it's in my garage I don't know what to do with it!

Be safe and take a cab!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

It's a Big World

The Triplets moved to the big house last week and went out in the yard Thursday afternoon.  It was quite an adventure!  They're still pretty small compared to the old girls but they're growing and everybody has settled down - you know there's a pecking order in the hen house. So everybody had to get used to new faces and personalities. 

Lily was fine even though she looks scared out of her wits and maybe would like to have a little snack.  I guess she was thinking - More, more ... how can we have more of these things!

Monday, December 2, 2013


I know it's late but what can I say - I've been busy.
So Over the River and Thru the Woods - we did go to Grandmother's for Thanksgiving.

Baby Sister - Vivian
Lily helping me cook.
Roxy doing what she does best.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Cold Weather

We're having some chilly temps - it's about 30 degrees right now which is pretty doggone cold.  The Triplets are growing and doing fine.  They are always happy to see me in the mornings with some fresh water and bread for a morning snack.

And when it's really cold, Little Kitty likes to lay on the heat vent.  What a life!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

River Chickens

My neighbor at the river has gotten some roosters and chickens - Buff Orpington, Barred Rock and Red Star - they are just beautiful.
The Triplets are growing - I think they'd be considered teenagers about now.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Triplets

Well, they're here already - that's right - the Triplets!  Three barred rock pullets.  I picked them up today in Youngsville and I must say the seller and I had quite a conversation - well, he had quite a conversation.  About talked my ears off but the Triplets are healthy, happy and settled in their new home.  And they traveled home in style in a dog/cat carrier - he brought them to me in a cardboard box.  Chickens are easy to move - you just have to remember they poop all the way home.

Right now I'm keeping the Triplets in a separate house till they get a little older and bigger.  They won't start laying till February but I'm excited - just the thought of having real eggs again!  Yippee!
I'm waiting to hear from a friend about the old girls moving to a Safehouse. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Bee Inspector

Today our local state bee inspector, Will Hicks,  and Mr. Ellis came over to look at the "New Hive".  I've had dead bees in front of the hive and Mr. Ellis and I thought there was more to it than just a change in the weather.  Well, sure enough, Will said I have varroa mites in this hive.  I will treat with Api-Life VAR which is one of the latest products available for the control of varroa using organic chemicals. It is 95% effective while leaving the least residue of any product available to beekeepers (legal or illegal).The active ingredients are the well proven Thymol plus Eucalyptus Oil, Menthol and Camphor.  Treatment is always applied after the honey harvest.
Will and I checking "New Hive"

And since Will was here, he checked all the hives. Saw the queen in Hive #4 and Nuc #1 - all the hives have plenty of honey stored and lots of bees.  Still have drones too. 
Put a super on Nuc #1 -took 2 frames of honey from each hive and moved to this super - so they have 4 empty frames.  Gives everybody a little more breathing space.  I'm still feeding and will continue until freezing weather or they stop taking the sugar syrup.

The Queen - Hive #4

And Will never (well, very seldom) puts on his suit but I did for the "New Hive".  It was cloudy and very windy - these girls were not happy. He got stung a couple of times but the other hives were fine - no problem with them - very gentle bees.
Just a note - I treated my bees with chemicals the first year of beekeeping.  Someone said that was what you were supposed to do, so I did it.  I have not used chemicals in my hives since that first year.  I really, really hate to use any type of chemical but have no choice with this situation. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Day 3 and a Finish

Well, I'm done and pretty darn glad to be done too!
The lattice that's on the left is the temporary door.  I've used it all summer and it works fine - just have to prop something against it to keep it from falling over.

I got a little carried away with the roof.  Put shingles over the landscape timbers and then put plywood on top and then put shingles over the plywood.  Of course it's a flat roof but this is not the "forever" chicken house.
The cost was "zero dollars".  Everything was from stuff I had in the barn, garage or just laying around.  Let me tell you - I have some stuff. 
So I'll be getting some new girls soon . . . . stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Chicken House Day 2


Day 2 - finished the back of the hen house with pieces of siding.  Left the top open with wire for ventilation. 

Lily was helpful again today.
The lattice at the front of the hen house will have chicken wire attached.  When it gets cold, I'll put plastic on the outside.  Not sure about the door but have another piece of lattice that fits so it'll work for now and I just prop it shut.
It did take longer than I thought to get that plexiglass glued (Gorilla Glue) and I used foam strip insulation to make it work against the wood.

Now that's about all I did on Day 2.  It took awhile to cut all the pieces for the back and front and I'm not the greatest with a skill saw but I'm still in one piece so that says a lot!
More tomorrow . . . . 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Chicken House Remodel - Day 1

I want chickens that lay eggs and not just hang around the house being fat and sassy . . . . so I have no choice but to renovate/enlarge my hen house . . . can't eat those girls (they all have names).

I made the original hen house from landscape panels and it's sorta a tepee but not much extra room inside.

Lily was helping - she got in the way a lot looking for squirrels.  This is her favorite time of the year - those pesky squirrels are running around everywhere.

This was actually the hardest part - moving the panel over - it fell over once and that was not pleasant but got it back up again (you can bet I propped it up right this time).

So this is how it looked at the end of Day 1 - lots of space inside for the girls.  I did put up a temporary front before bedtime so the girls would be safe.
So during the night while I was supposed to be sleeping, I thought about what I had done and what I should have done - stay tuned for Day 2.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Crow Accents

Researchers for the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority found over 200 dead crows near greater Boston recently, and there was concern that they may have died from Avian Flu. A Bird Pathologist examined the remains of all the crows, and to everyone's relief, confirmed the problem was definitely NOT Avian Flu. The cause of death appeared to be vehicular impacts.
However, during the detailed analysis it was noted that varying colors of paints appeared on the bird's beaks and claws. By analyzing these paint residues it was determined that 98% of the crows had been killed by impact with trucks, while only 2% were killed by an impact with a car.
MTA then hired an Ornithological Behaviorist to determine if there was a cause for the disproportionate percentages of truck kills versus car kills.
The Ornithological Behaviorist very quickly concluded the cause: when crows eat road kill, they always have a look-out crow in a nearby tree to warn of impending danger. They discovered that while all the lookout crows could shout "Cah", not a single one could shout "Truck." 

Monday, September 23, 2013

September Bees

I'm still feeding all the hives and they all seem to be okay right now.  It takes a lot of sugar to feed four hives on a daily basis.  They'll take a jar a day.

Grapes 2013

Little Kitty

Monday, September 2, 2013

We'll catch a Fish

A hunting we will go, a hunting we will go
Heigh ho, the dairy-o, a hunting we will go
A hunting we will go, a hunting we will go
We'll catch a fish and put him on a dish
And then we'll let him go

And that's exactly what I did . . . . and then I caught some more.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Feeding the Hives

The Beeyard - August 2013

Nuc #1

New Hive
I've started feeding all the hives.  They take a jar of sugar syrup a day - would take twice that much if I'd give it to them.  I put a new jar out in the morning and by lunch, it's gone! 
The recipe - 1 cup sugar to 1 cup hot, almost boiling water - stir to dissolve the sugar and it's done.
I put Nuc #1 in a brood box this week.  They had filled out all their space in the nuc so time to move.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

TIME Magazine August 19, 2013 Issue

August 19, 2013 Time Cover

If you get the chance to read this article, it's really interesting and provides information about CCD (colony collapse disorder), neonicotinoids (systematic chemicals), varroa destructor (a mite), american foulbrood, small hive beetle and loss of forage.  All of these factors are contributing to the demise of the honeybee.
Plus PPS (piss-poor beekeeping) the failure of beekeepers to stay on top of colony health which I'll have to admit has been the case with me more than once.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Friday, August 9, 2013

Feeding Hive #4

Put the feeder on Wed afternoon.  They've taken about half when I checked this morning.  While everybody around us seems to have had rain, we've had none.  There's not much out there for them to be feeding on so I'll probably be adding feeders to the Nucs in the next day or so.

Monday, August 5, 2013

More Wax Moths

Hive #6
 Hive #6 needed a little help.  It looked like the Leaning Tower of Pisa.  I had already propped up the side and put a big board under the front - time for something a little better.  Took off the top super and the middle brood box - took the frames from the bottom brood box and put in another empty brood box right next to this one.  Then put back the second brood box and super.  The girls are fine - just moved over a little.

Looking inside Hive #4
Nuc #1 that was made on 6/27 - thought by now they would need more room - not the case.  They still had room but not much food so moved two frames w/honey from Hive #6. Did see the queen in this hive. 
Hive #4 - start feeding.
Nuc #3 - this hive was full of wax moths.  A couple more days and there would have been nothing left.  I hope there were enough bees saved - put them in a Nuc Box.  Mr. Ellis will try to get me a queen this week.  I'll start feeding this hive too.
New Hive - okay, full of bees and had plenty of food but still space.

Hive #6 - almost looks like Pecan Pie

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Bee Report

I know - it's been awhile since I posted about the bees but LIFE got in the way.
So now I'll try to update the bee situation.  I'll say not so good right off the bat.  I have harvested my honey and have maybe 3/4 of a five-gallon bucket.  The bees have been struggling to find food to keep alive much less provide some for me. 

It has rained and rained and then rained some more!
So we're about 8.35" above normal.  I think more at my house - just depends on where you live.  The ground is still soppy wet so we've had plenty.
So when everything bloomed in the spring, it was cold and rainy and then rainy and on and on and the bees were having to eat what they were bringing in to survive so not the surplus of last year.  Well, that's what I'm thinking and saying.
Right now, I have 4 hives and one Nuc that I made on 6/27/13.  Mr. Ellis had bought a queen and didn't need it so we made a Nuc for me. 
I checked all the hives today.  Thought the New Hive needed more space and Nuc #1 needed to be put in a big brood box.  Not the case - both have plenty of room.  I did see the queen in Nuc #1. The New Hive has lots of mites but they're all at the top so I'm not too concerned right now.  All the hives have space so no changes today. 
Nuc #1

Hive #4