The Most Bee-tiful Time of The Year

A few days ago I made a honeycomb cake in anticipation of today.

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It didn’t last very long, but it made me happy to think about how close I was to being a beekeeper again. And today was the day!

I drove out to Scottsville this morning to pick up my package of honeybees. It had been postponed a day, which is probably okay considering it rained a bunch yesterday.

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The lovely folks from Scottsville Supply Co  handed me my bee package and queen cage, and off I went, the sound of thousands of buzzing honeybees filling the car. I serenaded them with a bit of Hamilton, but I don’t think they were too into it.

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The queen is in her own separate cage. These bees have not been “bonded” to her yet, so she’s being attached by rubber band to a frame in the hive, which is blocked by sugar.  The rest of the bees are then dumped into the hive with her, and this evening I will make sure the hive is closed securely and “lock” them in with her for now.  In the time it takes for her to eat the sugar and emerge from her cage, the bees will have fallen under the spell of her pheromones, and that will be that. A queened colony!

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The can contains the sugar syrup they were shipped with. There were still quite a bit in there, so I’m leaving it for them to continue to feed from while they acclimate. Since there were still a lot of bees in their plastic bus after shaking most of them out, I decided to leave that in there, as well. After a few days I’ll go out to check on them and I can remove it then, and hopefully remove the entrance reducer and allow them to go forage for pollen on their own.

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Go bees! Draw comb! Feed your queen! And pollinate!

 

Onto Greener Pastures. Literally.

With the ewes showing no signs of being bred there was no reason to keep them in the front pen anymore. The grass in the back was starting to really look a tad tall, so I made the decision to move them last night.

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Perivale and little Ram were the first to head out. The halter was NOT popular. However, all the ladies figured out it was easier to deal with it and get back to the fresh grass. Darby, on the other hand, well. Let’s just say that boys are the worst.

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“No, lady, the fresh grass doesn’t make up for the halter.”

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There’s tons of work to be done (will there ever NOT be? Unlikely!), but I am falling in love with my little corner of the world all over again, and from the contented noises the flock was making, I’d say they are as well.

Shearing Day 2017

I’ve watched our friend Emily shear our sheep for several years now, and it never stops being mesmerizing to me. Her speed has increased dramatically over the years,  and the ease with which she handles even the biggest sheep is wonderful to see.  Yesterday she arrived after shearing probably 100 other sheep and goats on various farms in the area and got ours handled in less than an hour. Which was a good thing, because it started sprinkling just after the last sheep was done. The wool was packed off on bags with her, off to be sold to the wool pool. I have a substantial amount left here for hand-spinning, and until we decide what direction we are taking this venture, I’ll be allowing commercial buyers decide where it will go.

The disappointing news is that it looks fairly certain that our ewes are not bred this year.  But, that gives me another year to prepare and plan.  The good news is that everyone is fat and healthy.

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As soon as the weather clears out and the thunderstorms (and tornado watch) have passed, I’ll be moving everyone out to the back pasture, where plenty of fresh, green grass awaits.