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Dreaming of Spring | Speedkin

Dreaming of Spring

The monthly meeting of the MVBA last night was huge.  HUGE!  It was wonderful to see so many new faces there, getting started in beekeeping.  There were lots of great questions and we had a nice presentation on how to set up new hives & install packaged bees.  Our bees are due to be delivered April 5th and I’m betting that there will be a last–minute frenzy of questions.  I’m going to work on getting a few links together that explain the basics and post them here in the next couple of days.  That first year, in those last few days before your first bees arrive, is a time of information overload and panic for many — or was that just me?  Heh.

Speaking of bees, Charlie & I checked our two remaining hives a few days ago.  One, the swarm we caught in our yard, is doing great.  We do need to switch the brood boxes around and we would have done that then but we couldn’t find out smoker.  Doh.  I’ll make that one of today’s priorities — finding the stupid smoker.  And, yes, it is stupid.  I call it much worse names in person but, since this is a family blog, I’ll refrain from sharing those.  We went ahead and fed the bees while we were out there because, well, they needed it.  I fed them ala Michael Bush and just dumped a bag of granulated cane sugar on top of some newspaper and spritzed it with some water, inside an empty super.  The other hive?  Gone.  Well, not gone.  Dead.  I’m no expert but I’m pretty sure I can take the blame for this one — it looked like starvation.  We just didn’t get out there soon enough to check on them.  I’d knocked on the hives not long ago and, hearing a buzz in response, knew they were alive.  But I didn’t crack the lid and look in.  We’ve been so pressed for time lately, too many things have been overlooked.  *sigh*

So we’re down to one hive to start off the 2013 season.  We ordered two packages of bees with the club so that’ll put us up to three.  This year, I’m determined to see some increases in the bee yard.  I’ll have those three, plus I hope to catch swarms whenever the opportunity presents itself.  Finally, I’m going to do splits.  I don’t care if I don’t get any honey this year.  I want to go into the winter with plenty of extra hives.  I’ve had a couple of years now to get accustomed to being a beekeeper.  I’ve become comfortable with them, made lots of mistakes, and done a freakishly large amount of reading on the subject.  So I’m bumping up my game from Holy Crap, I Have Bees! *Twitch*Twitch*   to  I May Or May Not Know What I’m Doing But I’m Going To Do It Anyway.  While I want to stick to my 100% natural dreams, I have decided to allow myself to feed these hives as needed while getting them all established, strong enough to make an attempt at wintering.  If I end up with enough hives from this, I’ll go back to the not feeding except in emergencies next year.  Hopefully one year soon, I’ll actually get a decent harvest of honey and can save some of that back for the bees.  Dreams are good, right?

Did I tell you we now have Muscovy ducks?  We bought two breeding pairs a week or two ago and have them in tractors in the front yard.  Also in tractors now are the turkey breeding pair, and some white silkies.  We’ve decided, for now, to put all (most?) of the birds in tractors and then fence the entire yard to let the dog run patrol around them.  After losing the majority of our flock to predators last summer, we’re in lcok-down mode.  After we give a bunch of birds to a friend, we’re going to try to stick with mainly Muscovy & Ancona ducks and Icelandic chickens, maybe keeping a few random dual-purpose chickens as well.  And a few White Silkies just because.  But, really, you should see our front yard.  It’s starting to look like some sort of zoo with all of the tractors and pens.  Once you look into the side & back yards?  Your suspicions are confirmed.

Other than that, same ol’ thing.  My onion plants did arrive but the garden is currently snowy soup so they’ll have to sit for a bit.  How are everyone else’s gardens?

4 Responses to “Dreaming of Spring”

  1. Jessica March 27, 2013 at 3:20 pm #

    Hey, muscovies are super good ducks, we love ours! Speaking of preditors, do you have guinies to complete your menagerie? When we had them we didn’t have trouble. They really cause a ruckus if you look at then cross eyed.
    Yes onions are patiently waiting in a box for the snow to melt. But we are having fresh greens for supper!
    I was thinking of going ahead and planting the cabbage broccoli raab sets along with the onions – never done that so early before – maybe that’s where I’ve been missing the boat!
    Btw you’ve been a blogging fool! – good reads!

    • Diane March 27, 2013 at 5:34 pm #

      I’m kind of going in blogging spurts this year, aren’t I?

      Yep, we have guineas as well. Guineas, chickens, ducks, Muscovies, geese, turkeys… Have we missed any birds? I hope not! I don’t know if I can take any more. LOL

  2. Robin March 27, 2013 at 6:31 pm #

    I have the same kind of relationship with the smoker. I’ve been checking the hives without it lately – but only because all I’m doing is cracking the top and saying hello or putting stuff on the frame tops.

    I’ve got lots of lettuce starts in the hoop house. I’ve started tomatoes/eggplant/peppers in jugs in the hoop house. The coldframes are full, but I haven’t gone in much because uncovering them and then recovering because of the blasted snow is too much work. [I need another 4 hours in every day.] Forecast says nicer weather for the next week or so. Snow is almost all gone again. I’d like to plant some onions and peas and favas this weekend. Fingers crossed.

    • Diane March 30, 2013 at 1:15 pm #

      There’s some new fangled smoker out that I might be stupid enough to buy one of these days. It’s $150 so I’d have to be really, really frustrated to drop that kind of moolah, though!

      *hoophouse jealousy* I miss my greenhouse so much! I can’t wait to have another one or a hoophouse. It’s such a pain doing starts inside and I’ve love to be able to overwinter a few things once again.

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