Thursday, April 30, 2015

Homestead Happiness, April Week 4

Plenty of bee-related news has us kind of giddy this week.

Our new bee package arrived on Saturday.  The local distributor sold more than 1,500 packages, which meant it was a total zoo for picking them up, and that our bees will have some competition for the neighborhood flowers.  Still, it's nice to see such an interest in beekeeping, and they'll definitely have first dibs on the dandelions in our yard!

The new bees are already taking full advantage of the pollen in our dandy-filled yard.  Keep up the good work, ladies!

As a side note, in preparing the hive for the new package, we ended up finding the old queen.  Turns out she didn't die in the great yellow jacket war of 2014, and we can rule out that they absconded last fall.  That leaves either CCD, or too heavy of losses from the yellow jackets to make it through the winter.  Should we start a portrait collection of our queens for future colonies to look back on and remember their storied history?  This was Elizabeth I.  Right now we have Elizabeth II.

The bees came just in time, too, because our strawberries are starting to bloom!  We've got the squirrel cage if we can just get all the mice trapped out of the adjacent shed before the berries ripen, we might actually get some to eat this year!  Also, to the fruit trees waiting to flower: ready, go!

We also realized that swarm season and hunting season are complementary.  So, if we put a ladder stand in one of our trees now as a support for a swarm trap, we can turn it back into a hunting stand later when we either catch a swarm, or when swarm season is over in July.  Either way, it will be ready in time for deer season! (Although we probably won't be able to hunt deer from the stand in its current location.)

What made your homestead happy this week?

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