Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Time to wean this year's calves!

Here they are and not at all happy about being separated from there mothers.

Winter solstice!

Here we are with the rod that we drove in the ground that lines up with the sun to cast a shadow in the center of the rock on solstice morning. This picture was actually taken two days before as we were afraid solstice was going to be cloudy as you can see the shadow is just to the right of center.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

And here is the latest calf.

This beautiful bull calf was born on the 18th of July. This picture of him on his feet was taken within thirty minutes of him hitting the ground. Good job Mama!

Monday, June 25, 2018

Swarm Box.

So with my recent poor luck with cell builder hives. I am trying this other method.
I take a strong hive, find the queen and isolate her.
Then place a frame of pollen and a frame of green honey with bees into this well ventilated six frame box. Then going from one frame to the next I sweep all the bees I can into the box with screen top and a small opening.
I put the queen back into the hive where most of the bees return. I did this with two hives giving me two swarm boxes filled with queen less bees.
After a day I placed a frame of queen cells with grafted larva.
One box accepted them but the other did not.
So into that box I placed a frame of eggs and young larva from the downer hive and right away they began to make two queens!
When we get back from Philly, I am going to use this method to produce another set of hives.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Preparing our tamale corn for planting.

We have been planting this same corn for the better part of twenty years, always selecting the prettiest ears.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Grafted queen cells are now capped and we are placing them in there nucleus hives.

The last photo shows how we place each prepared queen cell into each prepared queenless nucleus hive. If all things continue as planed, each of these cells will hatch a queen that will successfully mate and begin her own hive.

Friday, May 11, 2018

It is the right time of year to help our bees produce more queens.

Basically we form some cells from bees wax then place freshly hatched worker bee larva into the bottom of them and place the whole thing into a specially prepared hive. The next day they are doing just what we want! And no, Trixie is not much help with this job.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Monday, April 9, 2018

Two beautiful calves born today!

The first photo is of Zorra and her calf who was most likely born less than an hour before I found her.
The other is Dahlia who's calf must have been born just after I checked her this morning. Nether of these cows have had calves before and both did fine with no assistance.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Great taco truck!

I took this photo on my way to Oregon to get our tractor. When in Weed California, this place is across from Pilot.
Great burritos!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Planting the last of the strawberries.

So the first pick shows how we get them from the nursery. Then how we plant them, and how they look a couple of weeks later.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Our busy busy bees!

One of the first things to bloom around here is this tiny blue flower that the bees always go nuts for. They may only be collecting pollen. You can see it gathered on there legs as they work and coming back home. We are not sure what this plant is that makes this flower but perhaps somebody can help u identify it. Please feel free to respond to any of our posts!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

This year's first look inside the hives.

This is a frame we pulled today from one of our smaller hives we just started late last summer. In the upper left you can see capped cells full of honey.
 A little to the right of center you can see a number of capped brood cells. These are cells with larvae in there last stage before emerging as mature bees. The open cells almost all have fresh laid eggs and young larvae.
This is all normal except for the fact that it is only the first of February!
They were still dormant and not producing new bees last year until the first of April.
I am sure the bees know that there will be little more wet cold weather over what is left of winter.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Recent appearance in the garden.

These are the beets coming up, hopefully the carrots will not be far behind. We are glad we took advantage of the warm weather two weeks ago before the rain returned. This will give us a big head start on these two important crops. We have found if we plant beets and carrots plus turnips at regular intervals throughout the year we can always have them waiting to harvest fresh. A truly important part of self sufficient gardening.