Thursday, March 29, 2012

Springtime chores....

     Sometime last spring, my Mom decided that she and I needed a new hobby.   Her father was a beekeeper and my father has a small orchard on his farm.  Beekeeping seemed liked the logical and exciting new hobby for us.   Now most who know me well are probably now thinking, " a new hobby is exactly NOT what she needs";   however I was thrilled.   The whole process intrigued me, the farm can always use more pollinators,  and the prospect of extracting lots of fresh, raw honey gathered right in my own backyard was a major plus.    So, we jumped right in and ordered 4 packages of honeybees.  

    I think we both figured, "How hard could it really be?"   My grandfather was an exceptional,  well known and well respected beekeeper in the Northeast.   Surely the beekeeping skills are hereditary and these simple creatures will flourish with little care.   Besides, we had watched my cousin care for his hives  the past several years on my parent's property.  He made it look rather easy as well.  

     Earlier this week, these thoughts made me laugh as I examined our hives with my Mom.    Amazingly enough, 2 hives did survive the winter and are completely thriving.   "Great" you may think!  However, the job of the beekeeper is to try and establish a delicate balance.  You want the bees to thrive and reproduce, but not so much that they run out of space and swarm.   Then, you go into shock as  half of your hive abandons you and heads for the trees to find a new home.   You try to salvage what is left and move on.   However, at that point your chance of having surplus honey goes way down.   Our hives were overflowing with bees, honey, pollen, brood and queen cells.  ( which indicated a swarm was imminent).   So mom and I floundered around a whole lot and finally decided to split our 2 colonies into 5 colonies.   We gave each new  colony some queen cells, honey, brood and bees.   Then, we hoped for the best.    Mom in her great wisdom says, " Well, I guess it is all a learning process.   If it works, then we know we did the right thing-- if not, we know what NOT to do next time."    I just have to smile.   It may turn out just fine. She was right about needing a new hobby, anyway!  

     After an exhausting afternoon beekeeping, I had to tend to some activities I am more familiar and confident about.  Josie and I have started lots of flats of cut flowers for market this summer.     We have some "Old favorites"-  such as sunflowers and zinnias, but I have purchased some new seeds as well to try.   Some of our new cut flower varieties for the upcoming market season include, "emerald tassles" amaranth,  Kiss-me-over-the-garden-gate, Black tip wheat, "marble arch" salvia and some new perennials.    I am excited to see how they turn out.    
     The tulips are beautiful this week.   I have lots and lots of varieties, which are all coming in quickly due to the unseasonablely warm spring.   They will come and go quickly this year, so I am doing my best to appreciate each day that I have to enjoy them.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Another step-another direction...   Today we are packed and rolling down the highway headed for Ohio and Mosquito Creek Farm!
I will miss this peaceful , quiet place.      So much
Aesa's cabin
Onions popping up this spring!
So glad that one of my kids loves to do laundry!
So I searched high and low for these little delicacies--  for a week!  Finally  they came in ....  The day before we left!  Oh well..

Monday, March 12, 2012

Phoebe made a really good sour dough loaf this week,   And butter to go with it!
The outhouse got a new roof this week.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Putting the roof on...
We have all the tin on the roof now, and I realized that I don't have many shots from this side of the workshop.    The boys made a very beautiful balcony overlooking the creek on this side.
Lots of gardening happening this week...
Sugar Snap Peas going in...
"I am planting the first row of paradise"-  Ron Jarvis