• 2010-06-01Hive #1 Swarms

The grandgirls and I were digging garden beds when, at 1:30 in the afternoon, we heard lots of loud buzzing and saw bees coming from the oldest hive. We watched with amazement as thousands and thousands of bees soared above the tree tops. We continued digging and watching, and after perhaps 20 minutes, we realized it was quiet. Where were all those bees? We found then 20 feet up in an oak tree, clustered around a 4-inch limb. And, yup, it looked like a swarm of bees! Checking the hive from which they had emerged, we saw "business as usual". I think if we had not seen and heard the swarm leave, we might never have known they were gone. Now, how could we get all those bees back? In my mind's eye, I saw HONEY flying away.....

• 2010-06-01Feeding the Bees

The swarm we adopted to replace the one that was lost in the December cold spell seems to be "at home". Baby bee larvae are visible, so the queen must be at work. But our long long cold and rainy spring means that the hive might starve -- no honey reserves in that hive. I've had to learn how to feed bees supplemental sugar water. Not an eye-dropperful at a time! A quart of supplement will last about a day and a half. I hope the sunshime arrives soon.

• 2010-04-29Bee Replacements

We have captured a hive of wild bees.

• 2009-12-13Cold Spell Status

Two pipes broke, and the jury is out on whether the fig trees survived. Here's hoping!

• 2009-07-29Honey Harvest

The bee girls were so busy and productive that they became "honey-bound" in their hives. After only 2 1/2 months of working the garden and orchard, we harvested 8 frames of sweet mixed honey. Almost 4 gallons! We have honey for sale.

• 2009-06-01New baby trees

We are trying 3 ways of reproducing mulberry trees this year. First, we have a piece of root stock from the old black mulberry down the lane. second, Neal has attempted air layering on a white mulberry, to be able to pot up babies and in the fall bud graft the old black mulberry on. Third, we put cuttings in to sand to root, and hooray! Some are leafing out just now. Stay tuned to find out our success rate.

• 2009-05-20New Bees!

Today we got the first bee hives. Two boxes, two frames high. Go to work, girls.