spring homestead notes……

Spring garden

Burdock

Welsummer hen

Easter egger hen

Plum tree buds

Bee hive

Lost hive

Queen bee

Kids bees

 

Mud season has begun. Not that it really ended this winter, I'm pretty sure the ground never really froze, so it's been on the muddy side since October. The chickens are glad the last snow we got has melted. We clear a little spot and open up their door when the snow is on the ground…. but they won't venture past it. They just stay on their straw and squawk at us. I wish I could make a summer snow barrier to keep them out of the neighbor's yard. I'll be coming up with some alternatives this summer to try and let them free range but still keep them in our yard. Especially since we're adding to the flock. (we have eggs incubating right now!)

Our fruit trees are thinking about budding out. Luckily they have not yet, this warm winter hasn't fooled them and I'm glad. It's fooled a few magnolia trees around and I'm so sad to think I might not get to swoon at their pink flowers this spring. We'll see… I'm debating on wether I should move our fruit trees to the farm or not. There is one apple tree for sure up there, and I look forward to seeing it in bloom this spring… and looking for more!

On a sad note, we lost one of our hives. This was a first for us. I can't help but assume we did something wrong, it's only our second winter as beekeepers. This hive was configured differently, so maybe moisture was an issue for them? I know they didn't run out of food. It's frustrating, and sad. This was the large swarm I caught last year for those of you who saw it on instagram

Luke was following me around outside while I snapped these pictures and asked to open the hive up and look inside. I showed him the small cluster of bees and the queen. He carefully picked a few bees up and examined them and ever so carefully put them back down. 

They're so tiny, and beautiful. He whispered. 

I think that in the sadness of losing them, there is a great learning experience had by my boy, to be able to see honeybees up close like this. So I guess there's that.

And before I get this whole post too dark and dreary, we do still have two other hives that are doing well. In fact, I was greeted by bubbling good sized clusters in each hive as I slipped food under the cover on a warm day earlier this week. So there is hope! Luke of course thought we should open up the other hives too. After all, 48 degrees feels balmy this time of year. I told him we couldn't yet, but that I had a trick for checking on them. We wandered over to each of the other hives and I told him to press his ear against the side and gently slap it with his hand. (They'll buzz up – this is my ultra not fancy way of checking on them throughout the winter…)

His eyes widened, I hear them mom! It sounds like they are walking around on little tiny leaves.

Just a few more weeks little bees, the groundhog said spring was coming early….

Happy weekending friends.

xo,

s

 

6 thoughts on “spring homestead notes……

  1. Yes, they are dead. We do have a problem with pesticides in New England too. Luckily, not where we are tucked in the woods. But many of my friends that live near farms have a hard time keeping bees alive. I think this one died because the hive was not set up properly for winter, we set it up different from the others. Sometimes experimentation does not go well 😦

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  2. so sorry for your loss. your boys interest is so sweet and wonderful. i am glad you still have two happy hives. your summer snow barrier idea is hilarious 🙂 we are starting in with a new flock and are working on barrier ideas as well. spring has arrived here in oregon. the grass is long and glowing green, the fruit trees are all budding, and the weather battles have begun (rain, hail, and warm sun all in the same afternoon). 🙂 wishing you the best on your new farm adventure and looking forward to keeping up with what you share here!

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  3. It’s just how it goes sometimes, right? Bees are especially tricky. In so many ways. But each year I learn a little more….. spring is coming here too…. and I’m so glad! I’ve missed warm sun on my skin and working outside. And wearing sandals! Soon, soon…..

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  4. Such a lovely post. I’m sorry to hear about the loss of the bees. So hard to hear that. We wouldn’t really say that about scorpions or a nest of wasps would we?

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