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Farmette 1769

by Monica Melograna-Ward

Category Archives: KOYAANISQATSI

At some point I realized how crazy (utter madness) it was to be hardcore about frequent blogs within a hectic life (KOYAANISQATSI). So I broke off from them in December 2018, planning to return shortly after the first of the year 2019.

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Part 1 – The Wild, Wild West

It’s suddenly May 2019. Here I am now writing amongst a large pile of other projects awaiting my attention. And that’s the thing. One project (or even five) never seems to be enough. I can’t count how many are in the queue right now.

My lack of sole project focus shows up dramatically in beekeeping. But the bees survived the winter well, with no sugar water syrup support from the onset of freezing weather… and none since.  The hive turned 1 year old on March 17th.

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Now Farmette 1769’s honey bee hive has gone hog wild!

My approach is normally as natural & artistic as possible with everything; no pesticides, no tight plan, no frames, reduce/reuse/recycle and so on. The 55,000+ bees could do anything they wanted to their hearts desire/content. Maybe that helped get our hive going full force.

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Part 2 – 110,000+ More Honey Bees!

I know that the main hive is doing really well since it swarmed at least twice this spring. Neither time was I prepared.

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The first swarm formed on March 26, 2019, about 50 feet from the main hive. I tried to drop the mass of bees (surrounding a new queen) into a bin. That was a hot mess. Then I found a few videos on YouTube and made a temporary hive with one top bar.

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After getting the bees onto a tarp, as shown in many beekeepers’ YouTube videos, they funneled themselves right into the box as soon as I placed it where I thought the queen was.

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I was SO excited that this worked and reveled in the bees going in & out of a cardboard filing box for a solid day and a half. The neighbors then saw them swarm and leave.

Apparently, you must capture & cage the queen, or at least screen the swarm in for a few days (with syrup feeder access). A real wood nuc hive box would have helped too.

I was horribly disappointed, but it was still great fun! A second swarm formed a week or two later, but I was too slamming busy to do anything about it.

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Part 3 – The Empty Honey Super

I obviously like to build and up-cycle wood, etc., but both my time and energy are getting sucked up with contract work (I LOVE working for a major online retailer!), raising a teenager/up & coming rock star, nagging my dear husband, chores and the “never-ending livestock and/or pets trying to get eaten by wild predators or die on us” bonanza.

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Since my homemade honey super with top bars only (no framing) has been a bust,

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I finally broke down and ordered a half stack, fully assembled super, with frames and wax-covered plastic comb. The idea that bees would be forced into rectangles bothered me, but if I hope to get honey from our bees this summer, I must give in to the stricter approach.

They had this lovely super add-on box with frames on Amazon. I hope that it comes mint-colored as shown in the pic, but that is most likely bad lighting. It says “painted wood”, but the color is not stated. It will probably be white (that will change).

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I also ordered a metal queen excluder to keep her from going up into the super and brooding eggs amongst the potential honey. Having started off with an awkward, bendy plastic excluder for my homemade super, I decided to pull out the big guns this time.

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The main hive is a maze that can’t be disturbed at this point. There is one spot that is open and the rest is forever sealed with bee goo. I’ll attach the new excluder onto the bottom of the new super and just pop it all on top of the main hive.

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Right now the cap rests on the base hive. I went ahead and took the old super off before the dawn this morning. That top will end up on the new super and we’ll get the party started. There are three big bags of sugar in the pantry from last year, so I’ll have to break those out to help encourage the bees to make us some honey.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to write regularly, albeit maybe not as often as last year.

See you’all soon!

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About a third of our flock is now sneezing and/or coughing a bit. That makes it the 4th pet/livestock issue in a week. All four separate problems. And, there is another tropical storm coming (from the South West not the South East this time).

That tub has Poultry Cell Rooster Booster in it. It has vitamins, minerals and more. The current issue was starting up yesterday (or the day before – it’s all a blur), so they all had access to a big bowl of plain Greek yogurt. You shouldn’t give them this too often, so yesterday they got a bowl of coconut oil to help boost their immune response. It also adds calories to birds that may be losing weight from illness. Now that I am writing this I realize that it must have been Monday that this problem began.

See those hanging soda bottle drinkers? One has poultry cell solution and one has organic apple cider vinegar in it. I’ll probably put out a bowl of coconut oil again today, since it is not too soon to give them that again.

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In the meantime, our beloved old dog Deirdre can now stay on her feet for 10-15 minutes at a time post-surgery. She is drinking and eating and trying to spit out pain pills. But she likes the peanut butter I smear on her lips before popping the pills into the back of her mouth.

I keep chants ready in the back of my mind for challenging situations. Sometimes it is “It’s not about me”, sometimes it is ” I don’t give a f@@k”, sometimes it is “Relax your body starting with your toes, then your ankles and all the way up to your head”, sometimes it is “Keep practicing kindness not matter how horrible someone is acting towards you”…

The one in my brain now, as I am making my morning rounds filling water & food containers and checking in on everybody is: “Thank you for not being dead”.

 

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