June, 2018

Pat weed-whacked around all of the fruit trees last week.  He pounded in a fertilizer stake or two near the fall line of each and checked their general health.  He was delighted to find apples on one of the first trees we'd planted! 

As Pat found a place to pound in the fertilizer stake, his shovel hit metal.  He unearthed an interested piece of some machinery -- in the same location where we'd found another piece just like it last fall.  We also noted sort of an outline in the grass, and other pieces of metal poking up.  A chat with my almost-98-year-old mother revealed that indeed, there had been some old pieces of machinery sitting in that area years ago....

Pictures to come...



February 2014

We ordered our bees for the coming season at the end of January, and expect to get them around the first week of April.  Last year we went with all Italian bees which are the most popular variety of bee with beekeepers due to their mellow nature, good honey production, and light yellow color which makes it easier to find the queen in a hive of 60,000 bees.  This year we are again going to use Italian bees in 2 of our 5 hives.  The other three hives we are going to try Carniolan honeybees, or "Carnies" which are the second most favorite bee variety next to the Italian bee.  Like the Italian bee the Carniolan bee is a very mellow bee and is known for producing a lot of honey.  The draw back to using the Carniolan is that they have a dark brown color, which makes it more difficult to identify the queen bee in the hive.  Also I have read that Carnies are more prone to swarming when hives become crowded so I will need to more vigilant on my hive inspections this summer.  The benefit of using Carnies is that they do a better job of hive management by storing more honey for the winter and stopping brood production.  My main interest in using the Carniolan bee is to see if they do a better job at over wintering than the Italians.  Again there are a lot of opinions of which is the better bee to use, and there are veteran members in our club that only use Italian bees, and others who only use Carniolan bees.  The beekeepers that I talked to who keep both have found their Italian bees died during the extreme cold snap, where the Carniolans are still surviving.  Hard to tell with such crazy cold weather this year, but I figure a mix of bees may give me better odds at having some established hives in 2015.