Sunday, February 28, 2010

That was not a good idea.

Today I attempted to harvest castings from my worm bin that I built. (See earlier post). I could not move the rake. The weight of the worm dirt/castings was too much to allow the rake to slide to or fro. So whatever you do, do not copy what I did.
So, I removed all the worms and dirt, removed the rake, and put a layer of fine screen on top of the grate that was already installed. I then returned the worms and dirt to the bin. I had copious amounts of worms and some castings, but not too much. I plan to use the bin as is and simply manually harvest the castings once or twice a year. O well, you live you learn. By the way, the bees were happy today, lots of sunshine, solar panels produce 29 kwH today.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Warming Up A Little

This past weekend I went to my dad's where I now have 2 bee hives (had 3). The two remaining hives are very healthy. I changed their bottom board oil trap oil for new oil. These hives were surprizingly clean and the wax was a healthy buttery yellow color. Lots of bees.
It will not be long before my dad will be catching swarms for us. Last year he captured a swarm at the end of March. He loves doing that and has now come quite adept at this. He also loves the honey and like me, he eats honey every am. He is a semi retired farmer and enjoys managing the bees with me. He has a 500 acre parcel of farm land that he placed in WRP program where this was planted in native hardwood. He walks around it every day and checks on the hives. There is lots of food there for the bees. I am looking forward to see what this bee season affords us. If you are looking for a project to spend time with your father with, beekeeping is certainly a good option. I plan to include photo's of us together working the bees this year.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Lost Another Hive

This weekend the temp warmed and some and the bees were flying. As I check on my hives, 2 of the 3 hives were busy. Not much action at the 3rd hive. You guessed it, they starved. I have now lost 2 hives this winter. It has been unusually cold here. If I was not working all the time I could have time to actually feed the bees. It is just so inconveinent for me to do that when I usually get in after dark and leave early. O well, at least I have 2 hives for now. I will probably buy a couple of nucs this spring to replace the ones that I have lost. I really need to harvest more honey this year than last year because I have more and more people requesting the sweet honey. Although I have lost these hives, it has not broken my beekeeping spirit. I am still learning more about how to manage these little insects daily.

On a different subject, the compost worms are multiplying beyond my wildest expectations. I am going to have to come up with a larger compost bin for them this spring. I am still thinking about what I am going to do about that.