Monday, March 29, 2010

New Swarm?

Today I checked my swarm boxes and 2 of the 3 boxes had bees in them. I am still not convinced there is a swarm in them just yet though, maybe they are just interested in the pheremone. I'll keep watching in hopes to see a bee actually take some pollen into the hive. Then I will be confident there is a swarm /queen in there. I am loving these beautiful days we are having. Tomorrow after work, I am going to try to do some catfishing with my bud.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Make your own Charcoal

Some charcoal made in the backyard. This is hickory charcoal.

Pretty good results with the first batch.

Just to show. The large can is the one used in the fire. The other two cans are full of charcoal from the batch that was made in the large can.

Wood gasification at work. See the large hot gas jet that is eminating from the top of the can. It sounds awesome.

In this view you can see the jet of gases coming from the top of the can.

I placed wood around the can sort of like a tee pee. Started the fire. In about 10 minutes the can was spewing hot gases that were ignited by the flames.

You need to secure the top of the container because this will be pressurized with hot gases.

The can filled with hand split hickory.

Ok, So now I have the smoker, why not make my own charcoal. That would be cool. Here is my first attempt. It was actually very successful.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Smoker Build Finished

Bees that made it through the winter.

...another bee or two that made it through the winter.

This is my compost bin I made earlier this month. Simple

All you do is turn it manually when you feel like it. It has leaves, chicken manure and food scraps in it. It is suppose to make "..excellent quality compost." We shall see.

A blurry photo of my blueberry bushes. I have 4 of these. These are rabbiteye blueberrys, climax variety. I fertilized them this winter with azelia (spelling?) fertilize.

Just good to see these.

Temp rising. I usually smoke at anywhere from 225-250 degrees.

This is smoke coming from my newly constructed smoker. It only smokes when I first start the fire. Once the fire is established there is hardly any smoke when using charcoal as the fuel. I used some hickory but is is too smokey for me. I am going to try pecan as the fuel the next time I smoke.

This is the basket that holds the fuel for the smoker. This goes in the bottom of the smoker of course.

This is how I get the charcoal started. No lighter fluid need with one of these gizmos.

The fire basket sits on the bottom grate. You can see the air intake that directs regulated air to the bottom of the smoker basket.

This is the air intake valve. All made from scrap metal.

I have the capability of smoking on 4 racks. The inside diameter of the smoker is 23 1/2 inches. The door has a high heat silicone seal (red). There is no air leakage.

Side view with the doors shut. I have 2 temp gauges. One just below the top rack and one just below the bottom rack.

A good overall view of the smoker. Never mind all of my junk around it.

Another good view of the smoker. It is a 105 gallon propane tank that I made into a vertical smoker. Another project I made in my garage.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

March Photo's

This is a photo of some of the wild plum that grows around the rivers in our area. The Bees love them.

This is a swam catch hive that I am trying out. It is a simple 5 gallon paint bucket with a hole drilled near the bottom. Inside the bucket is some fresh honey comb with queen pheromone inside the hive as well. Last year the bees actually began swarming at the end of March. I'll be ready. I think this may work because I have seen swarms collect in some empty 5 gallon buckets at my Dad's farm. They were simply laying around the side of the field and some had poision remaining in the buckets, and the bees actually stayed for years.

This is another swarm catch hive that I placed on my timber tract.

This is the 3rd of 3 swarm catch hives that I have on my timber tract. You can see the pheremone envelope on the front of this hive.
Maybe they will yield a hive or two.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Smoker Build

This is a 105 gallon propane tank that was built in 1942 in Ft Worth Texas. It was used on the farm for years.
Now being recycled to be my new vertical smoker.


and cutting...

and cutting...

and cutting...

and cutting...


This is a propane tank smoker that I have built this winter. Ready to try it out. I have more photo's to come of this. I know, it is not about Bees but I just had to show it off. It is kind of weird that some one would want to build a smoker but believe it or not I have had a blast building this smoker. I hope to add some photo's of me cooking on it later.

What's Going On

Wild Plum
Dad with his bees

Changing the oil.

New Oil

Dad has 3 hives on his WRP land.

Well it is now March 17th 2010. Here in La the plum trees are budding and the bradford pear trees are in full bloom. We also have a wild plum tree that is in full bloom. The bees are very active now. This weekend, I went to my Dad's and we observed his bee hives. All look healthy. Today I installed 3 swarm catches with the pheremone attached to each. Maybe I will catch another swarm this year. Last year the bees began swarming toward the end of this month. I think Dad caught 4 or 5 swarms last year (he had the time to do that). I have been building a smoker cooker out of an old propane tank this winter. I finally finished it the other day. Check out the photo's. Hope you enjoy.