Monday, April 14, 2014

Bee Hives in the Plum Thicket

It kind of sounds like a Laura Ingalls Wilder book, 'Little House on the Prairie', 'By the Shores of Silver Lake', 'On the Banks of Plum Creek.' Today was moving day for the hives, from in front of the garage to the pond where the bees will live. I scoped out the best place yesterday, taking into account the needs of the bees.

The book I'm using using as my Bee Bible, 'The Thinking Beekeeper' is very detailed and the first time I read the book it made my head spin. I realized I needed to read it in sections, my brain can only take so much information in one sitting. Placing the hive is critical to it's success, but it's confusing. One sentence, "If you live in a cold and snowy climate, place the hive in the sun." Right after that is, "If you live in a climate with high summer temperatures, place it in shade." WHAT??? We have both! What am I to do????  So I compromised, I put the hives on the edge of the plum thicket, it will be shady in the summer, the leaves will fall and they will be in the sun in the winter, WHEW!

The hive was to be situated out of prevailing winds, usually facing SW. This worked perfectly as there are big pine trees to block the wind on the south side. I thought it was a near perfect location except for the thorny plum trees, those little buggers are getting a trim tomorrow.

It's also important to level the hives, the bees won't draw a straight comb if they are just thrown out on some blocks. I loaded the tractor with cement blocks, shovel, level, the hives and all the bars and bottom boards, plus some shims. I did make a last minute change on the bottom of the hive bodies, I put a stabilizer board across each end because they wobbled, I didn't want my bees getting sea sick in their new home.

Of course the ground wasn't level so I went to work with the shovel, cement block and level, took me back to my patio laying days. It wasn't long before I had the block leveled and stacked three high. Triumphantly I placed the first hive on the blocks, only to discover I placed them too close together, the stabilizer boards hung out over the blocks, that kind of defeated the purpose. But that's me, don't do a job once if you can re-do it at least once more, possibly twice. The second time was a charm and again I triumphantly placed the hive body on the blocks and it was right, even still level. It had a tiny wobble that I quickly remedied with the shims. One down, one to go, it went faster as I did learn from my mistake the first time. Both hives were set in the shade of the plum thicket and I stepped back to to admire my handiwork......

They're so CUTE!!! How could the bees not love them?? I wonder if I should make tiny curtains for the entrance holes? Place some pots of colorful flowers around? I wanted to take a cot over and sleep with my cute little bee houses but it's going to be dang cold tonight. Besides, there's things over there that go bump in the night and I'm as chicken as my dogs.

Back at home, we spent all morning clearing yards and buildings of snow and dirty, wet bedding. When this little girl found her favorite sleeping area covered with snow, she improvised and found a bed in the feed bunk.

When I was bedding the three pens by the road, one very pregnant cow bunted the corn stalk bale over and pushed it clear across the yard. When I chased her away, she kicked up her heels in glee, I was impressed. I have never seen a pregnant woman do that. Cows are amazing, but then they do eat their own afterbirth so I guess I shouldn't wax too poetic about their abilities.

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