Relaxing

Relaxing at the creek

Relaxing at the creek

We worked so hard getting the water lines to the orchard installed and planting trees, shrubs, and grass seed last week, that we almost forgot to have fun!   Well, we had fun working around the farm, as usual, and hubby really had fun on the backhoe, but we got to Saturday and realized we’d only been down the creek once and that was down by the bridge.   It’s pretty there, and the dog was able to cool off and wash off, but the creek area at the back of the property is so much prettier.  Plus, we needed to check on a couple of trees that we’d planted along the trail that way on our last trip.

Once we got down the the creek, we didn’t want to leave.  Just like when we were children, we became enthralled with watching the eddies as they swirled around the rock.  We laughed when Maggie stuck her head under the water and blew bubbles out of her nose as she tried (and succeeded) to get a rock.  We watched bees and butterflies land in the sandy bank to get water and minerals.   We sat and dreamed about the future and the live we will life in this beautiful place we own.

Cooling our feet in the creek

We cooled our tired old feet in the cold water and just sat still for a while.  It’s so very easy to walk five miles a day just going about our daily business.  Since we’ve been back, my fitness tracker has been fussing at me because my average steps per day are so much lower and I wish I could just tell it that I’m doing a different kind of work now and walking is less fun in dress shoes!

We returned home to find healthy, humming, hives with lots of nectar.   The hive with the second swarm we caught this spring had two queens in it, so we had an extra to put into one of the new splits that had an open queen cell, but no queen.  The other split has a queen, but we didn’t see any larva on Monday.  It’s supposed to storm this afternoon, so we’ll probably check again tomorrow after work.

Jumping the creek

Maggie clearly still wishes she had 22 acres and a creek to play in.   There’s only so much energy she can burn off in the fenced in portion of our 1/3 acre lot and our resident mockingbird appears to be making her life a misery, much like it has done for all our pets for the past 15 years.  I know it is probably not the same bird, but the mockingbirds and bluejays love to dive-bomb the dogs, cats, and occasionally us.

So now Maggie gets to sit on the couch and watch me grade another batch of essays.   IB and AP exams start in just over a week, so this is my second-to-last batch of the year other than optional revisions that students will turn in over the next couple of weeks.  I see both daylight at the end of the tunnel and the fruits of my labors as some of my weakest students are now writing good, analytical essays.   Just like raking clay back into a 600 foot long trench becomes tedious after the first hour or so, it, and these final essays, leave me feeling that every bit of effort I put in is well worth it.

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Construction

Water for the orchard

Trench for irrigation

One of my fig cuttings from last year is hanging on for dear life and I believe the other one just gave up.   We need irrigation down at the old loading deck, so hubby rented a Ditch Witch from Taylor-Foster on Saturday and started trenching the 400 feet to the orchard.   By the end of the day that Ditch Witch almost got stuck because it ran low on hydraulic fluid somewhere (when it comes to mechanical stuff, nothing makes sense to me).  Taylor-Foster brought another one out to the farm Sunday morning, so the trench is dug and hubby is over half way glueing pipe.

We needed some parts that weren’t available at Foster-Taylor, so we made two trips to Lowe’s.   Our new Lowe’s is the one in Griffin, Georgia.  Shopping there was such a pleasure today — great atmosphere, friendly and helpful staff, organized displays — I just wandered around looking at stuff while waiting for hubby to find all the right widgets and I felt totally relaxed.  Our trip to the other Lowe’s was the exact opposite, which is enough said about that!

I planted more cleome, sunflowers, poppies, and phlox for us and the bees to enjoy.   I get my cleome and bee tattoo next week, so that should tell you how much I like those particular flowers.  I also weed-eated to clear space around the red cedars I planted a couple of months ago and to clear the area around our memory bench.

We have one hive left to check, but all the others are doing great.   Well, one is looking a little iffy, but the rest are fantastic!   The iffy one has (had) and old queen that is no longer laying as much as she should be.  I still struggle with the concept of killing a failing queen, so we put her in a NUC to live out her life and made sure the other hive still had plenty of young brood with which to create a new queen.   It’s a compromise that I hope will go well.   The big hive we brought from the city has a fat and active queen now and the bees are no longer bad-tempered.   Hopefully hive 47 will go the same way.

I’m sitting in the sun blogging at the end of a very busy day and wondering why I have so much more energy here.  Is it the vitamin D or just the peace and quiet?  I think I need to sit outside during lunch at work to see if I can avoid the 3:00 p.m. slump that I get in the city.   It’s good to come to the farm and figure out that it’s not old age that makes us both want to fall asleep right after supper.   Hmmmm — maybe the absence of a TV is helping us stay awake!  After all, how many times can we watch the same epidsodes of “Last Man Standing?”   Here’s hoping I figure it out while sitting here waiting for the sun to set and the moon to rise.

Bee Rescue/Removal · Pests - Bees · Queen Bee

Happy People: Happy Bees

Last night, as we were deciding which trees were ready to fend for themselves at the farm, hubby spotted another swarm of bees in our yard.  Once again, they were behind the trealis and a fence post. The poor honeysuckle is still recovering from the last swarm extraction, and this time the two grapevines got to share the pain!   (I should know in a couple of weeks whether or not grapevines can be rooted from “cuttings”!)

Swarm – April 7

These bees were quite cooperative.  Hubby scooped a couple of handfuls into a NUC, I squirted some Honey B Healthy onto the inner cover, we gave them a stick to use as a bridge and they pagenented right on in.  By the time we’d checked the other hives, only two lost bees were still wandering around on the fence.

One of our other splits now has the fattest queen I have ever seen, so that NUC made the trip to the farm and the bees are already bringing in loads of white pollen.  We moved them up to an 8-frame so that they could get over all of their confusion about the new location at once and they seem to be as happy as clams.    The queen cells in the sister NUC have hatched, but we didn’t see a queen.  Hopefully she will find her way home in a couple of days.

The other hives at the farm are all active, but we didn’t check them today.   Hubby is digging more tenches for water lines and I planted some tomatoes and thyme.   We are really curious to see whether the diatomaceous-earth we sprinkled on the ground two weeks ago has had any impact on the small hive beetles.  It’s supposed to kill them when they go back onto the ground to pupate.   Now that the hives are stronger, we aren’t seeing as much of a problem as when we came out of that really cold snap, but we’d love to see no beetles at all.   It still seems like having the hive in a sunny spot works wonders, but that is going to make hive checks challenging in July.

The dog is chewing on a pine-cone, hubby is working hard, and I’m enjoying sitting out in the 72 degree sunshine.  It’s amazing to sit here at this time of day and see just how many insects are flying around at any given time and at how many spider webs are catching the sunlight.   Even with the sound of the Ditch Witch, the farm is so peaceful and just a good place to be.   We are just so very lucky and happy to be here.