Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Change is in the Air
Despite it's reluctance to actually arrive I sense we have turned a corner around the Small-Hold today and the warm weather is here to stay now. The long range forecasts are not showing any more storms thundering in with freezing temps within a reasonable future and I don't know how but the whole thing just feels different now.
The drones are actually flying at the North apiary although I have not seen any at the garden hive or the West apiary yet. The hummingbirds are hitting the feeders again and I saw the first humming-bird-moth of the season (picture above) today working a little patch of wild mustard down by one of my swarm traps in the back of my hay field.
The traps around the Small-Hold also were seeing a large number of bees coming and going today. In fact at one point I thought for sure I would see a swarm occupy the trap in the back of the hay field. I always mow a path down the internal fence line for evening walks and when I was down there this afternoon there were at least 50 individual bees checking the box out and coming and going.
I have long suspected the foragers I see down there are not from my garden hives as they generally seem to head off to the North-East from the forage when they are full. I have not attempted to beeline them and find the feral hive although I am sure my neighbor would let me if I asked. Last Summer I actually had a swarm take up residence in that trap but for some reason they appeared to have become queen-less by the time I found them and died out soon after. As a matter of fact I have also kinda thought that perhaps there are some other hives off in that direction and what I got was the remnants of a swarm from someone else's beeyard because I have seen swarms split off without a queen if she is trapped inside a hive before.
Whatever the case I was pretty sure a swarm was going to arrive this afternoon but by sun down still no swarm. There were still a few bees going in but nothing had moved in for good yet. Perhaps as I predicted the swarms have a lot of potential, good looking real-estate to choose from this year due to all the feral colonies dying out this Winter and chose a different location. As of now I am still swarmless for the season.
The predicted rains are now reading "scattered thunderstorms" more than days long fronts so hopefully we will begin to dry out once again. The garden came a long way towards drying today but it needs at least another two solid days of sun to get dried out enough to work it again and as right now we may get more rain tomorrow afternoon. Still things are looking up as we seem to have finally turned a corner and the dry periods are finally making a dent in the moisture. Of course now that I say that.....
I can accurately predict brushbusting is over for the year. We have reached the moisture and temperature level now that just keeping what I have already cleared is going to take constant mowing. Pretty much every dry day will mean top priority position will go to mowing that is for certain and it will be that way now until July more than likely. We have reached the point that mowing is a full day job and at these rain levels it will need to be done about twice a week. The extra time is worth it as I have opened up massive areas for fruit trees and other production but it has steadily added to the upkeep time.
Here's to hoping the rains hold off for at least another day and I can get the entire garden planted once and for all.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!