Tuesday, November 11, 2014
The Last Nice Day for a While?
Yesterday the girls were flying even though there wasn't much around for them to forage on that I could see. They were giving it the old college try however and I was buzzed constantly all day long as I worked on various things around the Small-Hold.
The above picture is Henricopolis Colony which was the only swarm I caught in a ball this year. It didn't build up very fast but had enough bees that I decided to give em a boost with some wet surplus frames I had spun out. Hopefully they will make it through Winter.
It's time to reduce the entrances to minimum size for Winter but I find it to be a real pain as the entrance reducers rarely fit in the opening without taking the brood chambers off first. What I been doing is making my own reducers for the reducers. I cut up some left over outside plywood I had into pieces and just slip these into the entrances. I find they are much easier to just pull out in Spring and then I don't have to take the hives apart this late in the Fall.
I also had to cut some more insulation pieces to wrap around my hives. Prior to last year I wrapped the hives in tar paper but switched to these cut pieces of insulation for last Winter. I had a much better survival rate with the foam and during the worst Winter we have seen in years too. I don't wrap all of the bigger hives, just the bottom brood chambers but it seems to help. I guess we will see how it does this year.
Here's another picture of Seven. Don't tell anyone but she is my favorite Ewe. OK favorite Sheep really but I think I may have made a mistake allowing her all the pasturage I did this year along with the rest of the cutting crew. She already looks like she is pregnant and to make matters worse she not happy about being in the Ram's dry lot either. I didn't realize just how fat the sheep I kept up here were until we brought the lambs and momma Ewes back from the Summer pasture. She is easily twice the size of the other big Ewes. She is so fat I am worried she may not breed this year.
This is Frazer the sort of wild Ram. Luckily he doesn't mind his Ewes having a bit of junk in the trunk and has already been getting busy when the Ewes don't run away too fast. He doesn't know it but he is on double secret probation this Winter. Not only is he a bit too quick to lower his head and charge, he is also easily excitable and breaks my barn anytime we need to move him and on top of that the worst infraction of them all, his breeding numbers have not been all that good.
While I understand that as a mule he won't necessarily sire the numbers the Blue Faced Ram does Frazer's offspring numbers have been really low and included both lamb fatalities (a still born and early loss) this year. He is kicking out only about half the twin and triplet numbers the other ram is as well. He is a bit young yet though so we are giving him another year to shape up and if he doesn't he is outta here.
Although I am not looking forward to loading him up and taking him outta here to be honest. I have feeling that is going to be a real event if/when it happens.
So this evening I put all the heaters in the water tanks and generally got some more details finished for this cold snap. I have 15 bales of hay to put around the foundation and more insulation to put on the hives on my next day off as well. After that things should start to slow down around here a bit. I hope.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!