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!!!


12 comments:

  1. I was working at the brewery on Sunday and after we mashed in the malted grain which released the sugars into the steaming water, bees started to arrive. Not many plants blooming if any now and the bees had picked up the smell of sugar in the hot vapor.

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    1. Sf - Bees will forage all kinds of stuff when the blooms stop. I have seen massive numbers of Honey Bees in the trash cans at my old job from people would throw away half full soda cans. I put sugar feed out in hummingbird feeders in December for them to go after on the warm days and I was reading an article a while back of bees hitting the waste at an M&M factory that made colored honey. Anything with sugars in it they will forage on this time of year.

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  2. Hello PP, I haven't been leaving any comments on your posts since I got my new ipad a few weeks ago. When I type a comment and hit the publish button, it tells me I have to sign in to wordpress. After I sign in and go back to you my comment is gone, so I retype it and hit publish and it tells me to sign in again. Rats! I have to get up out of my comfy recliner and walk into my office and use the old desktop computer to leave my comments. This doesn't happen anywhere else except on your site. I'm still working on a solution. Anyway my comment is I see in the picture above, your hive has a nice angled landing board at the entrance, but looking back at some older photos your other hives don't have the landing board. Do you think it helps or not?

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    1. Sd - That's odd you shouldn't have to log in here at all since I allow annon comments.

      I include a landing board on the hive bottoms I make myself. The pics you see without them are the old bottoms I bought from Mann Lake. I really thought the Mann Lake one's were too flimsy for long term use and when I designed my own I been slowly switching them out.

      I think the landing board does help when there is a flow on as the bees can wait their turn to deposit the nectar easier.

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  3. Maybe you should give Frazer some of your little blue magic pills....

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    1. Ha ha! Reminds me of a bloke I used to work with in his 60's.
      He told a mate to hold out his hand, and dropped this little blue pill into it.
      He says "' 'ere Andrew, try one of these. Did naff all for me..."
      There was a long pause then he carried on
      "then again, might have been different if I was with someone..."

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  4. In the valley here, we're catching the edge of all this cold air and maybe even a day or two of snow. Time to put a light bulb in the pump house and do all the other things I should have already done.

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    1. Mv - It was spitting snow here off and on today and they are saying we may get a couple inches this weekend too. So far this is just normal Winter weather for us although a month or so early. Usually we don't get down into the 20's until December at least.

      Already put all the heaters in the water tanks. Sadly the pump house hasn't been a pump house in years. We need to redrill the old well sometime soon.

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  5. I thought you'd know the rule about sheep - never pick a favourite as they go and die then! Only ever had one "pet" sheep reared from a bottle as a child that we kept to adulthood. Only ever had one sheep attacked by a dog. Yep, same sheep!

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    1. Kev - Ya. I had high hopes for that Ewe. She was big and had a good look to her and was super friendly then her first breeding season she had a still born. I hope she redeems herself this year.

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