Thursday, April 23, 2015
Finishing up and My Deadout Hive
Today was the day to take care of a few things that I had been lagging on finishing up. I ran into to town and got the pressure treated boards I need to finish the corner and gate posts I placed. Then since they are forecasting rain starting tomorrow I brush hogged the East pasture.
There is something rather satisfying about brush hogging the horse pasture. Whenever I am out in their pasture the old nags always come up and get in my business but they hate it when I am on the loud iron horse and can take them on. They will run up and stand in my way like they dare me to hit them and then bolt at the last minute when they realize I sure as hell will hit them and enjoy it too as I drive over them cackling loudly.
Why if they let me hit em I might just paint kill silhouettes on the side of my tractors :) Too bad there are only four left which means I won't get to be an ace. Maybe the Donkey could count as the fifth?
So anyway the East pasture is now brush hogged. I am trying to keep the cockle-burr plants from getting seed heads on them this year. The horses won't eat them (of course because horses are useless) but once I get the new fence up the sheep will chomp em down to ground level. They love the cockle-burr plants. Leaves, stems, flowers but not the actual burrs, but if I keep the plants mowed down when I do let the sheep out they will finish em off for me.
Sheep are wonderful. I love sheep. But not in a Muslim kinda way you understand. I had to put that in before the Kimber troll jumped all over it. He's kinda like that.
After the brush hogging was done I put a few almost finishing touches on my wooden tractor carryall I been working on. It isn't completely finished yet as I need to add a back tail gate kinda thing, some eye hooks to tie stuff down on and a paint job but this was the test to see if my design was solid.
It worked wonderfully. At one point both my son and I were standing on it which should get us close to 400 pounds and the thing didn't even groan. It should work perfectly for shuttling bee hive equipment and swarm traps around when it's too wet to use my truck. It actually wasn't as heavy as I thought it would be either, I am able to hook it up easily by myself.
The last thing I needed to get done today was opening up Jamestown colony and seeing if it was truly a deadout and the neighbor bees were robbing it or what. The sad news is that it is indeed a deadout.
From the look of things I am pretty sure this was another unfortunate starvation loss. The robbers had opened up plenty of comb with honey in the lower box but the original bees had all died in the top box. My guess is that last cold snap we had back in late March caught the bees too far up and they starved. More than likely they had the queen up there laying for the Spring build up and just couldn't break the ball in the cold to go down and get the honey under them.
One of the biggest problems with bee keeping around here. Sudden cold snaps in March and April can catch the bees positioned poorly and with very widely spaced stores. If the cold snaps last too long the cold temp ball can find itself starving out within a day or two with food just out of reach and nothing they can do about it. I am partly to blame as I often leave the bees too much space over Winter in an attempt to give them extra honey in the Fall.
At least I know the answer now and got that hive picked up before the vermin and pests could get into it. All those drawn frames will give this years splits and swarms a good headstart to building up for Winter.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!