Trying Again
May 7, 2019, 4:32 pm
Filed under: May 2019 | Tags: , , , ,


May 7, 2019

After a season of not having honeybees, we are trying again. Nature and man is really working these creatures over. I feel it is only right to try and help them. We put bees into two hives and will nurture them to the best of our ability. They look good so far. Later this week I will open the hives and check them all over.

What you see is a row of bee packages waiting to be picked up by beekeepers like myself. The bee yard was full! Many folks were coming to get their bees. It is amazing to think that this is just one pick up site. I hope we all have successful hives.


In each screened box is a queen, a swarm weighing about 3 pounds and a can of sugar water to feed them.

The queen is in a little wooden screen box about 1 inch by 3 inches with a few “nurse” bees to care for her. The box has a cork in one in that when removed, has a candy plug inside. By the time the bees eat the candy plug (about 3-4 days), they are all bonded with the queen. Once she is released from the box, she sets up house keeping inside her new hive and starts laying brood

The box above gets opened, the can of sugar water is removed. The queen, in her box, is placed into the hive between a couple frames. The cork removed from her box, revealing the candy plug. The rest of the bees are carefully dumped into the hive. The hive gets closed up and we walk away for 3-4 days.

Upon opening the hive after the wait period, we will check to see that the queen is out, the bees have started making honeycomb and all is well. The vacant queen cage will be taken out and the hive closed again. The bees will be coming and going, in and out of the hive opening, gathering pollen and nectar and doing “bee things”.

Our hope is that both colonies get strong, pollinate our garden crops and make plenty of honey for us, and most importantly for themselves!

Oats and Buckwheat
October 6, 2016, 1:56 pm
Filed under: October 2016 | Tags: , , , , , ,


October 6, 2016

This little field is located at the back of my farm. It is where the cows will spend the winter. I planted oats and buckwheat here to extend the grazing season. The little field is much better with a cover crop on it. The cows will soon eat this, leaving rich manure behind. It’s nice when they spread their own!

I spent $24.00 on the buckwheat seed. The oats were right out of my feed bin. We disced the area to cut some grooves into the hard ground. We next broadcasted the oats and buckwheat on top of the ground and waited. The rains finally came and sprouted the seed. The buckwheat bloomed and provided a nice autumn crop for the bees. The standing forage will make my cows very happy.

The oats and buckwheat are not frost hardy. They will die once winter gets here, but the cows will have this all eaten before then. The plants have “mined” the soil of trace elements. The cows will eat the plants and deposit the digested minerals back on the ground. Next spring I will plant corn in this small place. The corn will benefit from this crop and from the cows too. It will prove to be a very good way to have spent $24.00.

Fixing a problem
September 3, 2016, 4:17 pm
Filed under: September 2016 | Tags: , , , , , ,


September 3, 2016

This little field was my last winter’s cow lot. It was a rough field filled with hoof prints. I grazed it short in late July. Then we disced it all up to smooth it out and to open the soil up some. We next broadcasted oats from our bin and some buckwheat seed. The seeding is coming along good. I won’t put the cows up here until November. When they do get here they will have thick oats and the spent buckwheat to munch.

The buckwheat mines minerals out of the soil. When the plant dies back or is eaten by the cows, it gives up those minerals. The nutrients will be available for the following crop. I plan to plant some open pollinated corn in this spot next spring. The cows will get it until then. They will winter here again, depositing their manure all over this field. I will plow and prepare a seedbed for the corn. It should be a yummy place for the corn.

So, by fixing the problem of a rough field, I planted feed for the cows, suppressed weeds, mined some nutrients, used up some old oat seed and made a great autumn food crop for my bees. The blooming buckwheat is a favorite for all pollinators, especially honeybees. My cost was my time, a little fuel and $23.00 of buckwheat seed. It is a field of about 2 acres. It was most definitely worth my time!