Wednesday, May 18, 2011

New comb in the bee hive...

We love our new Top Bar hive.  After one week we peeked in the observation window (no pictures turned out because of the glare) and they had already built 3 chunks of comb that was hanging from the top bars.  They all looked like the little piece that is in the front of the picture here.

We are now about 2 1/2 weeks into it and they are doing great!  I am so amazed.  This picture here is without the flash, and I can't get over how neat the comb is that they built themselves!  Click on the picture to make it bigger and you can see the detail.  You can also see honey that they have put in some of the cells behind the little chunk of comb. 

This picture is with the flash.  These shots are at the 'back' of the hive so this is where they store their honey.  Closer to the entrance, at the other end, is where they SHOULD be laying their brood (making babies).  In about a week we will open it up again to check the front.  From what we can see, they are happy bees and doing what they were made to do.  :-)

 Not a very clear picture, but you can still see the areas at the bottom of the comb where the cells are covered up.  That is capped honey.  At the very bottom of the picture is a bag of raw honey.  That is what we have been feeding the new bees.  Now that they have called the hive home and the Queen decided not to 'run away from home', we will stop feeding them.  They ate a lot slower this week so that tells us they are flying out to find real pollen and nectar...the good stuff!

 Brian just could not help himself - he had to lift out one of the bars.  It is so neat how they attach their comb, which is pretty tough, to the top of the bar.  Brian says that each piece of comb will be the shape of the inside of the hive when they are done.  

The world of the welfare have a job to do and by golly, you do it!

I just had to share these...thought they were so neat!  Sure is different than watching stuff on Discovery channel!  :-)

Until later....Karen and Tripp who thinks we are weird for liking bees.  :-)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Batman has a Birthday!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!!!  ME ME ME!!!!  I turned 2 on May 9th.  What do you think of my Parrot hat? 

I had a party with my friends!  Here is me wearing my awesome Parrot hat, Boom with his awesome tye-dye colored halter and Wyoming with his awesomely colorful necklace!  I think they called it a lay, but I don't know why since he is standing.  Silly humans!

I will cherish this picture forever!  This is me and Grandma Tandee.  Her birthday is next month.  I wonder what the odds are of everyone getting their party clothes out again?  

Wyoming wanted to make sure you got a good view of his pretty colors...I was told not to tell you this, but he was afraid of his necklace at first!  (Snicker snort...)  Yep, he jumped back, he looked at it all bug eyed...oh yeah, he is what I would call a CHICKEN!  (Snicker snort SNORT!)  He finally sucked it up and look at him now!  All secure in his Mustanghood wearing pretty colors!

BOOM:  Happy Birthday Mustang Batman!
BATMAN:  Thank you Mustang Boom.  Hey, our colors match!

WYOMING: Happy Birthday Mustang Batman!  I have known you since you were a wee little one, and look at you now!  You did grow up to be a mustang!

 Look at me!  I am a mustang!  I am a mustang wearing a Parrot hat!  The girl made me wear my own
smaller necklaces.  These are called lays too...again....I am standing!  Hello!

That Grandma Tandee is a party animal!  I love hangin' with her!

Look!  She could make the party hat float in the air next to her head!  This is better than dancing on the tables naked!

Well, that about covered my evening.  I had a great time and was still in bed by dark.  It is hard to believe I have been here my whole entire life!  I am one lucky mustang!  Thanks to all my friends who told me I could be whatever I wanted to be when I grow up....I am a mustang!

P.S. Just because Chase the llama is not in these pictures doesn't mean we don't have a plan to get a hat on him!  (Snort snicker!)

Until later...Karen and Tripp who was laughing at everyone behind their back!  I think he was jealous!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Little bit of this and that....

When my Mom and I went to Minnesota to visit Gramps, they had a lot of flooding.  Here is a park close to the hospital that was flooded, and the signs made me giggle....

 This was the same place two weeks later. 

 The pond water was like glass one was peaceful and beautiful...

Things are starting to green up so I let the small group into the yard....a perk of living in the rules about road apples being on the lawn.  :-)

 Last night I was in the barn lot when I heard hooves pounding....Batman and Tandee (older Arab mare) were blasting around the back of the house.  Tandee shaking her head and both of them kicking up their heels!  Another one of those times I wish I had a camera ready!  OMG!  Just occurred to me...Batman will be 2 in a few days!  :-) 

Sonic Boom enjoying the grass.  He wintered very well...such a handsome boy.  We will be starting over again.  He is an every day kind of horse for now, and after the long winter, we have not done much other than some petting and me reminding him how to yield hindquarters, etc.

We made a deal...he shows off his brand for the camera then I leave him a lone a while...

Last Sunday was a crazy weather day!  Bright blue sky, sun shining, dark fast moving clouds...and rainbows!  A few of them!  This is one of the doubles we saw...

We could see the whole thing on the lower one, but the upper double disappeared in the clouds.  Did not was awesome!

You know how I am with horsey them!  I love this one - Joker has this perfect V.

Nevada coming to visit....I thought this was pretty with the dark clouds and the sun kissing the newly bloomed trees.

The eyes have it!  Nevada checking things out...

Nevada wanted to give the suave and debonair look....isn't he quite handsome?

I was trying to get Millie and the other rainbow....then Nevada walked in and looked at me.  Almost like a little kid who is trying to jump in the picture as it is being taken!  Ha ha !

Tripp didn't want to lose his chance at the rainbow.  He wanted it all to himself but the chicken wouldn't leave...

Tripp and the rainbow right before it disappears...

Tandee's nose....

It started pouring down rain but the sun was partially shining.  It was so neat!

We have been so lucky with our weather!  My heart goes out to everyone who has had to deal with loss - human and home.  I really do hope the rest of the year settles down a bit. 

That is all I know for now....
Until later....Karen and Tripp who has been gloating because he has been getting extra attention.  :-)

Monday, May 2, 2011

My Grams and Gramps....

This is my Gramps....he turned 90 in January and he won't be with us much longer.  Not in this lifetime as we know it anyways...

I consider myself very lucky to have made a couple of trips up to Minnesota last month to visit him.  Gramps is very tired but did joke and laugh.  :-)  The first visit with my Mom was awesome!  He requested short visits from visitors but when we tried to leave him he would keep on chatting!  The next trip that Brian and I took was not as good.  He was very tired and slept a lot more.  He still did manage to laugh and joke a bit...but we kept those visits very very short as requested, and he did not argue.  Amazing what different two weeks can make, ya know?
Gramps is very lucky....he was working in his wood shop thru the middle of last year and did not start having big health issues until then, so he really did have a nice long life. 

Here is me, my brother and two sisters with Grams.  She passed a few years ago when she was 97 and she was just as tough and bull headed as she was years ago!  Ha ha!  She was the type to get fired up about things while Gramps was more quiet and low key.  :-)  When she started having sight problems she taught herself to crochet by feel...and did quite well!

They both had long full lives...can't ask for more than that. 

Gramps says he is ready to be with Grams....  As sad as I will be that he is gone, I will also be so glad that he is where he wants to be. 

Love you Grams and Gramps!!!!

Until later....Karen and Tripp who always has a horsey hug for his girl even tho he doesn't fully understand the emotions of humans... 

We have added 3 more bee hives...

It has been brought to my attention that I have not updated the blog since March 29th.  Time sure does go by quickly....I knew it had been a while but did not realize it had been that long.  So here is one update.

Brian got more bees.  You know, because we don't have enough bees.  Ha ha!  We now have 5 total hives.  Four of the traditional kind that you see sitting around and a new one called a Top Bar hive.  But I need to back up a couple of weeks....

On April 17th we opened the hives to check everyone, and to add on another hive box called a Super.  The super is the one that will be honey for us.  This picture shows a wire grate looking thing on top of the frames in the hive.  It is a Queen excluder, meaning the Queen is too big to fit thru it, so she can't go to the top level, the super, to lay eggs.  She will do it below in the two bigger boxes.

Here is the difference now - the one on the left has not had the Super put on yet.  The one on the right has and is ready for the bees to start making more honey.  If we did not add the top box and the bees got too crowded, they might decide to 'swarm' and take off to a place with more room, so it is a win-win situation.  We have added more room for them to do what bees do, and we will also get some honey this year for ourselves.  Note:  if the weather is bad and honey production is not that good, we will leave it for the bees to feed off of thru the winter.

We checked a few of the frames while we were changing things around, and they are doing very well.  This frame shows a lot of 'brood', meaning bee babies.

 This picture below is very cool if you make it bigger - you can see the larvae that will eventually turn into bees!  When I was blowing up pictures to get a closer look I was so excited!  

This is another neat picture.  I am going to blow this up and print it....I want to take it to Brian's bee mentor to find out what all is going on here.  When I blow it up I can see bee faces in the dark spots that are more towards the middle.  We are thinking that the ones that are around the darker spots that look to be capped off are pollen that the bees feed from.  On the left are shiny cells, and I don't know if that is nectar or honey.  Like I said, when we were blowing up pictures we could see so much more and got all excited.  The lives of bees are amazing... 

This one here is pure honey in the making!  When they fill the cells with honey they cap it off with wax, which you can see in the upper area of the frame.  Once honey has filled the whole frame the entire thing will have that smooth layer of wax over the honey.  To harvest it, some have heated knives and they gently cut off the layer of wax, then put the frame in an extractor to spin it to zing the honey out of the cells to the wall of the extractor, then down to the bottom to come out the spout.

 The trip to Arts place is always an adventure.  I have been out there to get supplies, but not to ever pick up bees.  Everyone orders their bees by a certain date so all are delivered at the same time.  But first things a previous entry from last year I posted some pictures of emus at his place.  Inside the store he had a container with ducklings - and a baby emu!!!!  Oh my gosh, it is so cute!  When I was trying to get a close picture of it, the ducklings came over to protect their friend.  The emu chick is about 3 times as big as the ducklings but is younger than them.  You know me....I am feeling the need to get an emu! 

 There is a greenhouse building attached to the store, and the bees for delivery were stacked up in the back by the back door.  Each one of these boxes houses approx 10,000 bees.  

 Each hive needs a Queen to survive.  You can either buy a Queen, or you can trust the hive to create another Queen.  Here is a box of Queen bees.  Our Queen is included in the box of bees, so no need to buy a Queen separately.
If the hive creates one, they just feed one of the egg cells Royal Jelly and poof - they have a Queen.  Okay, not as simple as that but you get the idea....they can make a Queen.

 This is cooler than heck!  It is an observation hive INSIDE the store.  To the bottom right there is a pipe that goes to the outside so the bees can come and go.  I would love one of these in the house, but Brian isn't that warm to the idea yet.  :-)

We got our 3 boxes of bees...time to take them home.  We put them in the back of the truck and away we went...

 See how all the bees seem to be 'hanging' in the center?  This is a 'beard' and they are trying to get as close to the Queen as they can.  In transit she is in her tiny box and lets out pheromones so they get to know her.  If you try to put a Queen in the hive without keeping her separate first, odds are they will kill she is introduced slowly.  When we take the tiny Queen box out of the box, we put a small marshmallow in a hole which the other bees then eat through to free her.  It gives them all enough time to get to know each other before she can get out of her little box.

A can like this is in each box of bees - it has sugar water in it to feed the bees in transit.  To the right of the can is a small slice in the wood - that is where the little metal hanger is for the Queen and her box.  We lift out the can and slide the Queen out, put the can back, place the Queen in the hive, then dump in bees.

 Brian is dumping bees in one of the traditional hives...

 After putting bees in both hives, we set up the boxes and the cans of leftover sugar water for the bees to feed off of.  They will begin to take orientation flights to get their bearings, then will start foraging for food.

 This is the Top Bar Hive.  We are trying to take a more natural approach to bees and this is supposed to simulate a log.  We are also letting the bees build their own comb instead of putting in the thin fake stuff to get them started.  It will take longer but that is what they do...

We will start the bees in a smaller area in the center of the hive then make it bigger as they build their hive.  It is a Top Bar hive - see the skinny boards on top of the hive?  That is what the bees will build their comb on.

Brian took out the Queen and suspended her box in the center of the hive.  On the bottom of the hive is a small baggie of raw honey for them to feed from.  After we got the bees installed the bees had a beard hanging off the Queen box.  She was letting off her pheromones and they were getting to know her.  It was so neat!

 Brian pouring the bees in the hive...

 Bees after they are dumped in the hive.  This was very different because they were all dumped into an open area, whereas the other hives have the frames so the bees can crawl around something.  

 Brian putting the bars on the top to shut in the bees...

 This dandelion puff ball snuck into the blog...

 Here is the really really cool thing!  An observation window!  We can watch the progress of the bees without disturbing them. 

 This is the view at the entrance of the hive.  We put the box in the front so the remainder of the bees will go inside.  Another cool fact - some bees will hang out at the entrance and flutter their wings to get the smell of the Queen to the other bees.  When you make the picture bigger you will see a small metal thing on the bottom left part of the inside - this is the thing that will keep the Queen inside.  Eventually this will come off, but right now it stays until she sets up house.  If she would escape, the others would follower her.

Well, I just looked at the clock...and I am a little behind now.  :-)  Gotta run!
Will keep everyone posted on the bees...

Until later....Karen and Tripp who thinks the bees are neat OVER THERE!