Thursday, July 24, 2008

Summer Half Done

Wild Summer Colors ...and Raspberries...

Pears...and Nectarine...
Tomato...and Apples, some with bird damage already!The First Honey...This is from the stronger hive, of the two I started in April. I inspected today, and saw both eggs, and brood. My stronger hive has nearly 5 full frames of POLLEN! Is that too much? I took about two frames of honey off the large brood box, which was jam packed with honey when I worked it two weeks ago. Side note: they had, in the mean time, consumed or moved a portion of it. And had begun laying eggs in that box! This, even after I put a nearly empty super between the lower box, and the honey bound box. Go figure. Anyway, I had it in my head I was going to harvest some honey to open up that box, so I did. They are good little buzzers, and I hope they appreciate the extra room, and open honey cells. Yum!
I am using plastic foundation. There is many options in bee keeping and I am learning to regret some of those I ended up with. Regardless, for these frames, I used a crush and strain technique. I scraped the capped honey off the foundation (leaving a 1/2 " or so all around the edge, though I did shave this down to frame level) and I am straining it now. The color is light, and the flavor has a lemon edge to it. It is tasty and energizing. There was nearly 1/2 a frame (photo below) where they had packed in pollen below the honey. These girls love to get the pollen! I bottled all that, to consume as comb honey. It is a complete food compliments of the bees. It looks like we'll get about 10 pounds. The weaker hive is doing very well, and had a lot of brood and eggs. They'd drawn out both lower boxes about 80%, so I gave them a super...don't really expect them to do much with it, but I want them to have the room if they want it. Not much else to report...Smoke has cleared (yea!) Summer is half done, and that is something to consider. xxoo Jj

Friday, July 11, 2008

My Favorite Kind of Weather: Hot and Smoky

85* at Dawn...Smoky skies and oppressive heat were the theme of the week.
Bear Butte...Obscured by the haze. Below, my new hobby: Killing Yellow Jackets... Pretty Cool Snake...He was just hanging around the Butterfly Bush. Below, Blooms of Statice, Yucca and Rose.
Climbing Rose on a Clear Day...Below, Simba ala Photoshop. Find edges, then fade find edges/multiply. It makes it appear like a water color or acrylic painting. The Gladiola blossom at the end of this post received similar treatment
Close up of the Sunflower...Hairy! Below, Echinacea.
Glads...and Day Lilies...
This week saw record heat in our neck of the woods. I worked the bees and had a very interesting time of it. My strong hive is absolutely jammed with honey in the upper brood box but they have barely started working the top super. They are backing off on the syrup (finally! little lickers..) and I am set to receive some spare deep frames in a couple days to open up the brood box with. We can harvest a couple frames of honey in the process. The deep hive bodies are a bit of a problem for me. Full, they weigh in excess of 80 lbs! I nearly had a hernia trying to lift the top one off! There is a flow on. Clover, I think. Weak hive has brood and eggs. It appears to be building up again. Both hives have mega pollen stores as well. Yea! I water and mulch.

Monday, July 07, 2008

MEGA POST- Blooms,Bugs,Fruits,Greens and Pits

Photo Shop for Gardeners ... These are very hardy, drought tolerant ranch blooms, whose name I cannot recall. They are perennial and self sowing. Below, Golden Plums. This tree, in spite of the weird spring freezes, seems to be performing as well as last year. It is a Stark Bros SHIRO, and I swear it looks just like the catolog!
Poppies... and the Bugs That Love Them...

Sweet Raspberry Eatin' ...Reds, Golds and the Famed Thimble Berry are all going off like crazy. Big bowls of berries mark the mornings with stains of sweetness...Below, Nasturtium..
Nectarine above...Pear Below. Pears Rock.
Tiger Lilies with Broccoli blossoms...Below, Close up Grape In Bloom...
Hydrangea ...and Bug Friend, above...Cilantro and Mint below. The fresh herbs are heaven. i love them.Wow..A Moth Posing as a Butterfly. All the good butterflies are down at Kim's i guess...This is an Echinacea of some variety. It's wimpy on the leaves, but has a rather interesting spiral of a bloom.... circle of creation....
Ornamental Berry Bush... still in bloom yet its leaves are changing and telling stories of winter...Below, Geum. It is a super cool homestead flower. They are perennial, and drought tolerant.
Reliving the Horrors of a Cherry Crop Gone to the Birds they say. At least they are happy. Below, Close up of Collard Edges..Collards are an under-appreciated garden green. Plant some, and you will have stir fry greens for the whole season long. Frilly.
Spinach...Yum. Below, Clematis... that finally decided to bloom. It's a Costco Straggler that hung around in a tall pot for a couple years now. Seems it was worth the wait.
Columbine above...Below, King Apple. The birds are already starting in on the helpless apples. I wish I could net in the entire 2 acre yard, like the blueberry patch in Honeydew. If you haven't tried some of Donovan's Pick-Yer-Own blueberries out in Honeydew yet, you must make a day to go out there this fall. They are too good. And they are in an expansive, moist, and bird-free (because it is entirely netted from above) garden.
Bumblebee ..Working the Broccoli..Below, Butterfly Bush. Big whoop.
Summer and all her fullness are upon us. Long hot days and warm sultry nights can be enjoyed now, while it is here. Too soon it seems, leaves are already changing and falling. The descent towards winter is apparent. Blooms are eager to burst and lay in seed before the approaching Autumn. It all makes me aware of the passage of time and the impending darkness of winter. Sigh, apples cannot plump unless the days grow short and cool. Grapes await the crisp mornings of the fall to release their intense sweetness, and the springs and creeks sigh as well. They must surely grow impatient in their long wait for rain. I celebrated my 26th year in SoHum today. The grrl I was that day, she was lucky to land in this paradise. A big hug and appreciation to Celeste G. for opening her home, her life and this community to me. I am blessed to call these hills home.