Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Man proposes; Nature disposes

Or is it the other way around?

Friday, May 20, 2005

Bee Inspector coming Monday

I went into the hives and found three with diseased brood. Research about the two types of Foulbrood, American and European, has convinced me that this is European. The major difference is that the brood becomes diseased before capping. American Foulbrood, the worst kind shows up in capped brood, and causes it to die and become a gluey brown mess, ropy and thick, eventually drying to a brown scale that is glued to the inside of the cell. European Foulbrood causes the larvae to turn yellow-brown while curled at the bottom of the cell and can then become either a gooey brown mass or a white scale on the inside of the cell. Both have an odor, but American Foulbrood is much stinkier. Mine smells vinegary, but only from closeup. I closed up all three with #8 mesh and let the foragers drift.
Our Bee Inspector will make the final decision. He's also burdened with the job as State entomologist so I am grateful to him for coming. I didn't treat with the symptom suppressing Terramycin this spring so this tells me that I have had the disease all along, but kept it from doing serious damage. I'll probably destroy the bees, brood especially, treat the boxes with a torch and toss the sterilized frames. After cleaning my hive handling stuff I need to go through all the hives and look for other signs of EFB. I hope to do that on Sunday pending clear weather.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Good Girl, Susi !! Woof! Woof!

I'm going to church instead of communing with the Lord in the bees. Oh Well, you know where I'd rather be. I bet I lose a swarm because of this. :-( I'll skip out of Services, though and go to Wallie Mart World and do the two cart thing while most of the folks are occupied in church. Most folks go to church around here, so I can bank on WM to be empty, stocked up and have cashiers ready for the after church shoppers. That mean I can't get to the girls until late (80F & showery).

I'm hoping that my Dau, in the Caribbean had a good party on the boat yesterday. It's a tough life, but with some benefits!

Yesterday I took a 7 year old girl into some small nucs with me. She was in the children's bee-suit and well duct taped up, but nervous. I showed her how to take deep breathes and purse her lips to defuse the tension and she relaxed, enjoying poking the workers who had their heads in the cells. The girl bees act surprised and run off. We saw a big queen and I showed her the big bumbling drones who don't sting. Afterward she helped pick lettuce and played with a drone. A real delight!

Then I went to Bee Buddy's bee meeting covered dish party. Told them the news about bees from the Internet and ate too much. Brought two groups back and then went back to help clean up. Took Macks who evoked whistles from all who saw him. He was so well behaved that most folks asked 'Where did you get him?'. Got home too late and realized I hadn't told Poor Hubby where we were. Bad Girl, Susi!! Whine....

Friday, May 13, 2005

Hot Mama's Happy!

Lord! It was really hot yesterday. The paper says it was 86F, but in the sun it burned. I have a farmer's tan to prove it. Sitting in the shade with Macks at my feet and a cold glass of water in my hot hand was BLISS. I thought of the scene in one of the 'Godfather' movies where Don Corleone sits in his garden, among his tomatoes with a grandchild: He chases the giggling toddler through the hot summer garden and drops dead of a heart attack. Dead amidst his happiest time and place. The old murderer truly didn't get the death he deserved, but he got one I'd prefer. The older I get and the more lingering painful deaths I see the more merciful a quick heart attack seems. Dear me, how did I go from bliss in the garden to that? Forgive me my meandering.

We had a huge thunderstorm at almost dark yesterday. I took the opportunity to work in the greenhouse until the rain let up. It was a gully-washer. Of course it put water in the basement again, too. We really need to tear out the wood part of that wall and stop those leaks. I have that to tend to this AM, before the bees.

I aim to spend most of the day in the bees, since it will be a reasonable 69F. I need to release the queens and use push in cages for the ones that haven't been in them yet. I haven't fed yet, since there is a nectar flow, but there are some small hives that may need help(either a pollen patty or syrup), either to thrive, or to draw comb. I have 75# of sugar that should be made into syrup just in case. Rather than using the kitchen I'll use that outdoor grill with a burner to boil the water and make 2 parts sugar to One part water syrup. I can dilute it later, or use it for winter feed. It won't sugar out in the summer heat, but won't sour of go 'off' like thinner syrup will. Basically I just need to look at the bees. Some might (hope!) need more room.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Beds in Progress

RB came and finished filling the raised beds. He says there are at least two, maybe three tandem dump truck loads left to bring. He'll get his new dump trailer and/or a manure spreader to haul out the rest.

Sam may want to spread it over his corn and squash growing areas. It kills me to use it that way, but it will really boost those areas, which are orange clay now.

I've started planting the tomatoes and CC showed me how to make big cages out of the large-hole welded wire fencing. He makes it look easy. I'll try my hand at it when I finish the planting and look in on the bees again. The tomatoes look so tiny spaced out for their full growth. I'll have four beds of tomatoes... almost 50 plants. I guess I'll can tomatoes this year! And give them away. And give them to my bee buddy who sells produce. If we have good weather. Last year was so wet everybody's tomatoes rotted.

I need to test and then lime the tomatoes and put down a sprinkler hose and heavy newspaper mulch to eliminate weeds. Lots more work, but then I can sit back and enjoy.

The greenhouse seedlings are about half sprouted. I had to put the shades on because of the heat buildup, but it still gets warm. I'm hoping the lettuce won't be too late for the cool weather, but...

Monday, May 09, 2005

Party Time

We have a big party in the downstairs yard off the back porch for the musicians playing and teaching in the Music Festival. It means that I will have to make it "Pretty" for them. Wine and Cheese, I think. I'll make something for it, who knows what... maybe some cheese bits. That's cheese straw mix that is stretched by adding rice crispies. The full flavor is there, but with an added crispness from the popped rice. Not hard to make, and really good. They keep well, too.
Lot's of work to do!

Macks and Amelia's

Those who've looked at the archives know how much I love my German Shepherd Macks. Well, we have SEVEN cats, too. The Alpha Cat, the Number One Cat, 'She Who Must Be Obeyed' is Amelia, the smallest female cat. She is tailess (by birth), de-clawed and mostly grey, with white feet, white tummy and mostly white face. She prevails by stealth and cunning, ambushing the larger cats from behind doors, etc. She is fearless... and fast!
The Day The Dog Came was a terrible day for the cat population who reside in the house. They retreated upstairs to our daughter Susan's room and sat at the top of the stairs waiting for THAT BEAST to leave. He didn't. He not only stayed, but he stayed in their sitting room with their people.
Time went on.
Only Amelia came down. Gradually she has acclimated Macks to her presence, hiding under furniture and putting her soft paws on his nose when he gets too close. He's a very smart, calm dog. She's a very smart, persistent cat. I watch her train him daily.
Right now he will lick her and she will roll over on her back and get him to snuffle her tummy. They seem to be comfortable together. Amazing.

Better than a Mink Coat!

RB came with his little John Deere and brought a load of really well rotted horse manure. OH MY !!!!! I wanted to roll in it it was so pretty... I LOVE good dirt.
There's at least two Tandem Dump loads full of it waiting to be hauled over. RB has promised to bring it all. I called Lori and raved over it thanking her for her generosity.
I think with RB and helper's labor hauling the dirt and all the other costs that these raised beds will end up costing the same amount that my Sis-in-Law paid for her sheared mink coat. I'd rather have the dirt! It's just as black and lush.
I found two huge worms as big around as my little finger and longer than my palm. Sweetie will have all the fishing bait he needs.
The plants already growing in the two beds are huge. Much bigger than I'm used to. The cabbage is heading up and I had to cut one head of broccoli because it was almost flowering. Peas are coming in now and I picked some more tender collard leaves. It's hard to keep up with the leaf lettuce. I wish some of those folks who want it would come pick.

Found homes for all

When I went back to make up a nuc, I found a nice strong split I'd made up in March was Queenless. So, after I restored the big black queen to her former nuc, I put those frames into a cardboard Nuc box and used the wood nuc box for two frames of the queenless colony's brood and put the two new queens into push-in cages in the divided queenless colony. I had to brush alot of house bees into the new nuc box so they could care for the new queen. The ones who have been outside will return to the original hive, but at least half will stay.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Let's ALL pray for GT! Neuro is the Devil!

I've been holding GT in my thoughts and prayers. She's passed Immunology, and has Neurology on Monday AM. I hope her absorbant mind can bring up the details when she needs them.

Trashy Queen!

Last night I found a queen that had escaped into my bathroom trash... I couldn't believe it!! I rushed out and got a queen cage with some sugar in it, which I softened with a drop of water, and put her and a seemingly lethargic worker in it. Both revived with the soft sugar. I went out after Sun Sch and started looking in each Nuc for the worker I must have installed instead of the queen I found.
Later: Well, I looked at all the queens in the Nucs and none are workers. I have to suppose that I got an extra, probably unmated, queen mixed in with the workers accompanying the queens. If I did, and I hardly credit that I did, I should be glad.
Also, I found a queen that I missed, or that was out mating when I moved around the hives and opened them to make these ten Nucs. Who knows. Anyway I now end the day with three queens. I need to make up two more Nucs and replace the "Found" queen in the nuc she was found in. My notes this year consist of penciling on the side of the hive. Not sophisticated, but I won't lose them.
I made up these nucs on the 5th of May and so when I find any eggs I suspect a queen. Finding Queen cells with larvae along with no eggs mean the nuc (small hive) is queenless. I'll keep these queens overnight, with some workers to feed them and go into the nucs that I had doubts about tomorrow and even Tuesday, if necessary. If they aren't queenless they won't accept a new queen.
If the queen I got by mistake was unmated she may be past the mating phase by the time she is released. If she was unmated they should not react to her like a mated queen because she doesn't smell strongly enough. All the queens I found in the nucs were drawing very strong responses from the workers, i.e. the workers were flying to the queen cage and crawling all over it, licking the queen, etc. I was supposed to get marked queens, but only half were marked. If they were all marked I could sort it out! Oh well, back to the Bee yard to make up two nucs so they will settle down overnight and I'll put these two queens in them in the early AM. And then to give the hive back their queen I stole. They know within minutes when the queen is gone... No queen smell. So I'd better do that first

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


Went to DC to sign papers for the sale. Everybody in the know was walking around with a huge grin. One woman resigned, but my brother sent her manager to get her to delay it, at least, so that she'd get paid for the shares of stock that come with the job. She didn't know about the sale and she'd do herself out of considerable money if she left before the sale was closed. Big-hearted brother couldn't stand for anyone to be left out of the windfall.
Most of the small stockholders didn't know about the sale and the fact that they would soon have money. I wish I could see their reactions.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Fishing!! What Life is ALL About

BG brought her daughter and G-dau to fish. They put a hook in and pull out a fish. That's the way to fish! Mostly small fish, but one med size crappie keeps getting hooked again and again. The six year old is having a blast. It's a gorgeous day: cool air, warm sun!

Feeling Human Again

Sam noticed I had drunk only water this AM.... and got me a regular Coke. It was like a miracle. I felt better right away. As far as I can figure I'd morphed from regular Migraine into Caffiene withdrawal Migraine. Once I got some Caffiene the pain meds could deal with the regular Migraine. Thank goodness he noticed. I was so fuzzy headed that I hadn't.
Lesson learned.

Migraine. Woke up at 3:30 hurting and took tylenol. Asleep it doesn't hurt. Up at 6:30 to sit in recliner and sleep. It hurts less sitting up. Can't focus very well. Weepy eye on the left, aching side. Classic migraine. Whole left side aches, neck too. Centered behind my eye and temple. Nausea comes in waves. I ate two buttered toast and kept it down, then took 800mg Ibuprophen. Usually that does the trick. Not this time. Slept upright until 10AM and ate a beef sandwich. Kept it down and took two more acetaminophen. Pain is more tolerable, but still there. Any movement intensifies the pain.

Can't concentrate well, or follow a story in the paper. Eyes keep closing, and mind skitters away from complexity or light. Listening to NPR is OK, but more like background chatter.

It's a beautiful day outside. I have to get organized for the splits to start the new queens. I have to get ready for the trip to DC. We're out of almost everything. A Walmart trip is needed.

Everything will have to wait until I am able.