Sunday, August 14, 2011

Hopper Hunters, Brood Boxes and River Rafters

Sitting in the backyard on a quiet Sunday afternoon. The chickens have taken a break from the heat to nap in the shade of the willow. Soon their lives will change as they will start laying within a few weeks, but for now they are our hopper hunters. Combating the destructive insects that eat our garden plants and fruit trees, the chickens run about chasing down the hoppers and snapping them up in a gulp. The young rooster we call Colonel Sanders crows occasionally, still trying out this new found talent. He seems to be calling to the rooster next door who answers with a confident crowing of his own.

Earlier today we added a new hive box to each of the bee hives, so they are now each two boxes high. The first (bottom) box will house the brood and the newly hatched bees as they build the colony. The second box will be critical for food storage as the bees have to store enough honey to make it through the winter. Now is the honey making season and they are frantically gathering nectar to build their stores. As our northern winter wears on, I will check the hive to make sure they are fairing well. When the stored honey starts to dwindle, I will feed the bees syrup to help them along. Winter starvation is a common way to loose your bees. If I am successful and the bees survive the winter, next summer we will add supers to each hive, so the bees will fill them with honey for us to harvest.

In the photo above you can see the brown capped brood cells, from which the next generations of workers will hatch. You can also see teh white capped honey cells, food stored for winter.

August is also time for one of our favorite summer pastimes, floating the river. The spring runoff lasted so long this year that we've only recently gotten out in the raft, but the wait was worth it. Here are a few shots of a float trip we took while my Dad was here, his first time down the Clark Fork.



1 comment:

April said...

It is awesome the chickens are helping with the grasshopper problem! I love that. Really cool rafting pictures, too. So, Sanders was a rooster after all, huh?