Thursday, April 26, 2012

Spring is Go Time!


Lately around here it feels like somebody waved a green flag and we're off and running. Between the additional bees, the 5 new chicks, the veggie starts in the greenhouse, Whit's crafts, and the rest of the yard work, it's go time. We hit 85 degrees last weekend and just like that the spring came alive, the grass is growing, the trees are blooming, and the Asparagus is growing inches per day! 
First up the bees: in the last post I told you that I went to WA and brought home two five frame nuc hives. Since then the bees have really taken off! The fruit trees are blooming and the dandelions are up. All of a sudden the world is custom made for honey bees. They arrived with lots of brood, which means they were ready to hatch a new generation of workers. Within days of the installation the population exploded. I checked them tonight and they have just about filled the first box with honey and are nearly ready for box number two. Our original hive is doing great too, and is in nearly the same shape as the new ones. We've been cleaning up, disinfecting and repainting used boxes to get them ready for the upcoming season. One of the new hives was even building swarm cells, meaning they are intending to raise new queens and reproduce. That is a sign they are in high gear and I need to be very actively watching them and ready to stack up boxes to keep them busy.
Next up, the new chicks! Whit brought home five newly hatched Silver Laced Wyandottes from the feed store today! The little peepers are all healthy and doing good in the brood box. These little ones will brood for a month in the house, be moved to their own living quarters in 6 weeks and then join the flock later this summer. By late fall or early winter they should be fully integrated into the flock and laying. Until then it's a lot of fun having chicks again and the dogs are very curious about the noisy box on the hearth. They have to be kept seperate from the other hens while they are young, soon I'll fix up a dog kennel for them, and build a small chicken tractor so they can get out in the grass. The rest of the hens are doing very well and really happy about all the green grass and bugs in the yard.
Next: Veggie starts! This year we are very lucky in that one of our friends is working at a greenhouse starting plants. She's been bringing us starts that are left over after they re-pot so we have a very nice assortment of veggies in the greenhouse. I'm proud to see the greenhouse working so nicely and will definitely post some pictures when I get a chance. This weekend, one of our pressing to do's is prepping the garden beds that will hold the lettuce, broccoli, spinach, beets, carrots, onions, peas and potatoes.  Already we've had several friends asking if they can buy our produce this summer! We're pretty excited, but it's going to be a lot of work.
Finally the crafts. Whit's earrings and hair clips have been such a success, she's decided to sign up for a locally made craft fair in Missoula. Now she's working hard to build up her inventory so that we can take pictures and provide them to the fair in her application (it is a juried show). That event will be in late June and she is hoping she gets chosen. 
I know it was brief, but that's what we've been up to. Spring is both a very exciting and overwhelming time of year. There is so much to do, but it's all fun and great to see our little farm taking off.
Hope you are all doing well, and I'll try to post more pictures real soon.


April said...

It sounds like fun, exciting times in your house! New chicks -- so jealous! We haven't gotten ours yet. Not totally sure if we'll get them this year or wait till next year. But we are actively working on our coop, which is very exciting. If I went ahead and got chicks, how long could I brood them in the garage before they'd want to be in the coop?

Kyle and Whitney said...

Hey A, thanks for the comment. I'm glad to hear that you are still thinking of chickens, but with all the other stuff it does seem like it may be better to wait. In either case, we think three weeks to a month is as long as you could keep them brooded. After that the little hellions will be flying and getting loose!