Monday, May 28, 2012

Supering up for Honey

Happy Memorial Day!
I had hoped to celebrate the holiday with a ride in our 1943 WWII jeep, but I ran into some trouble replacing a wheel bearing, so that had to wait. I did manage to plant a couple of trees on the place and do a little beekeeping.

The first two colonies looked like this above. These are the ones I got earlier this spring:
They are expanding nicely and working hard to build honeycomb in the upper deep box. This is the honey they will need to survive the coming winter. Things got more exciting when I lifted the lid on hive number three.

The picture doesn't show it well, but this is the top of the upper deep box, bursting with bee activity. By the way, this is the colony that we vacuumed out of the ceiling last year:
This hive is well ahead of the other two and is nearly done packing honey into this box. This is really exciting because it means the bees have finished gathering the honey they will need for next winter and are ready to start filling supers for us! I wanted to show off some pictures of honeycomb capped and beautiful, but the camera had a dead battery, so that will have to wait. For now take a look at the picture at the top of this post. The smaller white box on top of the other two is the super. It's called that because it supersedes the brood chamber. This is where the extra honey will be stored, and what we will extract this fall. Honeybees are unique in that as long as there are flowers to visit and room for to store honey, they will keep right on packing it in. From now until this fall, these little beauties will be hard at work storing honey for us. When this super is full, I'll add more. Now that's exciting. In the mean time I have to get to work preparing more supers, so that I'm ready for the honey flow. With luck each hive will end the season with two or three supers. Sweet!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Little Dinosaurs

Gone are our cute and fuzzy little chicks, now we have Little Dinosaurs.

Their legs and necks are getting long, their feathers are coming in, and they are very energetic. They often run from one end of the brooder box to the other and kick wood chips everywhere. They have also taken to flying up at us, so we have a piece of fence over the top of the box to keep them contained. Finally, this week I gave them a roost to stop the perching on the feeder. I'm happy to say the roost is a hit!   
That's all for now. KJ

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

For the love of family

It's only hair, but somehow it's more than that. It affects our whole self image. Good hair days are days when we can conquer the world. And bad hair days, well, you might as well just stay in bed, because it seems nothing will go right. We identify ourselves by our hair and it's one of the first things we notice about others. People with good hair are envied and people with poor hair pitied. Just look at the multi-million dollar hair styling industry if you have any doubts, hair is a big deal.
So, in the spirit of stepping out of her comfort zone and doing something meaningful in loving support of my cancer fighting sister April, Whitney today cut off 10 inches of her loved and pampered hair to donate to Locks of Love, an outfit that makes wigs for kids who have lost their hair to cancer and other diseases. It's not quite the same as losing it due to Chemo, but it's no picnic either. Besides cosmetic surgery there is probably no other greater way to alter your looks than a drastic hair cut. And so for that I salute you honey, and I love you and April both very much.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Saturday, May 5, 2012


If you've been hoping for a chick post, here you go!

The chicks are now a week and half old, and growing like weeds. We've already had to replace the first brooder box with a second one for more room. They are very healthy and active and are constantly exploring their environment and learning new things. They really like scratching in the wood shavings and pecking at the newspaper. They've also started trying out their wings by running across the box and flapping. Today we saw one happily dust bathing just like a miniature hen. Here is a look at our brooder setup.    
We've got the heat lamp on an adjustable stand so that the warmth can be regulated.  This week it is at 85-90 degrees at chick height.  We will decrease the heat 5 degrees a week until it is 70 degrees, at which point they will be fully feathered and will be able to venture outside.   Also, because the heat lamp could cause a fire if it fell into the shavings, we've screwed the clamp to the stand so that its more secure (before we did that the lamp fell from the table it was clamped on. Luckily we were here when it happened). The long red feeder allows them to find feed even if part of it gets filled up with wood shavings. The jar with the green bottom is the waterer and works well, except they fill the tray with wood shavings constantly.  Whitney changes it at least 5 times a day.  And the wood block in the corner is there for them to roost on, and they really seem to like that. It is nice and low to the ground so when they fall off they don't hurt themselves.  It also helps keep them from roosting on the feeder, and getting a lot of poop in the feed.  
Speaking of roosting, I had to add this photo since it was a new development last night. When we checked the little girls before heading to bed we found one had taken to roosting on the water jar! This was quite a surprise because the jar sits well above head height and she had to jump and flap to get up there, but managed it like it was nothing. It's also a surprise because chick brooding books say not to expect roosting until 4 weeks! I dunno, maybe these are AP chicks :-). The down side to this is that when standing on the jar, the little one can nearly look out of the box, so today we'll need to fashion up a chicken wire top for the box so that they don't take to getting out while we're not watching.
Okay, I better get outside, looks like a nice day coming.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Entering the MADE fair

Whitney's spent a lot of time in these past few weeks building up her handmade feather accessories and silk flower inventory in order to enter into the MADE Fair in Missoula this June. Her collection now includes dyed and natural feather earings, feather hair extensions, silk flowers, and feather hair clips.  Last night it came time to shoot the pictures and submit her application. We assembled the jewelry and headed out, but of course the weather was less than cooperative. In between rain showers and wind blasts we shot these pictures (among many others).


Please remember we are not photographers!  Now begins the waiting period to see if she gets chosen. Keep your fingers crossed!
Of course we're hoping to get selected for a spot at the fair, but even if we don't all of these items are available for sale. Be sure to email Whit if you see something you like or have something special in mind!