Little Wonders

To Live, Love, & Learn, Is To Leave A Legacy.

Butterflies, Cemeteries, and Small Children

photo (1)photo (1)Recently I took my seven year old grandson to the yearly Butterfly Festival held at a rural park and cemetery located here in Central Oklahoma.  It’s a pretty little park located along a rural highway.  Inside the park are various large flower beds planted with different varieties of plants and flowers designed to attract butterflies, mainly the monarch on their way south to Mexico for the winter.  Thus the reason for the butterfly Festival.

 Located in the center of the park is a small Chapel  as well as a tiny cemetery off in the North West corner with a memorial for war veterans.  The festival consisted of booths with vendors selling plants and seed, for the varieties of butterfly attracting flower,s as well as tons of information on how to plant a butterfly garden.  Also booths of locals selling their crafts.  A few butterfly experts were on hand with display cases of butterflies and moths from Oklahoma, the United States and all over the world, as well as books galore to purchase.  Kids were scattered around the park colorfully dressed as butterflies.

After walking through the park, checking everything out and  taking a few picture we were hot, tired, thirsty, and decided to head back to the house.  We walked pass the cemetery on the way back to the car.  My grandson asked me what that was as we passed.  I explained it was a cemetery, a place where they buried people when they died.  He said, “Is that their names on those things?”  pointing to the head stones.  I said yes and explained that it had their name, they day they were born and the day they died.  He said “Oh, that’s so sad.”

When we got back to the house My husband asked us if we had a good time and I told him yes.  The he asked my grandson if there were a lot of people there and my grandson replied, “yes and there were dead people there too.”

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September 22, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Busy Little Buzzers

It’s now past the fourth of July and the hives are really taking off.  The three new nucs are going gang buster on the field of wildflowers.  We’ve added two shallow honey supers to one of them and the other two have one shallow honey super each.  It’s amazing compared to last year.   Last year we didn’t add a honey super till the first of August. 

The three hives at home are not doing as good.  The hive that had nosema is finally starting to pick back up.  The queen is laying again and the frames have lots of capped brood.  The bee numbers have increased but not enough to get them through the winter.  We may have to combine them with another hive.  The north hive that we requeened is beginning to look better as well.  Lots of new brood in it.  It should be alright come winter.  Neither of the two will produce any honey for us tho.  The last hive here is going nuts.  We’ve added two shallow honey supers to it.  This is a second year hive.  Crazy amount of bees and we split it earlier this spring.  

The two splits look great.  Both made their own queen.  Bee numbers are really good.  Have added a honey super to one of them.  Had to move them from their current location tho.  Our friend, who’s acreage we had the bees on, called to say the bees were taking over his swimming pool, so after dark we plugged the entrance, loaded them up and moved them to the field of wildflower where this years nucs are.  They’ll probably do better out there anyway.

Finally our feral hive, cutout from a garage, is just slowly hanging on.  We requeened it as well.  She’s laying and there’s brood but the bee numbers are low.  I’m guessing it will have to combined with another hive eventually.

It’s time to take a weeks vacation  and then when we get back I’ll have to start thinking about ordering things for honey harvest in September.  I’m really excited! Last year we were able to swipe thirteen frames from the bees.  This year I’m hoping for four maybe five supers.  We’ll see.

July 7, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Snakes, I hate Snakes

Yesterday I was working in my garden, or I should say I was just walking around in my garden.  It was to hot to do actual work like bending over and pulling weeds.   Those tasks are saved for cool breezy mornings.  I did however pick one tomato and about five onions.  That’s when I noticed out of the corner of my eye that my garden hose could move on its own.  How amazing I thought to myself.  A  self relocating garden hose.  That’s when I saw that my garden hose had black beady eyes and a red flicking tongue.

A loud blood curdling scream echoed throughout  the neighborhood!  Frightening, especially in the fact that it was coming from my mouth.  What was more frightening was the fact that I had catapulted halfway across the garden in one leap and was now  squatting on top of the propane tank, sweating profusely, thinking where the hell is that old man.  He didn’t hear that scream?

A freaking snake.  In my garden.  The same color as my garden hose, a dark grey and green.  I know I had stepped over that hose several times as I walked throughout that garden a few minutes ago.  *Shiver*.  Finally my husband pokes his head out the back door.  “What the hell’s going on out here?”   “Snake!”  I screamed at him.  “In the garden, get a gun.”  So he comes out with his 22 rifle with a scope, a scope?  He looks at the snake and tells me it looks like a water moccasin, only it’s not because this has a pointed tail.  Who cares!  He walks over to the garden,  aims and fires.  The snake jumps up and launches, mouth open toward my husband.  “Shoot the damn thing,”  I scream.  He fires again.  The snake jumps and launches at him again.  As my husband takes aim one last time the snake slithers under the house before he could get the shot off.

“What the hell?”  I say.  Two shots and the snake gets away.  “I blew half his face off on the first shot,”  he says.  Well I don’t know how the snake could launch himself at my husband twice with half his face gone.  Jeez!  “What’s with the scope?”  I ask.  “We’re not hunting rhino’s, and if that snake dies and starts to stink under the house get ready to slither under there yourself!”  That’s the punishment for going snake hunting with a scope.

Snakes and husbands, I’m still trying to figure out the purpose God intended for them.

 

May 17, 2012 Posted by | Life As I Know It | 3 Comments

Bee Keeping Has Begun

We’d been pacing the floor for weeks, waiting for our bees to arrive.  We rechecked the newly painted hives to make sure everything was up to parr.  We’d purchased  hive top feeders after learning we would have to feed the bees for some time as with a newly established hive, they have no food to eat.  Normally the bees would be eating honey left in the hive from the previous summer.  We also purchased a five gallon bucket of corn syrup to feed them.  A five gallon bucket of corn syrup when mixed with water will make fifteen gallons of food for the bees.  Thanks to the “Bee Keeping for Dummies” book, we learn a little more each day.

Finally the call came.  “Your bees have arrived.”  Oh the wonderous joy of impending bee keeping.  It’s finally going to happen.  All the videos we watched of nervous new bee keepers dumping their bees into their hives is about to become us.   Early the next morning we take the hives out and place them on their stands.  All freshly painted, shinning in the sun and awaiting their new tenants.  We grab our bee suits and head out to the bee supplier.  Before getting our nucs, (wax box containing five frames with bees, about 11,000 bees in all , and a queen, per box) we  attend a quick seminar in which a professional bee keeper talks to us about the different steps of bee keeping, how to check your hive, what you are looking for and then we actually opened a hive and took frames out and inspected them.   

Next we drove down to the field where 400 nucs of bees awaited their new owners.  We were a few of the first to arrive.  The bee man picked out three nucs for us and sat them in the back of the pickup.  Some of the bees had crawled through small openings in the boxes and had begun to fly around the bed of the pickup so we didn’t waste time and drove straight home.  After sporting our bee suits once again, I made David carry each nuc and set it next to their respected hive.  This was about mid day.  We would leave them sit until just before dark, then transfer the bees to their new homes.

That evening we suited up one last time and with all the family there to witness this splendid event or horrific nightmare, which ever way it turned out, we began the task.  With the inner and outer cover removed from the hive, as well as three frames, David took the lid off the nuc.  The bees were pretty mellow so he pried the first frame loose and lifted it out.  It was covered on both sides with very busy bees.  He quickly placed it in the new hive.  He pried the next frame loose removing it and inspecting it at the same time.  Both sides covered with very active bees.  He quickly transferred it as well and continued the same until all five frames were in the new hive.  Next he placed the original three frames back into the new hive filling it full.  All the bees were now snug in their new home.  We put a hive top feeder in a medium super, placed it on top of hive, poured a gallon of corn syrup mix into it, placed the inner cover on top of it and the outer cover over that.  Last we placed the entrance reducer with the smallest opening at the bottom front of the hive.  This making the entrance small enough so they can protect their new hive.  Once they get established we can use the larger opening on the entrance.  Finished! 

Now we wait a week then we can open it up and do an inspection.  See if they are building comb, the queen is laying eggs, they are collecting food, all the bee duties they should be doing.  Will let you know then if the girls are doing their jobs.  Oh the most important thing, no one has been stung yet!

 

May 11, 2012 Posted by | Life As I Know It | Leave a comment

Bee Keeping 101

 

Welcome to ‘Bee Keeping 101’ or as I like to call it, ‘Bee Keeping for Dummies.’   Basically Bee Keeping 101 is for the person who knows there are Honey Bees, they live in a hive, they make honey and they will sting you if you jack with them.  That pretty much describes myself and my husband.  So I’m still asking myself, what the f was my husband thing when he brought home two kits to build two hives?

This lead to the purchase of the wonderful book “Bee Keeping for Dummies, 2nd Edition.”  This is a must have for the true inexperienced (dummies) such as ourselves, who have taken upon such a lucrative hobby as bee keeping.  Not so lucrative the first year, but we’ll get more into that later on.  This book has just about everything you will need to know for the beginner hive owner.

My husband started off by conversing with several bee keepers over a few month period, before diving into this adventure.  After acquiring the information on where to purchase the supplies to get started, he purchased two kits.  Each kit included the materials to build a hive.  This included the screened bottom board, entrance reducer, deep hive chamber, ten frames, inner cover, and the outer cover.  The kit also included the smoker, bee suit and gloves, hive tool, and veil.  Okay, we have to be serious about this since he has a small investment in it now.  After all, this will be for his retirement as he reminds while examining his future.

Off to Home Depot for paint and supplies.  These suckers need to bee, (a little pun there), painted.  I purchase a  quart of exterior latex paint, in periwinkle, and some wood glue and wood screws.  My husband builds the two hives then hands them over to me for the finishing decorating.  By the time I’m done I have two Holiday Inns for Bees. Now they are ready for the most important step.  Where to locate them.

Bee hives need to be set in a location where they will face the south east, to get an early morning wakeup call, to forage early.

  Allow a few hours of morning sun light, and shade in the heat of the afternoon. 

They need a windbreak at the rear of the hive to block harsh winter winds. 

Avoid full sun but also avoid dark shade.  Make sure the hive has good ventilation but don’t set on the peak of a hill.

Make sure your hive is level from side to side and just slightly lower in front so rain water drains out.

Make sure there is a water source near by, pond, steam, or creat a source, dripping fauct or chicken waterer.

Now when my husband brings the cinder blocks home, that is what we will use for the hive stands, or you can build them out of just about anything, we will set out the hives and wait for the bees to arrive.

April 15, 2012 Posted by | Life As I Know It | 2 Comments