Sunday, May 27, 2012

Memorial day

   I am a very patriotic person. I don't always show that side here, because I don't have the words to say what is in my heart. I am grateful to all of the soldiers past, present, and future. I have several that I am related to. I am saddened each time I see posts in the news about those who didn't get to come home. I am heartbroken to think that my children have ever known a country not at war. I am terrified that this war (or another one) will still be going on when they are old enough to enlist. To all of the veterans out there. THANK YOU. Please stay safe.


Yesterday I could have slept in. Yesterday I TRIED to sleep in. I ignored the dogs barking for about a half hour until the little one in the house started up and I knew there was something in the yard. I opened the door and a yellow lab and a malamute were scoping out the chicken coop. Not wanting to deal with strays that early in the morning (before 6) I yelled, "GO HOME!" The lab walked off, the malamute walked right into my bedroom. I sighed, locked him in my bathroom and went outside to try and catch his friend. The lab took off and I went back in to call the owners. 
Thank goodness "Spike" had an ID tag. I called over and over hoping to wake his owners up. I did not feel at all bad about calling them at 6:30 to come get their dog. I had been up since before 6 listening to all the commotion in my yard. If they had killed any of my chickens, we would have had an entirely different conversation.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

ARGHHH! Stupid rooster!

   When I was in Utah last week, I bought a dozen fertile eggs to hatch in my incubator. I also gathered eggs from my hens over the next few days because I want some cochin chicks! Last night I candled my eggs and was really excited to see that my wyandotte eggs are developing nicely. Then I got to the eggs from my hens. Nothing. Not one little speck or blood vein in those eggs. Nothing at all. Mr Chicken just might be in trouble.

Did I mention he's mean?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Garden is (almost) DONE!

I spent the last week getting my raised beds weeded, tilled, built up higher and planted. The peas and beans sprouted before I was even done with the other boxes. I decided to try an experiment this year. Last year, I noticed that all of my beds (especially the one with the lettuce, swiss chard and radishes) had lots of earwigs. The ONE box that didn't have ANY bugs was the box with the onions. Hrmmm. Not even a grasshopper bothered that box. So I took the onions that had survived the winter and planted six of them in each box. Bug repellant that won't hurt my bees.

   I have my beans, peas, cabbage, bok choy, lettuce, asparagus, swiss chard, radishes, peppers, tomatoes, onions, and garlic all planted. I still want to plant a few Roma tomatoes, some cucumbers, squashes and corn. But the beds are done. 
   I found all of these slimy little mushrooms growing in one of my beds. In the desert. Who knew? I am going to leave them alone and just watch them for a while, our climate isn't friendly to mushrooms and I am not worried about them spreading or becoming a problem.

   We also added four fruit trees this year (along with the cherry tree we planted last fall). We got a peach tree, apricot tree, apple tree and plum tree. The bees will be very happy next year when they blossom. On the meantime, my neighbor is more than happy to share the fruit from her overloaded trees. She is noticing a big difference since I got the first hive.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


   We gave our new bees a couple of days to settle in and then decided we wanted to add a drone frame and go to a nine frame before they started building everything up. But first we had to work the first hive (I really need to name my queens or something. It would be much easier than saying the first hive or the second hive, or the nuc, or the other hive, ect.). We opened it up and they were MAD. 
    We lifted the medium super off and placed it on the ground. The bees had done something weird and when we removed the medium super, it opened dozens of cells exposing larvae that were almost ready to hatch. They were just laying there on top of the frames. 
   We smoked the bees like crazy because they were getting really aggressive at this point. Hubby got stung on the top of the hand. We took a frame of capped brood to give to the new hive and a frame of honey to make sure they would have plenty to eat. I brushed all of the bees off these two frames and walked them over to the new hive. Hubby got stung, once again on the back of the hand. (You see where this post is going, right?) 
   I went back to the big hive and added the drone frame and started spacing the frames out with my spacing tool. Hubby got stung....on the back of the hand. (In case you lost track, that's three stings in the same hand) I replaced the medium super and took one frame out that had comb, but no honey. Hubby got stung on his finger, opposite hand. While he was doing the bee dance and cursing, I spaced the medium frame and put the inner cover on. Hubby reminded me that we needed to add another medium super onto that hive and came to help. He got stung, again on the back of the hand. I yelled at him and told him to get into the house and take care of himself so I could finish up. He headed in cussing the whole way and shaking his hand. I quickly added the new super, put the inner and outer cover on and wandered over to the new hive.
   The new hive is smaller and at this point much gentler. I took out four untouched frames and replaced them with one frame with brood, one frame with honey and a drone frame. I then spaced them for a nine frame and found my queen. I added a medium super, because with all that I had given them, there were only two empty frames. I put on the covers and headed in to take a look at Hubby's hand. Oh dear heavens! He was already swelling.
I put everything I could think of on his hand and nothing stopped the swelling or the pain. By the next day, he looked like this:

We went to the Dr and he was given steroids and benadryl to take the swelling down. By the next day his hand looked like a hand instead of a rubber glove that had been blown up to entertain a child at the Dr's office!

Friday, May 18, 2012

New bees!

We got a new hive last weekend. We drove to Utah with our empty super, all set up and looking tiny in the back of the truck. On the freeway, we passed a big rig hauling hives covered in screens. I can only imagine what he thought when he looked down at our little hive with one deep super, lol. We did some shopping (I love Costco!) and then went to dinner with Hubby's mom. Weird enough, we ran into relatives at the restaurant! We got to our table and turned around and my mother in law was gone, we walked back the way we came and she was talking to her sister in law and Hubby's cousin. We all changed tables so we could sit together and had a very nice time. Once it was later in the evening, (you want all the bees to be home when you pick them up) we traveled to the apiary. The guy we were buying the bees from opened the nuc and showed us the queen and brood pattern before putting his five frames into our super. We loaded them up and headed home. On the way we stopped to pick up a dozen fertilized blue laced red wyandotte eggs to hatch. So fun pics to come!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

No chicks :(

I made an order with Meyers Hatchery months ago to get my spring chicks. I went online yesterday to see when exactly they would get here and how many I would be getting. There was no history of my placing an order at all. I know I ordered them because I remember picking an arrival date sometime in the first week of June. I also ordered a basket to carry my eggs in and chose the option to have that sent separately. I called the company and the lady that answered the phone told me that if I chose a breed with a limited availability for that particular hatch date, I might have ordered more than they had available and the system would have kicked my whole order out. Great. So now it's too late to order any of the chicks I wanted and Murray McMurray wants a minimum 25 chick order. I really don't want that many chicks. Does anyone know of another hatchery besides these two that they could recommend? If not, they I guess I will pick up the Australorpes at the local feed store and forget about getting the Cochins or Brahmas. Maybe hatching some of my own Cochin eggs would be the way to go.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Mr Chicken has three new girlfriends

 Actually, he has known them since they were all hatched. They are all new to our flock though. I got them from the same lady who gave me Mr Chicken last year. He was instantly in love and was trying to romance them through the bars of the cage. The original hens were not as impressed.

We are now up to 11 chickens, 10 hens and the king of the castle. If any of you remember Twitchy, that is her in the front. Looking pretty good for a dead chick, huh? Mr Chicken is such a show off!
We will also be getting more chicks next month. I know we got more Australorps but I can't remember what else we ordered. I think we are getting eight total. that would bring us up to 19 chickens if everyone survives. Yikes! Eggs anyone?