2018, Bees, February

Farm update – 2/25/2018

Warm enough for you? Last weekend, it seemed like spring was just about to fully arrive. Instead we jumped forward to summer, setting or tying record high temps a couple of days with highs 20 degrees above average. It looks like we’ll remain above average this coming week too, but only by 10 degrees!

One by one we’re working through our major projects list. This weekend we knocked off two big ones. One of those was completing some upgrades to our irrigation system. Our main irrigation line is now underground, meaning there’s no more mowing around it or digging through poison ivy to find the hose once it’s buried under vegetation by late spring. We also have additional hose bibs in the field, making water easily accessible anywhere in the field.

The other major project was installing a trellis in the field so we can grow more springtime favorites, snow peas! This semi-permanent fence with removable panels about triples the area along which we can plant climbing veggies.

We kept up with all of our regularly scheduled farm work as well, planting basil in the greenhouse, and beets and snow peas in the field. We had hoped to plant out the arugula, bok choy, tat soi, and Tokyo bekana from the greenhouse, but their root systems didn’t seem quite developed enough. So we’ll give them one more week in there, and get them out next weekend.

We also took advantage of the warm weather yesterday to do a hive inspection. There were very young larvae in all three hives, a good sign that each hive has a queen who is keeping her respective colony in working order. Many bees were bringing pollen back to the hive and I could see that they are already storing fresh honey. If we keep getting decent rain, it won’t be long before we can add additional honey supers for more honey storage!

When conducting a hive inspection, it’s typical to stand at the side of the beehive. That keeps you away from the entrance where bees are rapidly coming and going, but also gives you easy access to pulling and examining each frame within the hive. So I’m standing to the side, trying to ignore the overwhelming buzz of bees around me (I find it easier to concentrate when I’m actively not thinking about the 60,000 stinging creatures flying all around me and landing on all parts of my fully bee-suit-protected body), and I didn’t realize this was going on up front, until I walked up there to grab my smoker pot to calm them before going through these exposed frames.

Clearly, this hive made it through winter with a pretty good population. Good job, bees!

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