July 30, 2011

Tennis puddles

I took Alden on a stroller ride this morning and stopped by the high school tennis courts, or what we now call Disney Land.

video

July 27, 2011

Ground Hog Acquired



Ha! Off to Peacock Beach.

July 25, 2011

CSA 2

This week our garden brought us broccoli, patty pan squash (yellow), round zucchini squash, kale, peas, lettuce, spinach, blueberries, raspberries and fava beans. The apples on our tree are ready to pick too, but I did not get a chance to harvest them.

July 24, 2011

Groundhog Again

I looked out the window this morning to see this trap being flipped over. Next to it was a teen groundhog chewing on some leaves. Alden and I went out to chase him. Alden loved seeing him run. Yep, he got away this time... but we will get him eventually. I reset the trap and baited it with more tasty apples.

July 21, 2011

So Hot the Bees Won't Work

It was hot today... low 90s and humid. It was so hot that the bees just hung out on the porch of their hive moving slowly.


I cant blame them.

July 17, 2011

Our CSA

I do not think we had mentioned that since June we are growing food for others in our garden. We have two people who have 'shares' in our produce. Usually Ilana deals with this, but since she is away in Santa Fe, I harvested the edibles.
This week Raspberries came on-line as did blueberries and round zucchini. We still have a lot of lettuce, spinach and kale growing. Peas are producing well and fava beans are at their peak. So this is what the bounty was.
I had some great help. Joseph and Sandy are visiting and Karen was able to watch Alden while we picked, cleaned, and packaged.
The day was hot (90d) so we filled Alden's pool and played with him in the afternoon. The bottom was very slippery so he preferred to be dragged along, back and forth, as opposed to sitting. Karen and Sandy helped him with this, as did I later on.

July 15, 2011

Good Bees

This is the do or die moment for the colony. With this hive-check either the queen is making brood and the colony will get strong again, or no brood and the colony will peter-out an be gone by the end of August. As you may notice I am wearing less and less protective gear. I also stopped using the smoker before opening the hive.

Because of the split/ un-split the hive has three levels now. the top two were either honey or empty, no brood, but that is not uncommon for the top boxes.
The bottom box had brood! The babies are back and the bee experiment can continue!
We even got to see the queen, and both Ilana and I agree that she looks magnificent. We are not sure if this is Sally or not. The plan is to keep the hive closed for a couple weeks and just let the bees do what they do.

July 9, 2011

Alden pretending to be at LL Bean

Yep, this is what we do for imaginative play in Maine. LL Bean (Alden still calls it "L On Bean", which I think makes it sound more sophisticated) has an elevator, a swinging foot bridge that runs through the children's department and clock chimes that ring every hour. Alden LOVES elevators and chimes so you can see how this evolved.
video

July 8, 2011

Good news/ bad news for the bees

When we introduced the new queen to the green hive it seemed like the workers wanted to kill her, so we put the new queen in a new purple hive - splitting the green one.
We didn't think that the green hive would make it, but since we put a fresh queen in the purple hive, we thought it was sure to thrive.
Well, for the past week the purple hive looked almost abandoned, no bees flying in or out. When we looked in today we didn't see a queen or any larvae , just a bunch of lazy workers eating their way through the honey stores. Obviously the queen we introduced last week was gone - killed, left, whatever.The green hive has been going strong all week and looking very active. When we looked in, we saw a big fat queen... so maybe we will be reuniting the hives this weekend. Dang...

July 7, 2011

Goodbye Daycare

Today was Alden's last day at Harbor Children's Center. He has been there since he was about 2 1/2 months old, so we are not sure what removing him from that environment will do.
Ilana is going to Santa Fe for a month to get some training for work, and unfortunately the daycare is not close to anything I do, so it would have been a huge problem to transport him. Alden will start at a different school in September and until then we will have a parade of family and sitters taking turns for his care.He made many friends at the center and it was his main point of socialization in many ways. We have some friends with kids, but have been rather slack about forming playgroups and making play dates and the like. Perhaps the paradigms will shift now that we are 'on our own'. As far as we are concerned the daycare was amazing and we are sad to be taking Alden away from it.

July 3, 2011

Splitsville for Bee City

Yesterday we decided to check up on our hive and if Queen Sally had taken control of the situation. Sadly, it seemed like Queen Sally was not doing her job. There were no eggs or larva and the workers had started filling the brood box with honey. I suppose they were doing this because, "screw-it the queen isn't making babies and the comb should be used for something." <-- bee thinking.
Since Sally was nowhere to be seen, we figured she was dead and went out and bought a new queen. Our pal Darrell came over for a visit and took part in the re-queening. This is a process where you take a queen (in her little screen box) and place her in the hive. Hopefully the bees are excited to see her and over a day or two eat their way into the box, thereby freeing her.

When we put the queen in our hive we were not sure what we were seeing. It was hard to tell the difference between happy bees swarming a queen to welcome her and angry bees swarming a queen to kill her. We thought it could be either case and left the queen in to see what happened over time with the assumption that the workers would soon warm up to her.
When we checked back later in the day things seemed tense. The workers had NOT warmed up to the new queen, but were mobbing her and trying to sting the cage. This kind of behavior suggests that Sally was still around. We took the new queen out of the hive and pondered what to do next.
The solution we came to was to split the hive. We would set up a new hive on the other side of the yard. The new queen (who we've named Bertha) would be their leader. We took several frames from our old hive and placed them in the new purple hive (workers included). We scrutinized each frame to make sure we did not accidentally transport Sally. We let the new colony sit overnight before we introduced Bertha. When we placed Bertha in the hive the workers behaved very differently. They mobbed the box, but they also all fanned in unison, which we hadn't seen before. This kind of behavior is often seen when the hive is suddenly queenless. The workers fan to spread any lingering queen pheromones in a desperate attempt to locate her. It was still kind of difficult to tell if they were happy or angry though. Bee kisses are pretty hard to distinguish from bee bites.
When we checked back later in the day, the hive was mellow and it looked like the workers accepted the queen. We have high hopes for the purple hive under queen Bertha's reign. The green hive with Sally (or whoever) is still a worry, but at least we think we've successfully hedged our bets against a total loss.