Flowers Bloomin’ and Bees Buzzin’

Wow, the summer has almost come and gone.  I just looked and it was May last I posted.  Where has the time gone?

Did I get any painting done?  NO

Did I replace the cellar door? NO

Is the hydrant fixed? NO

The main activity this summer is how to get around the construction on the main road in and out of here.  Lots of detours and planning on when and how to go somewhere.  Even if you find a way around there is always something to stop for.

 

Last I posted I had just picked up the bees and put them in their new home.  Yesterday I get up and think “man, I really need to get another box on the beehive.”  At the end of May which was one month after installing the bees in their new home I inspect the hive.  They have a few frames with brood and comb.  I decide it’s time to put on the second brood box.  This will be their winter store of honey to make it through our cold winter here.  I get the second box and put it on the hive.  I come inside and decide to look and see if it was the right time to put on a second box.  Oh no, the first box should be 70% full.  Was it?  I don’t think so.  Maybe I should take off the second box and wait a little longer.  I go out and there are already bees all over and inside the box.  Oh well, guess I’ll leave it and I’ll find out later if I made a mistake.  Two weeks go by and I go take a peek and ye gads, the second box is almost full of comb.  I guess it wasn’t too soon.  I have one honey super that I haven’t used before so I put that on the top.  I’m so excited.  Sometimes when you have a new colony of bees it takes them all summer to make their winter store so there is no honey to be harvested the first year.  I will have some honey  Hurray!!   If they are making honey that fast I need to be prepared to add another honey box which I dont’ have.  I make a run to Copoco’s in Ft Collins and I get another honey super and 10 frames and foundations.  While I”m there I am asked if I would like to do some honey comb.  Well, heck yeah, why not!!  I get five regular foundations and five foundations for honey comb (meaning they have no support so when they are filled with comb you can cut through them and box it or however you would like to package it).  I get home and I paint my super and I put the frames together (no easy task I find out).  Then I go to put the foundations in.  The regular ones are a thin plastic coated with beeswax with metal supports on the end and they go into the grooves really easy.  The honeycomb foundations have no support at all.  It’s just a thin rectangular piece of beeswax.  Well, how am I supposed to get that to stay in there?  I dink around and think if I can get it in the top groove maybe it will hang straight.  I take one out and put in the box to test it.  Hey, I need to run to the store.  I go to the store and when I get back the sun has melted the foundation out of the frame.  Well, dang it.  Now I have to go get another one.  All the way to Ft Collins again to spend $8 in gas for a $1.60 piece of beeswax.  Ok, I get it home and I’m going to try and melt some beeswax to hold the foundation in place.  I melt some wax but it hardens so quickly before I can even get it in the groove.  I get the foundation in the best I can and hope that the bees are smart enough to use it.  I’m sure they are smarter than me.  Anyway, I get the box ready, put my bee suit on and go out and put another honey box on the hive.  I know I’ll get one box of honey.  If I get two I will consider myself fortunate to get any the first year.

Here’s the picture from May when I first installed them and what it looks like today.  Those ladies are busy, busy bees.

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Lots of gardening going on here.  I take a little walk around this morning and everything is in bloom.  Feverfew, hollyhocks, red crimson clover, foxglove, shasta daisies, black eyed susans, purple asters, tansy.  All the annual and petunias I planted in the Spring.  The roses and hibiscus are doing great.  The veggie garden is producing the obligatory baseball sized zucchini and I’ve got some acorn and butternut squash coming on and tomatoes and peppers.  All the new plants I’ve put in over the last three summers are looking good.  My cats are gardening cats.  They help me all the time.

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In May I showed a picture of the pollinator garden I put in.  I am wandering around and I can’t believe how well the garden is doing.  I think out of about a hundred plants that I planted I lost three.  One Autumn Sedum is still alive but one stalk broke off and the other is sad and there is a little one coming up but it just won’t match up to the one on the other side so I go to Ft Collins nursery to the perennials sale and get a really nice one half off.  I got all my plants at Al’s Pine Garden.  I needed so many and it was the only place I could find that sold starter size perennials.  After planting I think, well, this year they won’t do much so I can’t wait until next year.  Wow, all the plants are big and blooming.  It’s beyond my expectations.

This is what it looks like from May to now.

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Oh, did I mention I did all this with a fractured spine?  The day we went to a plant sale my back sort of hurt.  We ran around a few days buying plants here and there.  I didn’t think much of it until I was doing this garden.  It kept hurting more and more.  I couldn’t really bend over.  It took me two weeks to do the garden and I called the doctor and went about three weeks after it started hurting.  We thought I had pulled a muscle or something and it would heal within six weeks.  Seven weeks later I had an x-ray and I broke off the tip of one of my lumbar.  Grrrrr.  With the help of my chiropractor the last three weeks I am starting to feel like I don’t hurt all the time and can bend over a little.  It comes and goes but I think I’m on the total mend.  I hope so because there are always weeds to pull.  The dreaded bindweed is ever present.  Hopefully I can get back to Master Gardening again.  My main project is working in the demo garden and it’s hard to do when you can’t bend over.

Here is how to do a pollinator garden in six minutes on my youtube channel:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Br4sim4VgDY&feature=youtu.be

 

 

 

 

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About pbodwell

Master Gardener; Nat'l Award Winning Photographer; Garden Writer; Artist - art books, print maker, hot glass, wire jewelry designer; sometime quilter; new homesteader; bee keeper; very crafty; Baseball fan, enthusiast, and researcher; all things vintage
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