Friday, 29 May 2015

May musings

Life is busy on our little farm at the moment!
I am on a few weeks leave from work and it has been great to catch up with the house, the animals and of course the children.

The weather has been very poor for the month of May. It has been cold and wet with poor grass growth. I hope to get a good honey harvest this year so a few weeks of hot temperatures will be necessary.
My attempted queen rearing using grafted larvae was a failure. The bees rejected the grafts by removing the larvae. I have three hives now with hopefully young queens. I will check them today to see if they have started to lay.

Our elderly wolfhound had a surprise pup two months ago. He is a Irish wolfhound x German shepherd named Fionn. We were quite shocked to discover the pup one morning, as the mum is ten years old and never had a litter previous.

We have our herd test this evening for the cow and calf. The calf is sold and will leave the farm in the next few weeks. 

The magpies are stealing the hen eggs from the coop. It infuriates me as all that is let is a mess of broken eggs in the nest box each evening.
I'm keeping them locked in until noon at the moment but when I return to work they will be let out early and I expect we will have no eggs again.

The pigs are doing well. We need to fatten up the two younger pigs and send them to the freezer. When the calf is gone, there will be plenty of milk for the pigs.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Getting ready for the beekeeping season

After a quiet bee winter, I always get a little excited about the pending season.
I make plans and goals for the season ahead and try and education myself further about how to go about achieving those goals.
With bees you can never learn enough as there is always more to learn, and books can only teach you so much.
So this year I intend to try queen rearing by grafting. It will take a few years to get comfortable and with good success rates but I will give it a go. 

I ordered extra bees supplies this week and made up the grafting frame yesterday and painted three poly nucs. Today I will paint two new poly national hives.
The weather is cool and damp with daytime temperatures at about fourteen degrees. Too cool yet but that is promised to change over the next few weeks.
I have three good hives after the winter. I lost a full strong hive. And when I checked them when there was just a handful of bees left, I found no queen.
She was a new 2014 queen and somehow failed or got lost/died and the hive slowly died out over the winter.