2016-06-12

A Tour of the Farm...and a Day Remembered.

A hot, humid day following a night with thunderstorms and wind.  Everything was too wet this morning to do much of anything.  However, by noon the 90+ degree heat had dried things enough to get on with the day.

I started with cleaning up some of the little garden I put in: Scrapped a couple of rows where the seeds did not germinate and planted onions and a few hills of beans to fill in the space.  Spread some straw between the pop-corn and lettuce.  Hill-ed the potatoes.  That brought on some serious sweat.  I was soaked in just a half hour.

Ate some lunch.   Then set the sprayer up on the 4-wheeler and mixed up 4 gallons of vineger, salt, and dish soap.  Spent the next hour hand a half spraying thistles and other weeds in spots.  Was impressed by the coverage I got.  Sure enough, an hour after I started the weeds were already wilting. Should set them back if not kill them.  Some of them are mature, and thus likely not to die off completely.  Will see what they look like tomorrow.

After flushing the sprayer and cooling off for a few minutes, I took the camera and got on the 4-wheeler and headed back to see what the bees were up to in their now expanded hives.  I took the West  hive apart all the way down to the bottom deep.  The bottom deep certainly had most of the population still working on closing cells.  But bridge comb had already been established between the bottom deep and the new second deep that had been added just yesterday.  The middle frames of the second deep already had sign of comb being drawn out too.  The super sitting on top had a few workers sort of wandering about, but no real work being done.  I get the impressions they are there just to make certain nothing else moves into the territory.  I put the hive back together after taking a few shots with the camera.  It was still hot out and the bees were easily provoked, so minimal messing around was done by me, and movement was very slow and careful.

The Center hive and the East hive I left alone for the most part.  Checked the entrances, which had 20 to 25 bees sitting on them.  Took a few more photos of various things I found interesting, double checked to ensure that everything was back in place and called it good.

And then a bit of a tour..

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Taking it real slow, I rode into the main pasture to the West of the apiary.  Decided to check out my two Hickory trees.  There are certainly plenty of young nuts on the stems, all about the size of a dime.  The North wild apple is not showing anything yet this year.  The mature mulberry trees are loaded, but no ripening yet.  The younger mulberry trees actually have some ripening fruit on them.  The plums are very scarce this year.  Am not sure what is going on with them.  I suppose that it is possible that being on the line fence, they get a lot of over-spray from the neighbors.  There was hay on that line fence field last year, and there is corn this year.  That means that a heavy dose of glyphosate was applied to burn off the hay prior to corn planting.  The plums may have taken a beating from that.

Continuing across the road to the South side, I kicked up a nice size deer back in the South East corner.  There is plenty of deer sign back in that area.  The big elderberry patch got sprayed hard last year and the year before and there is very little of it left.  Makes me kind of angry.  However, the South line fence has a few gooseberry plants that are loaded.  I hope to be able to get to them before the birds do when they ripen.  My guess is they will be ready in about 10 to 15 days, maybe sooner. I noticed some new blackberry patches and the blackberries are also loaded this year.  We have received rain just at the right times.  The rest of the South part of the farm looks pretty good.  The waterway grasses are very strong and full of pollen, which is good for bees and other pollinators. Overall, the South side looks good.

Speaking of rain:  We are still 16 inches short over the last two years.  We need a good steady rain every 10 days or so to get caught back up.  Now that the El Nino is dissipating, one can hope that temperatures and rainfall get back to close to average.  The pond behind the barn is 2 feet low.  That pond is a bell weather of overall soil moisture and water table level: When it is low, one can bet that we need moisture.

I returned from my little tour sweaty, tired, covered in pollen.  My damn back hurt bad even though I was wearing my brace.  That said, it was good to see the farm, see the plants growing, the brown thrush and the kill-deer, and other birds doing their thing.  We have a good crop of rabbits this year, and sign of a badger over on the South side.  The Farm is already inviting the rest of nature to move on in now that we are not beating it to death with sprays and fertilizers.  it will be good to watch what all shows up on this bit of land now... now that we are not treating it like a production line in a factory.  I have hope for this land...