2017-04-04

Getting Ready - More Bees

My March check of the bees was encouraging.  All three hives survived the winter.  The Italians are very strong and I think they might swarm this spring due to their heavy population.  Thus, I/we decided to expand the apiary.  I ordered four more full hives, and some spare frames for honey.

Today is asembly day.  I ordered the hives in kit form and un-painted and did the same with all but thirty or so frames.  This saves a fair amount of money and the assembly is not hard.  This also allows me the option of using screws instead of nails to put the hive body parts together.  Screws make a world of difference in both overall strength as well as assembly ease.  Screws take longer to put in, but they do the squaring of the parts for you.  Everything pulls together tightly, and as mentioned, square.

Another advantage is that unpainted wood leaves me with the option of treatment.  I found a product called ECO which is non-toxic and is supposed to last a lifetime.  It comes in powder form, so one simply mixes with water and then sprays it on the outer surfaces of the hive.  I like the natural wood look that I end up with.  Our first three hives were primed and painted white like most hives are.  They seem to be holding up fine after one winter.  But I thought I would try this ECO product.  It may be useful for other projects on the farm and around the house.

So, assmbly day:  Batteries for the chordless drill all charged up, the ocrrect bit to match the screws I am using (exterior 1 3/4 inch), and all the shipping containers have been checked for completeness.  All good to start.  I had to futz around a bit to get my work area arranged just right.  But once that was done, the process went quickly.  I have only done hive body parts thus far, but am nearly done.  Next will be assebling frames.

That will be more delicate work.

In the mean time, I have the radio tuned to NPR, the heater on in the workshop, am sitting next to the window doing my work.  It feels good to do this work.  As simple as it is, I feel I have accomplished something each time a deep or a super is completed and the wood treated.  A good feeling...

While I was working, my neighbor Ricky stopped in to ask to borrow the pallet forks that I have for the skid loader.  He knows he can take them any time he needs, but he asks anyway.  We shot the shit for a half hour or so while his rather quiet son-in-law, Mo, listened patiently.  Ricky offered to let me use his tractor on the grain drill this spring, being that the grain drill (also mine) will be hooked up and ready to go.  I will probably take him up on that if for no other reason than to get to operate his tractor.  Ricky has newer equipment and he cares for it.  It is a pleasure to operate when one gets the chance.  And he is right, it will be all set up and ready to go, so there it not much sense in unhooking and hauling and .... well, you get the picture.

And that is part of what I like so much here on the Farm:  Folks don't stop by often, but they do stop by.  And they always take the time to jaw a bit.  The price of corn, beans, and beef....taxes...a little politics...a little gossip.  It is a method of connecting, of showing we care.  Like  driving to town and everyone waves, even if they don't know you.

And now I better get back to it.  I have plenty left to do before Thursday when it warms up and dries out and I can can back to the North East corner of the farm where the apiary is.  I prefer not to leave ruts all over the place which is what will happen if I go out there when it is wet.  I hate ruts in my fields and waterways!  They make for a rough ride and worse yet, lead to erosion.  Best to wait for a dry day.  There is plenty to do.....