Archive for the ‘news’ Category

Garden and Orchard update May 1, 2017


2017
05.01

Another Spring upon us. The winter was inconsistent with periods of cold and warm, thus most of my fruit trees didn’t get enough chill hours to bloom.

In the front yard, I got a Celeste fig planted near Biff Polywog, our sea dragon.

Celeste Fig and a sea dragon. Fig has a anti-deer cage.

The front yard swale now has 2 Jujube trees (Honey Jar and Li?), 2 Pomegranates (a Wonderful and an Eversweet?), some family purple Irises, and soon another Fig from Dad’s place I call a Center White as it is a white fig with closed eye.  All planted March 2017 on the top of the swale.

Texas Persimmon on left, and on the swale, the Pomegranates and Jujube Trees. Note the anti-deer cages to protect the trees.

Bought a roll of driveway rebar wire to make tomato cages and tree protector cages. It was tough to work with but it does the job.

The native Texas Persimmons are doing well after the pruning I gave them. A large fruit set promises a good crop.

I asked the local arborist to drop off a load of wood chips. They brought about 4 cu yds.

 

As for the back, the trees are growing well, and since there is no fruit, they will add a lot of vegetative growth.  Hmm. Can’t seem to upload images. I’ll work on that later.

 

Concrete poured for new honey house


2016
09.03

So I really don’t *need* a honey house. Really just a shed to store beekeeping stuff and other projects I have. Plus, I really want a workshop to be honest.

After a few months of on and off excavation, the pad has been poured.

The excavation in the limestone was around $1800, the form $200, the concrete $1700, and the pumping $500. Not cheap, but I wanted a strong foundation.

I don’t use rebar in concrete, as it is overused in construction in places it does more harm than good, like foundations. Once rebar goes into a foundation, it can take a 500 year lifespan foundation and damn it to only last 65 years. This is the problem with reinforced steel, it tempts engineers to save a few bucks by cutting corners on concrete volumes. Roman foundations didn’t have rebar, and their bridges are still in use today. The modern solution is adding fiberglass threads in the concrete, which I did. Plus, I made my foundation 2x as thick as normal. This structure will outlast my house by hundreds of years, hopefully.

Garden update May 30


2015
06.02

May 30 – Here is how the garden looks. We’ve survived 7 inches of rain and a flood so far.

The no-till corn patch is not as high as its raised bed neighbor.

The no-till corn patch is not as high as its raised bed neighbor.

Raised bed corn and tomatoes with deep pipe irrigation of 1min every 2 days.

Raised bed corn and tomatoes with deep pipe irrigation of 1min every 2 days.

The watermellons are doing well in the raised beds in between the corn.

The watermellons are doing well in the raised beds in between the corn.

The Arbequina tree is still only 1 foot tall, but new growth is happening.

The Arbequina tree is still only 1 foot tall, but new growth is happening. Deep pipe irrigation.

This pluot tree gets more shade, I don't know why it has grown most.

This pluot tree gets more shade, I don’t know why it has grown most. In the background you see the solar wax melter.

This tree also gets some shade, but it isn't a vigorous as the others.

This tree also gets some shade, but it isn’t a vigorous as the others.

The far left grapevine in the most sun is doing well.

The far left grapevine in the most sun is doing well. The idle hydroponics is in the background.

Spring Garden


2015
04.21

Spring is a busy time for beekeepers, especially if you have a garden as well. I may not be a great gardener, but I do keep a garden, and this year I’m trying to expand and use less water too.

I’ve got a few volunteer plants coming up that I want to keep. One is a pecan tree next to my rain barrels, I’m going to have to transplant this one farther from the house.

Pecans come up in odd places due to squirrels hiding them.

Pecans come up in odd places due to squirrels hiding them.

 

I’ve put in grapevines again, 2 Flame Seedless and one Concord.

Flame seedless

Flame seedless grapevine #2.

Flame seedless. Note at base, I planted a watermellon seed.

Flame seedless grapevine. Note at base, I planted a watermellon seed right beside the deep pipe irrigation.

While I'm not a big fan of concord, it was just $8 at home depot, and it was the last one that seemed alive.

While I’m not a big fan of concord, it was just $8 at home depot, and it was the last one that seemed alive.

I’ve put in drip irrigation but converted the emitters to go into deep pipe irrigation.  So I really have deep pipe, but with controlled 1/4″ feed tubing.

Garlic and a watermellon seedling in a wick irrigation bucket.

Garlic and a cantelope? seedling in a wick irrigation bucket.

One of 3 plutot trees in the yard.

One of 3 plutot trees in the yard. This one is down slope with least amount of sun. I’ll cut back some scrub trees to open up canopy for it.

 

Olive treeling in foregroud, plutot and raised bed garden in back.

Olive treeling in foreground, pluot tree back left and raised bed garden in back right.

 

Tomatoes with deep pipe. One deep pipe in between 2 plants. We'll see how they do.

Tomatoes with deep pipe. One deep pipe in between 2 plants. We’ll see how they do.

This top of the raised bed has corn and deep pipe irrigation. If I was a good scientist, I'd use it as a control vs the automatic watered deep pipe irrigation. But I'm lazy, I hooked it into the line today.

This top of the raised bed has corn and deep pipe irrigation. If I was a good scientist, I’d use it as a control vs the automatic watered deep pipe irrigation. But I’m lazy, I hooked it into the line today.

Low impact corn, 3x3 planting. Experiment on how well the corn grows in 7" soil.

Low impact corn, 3×3 planting. Experiment on how well the corn grows in 7″ soil.

Deep pipe irrigation fed by 1/4 drip irrigation line. The pipe goes 18" into the soil and only gets watered for 1minute every 2 days.

Deep pipe irrigation fed by 1/4 drip irrigation line. The pipe goes 18″ into the soil and only gets watered for 1minute every 2 days.

Deep pipe irrigation is the most water efficient means of irrigation as tested by several universities.  It is even more efficient than roman ceramic pot irrigation.

Winners of T-Shirt contest picked


2013
04.06

Finally picked the winners of the T-shirt contest, then realized as soon as I announced the winners I would have people wanting shirts. So I’ve already got the shirts set up on Printfection! Now, I just need to finish the video and post!shirts-screencap

Sailors Beeswax holder


2013
02.12

I was in a museum near Monterrey, CA over the holiday break.  I saw something odd that I wanted to share.Albatros beak beeswax holder IMG_1070 IMG_1071 IMG_1073

For those of you who don’t live in the US, an albatross is a bird found near oceans. The beek makes for a useful wax holder.

Swarm Traps that catch bee swarms under them


2013
01.17

A fellow beek from Poland read my swarm trapping book and built a trap. It caught bees, but under it.  I’ve seen this happen before.  I’m interested in seeing if we, as a beekeepers, can figure out the common denominator of why.

polish trapHas anyone else built a trap that caught bees under it?  How large was your entrance hole?  How large was the swarm?  How big was the trap?

I’m looking to see if there is a trend. In his photo, and from his video I see a undersized hole and a huge swarm.

If anyone else has caught a underslung swarm, please comment below with the:

  • How large was your entrance hole? (i.e. 1″ diameter)
  • How large was the swarm? (ie. small/medium/big/huge/it-carried-off-the-trap)
  • How big was the trap? (about 6 frame / 8-frame / 10-frame (langstroth)

thanks!  Doing my part to save the world, as we all should.

Honey plant blooming during sarm Texas winter


2012
12.10

I was out in a field north of Houston and saw Indian Blanket blooming on Dec 8.  Also known as Firewheel, this is the main honeyflow plant during APRIL in Texas.  So I took a picture to show you how bitter cold our winters can be. :0)

Beekeeping Fan Store Added


2012
08.20

So I’ve been wanting to put out some T-shirts that help promote beekeepers in our society. You know – cool shirts beeks would love to where. The problem is, I’m just an engineer and my aesthetic aptitude scores show I’m in the bottom 2% of the nation. I mean hey, you’ve seen the shirts I wear in the videos. Nuff said.

So I want to try to tap into my audience. I’m looking for any artist out there who’s got really cool ideas for a Beekeeping shirt.  I think I’m going to make a contest. Get artists to put forward their shirt designs and let my YouTube audience decide the top designs. Then I’ll submit the designs to my Printfection store for folks to get their cool Beek shirts.  ( I chose Printfection over Cafe Press solely on quality reviews)

Any comments on this plan?

oh and the current Printfection account for the shirts is here – http://www.printfection.com/learningbeekeeping

NY Swarms in the news


2012
06.19

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/19/nyregion/honeybee-swarms-increase-in-nyc-after-mild-spring.html?_r=2&hp
“One swarm covered the side-view mirror of a Volvo station wagon in a lot by the Hudson River, trapping a family of three inside. Another humming cluster the size of a watermelon bent a tree branch in front of a Chase Bank on the Lower East Side, attracting a crowd of gasping onlookers. And for several hours, thousands of bees carpeted a two-foot-tall red standpipe on the patio of a South Street Seaport restaurant, sending would-be outdoor diners elsewhere. “