Archive for the ‘news’ Category

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. “

Free Webinar by Dr Seeley on bee swarming today!


2012
05.16

ForestConnect Webinar Series
How Honeybees Choose a Forest Home
Thomas Seeley, Cornell University
Department of Neurobiology and Behavior
May 16, 2012  (my mt – Hey! I don’t know the exact time, I think you have to register first!)
Early Alert – register here (
http://www2.dnr.cornell.edu/ext/forestconnect/web.htm )if you haven’t
previously registered.

How Honeybees Choose a Forest Home. In the late spring and early
summer, when a honeybee colony becomes overcrowded in its hive, it will
cast a swarm. When this happens, about a third of the worker bees stay
at home and rear a new queen, thereby perpetuating the mother colony,
while the other two-thirds of the workforce – a crowd of some ten
thousand – rushes off with the old queen to set up a daughter colony.
The migrating bees travel only about 100 feet before coalescing into a
beardlike cluster hanging from a tree branch. Here they will remain
bivouacked for a few days. During this time, several hundred of its
oldest bees will spring into action as nest-site scouts, explore about
30 square miles of the surrounding landscape for potential nesting
cavities in trees and buildings, locate a dozen or more possibilities,
and democratically select a favorite for their new dwelling place. We
will see how can a bunch of tiny-brained bees, hanging from a tree
branch, can make such a complex decision and can make it well. Presented
by Dr. Tom Seeley, Cornell University Department of Neurobiology and
Behavior.

This webinar has been approved for 1.0 credits of Society of American
Foresters CFE category 2.

Once registered, you will receive connection details the Tuesday before
the webinar.

First Swarm of 2012


2012
03.04

I’ve heard reports of the first swarm of 2012 on Feb 29.  I think our season is 2 week ahead of our normal schedule here in Texas.  So if you are going to be swarm trapping, you should put your traps out 1-2 weeks before your first known swarm. For Texas, that date just got moved up to about Feb 20 for next year.

The bloom is already out in the Texas Hill Country. I saw Henbit, and wild Mustard in late January. Irises blooming in February and mayflies out in late February, so it looks like a weird Spring.  Right now my bees are bringing in plenty of pollen and aren’t eating much pollen patties.  Pollen is yellow and a little bright red. (no idea). Mountain Laurel and dandelion is being worked.

I’ve already seen Bluebonnets out and our major honeyflow plant, Indian Blanket, shows up after Bluebonnets. So that may show early and stay a while.