Another visit to the outyard, first Fireweed seen


Visited the outyard. Took another split out of the miracle hive to slow it down, took 2 brood 1 honey. Shook some bees, too . Put them in a Deep, with one of my new hive tops with the pail feeder hole and a donut 2gal bucket with 1 gal of feed. Leaked bad for 60 seconds then pulled vacuum.

Noticed they miracle hive was lighter this time. I think they consume syrup faster as they get bigger. I put 2 gal on both it and the first split, and a galleon on the new nuc.

Outyard hive count to now 3. Home count 2. Expect to split in summer and Sept as well. Hoping for 15 hives by December. Would like to requeen all hives to get some Stephens Mite resistant queens and be treatment free.

Spotted the first Fireweed/Indian Blanket at the outyard. This is an important honeyflow plant. I don’t know if there are enough around the outyard for a crop, but I sure do know Horsemint is a main flow.

Also noticed a Striped Bark scorpion on some top bars I was picking up. This is the type of scorpion that stung me 3 weeks ago or so.

I also spotted bees working Antelopehorn Milkweed. That is a known honeyflow. The Texas Honeyplant book says March, but I see it mid April in Williamson county.

My Bees stopped flying during the Total Eclipse


So today was a total eclipse in Austin, TX. The totality fell over my house. The sky grew dark, and even though we had clouds, I was able to see the eclipse. The birds went quiet and the bees stopped flying.

In other news, I’m seeing Indian Painbrush popping east of Austin, I think our honeyflow is near.

I spoke with a beekeeper one county south of Travis. She said that they have supers full of mesquite honey, so apparently mesquite flow this year is good.

Visited Liberty Hill Outyard


Checked on new Split, confirmed laying queen. Good brood pattern, 4 frames brood? Removed Boardman feeders, put in a Miller feeder. Added 2 galleons of 1:1 On the mother hive, I really did some work. Confirmed they have almost finished 3 galleons of 1:1. I removed the Dakota super, moved over the medium frames in it to a medium super, left out the dakota supers to be robbed out and recovered later. I also refilled the miller feeder with 2 gallons of 1:1.

The mother hive needed the deep repaired, so I moved all frames to a fixed deep and took home the damaged old one. It really pissed them off. Too many followed me too far, so i suspect some Africanization. However, they produced so much honey last year, I need to do mite checks and save data on productivity on this genetic line.

Mother hive had 6 frames of brood. I think it will need another check next week because I think I could take 2 frames of brood off and create a new nuc. Otherwise it may get close to swarming.

I observed only dewberry in bloom. No signs of Firewheel at the outyard. Did spot one patch of firewheel on the drive home. But that was a lot of driving seeing only 1 patch. So weeks away. Only 2 weeks away maybe?

Willow Blooming – Indian Blanket starting


I have seen willow in full bloom with bees on it, and the early blooming of Indian Blanket in spots. Texas Bluebonnet is still in full swing, and it has to fade before the big honeyflow of Indian Blanket starts.

A visit to the outyard


Split a hive at the outyard March 2. Took 5 frames, leaving the original queen. A couple frames of emerging brood and some fresh eggs. Added a frame of honey. And put on a Boardman feeder with 1qt of 1:1 sugar syrup on both hives.

Now that I visited again, March 22, it has been 20 days, no signs of queen cells. Queen should have been reared and hatch in 17 days. And she should be mating now. Laying eggs in a week. All I saw was sealed brood, no eggs, and a build up of honey and pollen. I gave the split another 2 frame of bees and eggs just in case. Then put on 2 qts of 1:1 sugar syrup. The mother hive I put a miller feeder on and added 2-3 gallons of 1:1.

I’ll check in again in a week or two.

Awesome Resource for NGOs in Africa


The most awesome field manual out there for Beekeeping missions on the continent.

Back from Middle East and Europe


Spent March and April in Germany, Poland, and cruising the Middle East up the Red Sea and out the Suez canal.

Garden and Orchard update May 1, 2017


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.

Concrete poured for new honey house


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


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.