It has been the same 'ole, same 'ole here, just out working in the bees. The horrible winds have me worried about the last group of cells. The virgins needs some nice weather to get out to visit the boys. It has been nasty. Could hardly sleep last night with the wind gusts of what was said to be around 29 mph. I wonder if it didn't get higher at our place. My worker bee "Josh" (technically a drone ;) ) was supposed to arrived tomorrow night but looks like he is so excited to get here that he left earlier than expected and will come in tonight. Today's job is checking cell builders and some nucs for progress. The palo verde is just starting to bloom here. Mesquites have little buds on them. Now if I could just convince Mother Nature to be kind with that wind........don't want her drying out the flowers! I also have been working on another bee article, should be finished in the next few days. Getting ready for Arivaca Farmer's Market and my once a month garbage run tomorrow. We are excited......one of our "barn cats" just had kittens. She had them in a brush pile. As she relaxes from the ordeal (her first litter). We will go in an give her a helping hand. Until then lots of canned food for momma kitty. We will keep some of the kittens and the others are already spoken for. A gentleman picked up some nucs yesterday and gifted me a sweet wooden nuc that he designed in his woodworking shop..........can't wait to test it out! Thanks Henry!
Ugh! Errands for Dan. Why do errands take so long? He had a list and how could I say no after he worked so hard the day before making me the new beeyard location. Pretty much nothing accomplished today. I hate that.
We are starting to analyze our self sufficiency. Our goal is to either be able to trade, make, grow, or forage for the things we need. Almost accomplished that with dinner tonight. We had a stir-fry made from homegrown asparagus, onions, and nappa cabbage, Javelina meat from my hunt (can't get anymore organic than that!). The only thing purchased was some carrots I chopped up to add. So carrot seed went on my list and an area in the garden needs added, so also need good soil.
I went through the "materials bone yard" from yesterday and put some stuff up on a new "Trade Page"........our wants/needs are listed on the bottom. As I get cleaning and organized, the items available for trade will grow enormously!
I NEED to make a recycling run. Whenever we are out hiking we pick up trash from people dumping in the desert. We don't get garbage service here and I refuse to pay the commercial fees for a dumpster. We are lucky enough to have space to pile things according to metal type: Thin metals, heavy metal, aluminium, etc. We have a place we take our plastics on Ajo Way near Country Club Road. However, we lost our glass recycling place - used to be on Pennsylvania Ave, they paid around 3 cents a pound lol! but everytime I go by they are closed. So now for glass and other items I use the Recycling Containers by the library at the corner of Ajo Way and Mission Road. By being attentive to what garbage we make we rarely have to go to the dump.
Fun and exhausting day! Dan gets up and asks "Would you like that back acre for a mating nuc / drone bank beeyard?" ..........OMG! WOULD I!!! We have one acre outside our fence that needed the road to it cleared and and area to place bees without getting cholla cactus in my butt. We walked it to look at what would be the best and what plants I would transplant. Dan started chainsawing large mesquite limbs that over hung the old road. So I made myself useful by cleaning our recycling and "materials bone yard" while I waited for him to need my help. We don't have much creosote right around us, a small patch is being heavily worked by our bees. A few are in the road, so I choose to try transplanting them into our garden / orchard area. The bees love these, I don't have the heart to destroy them. It takes all day, save a break for homemade potatoe salad and grilled cheese sandwiches and few stops for honey sweetened iced tea! We were very surprised to get it done in a day!
I never realized the truth behind some terminology. :"You are such a chicken!" "You have a bird brain!" These phrases really came to light when I released our chickens into their new coop, a 810 square foot wire enclosure with a shelter in the center. Forty-one birds.....mixed breed, straight run, ordered from Murray McMurray Hatchery and raised inside our warehouse for over a month until they had enough feathers to stay warm finally got to stretch their wings and enjoy the warm sun on their backs. I thought they'd be happy. After the initial "Bowk! The sky is falling!" attitude the settled in fast and were having a blast inside the shed. I kept the door shut for the first day, windows that my husband put in allowed plenty of light for them. The second day is when I opened the door and said "come out into your yard to scratch around". They all answered "NO WAY!". I sat for as long as I could to watch and talk with them hoping to calm them. Every so often one would poke a head out. Once one stepped outside, looked around and let out a lound squawk and ran back in. I moved their feeder six inches out the door, and a few came out and pecked at it but very quickly ran back to the safety of the shed. These birds really are chickens!
My brother had bought me a gift certificate for the chicks as a house warming gift when we first moved in. That was a couple years ago. I had no place to put them. Dan surprised me one day and said "I can't believe you of all people don't have those chicks yet". I responded with needing help and he said he would and that was the day we started down the road to chickens. A craigslist wanted ad for a metal building to convert was posted and within a few weeks we had a shed for $50. Over the past few years we have been stockpiling anything friends offer us, used wire, metal poles, T-posts, hardware. Everything! So after getting the shed bolted down to an existing concrete pad with concrete anchors we already had laying around from previous projects I had a coop! Dan cut a few windows in it and had to add new (used plywood) sliding doors. The hardware was saved from the old banged up doors for reuse, though I had to buy one roller at Lowes for $5. We had all the posts we needed, but ran out of wire. I ordered online a 5 foot by 150 foot roll of chicken wire from Homedepot.com for $67 with free UPS delivery to our door. Dan, already tired of hanging wire, was getting carpal tunnel in his wrists. To tie all the chicken wire together was taking up alot of time. I found cage clamps, also called J-clips, a bag was $4 and the tool to crimp them cost $12. A friend gave us a gate. I made nesting boxes from stuff laying around. A few things especially for the chickens were purchased - waterer, 2 feeders, the red light for when they were growing, feed, and bedding. But for the run/coop we upcycled, recycled, reused and made the chicken coop for pennies on the dollar. It looks a little, um......"rustic". So now the decorating starts. Looking for paint now ;)
A text from the neighbor ranch's cowboy - "Help Please! Can you bring your backhoe?" A water trough problem just when they were bringing in little ones to sell at market. The large metal stock tank got a hole, then spilled out all over the corrals. The water kept flowing through the night as the float never shut off. A mucky mess! We moved dirt around with our backhoe to stop the poor Angus calves from standing in the deep mud. When we arrived I was given three 18 count cartons of eggs. Sweet! I shoved them into a hole in the hay to keep cool. The corrals were tough to manuver in places.
More work on the coop today. Dan put in a few windows for venilation, but we probably will still need to add a whirlybird or solar fan when Summer arrives. I worked on cleaning a predator skull and will post photos when it is finished. When Dan stops for a break and sits in the shade of the warehouse he looks up and sees along the entire length of the gutter WASP NESTS! So a trip to Ace Hardware for 20 ft wasp & hornet spray foam is added on the "to do" list today. Checked the solar wax melter for over flow of wax or to see if any frames were done. Made more swarm lure boxes, fixed bottom boards, and painted more feeder boards and boxes. Had a pile of cell bars stacking up so cleaned the old wax off and reapplied new cell cups to 50 bars. Worked in the orchard a bit........such a beautiful time of the year! Pear tree is blooming and buds are starting on the olive.
Dan cut the metal shed chicken coop to put in screened windows for ventilation.
A day goes by so quickly. We are still working on finishing the chicken coop. Actually, Dan is doing most of the work. I am an extra hand when needed. The run area will be a total of 810 square feet when finished. Dan is being a good sport about working on "my chicken sh*t lol. Thankfully he understands how long it takes to work the bees and that is my job today.
I work the cell builders and graft - all Italian stock this go around. I also check the progress of some of the nucs. I have old frames that I am cleaning and have an extremely small solar wax melter that I use to clean them, two at a time, so that has to get checked daily. I let the empty frames stack up to repair and put foundation in at a later time. Some equipment didn't get painted in the winter like I had planned so I paint some of the boxes and feeder boards that are in need.
The rest of the day is totally consumed by off-grid and general chores. I make a gas run for fuel for the generator. It was laundry day, so that comes inside from drying out on the line and gets folded. The well was on so I bottled fresh drinking water and deep watered the orchard. I also had to finish processing some wild game meat before the day ended. To wrap it up I take a question on bees and post it under our Beekeeping page. Todays Q & A is about relocating established hives from walls, buildings, or other inconvient locations.