Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Praying Mantis

Tonight I found this tiny little mantis on our birdhouse.   I hope it makes it and sticks around to help with the bad pests in our garden!

Garden and Bee Update

This Mockingbird was taking a bath in our little water table.

We will get honey from two of our hives this year!   One of our older hives swarmed so we'll only get a little from it this year, but, we added another hive in the process.   We also had a hive swarm last week but they came right back in the hive.   There were lots of queen cells, so we went ahead and split the hive. 

This is a frame from the new nuc.   It's foundationless and the bees are drawing out comb so fast!   You can see the queen marked with a green dot.

Finally....a carrot!  

So, in our transition to foundationless frames, we're having to learn the hard way.  We don't know any beekeepers who use foundationless frames so we're left to figure it out on our own.  Thankfully there are some great websites for us to reference.   We were really disheartened to open up a hive and find that we had made the mistake of not putting an empty super UNDER a full one.  The bees had built some beautiful comb but it was not within the frames and would have been impossible to harvest or even inspect.  So, we had to clean it all off and start over.  

I have had a row cover over my zucchini, yellow squash and potatoes and could not believe how fast they grew!   They were so much bigger than anything else.   SO, I moved the row cover to cover my cucumbers and within a couple of days they had more than tripled in size.   

We have lots of these purple peas.   The kids have been eating them like crazy but we still have a ton.  We might actually get to bring some in and shell them this year.

This one hive has been bearding due to the heat.   

Mint is taking over!


Green beans, pole beans, dragon tongue, and chinese red noodle beans.

My first time growing onions.

Lots of green tomatoes!


Spaghetti Squash starting up the trellis.

This is our first time doing lasagna gardening and so far I'm really happing with it!   We've been weighing our produce and so far we've harvest about 8 pounds of greens, kale, collards, chard, lettuce and radishes.   

Friday, May 23, 2014

Bird Banding and More

We are so blessed to live where we do!   It's absolutely beautiful and there are so many wonderful opportunities to study creation.    This week we got to go to Tremont to take part in bird banding.  It was so fun that the kids are already counting days to the next one.   We learned alot and got an up close look at many birds we never would be able to otherwise. 

The kids got to help collect the birds from the nets, bring them back to the banding station, watch them be processed, data recorded, banded and then help release them.

This is the gauge used for choosing the right size band for their leg.

Worm Eating Warbler

They blow on the belly to see if there is a brood patch, which lets you know it is a female.

Tremont is currently doing a project monitoring Water Thrush because it helps them to know how the streams are doing.   They give each one of them a different color combination of bands so that they can see them through binoculars.

Black and White Warbler

This is how they weigh the film canisters!  Poor birds!


The nets

Red Eyed Vireo

We hung out in the mountains until that evening.  We saw bears, a Pileated Woodpecker, a rattlesnake, lots of butterflies and other insects.   It was a great day!

Great Crested Flycatcher