Good bye city life! Our family designed and built an industrial but old fashioned farmhouse on nine acres. Now we are building our homestead ~ or is it building us? Grab your boots and join us on our journey to country living.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Catching Our Swarm


Yesterday our beekeeping adventure rose to new heights
as our purple hive split and swarmed.
We had noticed that the colony was increasing in size rapidly and had ordered a swarm trap and another hive in case they decided to split.  None of it got here in time though so we had to improvise. Thanks to my husband's quick thinking and design abilities, we were able to put together a makeshift hive from two hive boxes, some insulation board, a metal screen and tape!


Now we just had to get the bees out of the tree.  I just read about capturing swarms a few days ago but we had never seen this process in person or even on video.  Sometimes you just have to put on your suit and go for it and that is what we did.


A swarm is huge clump of bees all clustered around a queen hanging on to each other and attached to little else.  They can attach to anything: fences, eaves of houses, even cars.  Luckily, ours landed in a small pecan tree in our backyard.


Once the bee swarm finds a resting place, a few bee scouts go out and look for a new home.  We just made that process a little easier for them. It's amazing how the bees stayed calm and stayed together. 


I expected them to scatter more than they did.  Once they were in the hive box, we shook them off the small branches and they dropped in the box.


We previously placed foundation bars in another hive box for them to build their comb. So at this point, we put that on top and walked away.  The bees that didn't stay with the swarm found their way into the hive within an hour.  This morning we moved it back the our bee garden where they can settle in next door to their old home.  We hope they will be very happy there.

As new beekeepers, we are thrilled not only that our bees made it through their first winter (they often don't) but they are doing well enough to split and swarm!


Ruth 1:16
Where you go, I'll go.
Where you stay, I'll stay.


Note: if you see a swarm in the spring, leave them alone until they move on or call your county extension office or a beekeeping club near you to find someone to relocate them. Do NOT spray the bees please!



Friday, March 25, 2016

Spring has Sprung

The 700 spring bulbs we planted 
last fall are
blooming in all their glory
just in time for Easter.


Scattered all over the farm


under the trees and in the flower beds,
they are everywhere we look.


The daffodils are my favorite.
They are so bright and cheery.


The bright blue ajuga and pink hyacinths
look so pretty standing with the yellow trumpets.


They are announcing that
 spring has sprung.

"Tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes!"
William Wordsworth



Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Lambs!


Spring has sprung into action
with the birth of new Jacob Sheep lambs
on the farm.

It started with these pretty little twin girls
born 3 days ago.


Since then there has been constant activity
in the lambing pens.


After they have their babies,
the ewes are moved into these "jugs"
to stay for a few days or until
we determine if the little ones 
are gaining weight, happy and healthy.


So far we have 4 sweet ewe lambs
and 2 very nice looking rams.

newborn 4 horn Jacob Sheep ram lamb

May the righteous be glad and rejoice before God;
may they be happy and joyful.
Psalm 68:3



Friday, March 4, 2016

Think It's Spring


I do believe it's spring.
Even here in Oklahoma, it's early,
but it's welcome!


Signs are everywhere on the farm.
700 newly planted daffodils, tulips and hyacinths
are pushing their way up from the ground
and basking in the warm sun.
Crickets are chirping.
Flies are buzzing.
There are even a few ladybugs in the garden.


The most welcome sight is the flurry of activity
around the bee hives.
They have been busy bringing in pollen
which is a sign that there are baby bees to feed.
(see the white bundles on the bee's sides in the photo above?)
Each of the hives has already built a new comb.
Since the first winter is the hardest for a bee colony,
we are very thankful the bees made it through til spring!




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