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Keeping Us Buzzing

This spring our three Warre hives have produced six, yes SIX, swarms. We've captured four of them including this one on the side of the blue hive. Normally, when a cluster of bees is on the outside of a hive it is called bearding. It's their way of keeping cool but this day was not warm and since we had been watching them closely, we knew it was a group from the purple hive. It was strange that they landed there. Regardless, we captured this swarm and have it in a temporary hive.

It's really hard to find hives to purchase in the spring because of the demand. I have new ones coming but they are not here yet. So I learned one more newby beekeeper lesson ~ you never have enough hives so, bee prepared early and order them in the winter!

We also put out this swarm trap with lemongrass oil in it to lure bees. We had a group come and go and now we have another swarm inside it. This is also a temporary home for this group.

When swarms leave the hive with their queen, they find a …
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Shearing Day

Recently we had our first Shearing Day without our sheep. And you know what? It was really relaxing! The alpaca were so easy and since there are only three plus the llama, it was quick.

Shearing always seems special here on the farm because when the animals lose their winter coats, it really seems like spring!

The flowers are blooming all over the property, daffodils in pots and under almost all the trees.
Tulips and hyacinths too.

And of course all six of our redbud trees (our Oklahoma state trees) are showing off their bright purple buds.

The winter is past; 
the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth,
the time of singing has come...
Song of Solomon 2:11-12

Little Green Eggs

Spring seems closer everyday and I couldn't be happier about it! And nothing says spring on a farm like little eggs from new chickens.

Most people buy chicks in the spring but I prefer to start them in the fall. That way, they can grow over the winter  and start laying first thing in the spring.

Our young flock is made up of all Americanas. They are one of my favorite breeds of chickens.

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Our middle is working as a young professional equestrian.
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Times have changed since we built the farm.
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The vegetable garden and flower garden are gone
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This was last year's BIG (SUPER BIG) project. It took longer to build than it did to build our house!  It was worth the wait though. Want to take a look?

This is the outdoor living area that I've always dreamed of! It has lots of room to cook.

The stainless steel farmhouse sink has a commercial faucet that really cleans up. Across from the sink is a gas power burner for crab & shrimp boils or anything else that needs lots of heat. This area was also designed to be used for processing meat chickens.  (This is a farm, after all!)

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We sat on the porch and ate apple pie  while we watched it roll in. The swirl was circulation but it didn't circle much. With the storm came much needed rain for our pastures.

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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…