Friday, May 25, 2012

The Little Woman's New Adventure

For several years now my wife has wanted a hive of bees. She was concerned about the severe drop in honeybee populations and wanted to try to increase the numbers of these interesting creatures in our area. She devoured books about bees and soon could spout out little known facts about honeybees that made you see these hard working intelligent creatures in a new light. As luck would have it a local Mennonite made his living raising bees and selling all the necessary items to become a beekeeper. So this spring a proper location was selected, landscape fabric was laid down and covered with gravel to keep the growth of weeds down , an electric fence erected to discourage hungry bears and a new hive was set-up. Now all we had to do was wait for her nucleus of bees to arrive.
The big day finally arrived and she donned her bee suit and introduced "her" bees to their new home.

After a week or so of letting the bees adjust to their new home she just had to have a look inside the hive. So clad in her bee suit and armed with her smoker she opened the hive.

As the pictures show her bees have been busy making honeycomb in their new home and the sight of bees on  the various flowers and shrubs surrounding our house is becoming a common sight.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Successful Graft

I've been wanting to learn how to graft apple trees for some years now. Last year I tried several grafts but had no luck. This spring I tried again with 4 grafts and had 1 take.
The tree that I used for the top graft was a multi-trunked volunteer apple tree sprouted from a random seedling in our horse pasture. It reliably produces a small yellow apple that hangs on well into the winter. It will make a great winter food source for the wildlife.

These two pictures were taken in mid-December showing the abundance of apples still hanging in the tree. The rootstock I used were seedlings of the Russian Antonovka a hardy standard sized tree that should provide a good long living rootstock for future hunters to enjoy on the Back40.