Sunday, January 27, 2013

Spy Cam

Here's some photos from the spy cam which was placed in the woods.
The block in the picture is a deer block with corn & minerals in it.

Hungry raccoon
Deer family

Daytime deer

Fox Squirrel
Fleeting image of a coyote

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Ice Capades

Frigid temps & then a dusting of snow makes for some interesting sights.

The freeze up

Ice crowned rock

Frozen footprints

Snow, water, ice & pebbles

Crystal rock

Ice dancing

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Bundle Up Day

Coldest temps in the last two years,
dropping down to zero overnight.
I dragged out the  horses' blankets.


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Urban Hike

Yesterday, since it was almost 50°,
we hiked the Hagan Burke Trail in suburban Carmel.

The paved trail meanders along a small creek, past homes & apartment buildings.

 And the path crosses beneath a major highway.

Its not a typical trail for us, but we still managed to log 3.8 miles and
we ate lunch at a nearby restaurant when we finished.
Not a bad trade off!

Bad News

The green hive has died.
Sometime in the last 6 days, the entire colony has expired. 
I opened the hive to feed them the candy board and this is what I saw.

A pile of dead bees on top of the frames.
Even though I gave them fondant, I think they died of starvation.
Maybe they were too weak by that time, or the queen had already died.
The bee literature says that if you find them with their butts sticking out of the comb,
they probably died of starvation.
And none of the frames in the top box had any honey left in it. 
I guess I was too late in supplementing them.

Interestingly, as I disassembled the hive, I found 3 frames full of honey.
They were all on along the outer wall of the hive
 and it appeared the colony moved straight up the center of  the hive, and didn't 
migrate toward the colder exterior wall on one side.

 And in the 2 days between finding the dead hive and inspecting it,
a mouse had already moved in!
He'd chewed up the styrofoam insulation board and the entrance reducer.

I fed the other 2 hives candy boards.
Blue hive was deep inside the hive - I hope they are still alive.
I didn't check, it was too cold to be opening the hive for very long.
White hive huddled on the top super, like the green hive when last seen alive.
I hope they eat the candy board and survive.

Lessons learned:
Feed candy board early in the winter , probably December 1.
Add 2nd deep box on top of brood box during summer honey production for larger stores.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Winter Beekeeping

The bees have been tucked in for winter
and for the most part, I shouldn't open the hive and expose the bees to the cold.

However, a few days ago we had unseasonably warm weather - in the 60's.
Then we got 2.75" of rain and combined with the melting snow,
the creek flowed dangerously close to the hives.
Luckily they stayed dry,
 and I took the opportunity to check on the bees' honey stores.
Hives can die of starvation if they don't have enough honey to make it through the winter.
The green hive, which had produced quite a bit of honey was dangerously low,
so I gave them a fondant patty
(yes, fondant icing used in bakeries).
Then I worked on making candy boards to supplement the hives' food supplies.
Taking a winter inner cover, 
I blocked the opening on the end with wood scraps and left the jar lid on the feeder hole.

I weighed out 8 pounds of sugar.

I added 1 tablespoon of Honey B Healthy to 1-1/2 cups of water.
This has a strong mint aroma which will stimulate the bees to eat the candy board.

I mixed it up until it was like wet sand.
 I placed a pollen patty in the bottom of the lid. 
It will give the bees some protein which will help them begin making new brood.
Placing it at the bottom of the candy board means it will take them a while to get to the pollen.

The wet sugar is pressed into the cover, burying the pollen patty.
The sugar is allowed to harden and dry and should stay in the lid
 when I flip it over and place it in the hive.
Hopefully in mid February, they will have eaten through the sugar to the pollen,
which is about the time they will need to start making brood.
Six weeks later the new brood will be ready to forage the spring flowers.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Winter Waterways

We were bored so we drove up to Mississewa Reservoir today.

The lake was pretty, but deserted on a cold January day.

We drove over the dam and stopped at the spillway. 

Due to the recent rains, 
the water was rushing out of the spillway.

It was almost dizzying, as it rushed out
and a frozen mist hung in the air.

What is That?

I set up the spy camera in the woods again.
I figured we needed something fun to look at during these 
long winter days.

Evidently, the deer think its quite interesting as well!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Barred Owl

Have you ever heard the call of an owl that sounds like this:
Who cooks for you,
Who cooks for you-all?

That would be the barred owl.
I saw this fellow on my morning walk.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

More Birds

A pileated woodpecker

To show just how big these guys are,
here's one near a downy woodpecker.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Carolina Wren

A carolina wren manages to enter the barn every night before I close the doors for the evening.
Every morning he's in the loft chirping at me and flies out when I open the doors.

They often don't survive severe winters,
 but this one seems to have figured out a good strategy.