Another big week on the wee homestead! A real treat this time because we have rare video clips of a swarm moving into one of our bait hives. So cool! We really had lucky timing with that one, after another near miss.
Plus, one little piggy already off to market, more to follow soon. And a much better incubator hatching success.
In other news, not so lucky, with the timing all wrong, another tree falls. And still other news, we continue to wait for rain, annoyed and impatient.
Best to start with the bad news first. The New Normal manufactured weather continues to rob us of rain while pouring chaos on regions nearby.
It’s not only only ugly, toxic and altering the entire hydrological cycle of the region and beyond, it’s weather warfare! I could spend a lot more posts bitching about it, but I ain’t got time for that.
A friendly young couple and their son came by for one of our piglets and we spent a nice time chatting and it was surprising—as in both unusual and pleasant —to have so much in common with folks who superficially were very different from us — much younger, still working, four children, active church members —yet we could hardly stop yammering on about homesteading life after an hour. And then a good bit more after that!
Each attempt at continuing on with our many chores of the day interrupted by some new spontaneous and urgent topic—and all my favorite ones—bees, goats, gardens, kombucha, even cheese.
And, the young woman looked at me knowingly when I pointed to the disgusting sky and repeated for the thousandth time: ‘Weather warfare!’
She knew! Or at least, she knew I wasn’t crazy for suggesting that. That gives me a lot of hope, because it means we’ve come a long way in the many years I’ve been ranting on about it. She also dared say the not-so-secret buzzword of the decade: “Conspiracy theory.”
So refreshing to listen to these courageous young folks who, when they see the degenerate state of the world around them they don’t send their kids into the state schooling system and cross their fingers hoping for the best, they homeschool knowing, they can do better.
They don’t just whine about inflation, they grow a garden and raise some livestock. They don’t just wait for Jesus to come save them, they become the kind of folks who can save others. Very refreshing indeed—as in—in actual deed.
In the story of poor timing, one of the trees killed during the tornado nearly three years ago and still hung up on a neighboring tree, which the goat kids loved to include in their playtime, finally came down in one of the New Normal ‘storms’ where we get everything in the weather chaos of wind, lightening, extreme temperature shifts, but little to no rain.
Of course, it came down right on Hubby’s fence, freeing the brand new ram to have premature access to the young sheep. We fear unwanted teen pregnancies in our future. ☹️
Before and after:
And our brand new ram, expressly kept separate from our too young for breeding girls has sudden free access. Not good.
During our visit with the young couple we pointed out the open-air bee colony, which I still thought was an open-air colony at the time. It was there for well over a week—we checked on it every day.
I had no idea a swarm would stay that long in search of a new home. But then, within just a couple of hours, big things started to happen.
That huge swarm, which I wrote about last week, disappeared, along with the smaller one on the same tree. I actually thought I heard it while watering in the garden, but I never saw anything.
And then, the swarm we’d just caught earlier (pictured above) that morning and tenderly transferred into a Langstroth hive and put in a location far from the swarm and originating hive, then started to swarm again. *(Why would you prefer your bees to swarm?! See below!)*
I was just frustrated, I saw it happening! Hubby had put on his veil to come help re-situate the frames on the Langstroth but they were already in air. It was an amazing sight to behold, but I didn’t think for a second they’d stop again so nearby.
I yelled to Hubby not to bother to put on his suit, but to bring the tablet instead. The swarm stalled above the garden and Hubby said, between my sighs of disappointment, “Try to follow them!”
I thought it sounded crazy at first, but then thought, why not. And to my absolute astonishment, they stopped at the bait hive that Hubby built for populating our top-bar hives!
That is the second time a swarm has refused my attempts at populating this store-bought conventional beekeeping hive, the Langstroth. But why?
We captured a couple of short clips of the capture—it all happened in about 10 minutes, tops.
It’s so amazing to watch them pile into the entrance, until finally, all are ensconced and occupied with repopulation.
It is so fascinating to me to imagine all the social dynamics that went into the decision of that swarm in that short time to move from my preferred space, to their preferred space 150 feet away, communicating in ways far beyond the powers of man.
Luckily, our efforts are all not for nothing! The bees traveled right over the garden where I hope they’ll be spending a lot of time very soon. The garlic is flowering too soon, no surprise in the Yo-Yo weather. The onions are starting to bulb already, but that doesn’t mean we won’t still get a good crop.
Our new dog, Shadow, continues to bring smiles and joy as he gets ever more comfortable in his surroundings.
Thanks for stopping by, Bye!
*Bee swarms, more info for the interested*
For those embarking on treatment-free beekeeping, we are the ‘anti-vaxxers’ of the beekeeping community. Swarming is a natural and healthy process of established bee colonies. Interrupting this process by taking ‘splits’ on hives in spring is the preferred industrial/commercial method. However, for the hobbyist, conservationist and connoisseur it is known that it is better to trust the bees and to limit synthetic intrusion on their natural processes. The bees have chosen their swarm companions, not me, as in a typical split. They have chosen their queen, not me, as is the case in typical industrial methods. The swarming process is not only genetic, but also hygienic. When honey production is not the primary aim, it is amazing what we can learn about natural bee behavior. 😊
Feel free to ask questions or share comments on the bees, or any of the other things!
2 thoughts on “Homestead Happenings”
Goodness! A lot going on. It’s good you have neighbors that can chat about real stuff.
Is Shadow a Great Dane?
LikeLiked by 1 person
Yes! 🤗 Nice to see you again.