Monday, April 16, 2012

Welcome, Ladies!

We welcomed several thousand new residents to the Farm on Sunday, nearly all of them female.
I installed two new nucleus colonies ("nucs") of honey bees in their new quarters. It was an exciting event, and probably stressful for the ladies. For one thing, the drive was probably longer than they would have liked (especially after they had already ridden a truck from Louisiana to Missouri over the weekend). A few restless workers escaped from their boxes, and were blown away along the road. But it looked like we still had strong populations when I moved them into the hive boxes at the farm (though I confess I didn't take an exact census).
For another thing, the whole operation was carried out under threat of thunderstorms, and in a strong wind. Not really ideal conditions for beekeeping, but I didn't get any choice in the timing. This spring's unseasonably warm weather meant that the queens were ready several weeks earlier than usual at the breeder in Louisiana, so the delivery of the nucs to the Eastern Missouri Beekeepers Association was also moved ahead.
The addition of these two colonies brings our total to three, which should still be manageable, even from a distance.
Spring turkey season starts today; I'm planning to be out at the Farm to try to harvest some wild poultry next weekend, and I'll see how the new ladies are settling in.

Monday, April 2, 2012

CRP burn

We're planning to burn a few acres of CRP on April 14. Obviously, the weather has to cooperate, but if it isn't too dry, too wet, or too windy, we'll have a nice big crew. Having enough people makes up for a certain lack of experience on our part. After all, we not only want to burn the thick vegetation on the parts that should be burned, but we also want to avoid setting things on fire that should not be! And it's a nice celebration: we'll plan to take the whole tired, sweaty bunch to dinner at the Santa Fe restaurant in Ethel when we're done.
Anybody have any tips or helpful suggestions about the best (or worst!) ways to proceed when burning CRP?