Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fall garden, fall bees

 I took a sample of each of our harvests for comparison.  If this was good science, they'd be in identical jars and identical volumes.  But instead, we have this!

Applied the second of three powdered sugar treatments to the hive, a hike in the east bay, the garden is growing strong, and will these raccoons please leave? 


I have not seen any signs of Varroa in the hive (on bee, on mite board, or any evidence of malformed bees), but better safe than sorry.  With the last harvest of summer done, we've been treating for varroa in this rather gentle way.  The hive is dusted with powdered sugar, one cup / brood box, once a week for three weeks.  It's times like these I'm grateful for the gentle mood of Urania.  The girls *do*not*like* being sugared.  I'm highly amused by the ghost bees.  After:

I wasn't able to get a photo of a sugared bee.  My interest was much more in getting the sugar brushed down off the frames and into the hive, and then shutting the hive up.

The science is the fine granules of the powdered sugar choke the Varroa mite.  The challenge with fighting mites (an arachnid) is keeping your bee (insecta) friends happy.  The bees, hygenic in nature, will clean each other.  Mites that do not choke to death may be groomed off.  At the end of the day - the goal is to send our girls into winter as strong as possible.  I was thrilled to see so many with their pollen sacks full.  I didn't see any drones.  Farewell, my cute little bear bess.  Until next spring!

Last Sunday I grabbed my cousin and we went for an "easy" hike at Bishop Ranch Preserve.   I hadn't been on a hike in awhile, and my cousin was recovering from the Nike Women's Half Marathon.  (p.s. GO MISSY!!!  I am so proud of you for running that!)   We decided something easy (per Bay Area Hiker) would be perfect.  Sadly, we didn't follow her route.  The up, up, up was brutal!  But the views on this clear day...


Also saw some wild flowers near the top of the ridge. 

 Closer to home, the garden is thriving.  Turnips, cabbage, fava beans, pole beans, sugar snap peas, lettuce, arugula, carrots, and spinach are all making strong shows.  It's fantastsic! 
On the not so great side, the raccoons have been taking a stronger stand than usual.  The cat door is getting closed earlier and earlier to keep raccoons out.  They have flipped all of the bee water bowls over, they've harrased our rosemary seedlings, and we found a half-eaten apple today.  They've been pushing over the honey equipment in the shed, and insult to injury...  they ate the daffodil bulbs Abeille a Miel gave me.  I'm trying to remember all the happy web of life lessons, but right now, I just want them to find another yard. 

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