Flighty Chickens and Angry Bees

We got next to nothing done on the deck this weekend. It was just one of those weekends, where too many other things were scheduled to get solid time in.

On Saturday morning, Noel did some blocking for the handrails from the upper landing. I installed the Vycor most of the way across the joists, except for where Noel was working.

I also divided the big Nelson iris patch:

Nelson irises waiting to go to their new home

I left a biggish hole in the place of those clumps of irises (which have already gone off to a new home), and never did get around to fill that hole up with compost. Maybe sometime this week. Or next weekend.

Chicks out for a romp

We also had the chicks out for a little runaround, and they got to explore under the buddleias. We've been working on names for these three, and the current thinking is, from the left, Grace (Slick), Amy (Winehouse), and Björk (where adding a last name would not really add further understanding, but for completeness's sake, Guðmundsdóttir).

Anyway, in the afternoon the chicks went back to chick purgatory and we went off to Dixon to pick too many strawberries (16 lbs) in a nice strong wind.

Happy bees

When we got back from Dixon, I wanted to do a hive inspection. Yesterday was the end of the second week of the bees in their hives, and I was really worried about them. One evening during the week, Noel went in and took out the entrance reducers, and now we have a lot of traffic coming and going, but it's been a while since I was around a hive quite as angry as the bees had been the last time I went in there.

The last time I actually went into the hives, I was changing out the feeders, which had been a big mess. Top feeders are fine for other people, I guess, but I dislike them and I hate seeing all those bees drowned in the syrup.

But I was wrong: both hives were doing well, lots of eggs and brood and combs full of stored nectar/sugar water and pollen. They also sounded right, which is one of those things it's hard to explain without being there. They sounded happy, and they were largely uninterested in me checking things out. I didn't bother looking for the queen in Hive A, but found her right away on an outer frame full of eggs in Hive B.

I also ordered some more bits of equipment, including a pair of deep boxes to put over the bucket feeders, since the mediums stacked two high look silly and also I want to use those boxes for the hive body fairly soon.

Then today, Noel went up to Napa to participate in a bike event benefiting research on juvenile diabetes, which basically took him out of commission all day (and given how sore he was when he got home, perhaps for several days). I took the time to run a bunch of errands and work on some smaller garden projects, even though it was really too hot for me to be out in the sun.

Veronica back from the dead

I also discovered that several plants that had appeared to be taken out by the gardeners had survived, like this veronica.

Tiny bits of elfin thyme

And slightly more miraculously, the elfin thyme.

Plants. Just when you thought they were dead, they reappear, alive. It's nice to have that happen with something other than weeds, for a change.

Anyway, I also mowed the lawn, which really ticked the bees off. Not enough to make it a problem, but they were definitely all flying around looking angry and preparing to defend their hive against the lawnmower. That is the appropriate behaviour for a healthy hive and, like the calm humming yesterday, it was very reassuring that all is well in the hives.

As soon as Noel is back on his game we will be back out on the deck.

posted by ayse on 05/06/12