Saturday, May 20, 2006

Lupines today, no frost!

I just wanted to show that the lupines suffered no harm from the last frost, and are doing very well today. Posted by Picasa

Monday, May 15, 2006

Amazing Bees

Bees are amazing creatures. Truly one of God's finest creations. I guess you figured out that I spent some time with the bees this past weekend. I was more nervous about this encounter than I was installing them. I think that it had something to do with the few blunders I experienced while trying to introduce them to their new home. It would not have surprised me to see them laughing at me when I peeked inside. Luckily, this did not happen. In fact, the bees look busy and happy. Well, I am not sure about happy but they did look busy and by the looks of things they had spent the week doing bee things. They only seemed mildly upset at my interruption of their work. The hardest part for me was to stay focused on what I was supposed to be doing. I needed to check on the queen and see if she had started laying eggs but all I wanted to do was watch them. Luckily I had David there to keep me on task. I can't wait until I can visit them again.

The garden is also a great pleasure. We have had several warm, sunny days to work outside and play in the dirt. We have also started harvesting spinach and lettuce. There is nothing like a salad that was just picked! Hopefully, I will be able to put the warm season vegetables in the garden this weekend. My tomatoes and peppers are sunning themselves, even as I type, on the deck. The only downside to this is that my sunroom is starting to look vacant as I move more and more plants to the outside for the summer. Oh well, I would rather be sitting on a bench outside enjoying my plants anyway. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Installing the Bees

I can finally call myself a beekeeper. The bees arrived on Friday and I installed them on Saturday. That was quite an adventure. I was not too nervous and I look forward to my next opportunity to open the hive and see how successful my bees have been at establishing a new home. I did discover that reading about installing bees and actually doing it are two different things. I had read several books beforehand, to get ready for the big day, but I still managed to mess it up. Luckily, I don't think I messed it up too much but I am not sure how confident the bees are in my abilities.

The first problem that I had was getting the food can out of the box. This has to be removed to get the bees out. I was so preoccupied with trying to wrestle the can out that I forgot to hold onto the tab that was holding the cage with the queen. The queen box ended up in the bottom of the box, covered in about 10,000 confused bees. I was left trying to figure out how to get it out. I dumped some of the bees in the hive and then had to stick my hand in and grab the box. I tried hard not to think about the fact that I was sticking my bare hand into a box of bees. There was a moment of thinking I might have chosen the wrong hobby. Luckily, I got the courage and finally got the queen and the bees into the hive. I may have done a few of the steps out of order but hey, I got the bees in the hive. I figure that is worth something.

You can now find my husband and I standing at the window, with a pair of binoculars, looking at the bees going in and out of the hive. I am sure the people driving by think we are perverts or something but there is some sort of thrill watching bees. Next time you see a honeybee, take a moment to watch her closely, it is really quite interesting.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Bok Choy Debacle

I have heard, or read, somewhere that you can't consider yourself a gardener until you have killed atleast one of each variety of plant in your yard. Once again, I have proven that I am a great gardener. You know the rule that carpenters have, "measure twice, cut once"? We need a rule like that for gardening that would be something like this, "look twice, pull once." Last week, I was feeling a bit stressed so I decided to pull a few weeds. That usually helps and I am never short on weeds. I quickly assessed my spring box, trying to decide what was weeds and what was new sprouts, then I got to weeding. At the end of the box I started to feel better until I looked closely and realized I had just pulled all the baby bok choy sprouts. I immediately panicked. I looked in my weed bucket hoping to see the little sprouts laying there and I could quickly replant them. I know, stupid idea but I wanted my bok choy back.

After sitting in mourning for a few minutes, I decided I had better let David know what I had just done. He wasn't too happy. It wasn't that he was mad but I could almost see him thinking of the Singapore Stew, Stir Fry, and garlic bok choy that would be missing from our spring menu. We both had a few moments of silence trying to come up with a plan B. He wondered if a nursery sold bok choy sprouts that we could plant. Now I don't know about what your nursery sells, but I have never seen a bok choy plant. We scratched that idea. In the end, I replanted the seeds but I am not sure we have enough cool weather left for them. I might have to retry again in the Fall and pray that we don't get an early snow. I will let you know what happens.

On a happier note, we will be able to start eating early lettuce this week. The snow peas are about ready to start climbing the trellis and I have my first carrot sprouts shooting out of the dirt. The bees also are set to arrive this Friday. I am so nervous. I feel almost like an expectant mother. I think David has spent more time helping me get my hive ready than he did assembling our first baby crib. I am pretty sure though, installing bees will be easier than giving birth!