Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Bees and Peas

Spring is hectic for anyone growing food, and Adventure Farm is no exception. Every evening I find myself rushing home from work to take advantage of the lengthening days to prepare beds, plant, and weed. On top of the “normal” spring chores, we are getting bees this month. So, while Guy was out working with kids on a challenge course this past weekend, I was at home trying to assemble a beehive for the first time.

Notice the pile of pieces and the sheets of paper, the only instructions,  at the end of the glider...not a whole lot of help included.

Viewing the task laid out before me reminded me a lot of a box of Lincoln logs, all these wood pieces, some small and some large. Also, I’m pretty sure the instructions were written for seasoned beekeepers, they seemed more like reminders than real instructions. Despite the feeling of defeat when I saw the amount of pieces,  somehow I managed to assemble and paint the hive.

For those of you who are already beekeepers, I know I have my boxes stacked incorrectly.  Too bad the beekeepers don't get the big boxes :)  So, for those who don't know, the big boxes are hive bodies where the bees raise their brood and store honey that will keep them alive over the winter.  Once the two large hive bodies are filled, the beekeeper can add the "supers" to the top and harvest the honey collected in these boxes. The beekeeper needs to leave the honey in the bottom two boxes so the bees have a chance to survive the winter. 

At the end of the day I was left with a pile of small pieces of wood and nails with not a clue as to how to arrange the frames where the bees will build their combs. Even with the Internet, I was a little lost. Fortunately, I know a few beekeepers and was able to get some help yesterday from one of them. 

Now I just need to assemble 40 of these. The bees arrive April 30, and I think I'm close to being ready.  I wanted to get the gluing and painting done early so it would have time to season. The only gluing and painting required were the exterior pieces, which I have finished. Overall, I think I did okay with my body assembly. There are a few blunders, but only the bees and I will know, and I’m pretty certain the bees won’t even notice. 

Cool Trellis Material

Another exciting new addition for the garden is cattle panels that I am cutting and using for trellises. This weekend I finally got my peas in the ground and installed my first section of a cattle panel that I picked up last month.  

This stuff is so awesome. It's sturdy and  made of galvanized wire rods so they hold up a long time without rusting.  With bolt cutters you can cut sections to use as sturdy and rather artistic, I think, trellises.  They come in 16-foot lengths and are a little over 4 ft. tall. I’m in love. 

I'll be posting some photos of my installed trellises soon. It's too dark now to get pictures, and I want to get this entry posted.

Happy Gardening,


1 comment:

  1. I have several of those cattle panels. Never thought to use them for trellises though. I may have to give it a try.