Old Friends

Unfortunately not everything on a homestead is fun. Naturally there are animals that become good friends, yesterday I buried Fred.

He was a great friend for the past 9 years. This year has had more losses than any other, lost Cate my brown and white mare and Gilbert one of the sweetest cats I’ve ever known.

Corn Pollination

Even though you will find insects on corn flowers they are prominently pollinated by wind. Corn should be planted in squares, not rows. I have tried over the past few years to plant 2 rows of corn but it just doesn’t work.

Unfortunately with poor pollination you get poorly developed ears. My conclusion is that for best results you really need to plant a good amount of corn for proper pollination to take place, each kernel is a flower that was pollinated, each empty space was a flower that was not pollinated.

Garden

This year I had two planting’s, the first was with seeds older than 4 years, some came up, green beans and corn mostly but the germination rate was low.

The second planting was with seeds from this year and all is going fairly well. My nemesis, the weeds, are pretty rampant.

I was keeping up with the weeds pretty well until we had to leave for a week and then it got crazy but even with the weeds the garden plants seem to be doing pretty well.

Bee Equipment

I still haven’t figured out the best way to store all the hive bodies and for that matter really the frames with foundations. They are susceptible to mold, bugs and are easily damaged. Being well ventilated is supposed to help with moths and has seemed to work but still there are lots of problems.

I have found a really good way to store all the other gear like the hive tools, veil, protective clothes and lighters. I used to keep them in a plastic box but they are flimsy, the lid is easily knocked off and being one big container it can be difficult to keep organized.

A big tool box works well.

It’s durable, has wheels, a tray for hive tools and brushes and the top lid has two compartments I put lighters in. In addition to the tray being used for normal tools it is a good place to put my wedding ring if I forgot to take it off in the house, I never go in a hive wearing a ring just in case I get stung and there is swelling, it’s not worth the risk.

Bee Hives

Quite a bit late but earlier there was work to be done with the hives. Old foundations had been ruined and new ones needed to be installed.

When using new frames I used to worry about them being completely square but now I just estimate, with the foundation in place it’s easy to get close, I do like to shave away any edges on the frames after separating the wood with a chisel.

If at all possible using a brad nailer helps tremendously, I like to put two on the top and bottom vertically and one brad horizontally, if you put two horizontally the wood will probably split.

I don’t have a picture but there is a strip of wood that holds the foundation (wax part) to the frame (wood part), I use a stapler to fasten it down.

You can get wire to secure the foundation but using bobby-pins is much easier. I go to the dollar store and buy the cheapest I can, the wife doesn’t like me to use hers.

Using air tools new frames can be put together pretty quickly.

Spring Garden

I haven’t posted for a while for a few reasons, mostly because I got out of the habit because of a few disappointing events regarding posts. One of which I did a lot of work documenting putting up an electric fence and lost it all. Secondly the weather was crap, we had lots of late freezes and snows along with a lot of rain.

However since then, just before April, we got some new chickens.

I normally get straight runs, meaning it’s a mix of male and female but this time I just got females. All the roosters normally got canned but as far as resale it’s the eggs and the hens can get canned when they are done laying. I do think it’s good to have roosters but I still have four.

The garden is in.

Last year I mentioned wanting to not till but under my conditions and abilities it didn’t work so I bought a tiller just wanting to hedge my bets on having a good garden.

Philosophical ideas on gardening are good but if you don’t get usable product the philosophy is useless. It is better to grow your own vegetables with chemicals than to buy from big business. That being said I’m still planning on organic fertilizers and not spraying pesticides but tilling is getting done right now.