Mid May Update

I finally got the jammed bale spear off the tractor bucket. I’d bought an SAE grade 8 bolt to attach it with, largely because that was all Tractor Supply had in the correct size (3/4×2.5). I recall thinking that it was a stressful enough use that the extra money probably wasn’t wasted.

However the nut froze on after a year or so, and I had to cut it off. A normal cobalt sawzall blade wore itself smooth in about 3/16 of an inch. A diamond blade, costing twice what the bolt did, made the next 3/8 inch before smelling like it was going into thermal runaway. From there I was able to break the bolt off with a sledge hammer. I’m not sure if the blade is worth keeping. The worn part is noticeably smooth to the touch, but there is clearly still diamond grit there.

Checking the bee hive On Saturday, I looked into the hives again. Arguably I should have waited two more weeks, but I wanted to know what’s going on. As I guessed, the queen stayed with the bottom hive body, and that hive is flourishing. They have new brood and have already covered three frames in the top hive body and are putting honey into it. The queenless crew is not doing as well, but I think they’ll make it. They are just starting to explore their new hive body, but they are storing honey into the bottom (old top) which had none capped two weeks ago. There is still some capped brood from the old queen (they had most of it to start, but fewer actual workers), and I saw a queen cell and drones. So as long as a bird doesn’t bag her on her mating flight, all should be well.

Hops on a string I’m planning to go in again in two weeks, hoping to find brood from the new queen and put a super on the stronger hive.

Also on Saturday, I picked up some Williamette hop rhizomes from Tim Roettiger. They were already sprouting, so I have high hopes that this time all will be well. The really good news is that I found what looks like the Nugget vine from last year just coming up. The three biggest shoots are now trained onto strings to climb the pergola.

Tomatoes Lisa’s seed starting operation in the basement is going great guns. There are hundreds of plants down there that will soon need new homes. We must make time to actually garden again. All of the beds that we had last year are already filled with cool weather crops, so to have places for all of the new transplants in the basement, we’ll need to build more raised beds. As soon as we can get a door on the entrance to the hoop house that will keep birds out, we can stage them out there for a while.

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