We have unextracted honey on hand from both 2008 and 2009. Unfortunately it seems that both years have dried out past normal extractability. The solution is apparently to feed it back to the bees. I’m not exactly sure how. Uncapping the frames and sticking them out to be robbed is frowned on. I fear that if I just put the supers back with the honey capped, the bees will ignore them. I think I’ll uncap the honey, put one super on each hive and see what happens.
I went into the hives Saturday. The original hive had filled most of their top super with honey and brood and was completely stuffed with bees. I had a hive body ready for another split if necessary, but found no swarm cells in the top super so I put a honey super on and closed them up. I’m now sorry I didn’t give them old honey as well.
The split off hive was not doing so well. A quite decent number of bees were laying down honey, they’d filled the bottom super and started on the top, but I could find no brood, despite two empty queen cells. They started from eggs, so it’s just possible that the new queen is just starting to lay and I didn’t see the eggs. I’ll give them one more week and if I don’t see brood I’ll try one more time with brood from the original hive, which can certainly afford another couple of frames.
While I was carrying the empty super out to the hive, Hisser (one of the ganders) decided that I was too close to his goslings and actually attacked me for the first time ever. Besides the goslings, I was wearing the bee suite and veil, so he may not have recognized me. Those goslings are the most doted-upon babies in the history of babies, with a nearly one-to-one baby to grown-up ratio. The entire flock is so proud of the babies, who are happy as can be with all that attention, plus water! and food! and bugs! and grass! The happy family just beams all day long.
The ducks continue to grow like weeds. They’re at the gangly teenager stage, and despite a second all night bug bar (a solar night light) are sucking down the grain. We slaughtered our first batch of Pekins at this age. It looks like the Saxony ducks will be ready at three months. We like the Saxony ducks far better than the Pekins, and last year’s sole survivor has a mallard boyfriend and is sitting on a clutch.
Saturday we also finished the double-height raised bed for the sweet potatoes. Lisa wants the next bed for okra, but I need to cut and mill more timbers before then. Thus I think we’ll go plant the potatoes first, in trenches, over where the pigs were last year. That soil is amazing, and the area is pretty flat. Lisa had a friend over who helped her remove all the brush and rock it, so it’s as ready as it is going to be to plant. The rest of the garden is growing so fast you can almost watch the plants shoot up in real time. The onions are doing really well, the peas are over a foot high up the trellis, the heirloom broccoli is just starting to head up, as is the cabbage. The beans are all up and shooting for the sky. The cukes just barely came up and promptly needed to be thinned as Lisa planted them too closely together. The garlic has scapes on it and is already starting to yellow. The pok choi needed to be thinned, and thus we’ll have our first meal from the garden today, with pea shoots and tendrils, garlic scapes and pok choi thinnings in a stir-fry.