The Birds & The Bees

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Just two short weeks ago I was certain without a doubt that I had lost one of my beehives. They underwent a pretty hard period of robbing in late fall. Robbing, for those even newer to beekeeping than myself, is when other bees or in this case, yellow jackets, enter the hive to steal honey and kill the defending bees. Between the robbing and the ants that seemed to be making their home in that battered hive, I feared the worse. There was minimal activity on the monitoring board (a white board at the bottom of the hive you can pull out to view debris that has fallen – a way of seeing how active the bees are and where they are in the hive) and minimal activity at the entrance of the hive.

But with this warm sunny weather we’ve had that hive has come alive with activity. Bees are coming back with mustard, eucalyptus, manzanita, rosemary and all sorts of other pollens and nectars. Seeing that there is hope yet made me feel happy indeed.
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We’ve been disappointed in our egg production the past couple of years, so we’ve decided to bolster our chicken count. Scott went to the wood pile and crafted together a brooding box on Saturday morning and by evening we had six new chicks to keep us entertained. Four Rhode Island Reds and two Gold Sexlinks, both high egg producers.
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We’ve backed away from getting chickens that lay exotic eggs. Our cookoo maran chickens didn’t lay the dark chocolate brown eggs that was advertised, instead laying light brown eggs. And our Americanas? Well, they do lay blue eggs, but they’ve always looked like this below. Not so appetizing.
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Here’s to hoping that come summer we’ll be blessed with ample amounts of honey and eggs.

Comments

  1. Deana says

    I love your blog! Your pictures and writing style just bring out that wonderful warm, fuzzy feeling. I stumbled on it several weeks ago while searching for how to make homemade lotion.
    Thank you!

  2. Betsy Hinson says

    Sonoma is a seasonal home for us and we make our way to Phoenix in the winter months. But, every year I return to Arizona with a little less of my heart and yearn to be in lovely Sonoma full time. Your blog gives me glimpse of “home” and makes me happy.

  3. francie says

    Just want to say how lucky you are! Here in Dublin, Ireland, it is soooo cold with not a bee nor barely any flower venturing into spring yet… Though the light is beautiful and there is a stretch in the day, we are a long way off from gorgeous days like you describe above! Enjoy.
    Blue Eggs look intriguing? it’s whats inside that counts, no?

  4. says

    I agree with the ladies above, thoroughly enjoy your posts! We have a Rhode Island Red and a RED Sexlink and both are our best layers, even in the winter.

  5. says

    Did the yellow jackets receive a good dose of their own medicine? Your baby chicks are adorable. I was wondering if maybe it was just those chickens, I have seen a lot of Americana blue eggs that never looked like that, maybe they were crossed with something else or it was just a quirk in that particular batch? I wonder if they came from a hatchery or hobbyist? Anyway, a greater amount of eggs ought to be far more rewarding! :)

  6. says

    Glad to hear your bees are doing well, and are already gathering pollen and nectar. We have had a pretty mild winter here in CO, and my bees have been out and about a lot, but there is nothing for them to eat yet. Good thing I left them with all their honey last fall! Love your cute chicks, too!

  7. Jennifer says

    Super Cool shot of your honey bee! Yaaaaay that your girls made it thru the winter. We live close to the oregon border, so it’s still way cold up here. But this last week, my bees have been coming out to clean house and purge themselves. I was soo glad to see them that I clapped and jumped up and down, HA! I have lost three out of four hives in the last two year as a beginning beekeeper, so I’m so happy that this one hive appears to have made it. :D

  8. says

    Love seeing the chicks!! Glad to hear your beehive survived and is thriving. Curious, did all of your Ameraucanas lay eggs like that, all the time? That would be really strange. If they all do it occasionally I would suspect too much calcium in the diet. If it is just one of them doing it, I would cull her.

  9. says

    I have always found the promise of what could be produced is rarely matched (although sometimes far exceeds) that offered in the ads, but it’s those times, like the bees, when the unexpected happens and gives hope and thrill at the way nature works that keeps me searching and buying and trying the new things.
    Keep up the God work.

  10. says

    I had americunas growing up and remember them being prolific egg layers, just as much as the brown layers. But the one we had from our last batch of hens was a great disappointment, and stopped laying after a year. I love the blue eggs so much, soI got two more in our last batch of pullets from Western Farm. I’ll give the breed one more chance!

  11. Beth says

    I admire you for taking the time to share…glad to hear the bees are still buzzing, ours is beginning to fly here in TX…

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