Sunday, June 20, 2010

Queen Ella joins the team; summer harvests

Well, a friends bees swarmed, and since I wasn't home, she came and got my extra box, caught the bees, and brought them back. When I got home, we had hive number 4. This is our first deep box hive (we usually use medium boxes for brood). It was a huge swarm, completely filling the deep box from side to side and top to bottom. We are scurrying to get 8 more deep frames ready so we can give them another brood chamber for more space. It is so very dry, that I am afraid there isn't enough out there for these new girls to eat as they prepare their new home, so I am feeding them, temporarily. A feeder is on top of the hive, filled with sugar water. Following our tradition of naming after women singers, we have named the new queen Ella. She joins Loretta, Dolly, and Grace.

I have emptied all but one rain barrel now, and resorted to the hose this week for one deep soaking to keep the vegetable gardens from failing all together. Although some things are struggling, the early planted beans and most pepper plants are doing well. The blueberries are giving up the last of their tiny crop, and we keep picking a few everbearing strawberries. Despite terribly looking vines, we get two cucumbers a day. The squash is suffering mightily in the drought, and the tomatoes just don't seem to want to ripen, and their vines are showing signs of disease and stress. There are some huge tomatoes waiting, but every day a bird or other creature digs a hole in another. Please, I just want to eat some of my own tomatoes before the vines die!