Sunday, May 20, 2012

Third Hive Inspection

Today was sunny and gorgeous, perfect weather for my third hive inspection.   As usual, I was little nervous at first, but it is amazing how "docile" these bees are.  Sure their buzzing increases in volume when I take out a frame full of brood and they all fly up and about, but no one stings.   And the girls are doing fantastic.  They are averaging construction of two frames per week; next Sunday I will need to add more foundation with a second hive body.   Lots of capped brood too - the queen is busy.    Of course the field bees have one main focus, gathering nectar and pollen.   I tried to get a photo but they move too fast so I took a few seconds of video instead.   I was able to stand within a foot of the side of the hive without being bothered.  Loved the last bee in the video; she left the hive so fast she flipped over before takeoff.

I don't know where they go.  I expected they would be all over the wildflower border directly west of the hive, but it seems to be more attractive to butterflies.  I haven't seen many bees in the clover either, but I have seen more than usual.   I left the clover as long as I could, but the grass eventually got too tall to ignore.   We'll see how they like the echinacea when it blooms next.

It was also a perfect day to get the young silkies out on grass.    The two pictured below are from show stock.   I think one is a boy and the other a girl.  I've named the girl "Priscilla" and the boy is "Chardonnay."  Chardonnay is the bigger of the two.

Our mouser had to get in on the act too.   Supervising.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Back to school

We all have those lottery wishes right?  Plans for what we would do with the winnings.  One of the things I've always dreamed of doing was travel to France for cooking school; the real deal, the kind of school that teaches EVERYTHING.  But that was just a dream.  The reality involved reading every book in three libraries and collecting hundreds of cookbooks.  I even went so far as to research "professional" cooking schools nearby (there are none) and considered going back to school full time in the local community college's hospitality degree program.  But who can afford to quit working and go back to school when you have a family to raise and a farm to run too?  So onto a back burner went my dream until that far off someday when (if) I win that lottery or retire.  Well guess what - someday has arrived!

Last week I discovered a program that's been developing quietly over the past decade or so.  Unbeknownst to me, the University of Richmond offers a Culinary Arts program as part of its School of Professional & Continuing Studies.  It's not a degree program but it does have similar guidelines and provides SafeServ certification.  Best of all, the classes are held in the evening, after work.  Here's a link for those interested:  Culinary Arts Program

I'd forgotten how much life is enriched when you have a passion for something.  And let's face it, cooking offers instant gratification unlike waiting years to see how your livestock breeding program progresses or the weeks between sowing and harvesting.    I also learned so much in my first class that I can't wait for the next one.  Of course this means I'll probably be expanding our recipe section on the farm website!