Two new nucs

Yesterday we drove two hours to Eugene, Oregon (and two hours back) to pick up two nucs — nucleus bee hives, i.e. small starter hives.

The bee pickup was quite a streamlined production, with a line of cars, and people loading the nucs into vehicles:

Bee pickup

Interesting plastic nuc boxes:

Plastic nuc boxes

A sign of the times on the way home:

Stay Home, Save Lives sign

We stopped by the feed store on the way home to get some chicken and duck supplies, which resulted in some escaping bees (here our truck is parked on the grass near the hives):

Escaping bees

The straw and other supplies squeezed the left nuc box enough to let some bees escape. The lids weren’t as secure as they could be. It looks like a lot of bees, but isn’t all that many really:

Escaping bees

We’ve ordered components for a sixth hive, but they haven’t arrived yet, so we used a temporary base and a bit of plywood for a lid:

New hive

Opened nuc:

Opened nuc

Frame with queen. Can you see her? We didn’t spot her at the time, but noticed her in this photo, at the bottom just right of center (the long dark bee):

Frame with queen

A brood frame:

Brood frame

The new hive with the five nucs frames added, and a pollen patty for extra food to get them started:

New hive

Nuc for the “hot pink” hive:

Nuc for hot pink hive

Some nice brood frames:

Brood frame

Brood frame

Brood frame

We spotted this queen; the long dark bee on the left of the picture:

Queen

A closeup of some bees:

Bees

The empty nuc box; we shook most of these bees onto the top of the hive, so they’d find their way inside:

Empty nuc box

We took a look in the older hives. In the cedar hive, we saw their queen (near the top):

Cedar hive queen

Nice new comb in the yellow hive:

Nice new comb in yellow hive

We didn’t see a queen (or sign of one) in the yellow hive, but saw many queen cups, so they’re working on making one. Remember, we recently split the yellow hive to the cedar hive, so now we know which one got their queen, and which one is making a replacement. We’ll check again later to make sure they’re successful:

Many queen cups

A nice honey frame:

Honey frame

We now have six hives:

Six hives

A closer look at the purple, temporary new one, and yellow hives:

Hives

A closer look at the cedar, hot pink, and orange hives:

Hives

All six from the other side:

Six hives

Home Depot delivery for greenhouse, compost, bee shed projects

This past week I received a delivery from Home Depot of materials for the greenhouse plumbing project, the compost bins project, and the bee shed project.

In normal times, Home Depot delivery is great for materials that are too large for our truck. In these pandemic times, delivery has the extra benefit of not having to go to the store.

Since there’s a fixed $79 delivery charge for any amount of materials, I tend to bundle up multiple projects into one big order, to make the most of it.

I’ll discuss those projects in future posts, but briefly, the greenhouse plumbing is adding taps and irrigation in the greenhouse (currently underway); the compost one is building new compost bins, since our current ones are small and overflowing; the bee shed is enclosing an old potting shelter near the beehives to store beekeeping equipment.

Here’s the delivery truck; as usual, we’re the last order on the delivery route:

Truck

The longest boards in the bundle are 16 feet long, so the driver had to lift it high to get above the veggie garden fence to deliver into our hoop house; skillfully done:

Lifted high

The delivery items:

Delivery items

Delivery items

A closer look; pipes for the greenhouse (and lots spare); wood and corrugated steel and clear plastic for the bee shed; other wood for the compost bins:

Delivery items

On the end, a box of smaller bits — roofing screws, PVC adhesive, door hardware, corrugated gap fillers, etc.

Delivery items

On the other end, irrigation tubing and parts:

Delivery items

Stay tuned for more on these projects in the coming days, weeks, and months.

Gas holder & feed store supplies

Before I could mow I needed to get some gas (petrol for non-US readers) for the mowers. Securing the gas cans in the bed of the truck is always a bit tricky, so on a whim I whipped up a wooden holder for them, that contains them securely:

It’s attached to the bed both via a bungee across the top, and a hook directly onto an attachment ring, so it won’t slide around:

I also did my monthly run to the local feed store (15 minutes away; the closest shops to home), where I got several bags of chicken feed, bird seed, and peanuts for the jays:

Homestead life: supplies

About once a month I make a trip to the local post office to check the PO Box (usually just junk mail), to the feed store for chicken & bird food, and the gas station for mower gas.

The feed store supplies include medicated chick feed for the youngsters, layer chicken feed for the adults, sunflower seeds and peanuts for the bird feeders, and pine shavings bedding for the coops.

We go through about 10 gallons of gas each month, mowing all the lawns & field.  (Usually I also fill a 2 gallon container, but that wasn’t empty this time.)