Saturday, August 31, 2013

Raising a new Queen

Three weekends ago, we had a hive inspection. It was a perfect sunny clear day. A great day for an inspection. We pulled frame after frame of the top honey box and saw that they were FULL of honey. Usually, this is a happy sign for us, but we just harvested this box in July. So this was more of a warning sign for us since we knew that if the bees were this busy making honey, it's likely there was no Queen inside the hive. When the worker bees are busy making lots of honey, it's usually because they are not tending to any brood / baby bees.
We looked for the Queen in the brood boxes and frame after frame was clear of brood. Not a good sign at all. The Queen was gone.
Our other hive had success with the worker bees rearing their own Queen, so we decided to give it a try. Worker bees know right away when a hive is Queenless and naturally, they will try to raise a new one. We pulled some frames full of brood from our other hive, making sure that some of the brood was uncapped. When a hive is Queenless, the worker bees will transform a uncapped brood into a Queen cup and start feeding it royal jelly to turn her into a Queen. We placed 2 frames of brood inside the brood box and waited a week for the bees to do their job.
We came back one week later for another hive inspection and pulled the brood frames that we placed. We spotted it right away in the middle of the frame. A replacement Queen cup!  Woo hoo! It worked! We actually saw 2 Queen cups, usually a hive will produce more than one replacement Queen in case one of them doesn't hatch / survive. If both Queens hatch and survive, they will fight to the death until one survives. Only one Queen reigns a hive. We'll come back to the hive in 2 weeks to see if the new Queen has mated and started laying. Excited!! Nature rocks!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Farmer's Market Haul

Every Saturday, I drop off compost at the neighborhood farmer's market. While I'm there, I pick up a weeks of veggies. I miss my garden. I miss growing things. The farmer's market is a close second. Access to locally grown summer goodness.  I love that I can get this whole bunch of veggies for $27! My haul consists of 3 cubanelle peppers, 1 pound of serranos, 5 tomatoes, 5 ears of corn, 5 summer peaches, 1 bunch of carrots, 1 bunch each of dill, cilantro, basil and parsley. I love summer.  L O V E!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Planting Results

This past Saturday, I bought a bunch of basil from the farmer's market that still had it's roots. I posted about it here and asked all the gardeners out there if it was possible to plant it. The garden blogging community is awesome with sharing knowledge and giving planting advice. Y'all didn't fail me, and left me comments to go ahead and plant it or put the basil in water. I decided to try both to see how it goes.

Half of the bunch was planted. Here we are 4 days later, and this is what the planted basil looks like. I've been watering it a lot to make sure it drinks up as much water as possible. I pinched off some of the leaves / stems but it still looks a little droopy. After I took this photo, I pinched off more leaves. I hope it starts to recover soon.
The other half of the bunch, I stuck in a mason jar of water.  Wow, what a difference! The leaves perked up, and look great! I'll keep the basil in the water on my kitchen counter and use it in meals. I've never done this before, so this makes me super stoked! How long can it keep in water? Does anyone know?

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Can I Plant This?

At the farmer's market today, I saw this big bunch of basil for $3! What a deal! I love that it still had roots! So when I got it home, I thought, hey, I wonder if I could stick this in some soil and plant it? It's a farmer's market, so it probably was picked that morning. For $3, hey, I'll give it a try!
Here is the basil that I stuck in a pot on my windowsill. Not the waiting begins. What do you think? Will it work? Or is it a goner??

Free What?

On my way into work today, I did a double take when I walked passed this on the sidewalk. F R E E, it read. Despite this plant being taller than me, and 86 blocks from home, the natural gardener in me thought, I wonder if I can get this home? Subway, taxi? Hahahaha. I hate to say no to free plants,  and one as healthy as this one! But I have very little sunlight in my apartment so, alas, I walked away. Hope it went to a good home.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Operation Backpack

I don't have kids, but every year I buy school supplies for a deserving school kid. Since 2007, my friend Ruth and I have been participating in Operation Backpack. Operation Backpack is a program geared towards collecting backpacks filled with school supplies for homeless children and children living in shelters in the greater NYC area. The goal is to get volunteers to buy a years worth of school supplies for one child, this year they hope to collect 15,000 backpacks to give away to the kids.  Here is a sampling of some of the school supplies they need. Notebooks, glue, crayons, pencils, pens, paper, markers, scissors, folders, glue, erasers, tissues, and hand sanitizer. These are the supplies I picked for my backpack.
Lots of stores are having back to school sales, so I got lots of these for a really good price. Here's the backpack I picked up to fill up.
They are collecting backpacks until August 9th, so there is still time to participate. If you would like to fill a backpack, all the details can be found here.  And backpacks can be dropped off here.

I dug up some old photos of backpacks that I've donated in the past. It surprised me that I've been doing this for 7 years! I  started donating backpacks since 2007 when my friend Ruth encouraged me to do so. I am missing photos of the backpack from 2007, 2009, and 2010.  I wish I took a photo of them. From looking at these backpacks, it's funny how I have always picked out pink ones and really girly. Hahahaha.  Every year, I look forward to buying the backpack and picking up the supplies, because I know that it's going to make one kid super happy. And that makes me happy. If I can help just one kid in need, that's pretty cool.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Beehive Flora

I took this photo of all the flora growing around one of our beehives the other day. Isn't it just beautiful? The beehive is all the way in the back. I imagine the bees must be very happy with all this lush flowers growing all around their home! Hopefully they will make lots more honey for another honey harvest before the season ends.

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