Wow! Happy belated Mother’s Day! Here’s my official brag about how great my family is and what a great weekend we had on the homestead. This weekend I had requested to get the garden planted. The plan was for me to spend Saturday with my mom and sister while Rick and the boys went with his mom to the botanic gardens, and for us to plant the garden on Friday after Rick was home from work and on Sunday.
On Friday, we planted corn, onions, and carrots with the neighbor and put in our tomatoes. But Friday night, we got a call that our friend, Chris, had caught a swarm of bees for us, and another call that the CSA asparagus was ready to pick.
Some things just don’t wait. So on Saturday morning, while the guys were at the botanic gardens with Grandma, my mom and sister came over here for bunch, and Chris brought us the swarm.
The bees we had last year left in the fall, we’re not sure why. We think either the queen died or left since there were bees milling around aimlessly for a week or two before they were all gone. There were no dead bees, just gone. Last year’s swarm was also much smaller and our friend caught it later in the season while we were out of town. He had installed them for us then, so this was the first time I got to experience putting bees into the hive, and Chris walked me through it. My mom got to watch ME put the bees into the hive (and took pictures for us!).
These new bees were pretty cranky, they had been in the box for a couple days and were hungry and thirsty. It took me three good tries to get the majority of them in the hive and get the bars on the top. My initial trial of things, they sort of swarmed around my head and clung to the gloves I was wearing. But they seemed to calm down significantly in a few minutes and I was able to knock the majority of the rest of them into the hive and get the bars on top without any trouble. I was really surprised at how they clung to the box, and also how quickly they just took to the hive.
We put them in with the old comb that last year’s bees had left behind (we’re pretty certain there were no mites or diseases), and they settled down fairly quickly. Many bees zoomed off to the water and sugar-water we had out for them, but others went to the entrance of the hive and started fanning their wings to spread the queen’s pheromones so the remaining bees in the box and the air (there were still quite a few) would come on in and start making the new hive their home. It was really exciting and I’m sad Rick missed it again.
Then, it was back to brunch with the girls for me. It was a really nice time (I made lavender pound cake and my sister made yummy pecan-dark chocolate scones). When Rick and the boys got home, we headed up to the farm to pick asparagus. It took us less than forty-five minutes to pick a good 25 pounds before we trimmed it all up. It came out to about 14 pounds of asparagus, processed and frozen, plus some to eat fresh this week.
Sunday, for some unknown reason I woke up super early, before any of the guys rolled out of bed. When they got up around 6:45, they gave me some sweet cards and kisses, and promised to build me a picnic table next week! We got dressed and they took me out to Snooze (one of my favorite places) for breakfast. Afterward, we came home and started up more planting work.
We did the boys’ hugelkultur bed first. H planted watermelon, carrots (two kinds) and tomatoes (an heirloom red cherry and a “white” cherry that will actually be yellow). The boys got a new real shovel and special, colored tomato cages. My mom always said she wouldn’t be a mother without me, and I sort of feel the same about my boys, so they get treats on mother’s day too). E ran around the hugelkultur while Rick scrambled to make barriers to keep him from trampling the seeds.
It was nap time before we knew it, and Rick and I spent the afternoon putting up asparagus (Rick did most the work), and planting out the rest of the main garden bed. By the evening I had gotten plans for my new picnic table, an order placed for the grub hoe I’ve been lusting over, a [nearly] fully planted garden bed, four kinds of basil in my flower beds, a delicious sunburn on my shoulders, a home-made dinner with fresh asparagus, and a perfect day with my guys. Lucky me!
I hope your Mother’s Day weekend was just as special as mine was! What did you do?
I feel a little guilty– what I always ask for (and get, if Sam’s not working) is “time alone.” But it was good, and they made me a feast afterward. I’m totally impressed with your bees!