Sunday, March 29, 2009

Bee Inspection (3/28/09)

We opened up the hive this weekend to find all of the things we we hoping to find: honey storage, new brood and our queen. There should be quite an explosion in our bee population in the next couple of weeks. We are also patiently waiting for our neighbor's bees to swarm so we can start a second hive. Steve and Floyd (the neighbors) have been keeping bees for years, but do not harvest honey. They enjoy having bees in their large vegetable garden. You can see our queen easily in the photo below.

The bees love the wildflowers that have recently bloomed.

Here are a couple of our ladies getting a drink.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Chicken Experiment- Final Results!

This is the final chapter of the chicken experiment. Please see our previous post if you need to catch up.
The Beneficial Bee: The Chicken Experiment Continued
I should go back to the beginning to tell this story correctly. Our chicken experiment started last fall when our hen Etta seemed determined to become a Mother. We drew a small X on four eggs, two blue and two brown. Glenn built Etta the most amazing birthing house where 21 days later, three chicks hatched. One egg completely disappeared. Two of those chicks turned into grey versions of their Plymouth Rock father, and one had unusual coloring (Clumsia). We figured Clumsia was half Ameraucana (a blue egg-laying chicken) because she had such interesting coloring. The other two chickens, one rooster and one hen, we thought were of the brown egg laying variety. We gave up hope of having new green eggs last weekend when our only hope, Clumsia, started crowing. On Tuesday Glenn went to collect the eggs and found the cutest little green egg- a tiny egg that only a teenager chicken would lay.

Our sweet (and slightly bland looking) hen Lupe is the new green egg layer. We spent most of the day waiting for her to lay an egg in order to confirm this information. Lupe’s eggs are almost exactly the same shade of green as our adult Ameraucana, as you can see in the above picture.

What a wonderful, unusual hen! Here is a picture of Otter watching Lupe. Otter loves hanging with the chickens too.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A bee stung Oliver yesterday. It crawled into his slipper and stung his ankle. Oliver said, “Ouch.” That was it. I asked him later if he still liked the bees and he said, “Yeah, they make honey for us.”

Oliver also takes some pretty nice photographs with his Kidizoom camera he received from his Grammy and Pop for Christmas. For every twenty blurry photos, he captures one of these. I know I’m biased, but I think he needs his own art show.
"Us Going for a Ride at the Beach"

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Chicken Experiment Continued

Some of you may remember our chicken experiment where we crossed our Plymouth Rock rooster with an Ameraucana hen.
The Beneficial Bee: The Chicken Experiment
We have been waiting patiently for our hen Clumsia (another pet named by Oliver) to start laying eggs. Clumsia is the offspring of a chicken breed who lays brown eggs with a breed that lays blue. I was hoping for some sort of amazing blue spotted brown egg. Here she is-our beautiful hen.

Recently things started getting interesting. Clumsia began trying to mate with the other hens. Still deep in denial, Glenn and I agreed that we were thrilled to have a gay hen.

My dream of cool eggs faded more every day as Clumsia began acting like a male. Glenn still held out hope that she was a female and we had daily discussions comparing her female attributes to her male features. Could it be that we had a transgender chicken?

Then we heard it. And finally we had our answer. Below you can see a picture of our rooster Clumsia crowing.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Bee Update

I am officially a beekeeper now and not just the photographer. Glenn and I switched roles today as I felt ready to take on the challenge of opening the hive. I tried to keep my nerves under control as I put on my bee hat and gloves. As I puffed smoke into the top of the hive, the sound of a thousand bees buzzing filled the air. Bees are gentle. I had to remind myself of that fact every couple of seconds. And they were. We inspected the top portion of the hive and could not find our old queen. There was a little bit of honey storage but no brood. We decided to remove the queen excluder (separating the top hive from the bottom hive). The bottom portion of the hive was filled with brood and a few open queen cells. Glenn is assuming we have a new queen and she is establishing herself. After I realized the bees were not going to attack me, I started to enjoy watching them work. We even saw a bee doing a “bee dance” which we have yet to see (or recognize) on the outside of the hive.

We also found our bees on our pluot tree today! Its flowers smell like sweet tarts so I am not surprised our bees were able to find it. Glenn is thrilled because our fruit trees have to be cross pollinated.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Bea Update

Look at Bea's legs! She is now standing and walking. This picture captures the personalities of Honey and Bea perfectly. Honey has to be close to Bea at all times. During our outing today Honey would not allow me to photograph Bea alone. Every time I moved Bea, Honey would flap up next to her and try to get her to peck at some tasty piece of dirt. Thank goodness for Honey. I think she has taken it upon herself to see Bea through this injury.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Teeniest tiniest is alive and well. He has constructed a good home within Oliver's room. Jennifer do not worry, he is safe.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Honey and Bea

I don’t know when I changed from the girl who would throw herself in front of a beetle to keep it from being tortured, to the woman who cringed and walked away when baby chicks were in danger. Picking up cat food at our local feed store turned into an ordeal today. Oliver was delighted to see several dozen chicks in a trough, chirping peacefully. Calm turned into pandemonium as chicks were running from one end of the trough to the other to avoid two children (old enough to know better) trying to capture them. Their mother said, “Leave them alone,” and went to order her hay. The children stopped briefly then began trying to hold chicks again. I felt a pit of worry for the babies, so I walked outside to get my cat food (avoidance). As I walked back into the main room, I heard a woman say, “Don’t hold it by its neck, you are going to hurt it!” Then another said, “Look what you did! You threw it and it can’t walk.” There she was, lying under the other chicks, unable to move. We decided we needed another chick, and named her “Bea.” The boy’s mother paid for her. That should make up for Bea’s possible back injury.

Bea was happy being held and would eat out of our hands, but peeped loudly when we put her in her box.

I quickly started feeling guilty about having Bea sleep alone, so we drove back to the feed store to pick up a companion for Bea. “Honey” (Oliver named her) is probably the cutest chick I have seen and she seems to love Bea.

Bea is able to move around her box slowly and got a drink of water on her own. We hope she will heal as she grows bigger. Next time I’m yelling at the kids. I don’t care if they have a Mom nearby.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The perfect advertisement: creepy and hilarious!

This is the best promotion a girl could ever want. If we ever get successful enough to need a television ad, I will look to Jen and Rodney (and Flumpy). See it for yourself please.

Jen & Rodney's Blog: My Lips Hurt Real Bad!