To Bee or Not to Bee?? Spring Update 2016

There’s something about taking a big loss that makes you step back and think about what you’re really doing with your life.  We had a rough fall when we lost our honey bees and chickens, and there wasn’t much that came from our garden, which left us with a lot to think about over the winter.  Do we want to continue with beekeeping and chickens, or is it time to take a break from it?  Do we have the time and energy to do a big garden and keep it going this year?  Here is an update for you!

Garden

We were able to find a source of manure and borrow a dump trailer, so we are busy hauling it into the garden.  Our garden does not grow well without it, and we didn’t have any manure put in last year which gave us poor results.  But this year we have high hopes now that we know it will be a well-fed garden.  We’ve only gotten the truck stuck in the garden once, but we haven’t finished hauling yet.

Chickens

We are getting chicks!!  I have the chick pen all set up and ready to go.  Food and water containers are cleaned, heating pad and shelter box installed, and I even cut a board to fit down inside for a floor.  Previously, I had used double-thickness cardboard wrapped in thick brown paper.  This was a little slippery for the chicks, and didn’t provide a very level surface for all the stuff in there.  Water and food spilled…regularly.  I’m hoping that won’t be a big problem this time around.  As for breed, I’ve decided to get all Black Australorp.  They have been the tamest and easiest to handle of all breeds we’ve ever had.  Since we’re starting fresh, why not get exactly what I want, right?

Bees

The ordering dates to purchase bees came and went, and we just couldn’t bring ourselves to place an order.  They are very expensive, and quite risky.  Even the most experienced beekeepers lose bees for unknown reasons.  Add that to the complete loss of bees we had even before winter hit, and it was just too difficult for us to spend the money this year.  HOWEVER…we do plan to put out some bait hives to see if we can lure any swarms our way.  And who knows, maybe someone will call us to remove an actual honey bee swarm this year instead of nasty yellow jackets and hornets.

Best wishes to all of you as we head into the growing season.  May your chickens be merry, your bees be buzzy, and your harvest plenty!