Midnight last night: pork butts on the smoker. At 0630 this morning, chicken breasts on the smoker, and preparing for the day, anticipating the arrival of our hired labor at 0900.
Since no one showed up, my sisters and got started hauling and spreading load after load of topsoil and manure. Around 1030, one guy showed up, then had to go back to the shop for some tools. So while we waited, we continued on, using girl power to Get Shit Done. At noon, the first guy showed up again, with two more guys in tow. My cousin Cayne Morris also joined in on the fun, and with all the labor (and with me hustling in the front to weed out the last two rows) all of the reframed rows are filled! Phase one: complete. There are still a couple of original areas to reframe and fill, but the major part of the project is complete, and I still have quite a bit of topsoil and manure in piles at the front and rear of the property to use when we (rent a backhoe to) dig out large areas of clay to place some trees: a mix of good soil will allow the trees to do what they can’t currently do in the clay/sand areas. Next up: rescuing the seedlings from the flats and getting them out into the frames, and direct sowing the things that need to be started – or needed to be started two weeks ago if the weather had cooperated.
The swarm we captured yesterday and hived left the hive and returned to their tree, so I climbed back up there and grabbed them again, then dumped them back into the hive. Checking on them later, they had once again left the hive, but they’d also left the tree, leaving me to wonder where they’d gone. Answer: they returned to the original hives! Checking the other two, there were tons of bees in both, which could only have come from the swarms going back home. So it appears the queen was not in the hive from the bees we captured, and at some point in all those trips to the tree and the new hive body, she either left or was killed/lost, so the bees went home. Tomorrow, I’m going to try to find a queen in one of the two hives, and do a split, taking her and some workers on their frames to the new hive, to try to keep them from swarming again. We’ll see how that works out.
All in all: mighty fine labor by the family this week, and I’m incredibly appreciative and awestricken by your efforts. Thanks, fam!