Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Changing seasons.

The last month has been interesting and somewhat unusual. We harvested honey from two hives. We took about 60 lbs. of honey from my oldest two hives...then, three weeks later, one of those hives and another weaker hive crashed! I didn't see it coming and really don't know what caused it. I don't use chemicals in my hives (no antibiotics for nosema or synthetic drugs for Varroa mites). We do use thymol, a naturally occurring material in hives, for Varroa treatment. But, for some reason, two of the hives became too weak to defend against the hive beetles and wax moths.

After freezing the woodenware to kill any offending pupae, I cleaned them and will use them next season. The two remaining hives appear to be strong, although I do see some hive beetles.

We have harvested most of our summer vegetables and are planting fall crops along with some late tomatoes (in the high tunnels). We have also finished our last batch of broilers, due to lack of freezer space. The hens are slacking up on egg laying because of the decreasing daylight hours. The sheep and goats are doing well and we're done with pigs until the first of next year.

So we are definitely changing seasons here on the farm. This past week has been cool and comfortable, although I know the dog days of summer are still to come.

This is one of the reasons that I love farming. You can feel and see each season to its fullness. My daughter and I have been collecting sumac berries and other natural dye materials that she will use to dye her handspun fibers (Editor's* note: More info and photos of that process will be posted on Kristin's blog over the next week or so). For the first time in several years I am looking forward to hunting season with my son. I hope to find time to dove hunt (though I'm not very good at it), deer hunt, and maybe even set some traps like I did as a younger man.

So even though we still have plenty to do, the seasons are changing and I am ready and excited. I thank God for allowing me to participate in all these changes.


*A bit of shameless self-promotion here, considering Kristin is the "editor" and typist. :)

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