Things are looking good on the beekeeping front: it appears as though all four of our colonies are going to make it through the winter (keeping fingers crossed!), and I just hived two new purchased colonies this weekend. This brings our total to six colonies, which invokes an obscure old rule in Oregon, that if you have five or more colonies, you have to register your apiary through the Oregon Department of Agriculture. It’s only $10 for a year, but really makes me feel like I’m in the Big League now.
We’re experimenting with some hive construction ideas, too. The two new ones are made from cedar- I got the idea from the jungle beekeepers I saw doing it on my service trip to Panama, and it makes sense here, as cedar is readily available and rot resistant. It’s a bit more expensive than painted pine, but saves the cost and labor of paint, should last longer, and I like the idea of not having any chemicals (paint) near the bees. The bottoms are a screen board design I got from my buddy Mark in Indiana, and I’m going to put sheet copper on the roof, but I’m still waiting for the guy who’s going to lend me the bending brake, so for now I’ve got plastic trash bag stapled up there. Hillbilly deluxe.
On the orchard front, we’ve got some trees in bloom. Both varieties of cherries have flowers (and cross pollination; I saw bees working), there are buds on several varieties of apples, the pears have some blossoms, and the plums are covered with them. It’s looking VERY hopeful for fruit this season, which is so exciting I can’t contain myself. Nothing compares with the taste of a ripe plum straight from the tree.
We’re still squeezing in some (de)construction on the cottage, too. Emily’s parents are out here visiting, and now her dad is yet another person to lend a hand in the construction of our home. Here he can be seen stacking rough-cut spruce siding that we have removed from the inside of the house. I took the picture from the loft, where we were storing it all after we removed it from the interior walls. We are going to be working up there soon, so it has to go outside, covered in a tarp, so we have room to move. Eventually we are going to refinish it and reinstall it, as it’s free, original, milled locally, and has a warm-and-friendly feeling.