The Year of the Dog

According to the Chinese calendar, this is the year of the boar. I beg to differ. At Glenmore, this is definitely the year of the dog – or more correctly, dogs.  The year started with Jordy joining our family.

Jordy

We’ve had a lot of puppies over the years, but I seem to have forgotten how much energy they have!  Jordy is no exception.  He is a busy guy.  Thank goodness he has a big farm to run around on.  I’m not sure things would be going so well if we were still in town with a fenced in yard.  He is the quintessential Lab – so enthusiastic!  He has been the perfect playmate for Carly, happily taking everything she can dish out and coming back for more.  Kody was just as happy because it gave him a break from Carly!

Kody, Jordy and Carly

Carly and Jordy have been quite a pair.  In June while we were out one evening, Jordy managed to break out of his crate and steal a bottle of Previcox (Kody’s arthritis medicine).  Being the dynamic duo they are, Jordy got it off the counter and opened the bottle, then Carly pushed him out of the way and ate it all.  The poison control hotline wanted to assume that all three dogs had eaten all of the the doses.  Oh no, I knew better than that.  Kody wanted no part of it – he probably never even got off the couch.  Jordy may be the counter surfer, but he’s no match for Carly when it comes to eating.  As it turned out,  the first thing in morning we had Carly at the vet’s office – she was sick.  Really sick.  It was a full week before she could hold any food down.

Carly

Just about the time she was back in action, Carly came up lame.  After a several trips to the vet, x-rays and many weeks of rest, we determined that she was going to need surgery.  I had heard that the recovery from knee surgery in dogs was difficult, but I had NO idea.  Let’s just say Carly is not the ideal patient – she is not used to a crate and had never been left alone.  Things might have been different if we didn’t have Jordy to contend with, but he didn’t understand that not only could Carly not play with him anymore, she couldn’t even walk unassisted.  For the first month after the surgery, Carly had to stay in a crate 24/7 –  she didn’t like it one bit and made it perfectly clear.

Since Jordy was separated from Carly, he had to find something else to occupy him, so he turned his attention to Kody.  Kody has never been very social.  He would have been perfectly happy being an only dog, and really wasn’t thrilled when we got Carly.  He learned to love Carly but when we got Jordy, it was pretty apparent that at 11 years old, he didn’t have feel obligation to bond with a puppy.  Jordy, however didn’t know (or care) about any of that – he just needed someone to play with!  He pestered Kody incessantly until finally we started noticing them playing together.  Kody didn’t have much patience at first and Jordy has learned that he can’t play as rough with him, but as the weeks have gone by, the two have become close buddies.

Carly is almost fully recovered from her surgery and although she can’t run outside off the leash yet, she doesn’t have to be in the crate anymore in the house.  It’s been interesting to watch her as she inserts herself into play time with her brothers.  She really gets her feelings hurt when she is left out of their play!  It’s a whole new dynamic between those three – I will be glad when things settle down and we can focus on other things.  Next year is not going to be the year of the dog – I think maybe it should be the year of Mary.

 

 

The Next Generation

Gator and I have managed to keep two dogs for the past 18 years.  After we got Kate, our “first” second puppy, we realized how much training goes on from older dogs to puppies.  Since then, we agreed that we would get another dog every 6 years or so.  It hasn’t turned out exactly every six years, but we have continued to have one older dog and a younger one.  Now we have Kody, who will be turning 11 this year, and Carly who just turned 7.  Last year, we started talking about the next generation, thinking the best time to get a puppy would be after our vacation in May.  I have to admit, I was the one who put the brakes on it.  I just couldn’t figure out how I was going to manage a third dog during my busiest time of year at work and while I was trying to commit more time to competing with my horse.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all on me but since I work from home and Gator doesn’t, puppy duty during the daytime is mine.  Once we got into the fall, it didn’t get any more convenient because we had company over the holidays as well as travel plans, so I figured we’d think about it again in the spring and see how things looked.

All that changed when right before Christmas, Gator saw a flyer for Labrador puppies at our local co-op that said they would be ready to go to homes in early January.  We had already decided that we would get another black lab and we wanted a male, and the flyer said they had only one black male in the litter.   I could tell Gator wasn’t going to let this go and I know I overthink and then talk myself out of things, so I took a deep breath called the number.  No answer and no voicemail.  So I called again.  And again.  After calling four times over the course of a week, a guy finally answered the phone and said that he hadn’t answered because he didn’t recognize the area code from my number.  Once we got past that, I asked him about the black male puppy and he said he thought he was going to keep that one.  Since the puppies weren’t going to be available for another week, he said he’d call me back the following Sunday to let me know for sure if he was going to keep the puppy or not.  The next Sunday came and went with no call.  Finally on Tuesday, I called him back and he said he hadn’t made a decision yet because not all of the other puppies had sold.

My gut told me this wasn’t going to work, which was disappointing since I had been really getting excited about the idea of getting a puppy (it doesn’t take much!).  So it was just the motivation I needed to see what else was out there.  As it turned out, a breeder in Maryland had two black males left in a litter and they were 13 weeks old, so she had them discounted because they were getting older.  I gave her a call (she answered right away) and we had a wonderful conversation.  Things were falling into place!

I called Gator and we hopped in the car that evening after work and drove to Maryland.  I’m sure you know the rest of the story – who goes to look and puppies and doesn’t come home with one??

We have one sweet little guy!  This is Jordy.

 

Now we have the next generation – and no room on the couch!

 

Busy Bees

We’ve had a very successful summer with the bees and now we are preparing them for winter.  After last winter’s losses, we are trying to be more proactive by getting the hives to the right size and configuration to give the bees the best chance to survive the winter.

Things got off to a bumpy start last spring.  We got both hives set up and when we checked on them a few days later, 90% of one hive moved over to the other hive.  Not really sure why that happened, but the queen stayed behind and there were enough worker bees to feed the brood, so although the hive was a little slow getting going, it managed just fine.

The other hive just went gangbusters from the start!  We had frames with honey and comb on them from the previous hives, so we put them in the new hives to give them a head start and it really seemed to work.  Before we knew it, we had five boxes and more than enough honey to sustain all of the bees.  We were even able to split the hive and give some bees to a friend who also lost all of his bees over the winter.

  

Now that we’re getting into fall, the queen will start laying fewer eggs, so the number of bees will  begin declining.  The lifespan of “regular” bees is only about three weeks, but the bees born later this fall are known as “fat” bees and their lifespan is about three months.

In order to keep the hives strong, we did a mite count and found that there were a few mites in the hive. In previous years, the regional bee experts recommended that first year hives not be treated for mites, but due to the devastating bee losses in Virginia last year, it appears that varroa mites are spreading faster, so if there are any signs of mites, treatment is now recommended.  This is kind of a big deal, because one of the concerns with bees is the use of pesticides – and what to we use to treat for mites? Pesticides.  It’s funny how I’ve changed my philosophy about the use of pesticides in the hives.  Last year I was completely opposed to the idea.  Then both hives died.  We’re pretty sure it was a combination of things that caused it but there were definitely mites in the hives and that weakened the colonies.  Suddenly, I’m more open minded about the whole idea.

In addition to treating for mites, we are also consolidating the hives.  This is another new idea for us this year.  As new beekeepers last year, we thought that you had to get the hives as big as possible so that they had the best chance of getting through the winter.  What we’ve discovered is that’s not necessarily true.  We want good sized hives, but knowing that the populations are starting to decrease, what we want to do is consolidate the hives so that when the cold weather comes, they will form a tight cluster so that they can keep the queen and the brood warm.  This is the other thing that we think contributed to the decimation of last years hives – the hives were too big and the food was too far away, so when we had an extended cold period, the bees couldn’t get up to the honey at the top of the hive and then all they way back down to the cluster before they died from cold.  So to remedy this, we are taking the honey off the top of the hive and leaving the honey that is in the lower boxes.  We are also taking off the empty boxes at the bottom of the hive.  For some reason, during the summer, the bees move upward in the hive and leave the bottom boxes empty as they go.  Now we will have the hive consolidated in the lower boxes with honey right there near the cluster, so they don’t have far to go to get food when it gets cold.

We certainly have learned a lot this year with our second attempt at raising bees.  We have also learned that things change every year, and what worked last year may not apply this year.  Hopefully, our busy little bees will have a successful winter and will come back strong in the spring!

Maintaining the Delicate Balance

After we finally got the old chickens to accept the new chickens, we thought that we were in the clear.  Mother nature had other things in mind, however.  A few weeks ago, a fox managed to dig under the chicken coop and got in and killed three chickens – one older one and two younger ones.  A few days later, my last older chicken died.  She didn’t look like she had been injured, but all of the chickens that survived were severely traumatized.  They stopped eating, quit laying eggs and hid in the henhouse day and night.

Gator and I knew that as long as we still had live chickens, that fox was going to come back, so although it was pouring rain, we spent the next day digging a ditch around the coop and filling it with bricks.

 

Additionally, we put chicken wire extending down into the ditch and covered it up with dirt.  The fox came back the very next night!  It wasn’t able to get in, but it did dig up some of the chicken wire.  That sent Gator on the warpath.  No fox was going to get our chickens a second time! He found some old steel pipe that was left behind on the farm and laid it around the edge of the coop in some stone dust. He also set a live trap, but so far we have only managed to catch our little cat, Hazel.   Carly has been on high alert as well, and has been waking us up nearly every night to let her out so that she can chase off any critters that happen to be lurking around.   We have seen signs of the fox a few more times, but it hasn’t managed to get into the coop again.

Since I was down to two chickens, I decided to get some replacements right away.  As long as they were out of sorts, I figured a little more upset to the delicate balance couldn’t really make things much worse.  I found a chicken swap here locally – I know, you are thinking, “a chicken swap????”  Yep, it’s like a flee market for chickens.  A bunch of people who have chickens they want to sell all meet in a parking lot and people like me who want to buy them, show up and shop!

I found three young pullets (in between a chick and a full grown hen) that are supposed to lay different colors of eggs (AKA Easter Eggers).  At this point, I figured I might as well try some different chicken breeds and see what happens.

Now we have two brown chickens and three black ones.  Oh and by the way, the brown hens did not appreciate the intrusion of the new chickens.  The delicate balance had been upset once again.  It didn’t help that weren’t leaving the coop during the day, so they had to deal with the new chickens 24/7.

Things always seem to get better with time, and this has been no exception.  All five chickens are getting along fine now and are venturing out of the coop during the day.  The brown chickens have started to lay eggs again and hopefully the black ones will start laying in the next month or so.  We’re still seeing signs of the fox about once a week, but Carly heads out every night about midnight to do her patrolling and has managed to keep everyone safe!

Chicken Little

The new chickens have arrived and are settled in.  We got four pullets (8 week old chickens) to build up our flock which had gone from four to two.  The two older chickens are three years old now, so they are well established and didn’t appreciate the new upstarts showing up.  The new chickens were confused, scared and didn’t appreciate the older ones bossing them around.  We tried to keep them separated for a few days so that the new chickens could get settled in, but we don’t have two separate chicken coops and we found that containing four chickens for several days without a proper coop is just about impossible (see chickens in the barn rafters, below).

We finally gave in and just put them all together with the hope they would all work it out.  To ease the tension, we kept the new chickens in the coop for a couple of weeks and let the older ones out during the day, which was their routine.

Marilyn, one of the older hens – and the only one that is still laying eggs, went into full protest mode.  She refused to lay her eggs in the nesting boxes anymore and resorted to laying them in a corner of our hay storage area in the barn.  Although that doesn’t seem like it should be an issue, Hazel, our barn cat had a big problem with  it!  Suddenly, she started guarding the hay and would chase Marilyn out of the barn whenever she would go in to lay her egg.  There was an awful lot of squawking going on.  Marilyn, refusing to be deterred, just kept on trying to get into the barn until Hazel either lost interest in chasing her out, or was taking her daily nap.  After about a week of this, Carly, our adorable Lab, realized that every day there was an egg on the floor in the barn and she soon began racing down to the barn to see if she could retrieve it (and eat it) before I got down there to pick it up.  REALLY Marilyn, can’t you just lay your eggs in the nesting boxes???  Apparently not.

After about two weeks, I decided that the new chickens would be bonded with the chicken coop and know that it was home, so I started letting them out during the day.

Getting them back to the coop those first few days was a challenge.  Gator got pretty good and walking around the yard with a long stick herding them back home.  After about a week, they started to learn the routine and they now come running when I call them in the evenings.

Now that we’ve had them a few weeks, everyone is getting along just fine.  Marilyn is still laying her eggs in the barn, but she and Hazel seem to have worked out a truce.  I have to keep an eye on Carly – she continues to run down to the barn to look for eggs.  The new chickens have started laying eggs too, and thank goodness, they are laying in the nesting boxes!

 

 

 

Back in the Saddle

Now that spring has finally arrived (kind of), Gator and I are back in the saddle and riding again.  Although our riding is usually significantly reduced during the winter, this year it came to a grinding halt.  Gator’s horse, Banjo, was injured last summer and he wasn’t completely healed until late in the year (see my Silver Linings post from December).  About that time, I was injured and had to take a couple of months off.  By the beginning of March, everyone was certified as fully recovered and we put together a plan to get horses and riders back in shape and out riding again.

Part of the plan was to go to a ranch riding clinic.  I did a little competing with Max last year and Gator decided that he would like to give it a try this year with Banjo.  Just for the record, we are purely recreational riders.  Nothing fancy going on here.  We both work and have a lot of other things going on, so we don’t have the time to commit to going to more than a few local shows each year.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with ranch riding, it is a class in a horse show where each horse and rider complete a set pattern consisting of about a dozen different maneuvers that show things they would encounter in a typical day on a ranch .  I won’t go into all of the details, but the foundation is having a willing but relaxed horse.  Max is typically very willing but not so relaxed and Banjo is usually relaxed but not always willing.

We signed up for a clinic at the end of March with well known clinician, Steve Meadows, who was hosting a two part clinic that suited both Gator and me.  In the morning, the schedule was the basics of ranch riding – specifically the different gates, then in the afternoon, the plan was to cover a couple of patterns and the things that the judges look for.  We got up early and headed out before dawn to the state fairgrounds where the event was being held.  It was one of those lovely March days where the temperature was in the low 20s when we headed out and as the sun came up, so did the wind.  All in all, it was pretty miserable – and of course, we were riding outside!

The clinic was really good though.  Actually the horses were terrible!  We haven’t hauled the two of them together away from the farm for well over a year, and this was a strange and scary place, so they were hoping to  stay attached at the hip for safety – the exact opposite of what they got.  From the minute we started saddling up they were fussing, so Gator and I decided to separate them as much as possible during the clinic.  Ugh, not really a lot of fun to have not just one, but two sassy and misbehaving horses while we were trying to learn something.  Steve was awesome, though.  As he pointed out, a clinic was the best place for this to happen and he helped us work through it.  By the end of the day, both horses ran through a complete pattern without any mistakes and were well behaved.

We came home with a plan.  I had been separating the horses when they are out during the day, but I usually put them in fields right next to each other for my convenience.  I was more concerned about just having a fence between them so that they wouldn’t be rough housing.  Now I put them as far away from each other as I can get them.  Thank goodness I have four fields to work  with.  They can see each other, but no standing around socializing!  We have also  started riding at separate times, so that one gets to go out and one has to stay home.  It wasn’t very pleasant in the beginning, but it is definitely getting better.  Now that the weather is finally improving, we hope to do a lot more riding this year on willing and relaxed horses!

 

New Beginnings

Spring is on the horizon and I, for one, will be glad to put winter behind me. We’ve had some crazy weather, from an extremely cold January to a very wet February to horrendous winds this month.  Our old trees are taking a beating and we have lost branches from most of them.  The oldest trees are hollow and just crumble in the high winds.

 

At least we didn’t lose power or have any damage to any of the buildings but this is getting old and I’m ready for some nice weather!

We also suffered another huge loss this winter.  Both of our beehives died.  Gator and I were devastated.  As I posted last fall, we had our “bee mentor” come out and inspect the hives with us.  He was confident that we had two good, healthy hives with lots of honey to get the bees through the winter.  As we found out from the state apiarist (aka head bee guy) at the Virginia Department of Agriculture, the bee losses in Virginia this winter have been “alarming.”  Two main factors appear to be the major causes.  First, we had several weeks of very cold weather early in the winter.  The cold causes the hives to contract and cluster to stay warm.  Well, it was so cold that the bees on the outside of the cluster couldn’t get to the honey to bring it back before dying.  Even if the hive had enough honey, if it wasn’t right where the cluster of bees was, the hive could still starve or be significantly weakened.  The other factor that was discovered was that the deadly varroa mite population has exploded.  Normally, it is recommended that first year hives not be treated for parasites because it usually takes a year or so for them to become a big enough problem to justify using pesticides in the hive to control them.   We hear so much about pesticides killing bees, but most people don’t know that nearly all beekeepers use pesticides to save their bees.  It’s a delicate balance, and it will be interesting to see what the recommendations will be this year to control parasites on bees.  We will be starting over this spring with new bees.  We have lots of honey and comb that we were able to salvage, so hopefully that will give the new bees an extra boost.

We also have four new chickens coming next month.  We are down to two chickens and they are three years old now so we decided it was time to supplement the flock.  Only one chicken was still laying eggs last summer and she stopped in the fall which forced me to have to buy eggs this winter.  Even the organic, free range eggs from the grocery store can’t compare to home grown eggs from my own chickens – they just don’t taste as good.  The week after I ordered and paid for my new chickens, she started laying again!  Hopefully when the new chickens arrive and start laying, we’ll have so many eggs, we’ll be giving them away again.

I have also gotten my garden started.  That always gets me excited for spring!  I’ve started heirloom tomatoes from seed again, along with jalapeños, bell peppers, eggplant and herbs.

I’ll also be planting, lettuce, spinach, sunflowers, lavender and numerous other herbs.  Since I have two gardens, I almost always have extra space, so I’ll just have to see what the local garden center has that I can use to fill in.

We just have to get through the next couple of weeks and spring will come with it’s new beginnings!

Silver Lining

Looking back on 2017, it was definitely a mixed bag.  We had a bumpy start with the bees, losing one hive right away because the queen didn’t survive.  Our mentor was kind enough to give us some bees that he had split from one of his hives and we were quickly up and running again with two hives.  We were diligent about feeding our bees all summer (using almost 300 lbs of sugar!) and going into the cold weather, both hives were four boxes tall with lots of honey in them.

 

Winter is a very risky time for beehives, but starting with two strong hives increases their chances of survival.

I also had better luck with my garden this year.  I grew heirloom tomatoes from seed for the first time this year, and not knowing how well they would produce, I went ahead and planted 16 plants.  I  planted cucumbers for pickles, several varieties of peppers, edamame, tomatillos, squash and lots of herbs as well.  We had a very strange growing season with heavy rain followed by weeks without a drop, so not everything did really well, but I had lots of fresh produce and plenty of tomatoes and cucumbers that I was able to can salsa and pickles and freeze spaghetti sauce.  We had a big crop of peaches and I did manage to get them picked and frozen too.

 

On the down side, our animals had a really rough year.  It started in June when I brought the horses in one morning to find that Banjo had a 6 inch gash on his shoulder.  It was too late to stitch it – it had already swollen and would have pulled the stitches out when he lowered his head to graze.

It took nearly three months of daily cleaning and dressing the wound, but it has healed up very well.  We haven’t been able to figure out exactly what happened, but I had a feeling that Max was responsible.  Although they love each other very much, they play way too rough and they were continually getting injured (minor injuries to this point) and losing shoes.  I decided to separate them and they have stayed injury free since then.

Things went down hill from there, however.  In one week, we lost two chickens and our darling cat, Martha.  We had some sort of predator that just reeked havoc on the farm.  One chicken was attacked right in the middle of the day.  I’ll spare you the details, but it appeared to be a bird, possibly an eagle or a hawk because she was injured on her back (as opposed to being drug off by a fox).  A couple of days before, Martha had a traumatic injury to her leg and spine that left her paralyzed.  We were never able to determine exactly what happened, but it sure seems like she was attacked by something as well.

I was devastated.  Although I know that these are the risks you take when you have animals, it was really tough to deal with all of these losses.  As it turns out, there was a silver lining to all of this.  One day when I was in the vet’s office picking up some medicine, the vet tech (with whom I was now on a first name basis) asked me if I was going to get another cat.  I said we probably needed to start looking for one, but I just couldn’t bring myself to begin the search.  She mentioned that a client had brought in a kitten that had been dumped off at their business and although they were taking care of it, they really didn’t want to keep it – would I be interested?  Sometimes things just have a way of working out and less than 24 hours later, Hazel entered our lives.

 

I still wasn’t over losing Martha – it had only been a few weeks, although  I should have known nothing could replace her.  Martha was calm and sweet but not at all playful.  Hazel is rowdy, fun loving and into everything.  She loves to play in running water and wrestle with the dogs.  She has been a joy to have around and all of the other animals love her.  Except the chickens.  Hazel loves to chase the chickens.  The chickens do not loved to be chased.  Oh well, she doesn’t hurt them, so they will have to deal with it.

After all, Hazel is the silver lining in what has been a rough year at Glenmore!

Fitting In

I went to my high school 40th class reunion a couple of weeks ago.  I haven’t been able to make it to any of my previous reunions but this year thanks to social media, I found out about it months in advance and was able to book a trip back to Wisconsin for the weekend.  I must admit, I went with a little trepidation.  I never really felt like I fit in while in high school.

St. Joseph’s Academy was an all girls school and is no longer in existence.  The building is still there – parts of it are over 100 years old, but it has been sold a couple of times and is now being used by the public school system.

   

Much of it has been renovated, there has been a big addition put on and the old convent is gone.  As part of the reunion, we were able to take a tour of the school led by one of our classmates who works there now.  What a blast from the past!  It’s amazing how many memories came rushing back as we walked down those halls.  Teachers’ names and classmates that we hadn’t thought of in years suddenly came back to us as we walked around the building.  The 10 cent popcorn at lunch, the phone booth in the basement that we used to call home, and the horrible gym uniforms we had to wear had us in stitches as we reminisced.

    

We had a pretty good turn out – the best since our 10 year reunion.  After our tour, we all got together for lunch and each one of us spoke about what we are doing and where we live.  There are a few members of our class that nobody has heard from in years, but I was surprised how many of the people who live in town have run into former classmates and were able to give us an update.

What I found so interesting was from our common experience in high school, our lives have taken such different paths.  We have gone on to become doctors, nurses, journalists, actors, accountants, stay at home moms, social workers, educators, pharmacists, entrepreneurs – I can go on and on.  We may have been with the same company for decades, or just beginning to work outside the home after raising kids, or may have recently retired.  Some of us married high school sweethearts right out of high school or college, some married later, some never married, others are widowed or divorced.  We have classmates that don’t have any children, some have one or two, some have many children.  Our children may be middle or high schoolers, college age or grown and living on their own (or at home with us!) or already married with children of their own.  People from our class live all over the country, from Arizona to New England and Florida to California – in the middle of cities, suburbia and on farms.

It’s funny, I think back to that group of 150 girls all wearing navy blue skirts and white blouses, and I look at the women we have become with the diversity in our lives and I realize I always fit in!

Thank you Joyce Davidson for allowing me to use pictures that you took!

Crisis in the Hive

We have an amazing beekeeping mentor who has been so helpful in making sure that we don’t go into the hives too often, yet often enough to detect problems soon enough to take corrective action. Every time a hive is opened, damage is done to the comb and usually several bees are killed.  At the very least, it is disruptive to the hive.  We specifically planned to open the hives and inspect the frames three weeks after we installed them, giving the queens enough time to get established and start laying eggs.

On the designated day, our mentor came over right after work so that a lot of the bees would still be outside.  He showed us how to properly smoke a hive, which calms the bees down and how to get the hive top feeder off the hive with a minimal amount of damage.

Once we got the first hive open, our mentor immediately knew something wasn’t right.  First of all, there weren’t enough bees.  By this time, the hive should be growing and the bees should be drawing comb on 5-6 frames.

When we pulled a frame out to look at it, his fears were confirmed – no queen.

How did he know that by looking at this first frame?  I certainly couldn’t tell, and I didn’t know what to look for.  This is precisely why all of the first year beekeepers in our class were assigned mentors.  We would have questioned why there weren’t more bees, but we didn’t know enough to figure out we had lost the queen.  By the time we would have realized that, the whole hive would have been dead.

OK, back to the frame.  It’s hard to see in the picture, but the comb is very uneven and there were several eggs in many of the cells.  What this told us was that because there was no queen, the worker bees were laying eggs and they are only able to lay drone eggs and drone cells are bigger than regular worker bee cells.  Usually there only a few of them on a frame – off to the side or at the bottom.  These were all through the frame.

Now, what to do?  Well it all depended on how things looked in the second hive.

 

As you can see from these pictures, things look a lot better.  Not as many bees as our mentor had hoped for, but we found the queen (the supplier marks the queens with a colored dot on their backs for easy identification) and she was busy laying eggs.

The healthy hive gave us the best option for saving the queenless hive.  We took a frame from the healthy hive that had newly laid eggs in it, making sure not to take the queen with it, and moved it to the queenless hive.  The idea here is that there are good, healthy worker bee eggs in the frame and the bees would grow a queen from them by feeding some of them a special food. It is a slow process and at best, this hive will be a full month to six weeks behind the other hive, but if all goes well, we will get this hive thriving and built up enough to get through next winter.

At this point, there is not much we can do but wait.  In a couple of weeks, we will check both hives again. In the first hive, we will look to make sure there are queen cells developing and in the second hive, we will be just making sure that it has recovered from losing a whole frame full of eggs.

I’ll keep you posted!

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