jujube, 3 Canadian aids, a feral bee colony

With unexpectedly cooler weather here in N Georgia in September, I am spending more time in the vegetable garden and orchards.  I had planted jujube saplings a few years ago in the terraced orchard and neither irrigated nor tended them until recently I noticed small round fruit.  At the time they were green and tasteless.  Now they are brown or red with wrinkled skins and a delicate flavor, a bit like an apple.  There are two small jujube trees - the Li Jujube provided just one fruit, the Lang Read more [...]

what’s coming in

Before the harvesting roundup I must return to my favorite - the industrious bumblebee.    The Rose of Sharon, hibiscus, thrives alongside the deck and each morning their pollen offerings bring in the bumblebees. They scramble deep into the flowers and their activity sprays the air with pollen which bespeckles them. And they load their saddlebags with food. Much as I like my honey bees and appreciate their excellent honey, the bumblebees cannot be supplanted in my affections. The Read more [...]

late freeze, black locust, a broody hen, frass and swarm lure

The average date for last spring freeze where I grow  should be after March 30 and before April 10 based on a map provided by the National Weather Service.  On April 16 the temperature in our area fell to 30 deg F and caused some damage.  The potato plants suffered - the volunteers on the ground surface were almost wiped out - While the potatoes I had planted in a trench had less extensive damage - I was concerned about my apple trees some of which are in blossom but they seem fine Read more [...]

at last some growing activity

The occasional cold temperatures in March dissuaded the plants from growing.  This was evident from an experiment with peas.  I moistened the peas and those which appeared to be growing the fastest I planted outdoors and  the remainder I planted in a soil container in the greenhouse.  Until a week ago very few of the peas planted outdoors had broken surface.  Those in the greenhouse grew steadily.  Today I transplanted the greenhouse peas. Of course the daffodils are out and my comfrey Read more [...]

some winter tasks

charging the Takeuchi After some cold nights (12 below freezing) my Takeuchi bobcat refused to start.  Cold and tired battery.  The best way to charge the battery is to pull the cab forward on its hinges and then you have direct access to the battery.  It is heavy and best done with an assistant.  In the past I had an anchor point in front of the Take and winched the cab forward.  However, there was no anchor point for the Take this time just a 2,400 gal rainwater tank.  The last time I Read more [...]

2 good talks – EpiPen and chestnuts

Bee Stings & Allergic Reactions Last Thursday was the monthly meeting of the Cherokee Beekeepers' Club meeting and the speaker was a MD who specializes in medical emergencies and is also a beekeeper.  Well qualified in all respects.  He outlined the differences between a local reaction to a bee sting (swelling, pain, redness) which is normal; a large local reaction where the symptoms persist for up to a week; and an allergic reaction of which anaphylaxis  is the most serious and is life Read more [...]

harvesting an oak tree and growth rings

I really am not into cutting down trees gratuitously, especially not an oak tree, which is one of my favorite trees.  When I made a road through the woods I selected a path which would require the fewest and smallest trees to be removed.  But this week I needed wood posts.  I did not wish to purchase the treated 4" by 4" posts because they are loaded with preservatives which will leach and be absorbed by the roots of my fruit trees, vines etc.  Composite posts deform and are expensive.  Even Read more [...]

unwelcome sight – upset bee hive

I inspected the bee hive last Sunday and on Tuesday I happened by and quickly glanced at the #1 hive.  I kept on walking and stopped as my mind deciphered the image - the hive had been attacked.  This is the first time it has happened.  The hive cover was on one side, the top super was on the ground, the second super half way off, a frame on the ground and the deep slightly askew on the bottom board. I studied the frames - no honey had been removed.  The bee hive boxes were undamaged and Read more [...]

Fall inspection of the bees

In Cherokee county bees attract a lot of interest.  I attended the beekeepers' monthly meeting last Thursday.  We are fortunate to have a commercial beekeeper as our coach and guru.  I had missed the previous month's meeting where they discussed inspecting for mites and chemical treatments.  The meeting last Thursday was about Fall inspections and feeding. First as to mites - most of the attendees were doing sugar dustings and mite counts -you sprinkle sugar on the bees and they vigorously Read more [...]

while walking

I notice the butterflies love the zinnia plantings in the vegetable patch. I have  not lost any more chicken to predators, for which I thank my handsome rooster.  His aggressiveness to some of the chickens seems to have abated.  Here he is with Lady Macbeth, who is still missing feathers from the back of her head, but they now seem on cordial terms. And the rains we have fortunately received have promoted sprinklings of mushrooms throughout the woods and perhaps encouraged the turtles Read more [...]