Thursday, May 3, 2012

Third time's the charm

At least that's what we're hoping this year as it's the Third Annual Alameda Bicycle Chicken Coop Tour this Sunday. Anyone local is invited -- it's a lovely day out with the kids. I think mine are planning a bake sale and lemonade stand.

At my house, just a week ago we had another tour come through, so you'd think we'd be completely ready. Alas, as I did my rounds this morning, I realized I'm going to be picking up on Sunday morning. Just a few things need moving around; stuff in the bee yard, some kid-left items, etc. I had hoped to get a bale of straw to mulch some beds and fluff the coop yard. Anyone have some locally to spare?

This group of hens is slightly less amenable to visitors than others we've had. They remind me of the scene in "Holy Grail," where the knights yell, "Run away! run away!" Maybe it's that most of them are Americaunas, maybe it's because they didn't get a lot of handling.

One of the birds is unusually handsome.

For some reason, she's a soft dove-gray. Just as freaked out as the rest of them, though.

Those massed aphids (why are they black on the onions in the winter and spring-green on the apricots in spring? Bizarre) are back on the leaves. I tend to nip them off and hand them over to the crew.

The seem to like them. I wish this garden resident on the going-by snow peas

Would move over to the apricot tree.


el said...

Ladybugs can't read minds. Maybe if you talked to them?

Hey! I have a burning bee question for you, bee goddess. Do you have any problems getting "bothered" by them when you're doing your usual work in the garden? Or are they sensitive only at certain times?

Tom's added 2 hives and split one so we're up to 4 now. This is their crucial week of move-in, get-established, and with Tom running out there feeding them I expect them to be testy.

They're about 50-75' from the garden proper, but I can't even go out there without getting buzzed by a couple sentries! This does not bode well unless I start gardening at night!

Your dove-colored bird looks like our Judy. All Araucanas are skittish, in my experience...and they're sneaky egg-hiders too (not that you'll have that problem).

Daphne Gould said...

Last year I had aphids all over my plum tree. They almost killed the poor thing. This year I'll keep watch.

Stefaneener said...

El, the only time I've had "hot hive" problems were from a bad queen. In my opinion, there is zero reason for a hive to harass you unless you are actively tearing apart the brood nest. I don't even tolerate grouchiness for limited hive inspections. Once we had that hive, as I said, so I took every single frame one by one across the yard and shook all of the bees off, then put it in a "clean" box, continued throughout the entire hive that way. Then I shook out the original hive body. The theory is that the queen can't fly and will be left behind by the more mobile workers. The hive was then combined the next day with a queenright hive.

Boom! No more problems, in about three-four weeks, as they new bees hatched out and we purged the hot queen's DNA from the hive. It's just unacceptable. Hot hives can also be those without queens -- it's worth checking out. Do you have a mentor type person?

The only time I almost gave up beekeeping was with that hive. No fun at all.

Daphne, I should get out there tonight and look. Some day I'm going to buy an automotive mirror like the ones border control uses, so I can look under leaves without leaning over.

Cozy Thyme Cottage said...

Hi Stefaneener, I think I remember that you preserve a lot. Do you freeze asparagus and if you do freeze it how do you use it? Thanks. Nancy at Cozy Thyme Cotage

Stefaneener said...

Nancy, no harvests yet. I'm a big fan of fresh asparagus. We'd have to have a LOT more before I'd ever think of keeping it around. Tomatoes get canned, cucumbers get pickled, red sweet peppers get frozen, and this year we're pickling beans and peppers.

Kristin said...

Just read all your posts and caught up with your garden. It looks fabulous from your upstairs balcony(photo in earlier posts). I hope you're proud. What a transition, so orderly and manicured. Remember when you were lamenting its overgrown state in the fall?

Aricaunas sure have a wild disposition for supposedly being a domesticated bird, but their pale blue eggs are my absolute favorite.

Cozy Thyme Cottage said...

Thanks Stefaneener! Nancy at Cozy Thyme Cottage

kitsapFG said...

That really is a beautiful bird. I hope the coop tours go well for you and you get an opportunity to rest in between a bit of the tours. I bet those are a fun event to participate in.

Heiko said...

It's amazing these local events you have. I first read 'the chicken bicycle tour', missing out the coop bit, and imagined your chickens riding around on bikes... :)