Bee Keeping Journal – 20170515 – May is swarm season


The spring weather has been a little wetter than normal. Over the course of 5 days we got 12 inches of rain. Needless to say we had river front property! The river was near record flood, but still not a danger to the house. It is just that we can see it from the deck when it gets that high! It also causes the bees trouble when they should be out looking for spring stores, they are locked in the hive by constant down pours.

Hive 201601H

This hive has been a study in patience and a test of my lack of bee knowledge. They came out of winter looking good and appeared to start building up as expected. But after all the rain stopped an inspection showed they had not built up at all and maybe even shrunk. I had reversed the boxes in early spring, but the top box (old bottom box) remained empty. So I removed the remaining sugar brick and the top box on the first of April. At that time there were about 3 frames of bees, only one of capped brood. I decided to leave them alone and hope for the best. Well that only lasted a couple of weeks, three to be exact before I had to get involved. I then checked and they were still about the same size. I had frames of capped honey (sugar water really) from the other hive that died over the winter, so I decided to add two frames of honey to see if that would help get them going. It has been another three weeks and they are looking much better. There are about six frames of bees with 2-3 in brood of various ages. So again I will leave them alone. Just hoping I can get them back to two deep boxes by summer’s end to make it through next winter.

Swarm update

I placed my swarm trap out on April 1st. I also set out the NUC box I built last year and baited it with LGO and some old black comb, just in case. While there was absolutely NO activity at either trap, I went ahead and set out my empty hive body around April 15th and baited it with LGO and old black comb. Last year there was scout activity at the trap for about three weeks before the swarm showed up. Not this year, I noticed nothing except a lot of wasp until about May 11th. Then all of the sudden there was a ton of activity at the main trap. Bees coming and going with purpose. So I waited until today, when I saw several bees bringing in pollen to declare we had captured a swarm.

Now it gets complicated. The rule of thumb as I understand it is that you move bees either less than 3ft or more than 3 miles. If you don’t, foragers will return the original location and eventually die without the protection of a hive. My swarm trap is about 50 yards from where the new hive will be located and we don’t have anywhere more than 3 miles away to move it first. The other option as I understand it is that you confine the bees to the hive for 24-72 hours, then place tree branches in front of the hive entrance to confuse the bees when you allow them to leave again. This forces the bees to reset their internal GPS and re-orient to the new hive location.

Our plan is this, since this is a new colony without any stores I have added a frame of honey (sugar water really) from the old hive to the swarm trap. This should keep them from starving during confinement. Tonight after the foragers have returned, I will close the trap entrance. It has holes to allow ventilation and we will leave the trap in the tree where it is shaded and should be cooler for the next day or two. Then I will move the trap to the hive stand, place branches in front for the entrance and reopen it. After a couple of days and before the forecasted rain for this weekend, I will move the bees and the frames to the hive body and place it on the stand in the same location the trap was sitting. This will hopefully allow the bees to first orient to the new location, before they also have to reorient to a new hive box.

Let me know in the comments if you think this will work and why not if you disagree. Then check for an update next week to see what happened!

Bee Keeping Journal – 2017 – Warm February Days


The warm weather has continued, with most days above 60 degrees and a few above 70. That is all about to change and go back to normal, which is close to freezing at night and mid-40s during the day.

Hive 201601H

The good news continues for this hive – for now! There is plenty of activity on the warm sunny days. In fact in the last week they are even bringing in pollen from somewhere, my guess is the maples. The news reported several trees, including the maples, with high pollen counts right now on the hay fever report. Good Times! My concern now is as the weather returns to “normal” that the bees may have already started the spring build up. I have decided that I will not being doing any in depth hive inspections in order to not chance rolling the queen or chilling any brood, so I cant be sure what is happening. Today is the last predicted extra warm day for the next 10 days so I popped the top and found about half the sugar bricks remaining. I dropped in a pollen patty and closed it back up. The weather was so nice they barely noticed I was there! Plenty of bees inside and out doing what bees do, so keeping my fingers crossed this hive makes it to “real” spring!


This hive consist of two deep hive bodies, a spacer for feeding and a top entrance, and a quilt box currently full of wood shavings.

Bee Keeping Journal – 2017 – still here!

In an attempt to begin actually keeping records regarding my bee keeping, I give you this first post of the year. Anytime I have observations about the bee hives and or work with the bees I am plan to document them on the blog under the title “Bee Keeping Journal”. Then I can look back year to year and see what has happened and anticipate problems or needs. I will try to group thoughts under headings specific to a given hive. So here goes!


It has been cold, below normal cold, the past couple of weeks. Getting as low as 1 degree on one given night. While I know others further north are laughing, I was fretting and worrying about my one remaining hive. I lost both hives last year, most likely due to mites, so I don’t consider myself a beekeeper until I have kept bees through the winter. Then yesterday and today in an odd, but normal for the midwest, we had a mid-winter heat wave. 65+ both days, so I ran up the hill to the remaining hive as fast as I could to see if we still had bees.

Hive 201601

This hive was started using a package of bees and two deep boxes of built comb and honey stores. I took both dead outs from 2015 and froze the frames in the deep freezer over the winter and was able to start this hive with an abundance of resources. I could be wrong about this, but it seemed to make the bees lazy or it could have been the late start of May 16th when the package arrived. They built up well in numbers, but never really built out additional comb. So mid summer I removed a frame from each box (9 frames in each 10 frame deep) to allow better air flow due to excessive bearding. Plus they weren’t using or building on the outer frames. This seemed to please them as they began working all 9 frames and reduced bearding. They got a full MAQS treatment at or around Sept 1st. After that I feed them several gallons of 1:1 syrup because they had very little in the way of winter stores. In November I added the quilt box. Mid-December there was brief warm up so I dropped in some chunks of Becky’s sugar bricks. Checked on them yesterday and saw plenty of activity, so opened them up and even though still had plenty of sugar I gave them the remaining pieces of brick from hive 201602. Today this is what I saw – happy bees, happy beekeeper!

January 2017 Bee Activity

January 2017 Bee Activity

Hive 201602

This hive was from a swarm captured the same week as the package arrived. In fact I thought it might have been from the package, check the details here Swarm Trap Success – sort of. It followed the same path as the package, two deeps of resources, lazy bees, MAQS, 1:1 syrup, and sugar bricks. But two weeks after the sugar bricks when the package hive had minimum activity due to a slight warm up, this hive had none. So I popped the lid to find a small dead cluster in the bottom box. Not sure exactly what happened, but seems like they got caught in bottom box and either starved or froze. This is only my second year so not good a reading a hive to determine the exact cause. I looked through the pile of bees and those that dropped out from the between the frames, but couldn’t find the queen. I tore the hive down and stashed the frames to be used again next year.

This is the life!

While this rural life can be great during spring and summer, I truely love fall and winter.  What a great day it was today!

The day started sitting in a frosty tree stand.  It is deer season here and with sunrise later and later I didn’t even have to get up early.  I always dreamed of this day when instead of getting up early and driving for more than an hour to hunt I could just get up and walk out back.  It now takes me longer to get dressed in several layers, than to get to my stand.  It was a balmy 25 degrees, but I loved every minute of it.  Plus since I am fortunate enough to work remotely,  I was able to sleep in, hunt for 2 hours an still get to work on time.

It was going to be the last relatively warm day for a while so I took the opportunity to feed the bees the sugar bricks I had made according to Laurie’s recipe.  I cut it down since I only have two hives and it turned out not too bad.  When I got to the hives it was about 2pm and 48 degrees.   There were a couple of bees out flying so I figured it was safe to open up the hive.  I was ecstatic too see clustered bees. A couple were none to happy I left the door open, overall things looked good.  I quickly placed half the sugar brick in each hive and closed them back up.   There is normally a warm spell in January, so will check on them again and see if the need more sugar.  Otherwise beekeeping is over for 2016.

After a normal work day, it was holiday date night.  Meaning we headed to town for dinner, shoppping, and a live nativity presentation.  The shopping included buying our live Christmas and black oil seeds to keep our winter feeders full.  The nativity presentation was a drive through setup of the life of Jesus.  I had to laugh a little since the specific nativity part consisted of two small goats.  I give an A for a good overall effort.

We spent Thanksgiving at Universal Studios Orlando with the family where it was 80 degrees both days, so we are planning to have a mini turkey dinner tomorrow with all the trimmings.  Personally I am only in it for the pumpkin pie!

Jump to the comments and share about your fall/winter activities.

Bee Keeping Journal – 2016 – Quilt box – Bee update

Winter Hive Setup 2016

Winter Hive Setup 2016

This time last year I was cleaning out the beehives.  We lost both hives from that first year.  My initial summation was they we overwhelmed by hive beetles due to a bad location.  While I still think the location was bad (too much shade and moisture) I have come to the conclusion the beetles probably took over after a mite investation damaged the hive beyond repair.  We didn’t check or treat for mites last year.

This year the first of September in a hasty rush we treated with MAQS.  Why hasty, well really I didn’t feel qualified to test and count mites and everything I ready online said “you have mites” even if you don’t think you do.  So before we ran out of warm days, we treated.  Feel free to flame me in the comments for not testing first or because you believe in being treatment free.  The treatment went well and in part due to the new location the beetle count was down, not great but much better than last year.

Both hives were low on stores, the fall flow seemed bad based on what little I know in my second year.  The 2:1 sugar syrup feeding begin and continued through October at which point both hives appeared to have two mostly full deeps and were active and still bringing in pollen from who knows where.  The feeder was removed and two more frames of empty comb were added in its place.

Last item before winter was to build and install a quilt box.  This became a priority as we are forcasted to have our first frost this next week.  The box was made from 1×4 and lined with metal screen.  It was filled half full of the same wood shavings we use for the chickens and placed on top above the shim.  The shim will allow us to add a sugar brick on each hive later in the season.  The shavings are supposed to wick moisture from the hive and allow it to evaporate out ventilation holes instead of dripping back into the hive and freezing the bees.

Winter HIve Quilt Box 2016

Winter HIve Quilt Box 2016

For now the bees are busy during the heat of the day and they are ready for winter as best we know how.

Happening on the Ridge – August 2016

Summer is coming to a close, but things on the Ridge go on.

The garden finally got a break from intense dry heat to constant rain.  The tomatoes  made the best come back.

That was until these guys showed up

Yup tomato hornworms.  Now the top of all my tomatoes look like this

Nothing really to do except go out each morning and pick them manually and stomp the juicy little suckers!

Lily pads in the gold fish pond are blooming

Then there are the bees

This one hive beards ever evening regardless of the weather, have all summer.

So as the days grow shorter, there is still plenty to do.  Hunting season quickly approaches so we have a tree stand to build. Fall crops of lettuce, carrots, and cucumbers have been planted.   There are chicken eggs in the incubator to raise our layers for next season.

I will leave you with this picture of the trail to the river bottom.

5 homestead projects in our near future

Got a couple of things rolling around in my head that we want to do on the Ridge in the next 6-12 months. I thought I would share them here and see if there is any feedback, good or bad, that people have had doing these projects themselves.

1) Deer stand
While we have already built a ground blind on a hill side over looking the river bottom, that location is right next to the neighbor’s property and I have actually waved to him in his stand while hunting. Not a good location. My son and I have scouted a place near the middle of the property that seems to be a natural corridor for all types of wildlife. The trail cam I placed there has shots of several deer of all ages. Raccoons, possums, armadillos, and a fox who is a great hunter. The fox is never on camera without a mouth full of something fresh he (she?) has just hunted. We decided his (her?) den must be close to the location. Anyway, back to the deer stand. In the past we have had great luck with a high tree stand (platform) that gets us above the deer line of sight and probably smell. So we have a group of three trees and a 10 foot 4X6 post that will be used to build the platform on. That is happening in August to get it done ahead of bow season which starts Sept 15th here in Missouri.

2) Greenhouse
We secured a free 10X12 greenhouse from some friends who acquired it with a new home purchase, but didn’t want it. They said if we removed it we could have it. So the pile of clear plastic panels has been sitting in the woods all summer. The next step is to have the son-in-law bring over his bobcat and clear/level the location we want to install it. We are questioning a few things with this item. First I think we should have a dirt floor that we can either plant directly into or maybe start a covered worm bin into later. It would save the cost of installing a full concrete foundation, but we still need to secure it to the ground somehow. We are thinking we might be able to anchor it to 6X6 or 8X8 timbers. Then there is the direction to set it up. Our plan is the face the door west with the long (12 foot) sides running east/west and facing south/north.

3) Perone Bee Hive
I discovered this hive design over the past winter and it has really intrigued me. Mostly because it boast of having little to no management needed. While we have 22 acres and currently 3 hives on the Ridge, we also have access to 100 acres about 40 miles away. I would like to setup hives on this other property, but dont expect to be driving 80 miles round trip very often to check on the hives, so low maintenance is required. While this hive was created in a much warmer southern climate, there have been mixed reviews on its success in the states. Honestly, most of the failures I have read about were due to too much beekeeper interaction in my opinion. The plan is to build one this winter and install it early next spring with some swarm lure. The hive’s designer says it does best with an early season primary swarm, so that is what we are going to try and capture straight into the new hive.

4) Farm building
The only building on the property was the house with a two car garage and now the chicken coop we built last winter. We need a proper building for storage and work space. This will be next Spring at the earliest and looking at something like a 30X50. It needs to have a place to work on cars/trucks – hopefully with a lift. Since we are looking at getting goats in the future, we would also like it to have some over hang area to store hay. It will have electricity and I would like to add a water well and plumbing since it wont be close to the house. Any one else setup a new building and have thoughts on other things we need to consider?

5) Pool
Ok, while this might not be the most homesteady of projects, we really want one. We had a 21 foot above ground pool at our last house and there is nothing like jumping in to cool off after a day of splitting wood or working on the car in the heat, etc. The long term plan would be to get a very nice in-ground pool installed, but due to our rocky, hilly location that is a current budget buster. Short-term while the son-in-law is clearing a spot for the greenhouse, we hope he will be willing to clear/level another area for an above ground pool. That is for late spring/early summer next year.

How about you? What big build projects do you have planned in the next 12 months?

Swarm Trap Success – sort of

The plan was to replace the two hives we lost last season by purchasing a package for one and trying to catch a swarm for the other. The logic being that a swarm trap actually cost less than a package or nuc and the bees would be local and strong and ready to go. After the first swarm, any bees caught would basically be free! The next part of the logic was a trap would be easier than finding a swarm in a tree and “dropping” into a box and then into a hive. Well…..

We bought the trap on eBay and I would highly recommend the seller Riley Honey Farm. He answered our questions, made suggestions, and even called me during this whole fiasco to offer advice.

So the trap was placed according to all the things I could find on the internet. Up in the fork of a tree, near water, near forage, morning sun, afternoon shade, blah, blah, blah.

Bee Swarm Trap

This bee swarm trap is installed on the edge of the glade.

Then we waited. A bit over zealous I placed it out on April 1st, a little early for our area but didn’t want to miss any swarms. On sunny days there was activity at the trap which made me feel good about the trap placement.

Last Tuesday our package of bees arrived, read about it here “Bees are back in town”. That was a cold rainy day, but the weather improved on Wednesday and the traffic at the trap significantly picked up. We began to worry our new package was considering moving out of the hive and into the trap. I kept a close eye on both and then it happened on Thursday afternoon some time between noon and 2pm (yes I was checking every couple of hours) the swarm arrived.
I was so excited! The sheer number of bees let me know this was not my new package of bees. Now I waited for the swarm to move into the trap and carefully planed my next moves to get it into a hive. Because the new hive location was close, I understood I needed to move the trap at least three miles away for at least a week and then I could move it back without worry of the bees returning to the original trap location.

Swarm trap day 1

Swarm trap day 1

Swarm trap day 1 side view

Swarm trap day 1 side view

So we waited, as slowly over the next three days the bees moved under the trap and along the main tree trunk.
Swarm trap day 2

Swarm trap day 2

And waited, on Friday afternoon I baited the hive and placed it at the base of the tree about 3 feet off the ground hoping they would move in directly. No luck.
Swarm trap day 3

Swarm trap day 3

We had a family wedding to attend on Saturday so there was no time to mess with the bees, but I was seeing a lot of bees dancing/wiggling on the swarm and was worried the bees might be getting ready to move to a new location.

Sadly here is where the pictures end, but early Sunday morning (3 days after the swarm arrived) we suited up and decided to “place” the swarm in the new hive. First I brushed the bees into a cardboard box which was easier to handle up and down a ladder than the hive box. My lovely wife would then dump the box contents into the hive. At this point the bees were a bit cranky, so we moved quickly. Almost too quickly, there were bees everywhere. Since the bees were basically on the main trunk of the tree at this point I was making a sweeping motion with my bee brush and missing the box with a lot of bees. We did what we could and then stood back. Almost immediately the bees on the top of the hives started fanning, butts in the air. This behavior indicates the queen was most likely in the hive and they were spreading scent to let the other bees know the new location. We left it alone for about an hour and a half and by then the tree only had a few stranglers left and the hive was full. I placed the top on it and transported it to the new location.

As of Tuesday morning the new hive appears to be doing well. There is what I would consider normal activity, coming and going, and even pollen being brought in. We will give them a week or so to settle in completely and then do a hive inspection on both hives to confirm we have a laying queens. Fun, fun, fun!

After talking with trap maker, we decided this most likely happened because a frame was blocking the trap entrance. The new design has a block on the frame rail to keep this from happening. When I re-installed the trap I removed two frames and pushed the others to the outside. I checked it again after climbing the ladder and before securing the trap to the tree to make sure no frame was near the entrance and the next swarm could walk right in!

Bees are back in town!

Last season we started with two new bee hives and lost both in the late fall early winter. Details here. After a long quiet bee-less winter, we now have bees again!

The plan for this year was to buy a single package of bees, since we had hives, comb, and even honey we chose a package over a nuc. For the other hive I spent the money, less actually, on a pre-built swarm trap in hopes we could catch a “free” swarm. More on that later. We purposely bought a package from a local apiary with a late season delivery in mid-may. The hope was with the delivery during full bloom and the left over honey we would need to feed the new package less.

Trailer Full of Bees

Trailer Full of Bees

So delivery day came and I was off to meet a guy with a trailer full of bees in a random parking lot. Felt a little like we were doing a secret deal, but it is all on the up and up – I swear. The interesting part was even though we had this late date, it was cold and rainy. Like 45 degrees cold. Being new I asked the guy about installing the package in the bad weather and he says “well they install them in the snow up north” and went back to his delivery of bees. Good enough for me, I guess.

A quick check of the weather showed it would stop raining late afternoon and might make it into the mid 50’s. I took the bees home and sprayed them with a 1:1 sugar solution to make sure they were feed and waited for the rain to stop.

Box 'O Bees

Box ‘O Bees

One winter project was to build a true hive stand and to relocate the bees to a sunnier location. Both of these were a plan to reduce the hive beetle infestation. The new hive stand was copied from many found on the internet and consisted of two 2X6’s screwed to spacers about 11 inches apart. Last year the hives sat on these same boards laying flat, which didn’t allow for proper airflow under the hive and through the screened bottom board. So better ventilation and early morning sunshine – check! Since everything here is on a hill, a couple of cinder blocks were called into service to level the stand, plus get it off the wet ground.
Hive Stand

Hive Stand

I laid out the items I needed for the install on the hive stand before getting on my bee suit. Something about “shaking” a couple thousand bees around called for a little protection. In this picture you can see my hive tool, a spray bottle of sugar water, the hive components, and the package of bees. The two wooden shims are used to level an internal feeder.
Package Install Tools

Package Install Tools

Here is where I wish I had more pictures, but due to the bee suit and crappy weather I moved quickly to finish the job. First I sprayed the bees with sugar water to calm them and make them busy cleaning themselves. Next while holding the queen cage tab, I removed the can of sugar syrup shipped with the bees and then removed the queen cage. Checked the queen was alive and well before placing her cage between two frames with the screen facing so the other bees could still see and feed her. Then the fun part, I turned the package upside down and “gently” shook the bees out and into the hive between a couple of frames. I know there are a lot of folks online now saying this is too rough on the bees or not the way to do it. In this case due to cold weather and impending rain I wanted as many as the bees as possible inside the hive and closed up so I went old school rough! After closing up the hive, I placed the package out front in hopes the last few would find there way inside.
Bee Package Install Complete

Bee Package Install Complete

Swarm trap update:
While the trap has been out since the first of April there had been little activity until around the first of May. While on most sunny days we see a handful of bees coming and going, these are most likely scouts attracted by the smell of the frames and the swarm trap lure. I keeping looking for A LOT of bees or at least a few bringing pollen into the trap. The weather really hasnt been great, so we are hoping the next week of warmer weather being promised will cause a swarm to find it’s way to our trap. 🙂
Bee Swarm Trap

This bee swarm trap is installed on the edge of the glade.

Stone Hill Ridge Spring 2016 Update

So thought I would give a quick update on the things going on at the Ridge for Spring 2016.

While we are waiting for the last average frost date to come and go (April 10-15) we have started seeds indoors. The artichokes, tomatoes, and peppers (Carolina Reapers – hot, hot, hot) are well on their way. The squashes, pumpkins, and watermelons have just been started with a few poking out of the soil. The plan is to do a three sisters garden (corn, beans, squash) using the started squash and melon plants. The lettuce has been started outside, but with the cool weather it has had a slow start. There is a small remnant of fall spinach that over wintered and I am hoping it will grow larger. We also tried something new – winter sowing. Google it, but basically you start seeds during the winter in mini greenhouses (soda or milk bottle) and when the weather is appropriate the seeds know what to do. We used only herb seeds since that is also new for us. So far I have seen some sprouting of Thyme, but nothing else.

The rest of the property is getting revved up for spring. Daffodils have bloomed and the red buds are starting. The forest floor and the trees are starting to turn green. The first thing to leaf out is the invasive bush honeysuckle, so we have been pulling as much as we can after any rain or snow melt. The roots are shallow, so it makes them easy to pull. Some day we hope to have goats that will love to eat the stuff after we pull it, but for now we stack it and burn it on non-windy days. While the glade hasn’t really started yet, once it does there will be a day to day parade of wild flowers.

Finally, we once again ordered trees from the conservation department for spring planting. The downside is there are 80 trees/bushes to arrive next week that need planting. Part of the reason we call this Stone Hill Ridge, is there is little possibility of digging a hole more than 2 inches deep that doesn’t hit bedrock. This makes the prospect of digging 80 holes less than appealing. A lot of them are berry bushes (black berry, choke berry, elderberry) and I have been preparing a south facing hill side for the berry patch. By preparing I mean cutting down cedar trees. The plan is to use the cedar trees to create a small wall to hold dirt that we can plant the bushes into instead of digging. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Finally, we purchased some Antonovka Apple seeds. These apples are said to be both cold hardy (like Russia in winter cold hardy) and one of the few known apples to grow true from seeds. This means the resulting tree and fruits will be the same as the original that created the seeds. Apparently this is not true of most apple seeds. The seeds are currently in our extra fridge stratifying and we hope to plant them in small pots for the spring/summer. Then they will get planted permanently this fall on the northern part of the property.

We lost both bee hives over the winter, so there is a package of bees ordered, but won’t arrive until mid-May 🙁 I hope it is not too late in the season, but time will tell and if need be we will be feeding a lot of sugar. Mean time we ordered and installed a swarm trap. We filled it with empty comb from last years hive. We will see how that goes, but our hope is that a feral swarm will over winter better and not require as much intervention on our part. The trap is in a large tree on the edge of glade, the expectation is scout bees will find it as soon as the glade starts blooming and if they swarm they will already now where to find a new home. Funny thing right now is the lemon balm oil that came with the trap as a lure makes my hands smell like I have been cleaning the house with a lemon fresh cleaner of some sort. Just hope the bees like it as well.

Bee Swarm Trap

This bee swarm trap is installed on the edge of the glade.

We have seen a little attrition in the chicken coop. I think I have shared it here, but we lost Kazooster the rooster due to my negligence in locking up the hive one night. So I have been searching for a replacement this spring. No luck, so far all the stores that usually sell chicks have only pullets or mixed sex of the wrong breed. In a week or two I will break down and order some online. The other losses have been due to what we like to call rogue chickens. We allow the birds to free range in the afternoon most days, but there are birds that like to get out earlier, i.e. going rogue. They also are the ones we have to hunt down from a forest roost location and place in the coop at night. When we cant locate them in the dark we sometimes loose one to predators. So we currently have 9 hens and 2 guinea fowl.

Big changes are coming this year. I continue to use the The Livestock Conservancy to guide my livestock choices. The goal this year is to move from a mixed breed rabbitary (mostly new zealand / flemish mixes) to a only pure breed American Blue Rabbits. We recently went to see my daughter in Chicago and just before leaving I found a breeder within 2 hours of her that had rabbits available. So we now have the start of a breeding trio in the form of an American Blue buck. He is 10 weeks old and doing well so far. Now to find him a couple of unrelated girl friends.

American Rabbit - blue

This is our American Blue buck.

We had a historic flood over the winter. Crazy stuff, middle of December we got three days of concentrated heavy rains that didn’t reach the house but we went from a long walk to see the river to having river front property. The silver lining was this flood was about a foot over a 33 year old record, so I am thinking we have at least 30 years before we need to worry again. Seriously it would have to beat this record by about 15 foot before the house would be in danger. The upside it we now have a good idea of where not to build on the property.

Winter projects
We are almost complete with building our two firewood storage units. They are a lot bigger than I thought they would be, but guess you can never have too much firewood on hand. This should have only taken a couple of weekends, but the truck was out of service for a while right in the middle of prime building time and we had no other vehicle to haul wood from the hardware store. So now we are trying to finish them in between other stuff. We will post some pictures once completed.

Final note – we have had our first snake sighting of the year. By that I mean specifically a copper head, which being one of the few poisonous snakes in this area is the only kind I care about. And more specifically only those that come close to the house. So this one being 5 feet off the front porch had to be dealt with swiftly. Not being one for taking a life without purpose, I chose to exempt the poisonous snakes that come to too close to the house. All other snakes, cooper head or not, found on the property are left alone and avoided with due diligence.