-Posted by Isaac
The girls are looking strong.
And they've been working hard. With the onset of the soybean bloom about three weeks ago, we've seen some filling of the supers. July brings on the summer nectar flow. Unfortunately, this July also brought us a monsoon. Our little Pickaway paradise was pounded with seven inches of rain in less than five days.
The chickens did not enjoy.
During the thick of it, about a week ago I took a little trip to Kentucky. I was in a hurry.
A rush to find dry land. Amazingly, south of Cincinnati they had not seen a drop of rain. It was a nice respite for a few hours. And I had a chance to talk bees with the ever charismatic Clay Guthrie of Dadant. He's the branch manager, I'm sure some of you beekeepers know him.
Not a vacation this time. (Tough gig, this beekeeping.)
Business trip. I had to blow a wad on protein- 4000 pounds of it.
I pulled out of there after 9pm. Too much bee talk. It looks like I have a big Dadant sign on the truck... and I may as well have. We hand them enough money. Maybe I should proposition Clay for some sponsorship, NASCAR style.
Every summer for maybe the last five years, I've been feeding supplemental protein. Dad was having trouble reasoning the huge expense.
But I no longer question it. The results speak for themselves. We've got two months until the goldenrod pollen, and I don't want our girls going downhill. I'm sure I'll have more to say about this in future posts.
So that's the perpetual summer project- keeping bees healthy. But this week I got busy on some other stuff. Something that was supposed to happen last winter, finally took shape- a walk-in cooler.
This is a 10'x10' cooler that will stay at 40 degrees and hold our naturally granulated and cinnamon honeys. Also we'll be able to fit things like pallets of protein feed. Really, anything that needs to stay cool.
In years past, I've relied on my sister Becky to store the protein over the summer. As you know, she's a big time organic farmer. She and husband Justin run Tilley Farmstead, and I guess this year they must have tired of me taking up their cooler space because they gave me the insulated panels. Thats right, absolutely free!
A new 10'x10' walk-in will set you back somewhere in the neighborhood of $6000. It's looking like I'll have the thing built for around $1000. Thanks guys! Of course they wouldn't take payment. So I've decided I'm going to pay them back in beer for the next 100 years. So far, so good. And it looks like it may not take that long.
At the moment, only one of them isn't pregnant.
I've experienced this time and time again, and it continues to prove true: It's not what you know, it's who you know. Or, to be more specific, it's not how much money you have, it's how much money who you know has. Fortunately I know some wealthy produce farmers.
They gave me so much, I still have a big pile of panels left over. If anyone out there is looking to build a walk-in, I've got them! (For a scant $200/panel)
Ok, kidding kidding. Seriously, I'd love to get rid of these ugly things if anyone is interested. (For the same price I got them- beer.)
Project #2 - the barn
I've been wanting to put a lean-to on the back of the big barn for a while now. A second time this week, I gave my dollars to a supply business and drove home grossly overloaded. This time it was lumber.
It's mainly for equipment storage. (At least that's what it will say on our taxes.) You beekeepers can attest- More storage!- A never ending problem.
But also, our little princess is almost eight years old and for half her long life she has begged for a horse. She's relentless.
And someday by God, she'll get her horse. She is a princess, after all.
But a horse has needs. Not the least of which being shelter. So this week I began work on the shelter part. Meanwhile the goats get a free pass to escape every time I open the gate to put up another board.
Which would normally be a problem. It's hard to find a goat herder these days, being such a specialized skill with qualified applicants few and far between. Fortunately after an exhaustive search we found a promising candidate.