Sunday, April 12, 2015

Of birds and bees.....

and other animals... ;)

More and more birds are returning; terns and gulls appear in numbers and buzzards circle the skies.
Last week we got an unexpected visitor; a young buzzard. Swept in low over the house and trees and landed right in the aspen in front of our livingroom window! Of course I grabbed a camera, but as I went outside, it turned around, lowered its head and gazed at me, before taking off. It made a few slow circles and then disappeared all together..  And on friday afternoon I heard loons calling on the main lake. They're back again!! I don't know what it is, but I love that sound of their eery, mournful calls. Untamed nature, perhaps?
As far as the bees go.... The bumblebees were out buzzing away last friday too and I saw one or two smaller, solitary bees as well. I think one of the bumblebee queens has chosen the wood supply next to the backdoor as a place for a nest. I guess I will not be taking that wood indoors just yet.

The beehives are nearing completion. It took some measuring and sawing, both of which I am not that good at. Difficulties with numbers and shoulders... Good thing I was able to loan my father in law's sawing table. I followed Warré's instructions pretty literally, but had to alter some of the measurements, due to differing board thickness. The ones I used are 25 to 26mm thick instead of 20. That makes the boxes a good deal heavier, but also provides more insulation in winter. I not only used the wood I got for free, but also nails from a local thriftshop and jute from an old shoppingbag.
The days before the weekend my wife and I spent quite some time measuring and sawing and I spent most of the saturday nailing, measuring, remeasuring, sawing and building again. We made a mistake with the tops. They were 1cm too narrow.... After I had built one hive roughly (no interior or insulation yet), I put it in its place, just to see the result. I was quite pleased...
I will do a separate post on the building process and show everything in more detail.
On sunday the stability of the still empty hive was being tested. We had a day and night of rain and stormy weather, but the hive still stands firmly.
And because sunday was mostly about wind and skywaters, we revisited a friend of my wife, who has a farm of her own called Utah Farm and who quite recently has gotten "in the business". She breads with sheep and chickens, has a few pigs and sells meat, eggs, lambskin and in starting a small shop with related, natural items on her farm as well and on sunday she had "open house". I got another chance to ask a handful of questions and to take a look around. Learned a thing or two... We had been there earlier this week to deliver some of my wife's woolen angels and we talked a good deal of course. Turned out they have roughly the same ideas and visions we have... Always good to meet likeminded folk!
Our girls enjoyed petting ducklings and some lambs and especially our oldest daughter adored the black chicks. I loved the black and white coloured lambs, a crossbreed they have and they even have blotched pigs with fur! Forgot the breed, though...

And of course we came home with a handful of eggs....

...which tasted real good, together with the knäckebröd my wife baked herself in the woodfed ovens of Skedvi Bröd, one of the very few bakeries in Sweden, where they still use open woodfires to bake the hard bread. A handcraft and a local item of pride.... Take a look at the link. You'll find some clips on how they do that.


  1. Again I say what a lovely post! Things are really moving forward for you and your family. I hope you have great success with your bees. I think you are on the right track! If I don't make comments for the next week it's because we are off the ranch. We have found people to look after our animals and my garden and we are going to the Grand Canyon and to visit my sister. We leave tomorrow. I told you about this a while back. We are so excited! It will be so different not having the routine of this place. All new sights! Of course I imagine disaster at every moment but I'm going in for the trust that things will be fine when we come back. If my garden is all dead I can start over. I hope they take good care of our animals. That's the main thing.

    Beautiful eggs! We have an Italian wood fired oven but the only thing I have made in it is pizza and I turned my back for 30 seconds and it almost burned to a crisp. I clearly don't know what I'm doing with it.

  2. We have to make some sort of effort!
    Enjoy your visit to the Grand Canyon. Don't fall in!