Updates from the McCoo homestead

The weather’s been nice and the garden is booming.

The Hydroponics are doing well. This was a month ago:

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This is now. A little spindly since they are in the shade of the house for much of the day:

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A month ago:

My Kratky Beds

and now (there are several boxes that were not present in the previous picture):

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Before:

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after:

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Last fall, I planted a bunch of tulips in the middle of the lawn, which did well. They are gone now, however they prompted me to not mow that part of the yard. I’ve continued the habit and it’s yielded a nice little meadow. If the whole lawn looked like this, it’d just be overgrown, but surrounded by the manicured putting green that is my lawn, I think it looks nice. My part of Portland tends to not water the grass. I plan on giving the “meadow” some water here and there, especially when emptying the kiddie pool.

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Part of the inspiration for this was the book On Meadowview Street that we’ve read many times to Lydia:

 

The most abundant part of the yard is the bee hives.

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It would be logical to ask why we have three hives. Well, it started with just one composed of the larger boxes. Then I realized how heavy a fullsized hive body (one of the levels of the box) weighs. So I bought a bunch of the shallow ones which still get pretty heavy. I also tried making some myself as a woodworking project. The result is that I have three hives worth of components. Only two of them were occupied through the winter. When I harvested some honey from the right most hive, I noticed that many of the frames had brood (larvae) so I took a risk at moved some of those to the empty middle hive. The bees can raise a queen from some of those brood and build a new hive. Now that it’s a couple months later, it appears to be healthy. Hopefully, they’ll become strong enough to survive.

A couple days ago, I harvest honey from the left most hive, which was the strongest. Here is some of what I got from them; about 4 gallons. These are all quart mason jars.

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My extraction process is pretty simple. Just a 5 gallon paint strainer duct taped to a cut bucket. Most of it strains in a couple days but I’ll likely get another quart over the next month. Note that there are another five frames that are still waiting. I was starting to worry that the duct tape won’t be strong enough to hold the weight.IMG_4934

 

If anyone cares for honey, let me know. If you’re an Intelite, I will get some to JF to be passed along. If you’re somewhere else, give me your address and I’ll mail some.

I’ve also melted/separated the beeswax. Here’s what I’ve accumulated over the past two years. I don’t know what to do with it. I’ve you’d like any or all of it, let me know and I’ll send it to you. Anyone know how to make lip balm? I’ve included a quart mason jar for scale. The middle ones are the more recent ones. Remelting the others should bring back the nice yellow color.

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