October 2016 has been crazy....I think we've had more rain this month than we had all the previous months. Just like Game of Thrones....I hear....Winter is Coming...and it's going to be a long one. Most the tasks I saved for October will have to wait till spring sun now. I had visions of spraying out more of the blackberries and burning and.....well, that long list of things to do. Instead I hand hack the darn blackberries when I have time...and I look at the poison hemlock sprouting with the warm rain, all the while making a plan B. I'll hand pull the bigger plants and then spray the heck out of the blankets that are trying to grow. I wonder how many years I'll have to be vigilant to get that stuff gone?
I treated my bees for mites mid August. I felt like I was behind schedule...the bee keepers in the know say we are a whole month ahead of schedule. I was a few days late pulling my treatment because of the darn yellow jackets! I talked a friend into coming out and lifting the honey/bee filled boxes so I could quickly get in and get it done. This is the first time I've been in my bees since mid August and I was so surprised and happy. My one smaller hive, that I split from my big honey producing hive, looks awesome! My big hive that I bought in as a NUC looks amazing.....it has two deep boxes and a honey super that I contemplated pulling. But there were 4 frames of honey all capped and ready for winter bee meals...so I left it. Then there was my Honey Sign hive.....the big established top bar hive a friend gave me. That hive swarmed, then I moved them into their new tidy boxes. Somehow they got into a pesticide and mid July I was down to three frames (maybe). They are my meanest bees....very aggressive during the August dearth....and they tried to rob honey from my other hives. As far as being a new bee keeper is concerned....there has not been much I've loved about these bees.....until now. Going from three small frames of bees in late June.....to boxes of thick capped honey comb...well, these girls are amazing!
I also got excepted into the Oregon State bee mentorship program. I am so looking forward to learning more so I don't always feel like I am chasing my tail!
Then, of course, there is the dog work! My bottom field is coming together nicely. The people who lease it for grass seed are about the nicest people I know. They let me work my dogs and graze the sheep but also don't mind my plans for improvement. I think I have gotten all the blackberry sprayed out of the filed...and they disced my corner 8 acres, smooth enough that I hope to be able to work dogs down there in the spring after I get called off the main field. I planted clover knowing the sheep will love that as well as the bees....now my fingers are crossed that it does not all wash away.
Life continues in the order Mother Nature rules. I think the challenge is finding some order in the chaos of rain, yellow jackets, pink eye, hemlock and all the things that get that are thorn at me. Every day I learn something new and interesting. I had a sheep die a few days back and I drug her down to the bone pile under the big tree at the furthest end of my field. I put up a game camera but have not seen anything....last night the coyotes were singing and backing down there....time to get the camera back up and sneak a peak. Fall and weather means I'm seeing tracks in the barn....perhaps a raccoon or skunk is planning on winter in there. And big buck tracks in the front. The game camera is going to be busy capture all I miss in the darkness of night.