Bee disease?

So we've starting feeding both hives with syrup, in order to get them all ready to start harvesting honey. However, in feeding of them, and in expanding their openings a bit more, we've noticed some problems with the hive that was more productive last year. There's this black tar-like substance (Update: probably bee feces) on all of the wood and also in the combs, and the bees have done a very poor job of cleaning their hive: there were hundreds of dead bees left on the bottom that should have been removed from the hive. I'm hoping that both of these things were just because the bottom door was too small, or it was too cold for the bees to clean the hive, and now they should be able to clean themselves out. However, it could be a bacterial disease, which will likely kill the hive. We'll see what happens, and will be talking to our local apiarists.

Update: it appears it's nosema or some other type of dysentary. I'll still check with some kind of expert to confirm and for advice on what to do, but i don't think it's as bad as if we had foulbrood, as it's something of a common thing to happen when you don't have enough ventilation in a hive during the winter or it's too cold for the bees to defecate outside.

Potluck, workday, CSA shares

This Friday, March 18th, we'll have a potluck from 6 to 7 PM at the house of Tom Heather and Heather Brumm, at 2218 Donald St. From 7 to 8, Shari Reilly will facilitate a discussion about Benedictine spirituality and ethics, and how they relate to the environment.
Come to share good food, thoughts, and community!

The day after that, Saturday, March 19, we'll have a workday from 1 to 5 PM on the farm. We'll be preparing beds for the coming season, cleaning up our greenhouse, propagating elderberry, and more!

Finally, we're still looking for some people to buy CSA shares. Please talk to your friends and neighbors about getting a great deal on fresh veggies while helping feed people at Food at First, the Emergency Residence Project, Beyond Welfare and the many other places we donate our food. Contact Alice, 515-460-1467 or Shari, or 515-509-6851 with suggestions for new share members.

Read below for some updates on seed starting!

Spring cover crop status

Above is two parts of our farm, about two weeks ago. On the upper left, starting from the left, there's dead pepepr plant held up by white poles, followed by cover crops planted late last summer: Oats, which winter-killed, rye, which is still alive, and mustard greens, which also winter killed. On the far right and left of the photo, and in much of the left of the second photo( the rest is also dead mustard), you see soil that is largely bare. There, we planted rye as well, but planted it later, and it didn't get any rain, and so didn't germinate. We're now seeing a bit of growth, but definitely not as much as we'd like for carbon input to the soil and erosion and weed control.

Spring: Bees Alive!

On the left is when Chantal and I put the bees in the hive last spring, and the right is a picture I took a few Thursdays ago, when it was about 60F out, and the bees were flying around cleaning their hive and looking for nectar, which wasn't really there yet. Both hives survived the winter, probably because they didn't swarm during the summer, we treated them for varroa mites this fall, and the winter was relatively mild.

Community Resilience

I started some leeks this week, but besides that our farm work is still mostly planning, splitting wood, and working on the insides of the house. HOwever, we do have some great events coming up this month.

Sunday Feb 13th, 2pm at the Ames public library - a free concert by the Porch Stompers (featuring farm members nate and alice) this is also alice's birthday.

water in honduras

Alice has returned to the farm, after being away for the first half of January in Honduras, on a service trip with the Dubuque Franciscans, and then in Dubuque at a Catholic Worker craft retreat. Here are some pictures and reflections from the trip. However, there were a lot of other folks there, and a number of them have already written about it, and so I'm going to cut and paste some of their thoughts also.

Potluck this Friday

So this Friday, January 21, we are having a potluck and discussion:
Dinner will be at 6, with the discussion at 7.

The discussion will be led by Troy Jansen from ERP. The topic will be “Solidarity with the Poor”

At the house of Jennifer Garst and Steve Libby, 708 Brook Ridge Avenue, Ames, Iowa 50010

a stove! and pot-luck info

the stove pictures are from before the stovepipe was installed, so here we are using it as a counter for electrical appliances!

we are having a pot-luck this friday dec 17 at 6pm.
HOWEVER, it is NOT at the the previously posted location, nor planned topic. Carolyn will be out of town, and will instead be hosting the february pot-luck and leading with her global warming, community resilience, food growing topic at that time.

Cover crops without rain, and so no cover crops

So a little over a month ago, we cleaned out a good part of our farm, then planted rye, so that it would grow up and protect our soil from water and wind erosion, add organic matter to the soil, and absorb nitrogen and other nutrients to stop them from leaching: But actually, the picture is from just a week ago. After planting, we didn't get any rain for like a month, and now it's too late to grow much. So we have a big area of our farm that was going to be all green and protected, and now its just bare.

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