Archive for April, 2016

2903 Main gate, 4-29-16.JPG++++

This is the main entrance to the garden. It was the toughest area to get fenced, but I knew the deer wouldn’t necessarily follow the ‘honor system.’ With the 4×4 wooden posts and pretty gate, I’m happy with it.

“I HATE FENCES”…that said, I have to say that, so far, I love this deer fence we recently put up.  It didn’t start out too well though.  The conversation between my wife and I, that is.  She says, “Pat, I’m tired of the deer eating everything that isn’t netted.  And I’m tired of having to lift up the netting just to get a few leaves of kale or pick salad greens.  And last year the deer even ate the leaves off the potato vines.  They even ate some tomato stems.”  That was true.  We can’t net everything.  We use the ‘honor system’ for the tomatoes and potatoes,  deer are not supposed to eat them.  They trimmed the new corn plants too.  Yes, I was tired of all the deer damage too, but our efforts to find an acceptable fence line always ended in a huge disagreement.  I says, “All right…if you can find a fence line…one that doesn’t go through the middle of the bamboo, doesn’t cut off the bee hives, and doesn’t slice through the main entrance to the garden, you can have it, but it’s going to take me a good month to set it up and I’m going to be upset the whole time because it won’t be straight.  (I’m a printer, I like everything straight)  Ten minutes later she marches in triumphantly, “I’ve got it,” she says, with a big smile.  We walk it out, and yes, it’s there.  I have to insist on my gates, though.  I get seven of ’em.  Gotta have my gates. 🙂    We decide in an effort to keep peace in the family and to get the job done in time for spring planting, it’ll be hired out.  “Whew!!!”

4 2617 Fence construction, first day, 4-4-16

The main entrance. The fruit trees are on the inside of the fence. That means all the wire cages can be removed.

11 2709 West gate, smaller, 4-11-16

The ‘small’ west gate.

11 2716 West gate, new deer fence, 4-11-16JPG

The bigger west gate. I’ve got to grind down the stump on the inside of this gate. I’ll rent a stump grinder…that ought to be fun.

2738 Stump west side, before shot, 4-15-16

A closer look at the stump…two stumps. Piece of cake…

2745 Stump grinder, 4-15-16

…NOT!!! I spent a long part of the day, grinding the double stump down with this big stump grinder. I think I got through most of it, but had to hurry to get it back within the time limit so I wouldn’t be charged extra.

2773 Gate to Cody Garden, 4-11-16

This is one of my home-made gates. It opens up to the Cody garden. Cody was a special dog to us for 15+ years. He is buried there.

2923 Cody colored pencil drawing, 2001

My daughter drew this colored pencil sketch of Cody with his favorite cat, Chuck, in 2001.

2893 Southside gate, 4-27-16

We piled up these ‘tomato’ tires in front of the south gate to try to divert the deer around the fence. They are accustomed to walking through here from the side woods. We’re hoping they develop the habit of walking AROUND the fence. Then we can remove the tires.

2892 Compost gate, 4-27-16

Another perk to having a deer fence is being able to grow peas outside the greenhouse. This gate leads to the compost area.

So, there are my seven gates.  The following video shows how to build a deer fence.  You know I have to shoot video of everything that moves in the garden.  When the fence boys came, I couldn’t help myself…out came the cameras.  I just had to find out how the pros build a tight wire fence without bending the fence posts crooked.  I’m proud to say I found out and documented it for others to possibly use.



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2838 Bee Beard's new hat, 4-22-16

April 23…Bee Beard’s new look, complete with peacock feathers. My wife says he looks like he’s yodeling. I say the hat is ‘functional.’ and I’ll get used to it, but no one can call us “mainstream.”

I know this isn’t a lovely hackle like Johnathon Powell’s log hive ‘thatch roof’ covering. but the hive had to be fixed before attracting a swarm and this is swarm season.  My wife suggested this stylish lid probably because she knew it would take me a long time to figure out a wooden solution.  A ‘long time’ means Pat’s not contributing to the gardening effort.:)

The top of the hive has to vent the air through the quilt box without letting in any rainwater.  How did the rainwater get in?  See below.

2814 Is this how rainwater got in, 4-20-16

See this crack in the headpiece? I think that’s what did in the hive. When I opened it up, the quilt box was soggy and the sow bugs plentiful.

2817 Split in 'hat' lets rainwater enter, 4-20-16

This is the underneath. That crack can leak all the way through, letting the El Niño rainwater into the top of the hive.

2809 Torched every sq. inch, 4-19-16

I took the hive apart, cleaned out all the comb, and torched every square inch (and centimeter).

2823 Quilt over scorched top bars, 4-20-16

I melted some old comb and stuck it back on the very torched top bars. A muslin cloth will cover the bars, then the quilt box goes on top.

2824 Quilt box fitted in top, above top bars, 4-20-16

A new quilt box goes in. It fits perfectly…after the third time I reconfigured it. Hey, I’m not a that good of a wood worker, but I try, try again.

2825 Screened holes to let air vent, keep yj out, 4-20-16

This is the key to the whole thing. Let the hive breathe, but don’t let the yellow jackets in. I drilled some holes in the top and screened them over.

2827 Clean observation window, 4-20-16

The observation window is cleaned up and fitted back in. It’ll be covered with a wooden plug. I like to see the bees comb building progress.

2831 Bee Beard, hat, 4-21-16

Then the hat goes on. Believe it or not, we had to get just the right one. This one lets the air come through under the hat, but keeps the rain out. My wife says, “Something is still missing.” We find a store that sells peacock feathers.

2838 Bee Beard's new hat, 4-22-16

Perfect!!!  Ready for immediate occupancy…

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2779 Andrea's swarm, view, 4-16-16 copy

April 16…Andrea called to let us know she had a newly formed swarm, hanging about chest high off the yellow plum tree…did we want it? “ABSOLUTELY!”

2780A Shaking swarm into bucket, 4-16-16 copy

It was pretty easy to ‘pop’ the bees into the bucket…

2802A Brown Warré, 4-19-16 copy

…and into a Warré hive. Back to having bees again. Thank you, Andrea Gatov!

2756 Echium against blue sky, 4-15-16

I’ve been protecting this echium plant for two years. It has finally paid off with these bluish-red blossoms. Just in time for the bees. I think this is Wild Prettii echium.

2804A Bee near Echium, 4-19-16 copy

The day after we hived Andrea’s swarm, the bees were all over this shapely echium plant.

2804B Bee on Wild Prettii, 4-19-16 copy

One of our new guests partakes of the nectar.

2757A Bumblebees like it too copy

Yellow-faced bumblebees like it too.

2833 Turnip flowers, 4-21-16

Turnip flowers collect bees.  Is that a ‘hat’ on Bee Beard Log Hive???

22A Turnip flowers, 4-21,16 copy

April 21…Close-up on turnip flowers.


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Garden Start

2638 Troy-bilt, first potato rows, 4-5-16

It ain’t purty, but this 40 year-old Troy-bilt rototiller still starts on the second pull. I tilled up a couple of early rows for potatoes. You can see the 4×4’s of the new deer fence in the background.

2661 1 1:2 rows Red Pontiacs+1:2 row Russett, 4-6-16

4-6-16….Two rows of spuds go in.

2606 Sue in baby bear bed, 4-4-16

My wife is very happy about the deer fence. It means she can plant some bee-loving flowers without the deer munching them. She’s planting some trachelium caeruleum in our baby bear bed. Once the fence is totally up, we will remove the cages around the fruit trees and Nine Barks.

2610 Buckwheat planted today, 4-4-16

4-4-16…..The buckwheat has been planted. Several years ago, it blossomed 3 weeks after I planted it. I’m hoping it’ll repeat, but the main reason I’m planting it is to enhance the soil

2611 Lettuce, hope 1 more year bed, 4-4-16

I hope I can buy one more year out of this raised bed. At the time, it was the only one we could use for the baby lettuce transplants which are growing well.

2501 Hypericum coming along, 3-6-16

Those little hypericum seeds from last year have come up. These are almost a month old. I don’t know what I’m going to do with so many…

590 Amelia's Hypericum, plnted 11-27-16

Amelia sent a photo of her hypericum. It looks like she might have to give some away too. 🙂

The hypericum above started off as a cutting.  In December, I sliced off the stem and jammed it into the corner of this planter.  It looks like it took…but what am I going to do with all this hypericum???

95 Clary Sage Salvia, 3-1-16

Clary salvia planted in mid February

2682 Clary Sage, 4-7-16

4-7-16….Clary Sage now.

2675 Wild Prettii planted outside, 11-27-15, 4-7-16

4-7-16….Wild prettii echium now, was planted outside 11-27-16.

2505 Echium starting to swell, 3-7-16

This is a different kind of echium. I’ve been nursing it along for a couple of years. It needs to be protected from freezing temperatures. I think I can see bud starts on it. See the next photo.

2635 Echium, 4-5-16.JPG+++

This is the same echium as above. The blossoms are a pretty blue color and we spotted bees on it today.

2617 Fence construction, first day, 4-4-16

4-4-16….The deer fence has been started. I’m not a great fence fan, but if this keeps the pesky deer out, it will be worth it.”Happy wife, happy life.”

2686 Wire fabric started, 4-7-16

4-7-16….The wire ‘fabric’ is getting stretched and nailed on, starting in the far corner. Lots of gates for Pat, makes slow going for fence builders.

Are these bees going to move into Bee-atrice Log hive, or just tease us into thinking they will?

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