14 July 2013

The Elwha River is Free!

A short road trip to pick up queen bees gave us an excuse to spend the night in Port Angeles and to visit the Elwha River.

Dammed in 1910, the Elwha is now the site of the largest dam removal project on earth. The lower dam has been removed and the upper dam, Glines Canyon, will be removed in 2014. 

We walked around the barriers and took a walk above the river, where Lake Aldwell covered the slope for 100 years. The massive stumps of trees cut before the lake rose seem almost calcified from a century of gray sediments –
but life is bursting through the soil.

The salmon are expected to re-colonize the upper river in the years to come.

Mother salmon, father salmon
Brother salmon, sister salmon
Come back salmon, help us salmon
feed us salmon, leaping salmon!
heya heya heya heya

(Tom Heidelbaugh)

04 July 2013

Rehiving the feral Bees. and a duck or 2.

Once upon a time a beekeeper had a big hive at Island Meadow Farm. Time passed, and the colony failed, and the beekeeper had other things to do. The bee boxes stood in an old nut orchard. Once a swarm found them, and for three years the hive flourished, and then the colony died.

The next winter there was a huge storm, and the stack of boxes fell over. They were stuck together with wax and propolis. In the spring, another swarm found them, and since they were dry inside, and smelled of honey and wax and other good things, the swarm moved in.  When the people in the neighborhood saw the huge hive lying on the ground with bees going in and out, they started talking about it. "Isn't it great that the magic hive has bees again?"  

"Yeah, it's great to see them. but what will happen to them in the winter?"
 So the people decided that it was time to open the hive and move the bees.
They cut the comb out of the hive and wired it into new frames.

One of the old boxes was still intact, and full of bees, and it seemed the queen might be in there, so they put it in the middle of the stack.

Gradually the bees got used to the new upright situation and settled in.

 This is an ongoing project -- consolidating the big hive and removing the extra equipment. Next step will be to divide the big hive, and requeen with a Russian/Hygenic queen from OlympicWilderness Apiary next week. More pictures soon.

 On another note, we are thinking about adding ducks to our place. Here's an especially cute, 10-year-old-duck, who lives in the Poultry Palace on Maury Island.   How could you resist?