In February we ordered two bee nucs. A nuc is a small started colony with a queen. After a very rainy spring we were able to pick up our bees in June. One colony expanded very quickly and seemed to do really well. The other colony wasn't doing so well and I noticed a queen cell on one of the frames so I figure that's one of the things that took some time. I saw the new queen and the colony seemed to do ok after that but didn't expand into a second brood box before fall. That colony is going into the winter smaller and I really hope it does ok. It warmed up one day last week and I took a quick peek into the hive to see how the girls are doing. The cold weather came on suddenly and I was a little worried about them. They are still there all clustered together. I set up a windbreak around the hives, another use for the bags of leaves and hopefully they will survive the winter.
Also in June, the same weekend we got the bees, we were gifted with 4 lovely young chickens It was a busy weekend. These young ladies were only 6-8 weeks old so it would be September by the time they were ready to lay. We renovated an older coop and enclosed a yard for them. Then in August a friend of mine was looking for a home for 7 mature hens and so we added them to the 4 we already have and now we have 11. A nice prime number. Those ladies started laying right away and it's been so great to have the eggs. I love the ladies! They are so fun to watch and they give us eggs. I've put the dog and cat on notice that they are at the bottom of the pecking order. Ever since, the dog and cat have been working harder to convince me that they have their uses too besides snuggling. Between the 2 of them they have caught a lot of mice hanging around looking for a free handout and a place to crash.
Gardens, gardens and more gardens. This property was a blank slate. I started installing beds last fall and continued adding beds all through the spring and summer. The final push has been with the leaf collection. I can tell you that I have a whole lot less grass to mow and that makes me ecstatic. Not my favourite chore. I've always said that gardening is my art and having 2 acres to manifest that art has been very exciting. The pictures don't currently do it justice but I'm very happy with what I have so far. The beds and paths are not always straight lines and they will be planted with a mix of vegetables, flowers, herbs, trees and bushes. We planted a number of trees in the spring including heartnut, apple, pear, cherry and pawpaw. All but 2 of the pear trees have made it. We also planted about 10 hazels and a couple roses, sea buckthorn and siberian pea shrub. We had some problems with deer and needed to figure out a way to protect the trees. I really hope they make it through the winter because they didn't have the best start.