Here is a short time lapse video showing the installation of two packages into our honeybee hives. This is not intended as a tutorial, just a "bird's eye view" for someone wondering what the process looks like start to finish. :)

Saturday, April 22, 2017, I hived two packages of Italian bees from Stedman's Bee Supplies in Silverdale, Washington. This will be my second season as a beekeeper.

As I will be tracking my progress on FriendswithGardens.com throughout the season, I wanted to record information about each hive - information that I can look back on when evaluating hive performance or analyzing anything that might go wrong.

We've all seen birdhouse or bird nest webcams, where you can see inside the birdhouse or observe eagles, hummingbirds and the like in their nests.

I came up with an interesting variation of that. Instead of putting the cam inside, I mounted it directly beside a birdhouse that is mounted high on an outbuilding. That way, I get interesting motion-activated shots of the birds coming and going and can also analyze their behaviors.

Back on February 25, the day I brought home eight Tetra Tint pullets from The Tractor Supply, I said I would follow up from time to time to let you know how they are doing. I had never heard of this variety before. The thought of a Rhode Island Red and Leghorn hybrid made me curious to learn more and thus far, they have been a delight!

I've always been the kind of gardener who, at the crack of dawn, has already been up working for hours, preparing the equipment and staging the implements and materials to be ready by sunrise. No project has ever been too big, no soil too rocky, no acre too large. With each successive year, I took on bigger challenges, pushing the limits of my own endurance and that of the soil beneath my feet.

It's been an unusually cold and wet winter in the Pacific Northwest. That has made gardening a bit more challenging than usual but even with that, my cold-weather plants are doing just fine. Since the snow stopped six or seven weeks ago, there have been only a handful of mornings where the temperature dipped to freezing, so even with below-average daytime temperatures and enough rain to keep the likes of Noah on edge, my Kale, lettuce, brussels sprouts and cabbage plants have fared well.

After many months of below-average temperatures combined well well-above average rainfall, the sun appeared for a few hours today! My first instinct was to scurry into the greenhouse to get away from it but I figured some limited exposure might be good for me. After a winter like this one, people in the Pacific Northwest can sunburn in five minutes, so one must be careful... ;)

I lost a hive last year and it was a crushing loss. I was doing everything right - so far as I know, but then there was a slow die-off. Something happened to my queen and the bees couldn't replace her in time.

This year, I will maintain two hives. I set them up today, to give them time to air out and acclimate. There is drawn comb in both hives, so I think the new bees will take right to them.

It was a picture-perfect day in the Seattle area ... lots of sunshine, then dark clouds, a bit of rain and hail, then sunshine ... and a repeat of that about twenty-two times.

During the dry parts of the day, it was a good day to get out and string the wire around the raised beds. I maintain a solar-powered electric fence around all the gardens during the gardening season and as this raised bed garden is brand new, I've been looking forward to wiring it.

LOVE LOVE LOVE this time of year! The cherries are ripe and we are now in a race with all the birds to see who gets the most. These are Stella cherries, and I'm picking them just as fast as I can. We also have Bing, Rainier and other varieties ready for harvest, so I have my work cut out for me .... :)

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