sheep

Responsible

My child is far more responsible than I am. I think.

This afternoon, when he was mowing the lawn, he told me, "Mom, you should really plant the tomato plants. You keep saying you should, so you might as well do it."

So I did.



I'd actually spent the morning being responsible, doing my Artist's Way pages, writing some, watering the garden, and then going to get my allergy shots. One of the exercises for this week in the book was to spend an entire week without reading or consuming entertainment that someone else had made, which means no TV, no movies, no video games. It also mean no email, no newspaper, and no actual reading.

I knew I couldn't do it, except for short stretches. I have trouble enough staying away from Facebook, much less the feeds here or on my Feedspot. I managed to do it all day on Thursday, but that was because I had a ton of things to do on Jet's last day of school and he didn't want to watch Naruto or play Team Fortress 2 with me. That was all right. But while I managed to darn some socks, sketch some flowers, and take care of the garden, I didn't really do art that day. I was too distracted by what I wasn't doing.

The boys went off to do errands and came back with a new TV. The old one had a bulb that burnt out for the second time in a row, and while John's fixing it, he's not that happy with it. So they got a new one at Costco. We seem to do a lot of the big buys there. *laughs*

I should go back and do a bit about the bee inspection on May 20th. During the inspection I'd done on the 19th, I had half a dozen BIG larvae out of their comb in the middle of the area between the two deep brood boxes. I was worried that I'd just killed a bunch of queen larvae, but they were all together. It turns out that if the hive is making queens, they usually spread them around the box, half a dozen of them. And the only way I could tell if they were really doing that was by doing in and looking through the whole top box, which is where most of the new eggs and larvae now are.

I had one objective on the 19th, which was to get the screened bottom board in and give the hive the ventilation it needed. On the 20th, I wanted to do a complete inspection of the top box, and get some powdered sugar into the hive for the mites. Plus, on the 19th, one of the frames in the top box had the bottom bar break free of the frame, so I needed to wire it together so that it wouldn't fall apart.

May 20 Inspection
When I finally got around to getting the frame out, balance on the edge of the box, and a wire around it, I found that I couldn't manipulate the wire except by taking a glove off. It was just too thin a wire, and there were too many manipulations I had to do very carefully for me to be able to do it any way but barehanded.

I was shaking pretty badly with that, but none of the girls bothered my hand at all. There were four of them bumping constantly at my veil and buzzing me continuously, but none of them bothered my hand at all. I was pretty impressed. I did get the wire around the frame and twisted together to hold. I was amazed at how hard that actually turned out to be, but I think it'll be all right. The bees can't get rid of the wire the way they can bite and chew and remove rubber bands (it still amazes me how quick they are to do that).

But the old deep frame are definitely coming apart.

May 20 Inspection
The entire hive was just dripping with bees. So many bees that I couldn't even see everything that the comb was holding, but this particular blanket of bees was pretty smooth. Queen cells are bumps that are on the edges, usually, and by themselves, whereas the regular worker brood is more like this, just covered with nurse bees and the foragers who are bringing in pollen and nectar to feed all the babies.

I was amazed. The upper box had been much lighter than the lower box, but then again the lower box was more full of honey. If the upper was nearly entirely full of brood, it would be lighter than the liquid content of the honey boxes and frames.

May 20 Inspection
There were some lumps and bumps, and sections that the girls had built when and where the neighboring frame was bare.

It allowed them to build the drone comb, where the cells are MUCH bigger than the worker comb, and they fill them with the male drones. The drones are very large, and they grow in packs like the big lump there in the middle. One of the strange things was realizing that there were no queen cells but a whole lot of drone clumps in all the edges and nooks and crannies that I hadn't really been able to see that much of. One of the really big chunks was right where those other poor larvae had fallen out when I'd pulled apart the boxes.

So there were drones, but all good, healthy hives are going to throw off a lot of drones this time of year. It's a way of sharing the hive's genetics, and it's a natural part of the bounty of the nectar flow. The good news was that I didn't see any queen cells at all. And I was able to drop a lot more powdered sugar on everyone. *laughs*

May 20 Inspection
One of the strangest "growths" was this one, which was at the bottom corner of one of the frames. The facing frame was completely bare. This was made even more strange with the powdered sugar which I put on before I took the picture, by accident. But the fall of sugar makes it even odder yet.

Still, it really look like drone comb to me, just big cells all together instead of single Queen cells. So it looks like the hive isn't going to be swarming soon, and I'm trying to stay ahead of it by adding supers and making the hive bigger all the time.

It was pretty tiring doing two inspections in two days, so I took it easy after that.

And one of the things I'd neglected was the tomato plants. *laughs* They've been languishing in the hot house, and with it being in the 80's today, it was really hot, so I just opened up the hot house. When Jet was mowing, though, he urged me to get to the tomatoes, so I finally did.

Tomatoes often have soil borne diseases, so I have to move them around each year. This year I decided to put as many as I could in the sugar snap pea box. The peas are usually done by the time the tomatoes grow big enough to produce, and right now the tomato plants are too small to bother the peas or block any light. So I planted four of the tomato plants right in front of the peas. The tomato cages should also make for good ladders for the peas. We'll see. The hard part may be picking the peas after all this is in place.

Still I managed to do that before I succumbed to the heat of mid-day. The sun was so bright and hot today it was amazing. I had to put shoes on my feet because I could feel the sunburn starting on my toes. They're now very very brown. *laughs*

I have just three more plants to plant for ourselves. I've been giving most of the rest away on Facebook, since I don't need them all, and they'll provide for good homes, easily. The roots in the potted tomatoes had reached the bottom of the pots already, so it's a good thing that I planted them when I did. I told Jet thank you for telling me what I really needed to do.
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My parents will have the cherry tomatoes in the garden/greenhouse up and running by now. If I visit in August or September, I can look forward to large amounts of tomatoes and beans and courgettes/zucchini being pressed on me to take back up to Leeds. :)
What a wonderful visiting gift! That's really nice. I hadn't thought of just growing the tomatoes in the greenhouse and leaving it up all summer, but it is a distinct possibility!
The only problem, as a person on her own, is managing to eat everything before it starts going off. One can freeze things, but they're never quite the same...
So true...

I often roast tomatoes with thyme, garlic, and olive oil until they're caramelized and about a third their original bulk, and then freeze those to add to canned sauces during the winter and the flavor is always welcome. The zucchini/courgettes I grate into a cinnamon bread that freezes quite well, and the texture is nice even after it's thawed again.

But, yes, just freezing them to save them never quite does that. *laughs*