Summer

It’s been a long time since I’ve written a post! There’s been a lot going on, both on the “farm” and off. Over the past few months I’ve graduated high school, decided to attend The Rhode Island School of Design this fall, and collaborated on the smart beehive project which has grown and developed – it’s still very much a work in progress – into a really unique and popular project. Some of the stuff that’s happening is just amazing.

Bees

I’m very happy to announce that we now have 4 active beehives which means that even with the harsh winter and 75% die off we experienced last winter, we’ve been able to build our colonies back up to the number we had┬álast year. I’m continuing to try to build up colonies and go into Winter with as many strong hives as possible to increase our┬áchances of having more colonies make it through to next Spring. Our one hive that did make it through last winter is doing super well. It is now 6 supers (boxes) tall. we’ve almost run out of bee supers to expand the hives with so I’m getting ready to extract┬ásome summer honey this week to free up some frames.

The other hive that’s doing really well is the smart hive, they’re building up comb and storing up lots of honey.┬áThis week we’re getting ready to replace the camera we have in the hive now with a new 1080p HD camera and also install new sensors and have them all store then data automatically over our home wifi network. This is a huge step towards being able to post the data and video online and sharing it with you.

Chickens

The chickens are doing well despite the blistering Summer heat here in Philly. Chickens in our area are actually more at risk during the heat of Summer than they are in the cold of Winter. They’ll start to pant with their beaks open and spread their wings out to cool off so if we see them doing this we feed them watermelon and set out a dish of water filled with ice to help them cool off. We’re getting more eggs than ever now – about 5 a day which still doesn’t give us enough to sell but it allows us to share some with our neighbors. Our Spring chicks Ida and Luna the Swedish Flower Hens are growing fast. They’re incredibly cute and have of late been spending the day perching on the hammock swinging back and forth.

 

Garden

Our garden has never been very impressive, we don’t have a lot of room to grow veggies but this year in an effort to make our garden a little more envious, I’ve selected things that I know we’ll use, tomatoes, trellised cucumbers, basil, peas, bush beans, lettuce, eggplants and fennel. I’m really excited to pickle some of the cucumbers and there’s a chance I’ll actually use the fennel to make some oil for lip balm. I’m also trying to pick mulberries from the mulberry trees we have – I’ve never made mulberry jam before but there are no shortage of mulberries so I figure I should try. We also recently realized that we have a dwarf granny smith apple tree that we can make super tart applesauce with so I’ll also be trying to make some of that. Here’s to big plans for the Summer before I head to college!