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Summer is over

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Day 74

I was in the garage transferring my germinated rambutan seeds into pots when I heard a low buzzing noise occasionally broken by shrill beeps. A hummingbird had flown in and since Mother Nature doesn’t really understand the concept of ceilings, it was caught inside because its instincts told it to go up to safety.

Marcus helped me catch it with a flowerpot and a dustpan and then I picked off the bits of cobweb that had tangled on its wings and claws. Next up was a quick drink of sugar water, since it had been trapped for a bit. Mlem! We released it outside and it took off for the trees, no worse for the wear.

Today was also the little girls’ last day of their week of summer day camp. They agreed that it was awesome but also that they need a break from it.

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Day 4

The field today had an abundance of buttercups. On closer inspection, not all of the brilliant colors were flowers. A patch of blue that I’d mistaken for violets turned out to be a bit of a bluebird.

Abby’s cabbage Joey is doing well.

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Carson helped me gather eggs, by which I mean he tried to eat chicken poop. Mostly unsuccessfully.

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And finally, my hammock arrived. The bad news: it was promptly taken over by small children. The good news: they’re in school for another month.

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Madeline is hard at work on her playhouse.

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An unexpected guest

Matthew had a visitor out in the shop this afternoon.

Both Madeline and Abby were thrilled to get to hold the Northern Black Racer. We let it go out in the woodpile, where hopefully it can feast on small rodents and other tasty treats.

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So who’s laying these eggs?

It has been eight days since we installed the bees in their top bar hives. Today was finally sunny and warm, so Madeline and I opened the hives to to make sure that there is brood in the drawn comb, which indicates that the hive has a laying queen. Without a queen, the worker bees will die off without being replaced.

Both hives had at least four fairly large combs on bars, and after a lot of searching, we found what we were looking for — single tiny white eggs at the bottom of empty cells. We restocked the sugar water feeders and replaced the styrofoam floats with wood blocks, then closed up the hives. We’ll check again in one week to make sure there is more brood, refill the feeders, and open up more beespace in the hive. There is a follower board that keeps the usable hive area small so that there is less space that the bees need to keep heated, since nights are still kind of chilly.

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