Cherry Harvest, New Beehive

The cherries are ready to harvest.

The cherries are ready to harvest.

It is finally time to harvest the cherries. The cherries started to change color early this week and most of them were ready to be picked by the middle of the week, but the storms that moved through Oklahoma this last week has kept me from doing anything until Saturday.

This year has been so different compared to last year.  Just about everything seems to be taking a month longer.

Once more, I have three hives on my property.

Once more, I have three hives on my property.

About two weeks ago, I found a swarm in my back yard, but  I was not able to catch it.  However, I now have three hives on my property again.  I ordered a queen to replace the queen in one hive to get less aggressive genetics, but before I was able to, they swarmed and I was unable to find the old queen.  To prevent the queen from going to waste, we set up a third hive and put the new queen in there.  We borrowed worker bees from another hive and a frame of brood to make sure the hive survives until the new queen can get to laying.

Okra, radishes, and lettuce.

Okra, radishes, and lettuce.

The garden has been making good progress over the past few weeks.  The radishes in particular have been doing quite well and have managed to completely shade out the ground, which I like because it helps cut down on the weeds in that section of the garden.  I would really like for that to be happening in more places in the garden, but so far I’ve only managed to do that here.  The okra I planted has sprouted.  My wife makes an excellent gumbo, which contains okra, so I’m looking forward to having some with okra I grew.

Peas, beans, and herbs.

Peas, beans, and herbs.

The peas I planted this year are doing much better than my attempt last year.  This year most of the plants that sprouted have flowered and have been setting pods.  I accidentally pulled up one plant with pods while weeding today, so I ate the peas in the pods and shared them with my wife.  It was the first time she has ever had peas straight out of the pod she rather liked them.  Given that she normally avoids peas, this is saying a lot.  There is nothing quite like peas straight out of the pod.  If you have never had a chance to have them, grow some peas next year or find somebody who is growing them this year.  You won’t regret the taste.

The garden is looking very green, but I can probably pack even more plants in here.

The garden is looking very green, but I can probably pack even more plants in here.

I finally have caught up with weeding the garden from when I when on my business trip early in May.  Now I just have to maintain the bed, which is a lot easier.  I don’t enjoy having to play catch up, but at least the wet weather has made the process considerably easier.

I picked up some new seeds today and planted them in the garden: green beans to fill in the places in the rows of peas where the seeds didn’t sprout and basil, oregano, and parsley.  These join the chives, thyme and mint I already have growing in the garden.  I will eventually have a wide variety of herbs in the garden.

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Not Much Happens in Winter with a Garden

I haven’t written a post in over two months, which is not something I should be doing.  Big gaps are a large annoyance with other people’s blogs and I am positive that they are following this blog don’t like it.  It is just that sometimes there is not really that much to write about, or I’m not looking hard enough at what I am doing and then writing about it.  Probably the latter.  So, time to make up some lost ground with giant post that covers the past two months…

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Sad, dead tomato plants.

Shortly after the first frost of the year, the second frost came in and killed all the remaining tender plants.  There is nothing I can do but rip them up and throw them in the compost pile.  I might be able to get row covers for next year, but it is not very high on the list of things to buy.

Elephant garlic emerged in late October.

Elephant garlic emerged in late October.

I got a bit of a surprise when the elephant garlic I thought was dead decided to emerge from the ground.  Only half of the plants actually survived, the others are truly dead.

I also decided to plant some standard garlic I picked up at a farmer’s market stand.  As of my last check, 18 plants are still alive and growing very slowly in the winter sun.

The shelled and unshelled pecans.

The shelled and unshelled pecans.

The main thing that has been consuming my time is pecans.  Picking them up off the ground and then shelling them.  There are just so many of them and they are all rather small that it takes a long time to get anywhere.  It takes me about ten to twelve hours of cracking to fill up a quart jar with shelled pecans.  So far, I have managed to fill just over five quarts, two of which have already been eaten.

I had both mine and my wife’s family over at my house this year for Thanksgiving, which was both nice and very hectic.  Some of the pecans  were made into a very good pecan pie and the pumpkin that decided to grow out of the compost pile was used in making pumpkin pie.

Old bee frames I found in the attic.

Old bee frames I found in the attic.

While digging around in the attic to get the Christmas lights down, I came across very interesting two things: several boxes filled with glass jars and parts of bee frames.  I can only guess that one of the previous owners of the house was also a beekeeper and left some parts here at one point.  The frames clearly look old, but I have no clue as to how old.  I have a few frames in my hives that look as old and need to be replaced with new ones, so these could be fairly recent.