Archive for the 'building' Category

Filling the candy boards

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016

Time to fill the candy boards (and finally bust out that 25-pound Costco sack of sugar I bought for this months and months ago). Because there’s some controversy over whether serving the bees cooked sugar is chemically good for them, I chose instead to use a tip from Rusty over at I filled these […]

Insulating the bees

Monday, January 11th, 2016

I spent this weekend making quilts for my beehives… Quilt boards, that is! Quilt boards are basically very very shallow supers that are filled with clean organic matter like dry leaves or wood chips. They’re sandwiched between the top of the bee cluster and the bottom of the metal cover. The quilt board’s purpose is to catch […]

Tricking Mother Nature? Experiments with bottles.

Wednesday, December 9th, 2015

I really miss California. Growing up there deeply shaped my preferences as a gardener. My favorite flora all tend to be mediterraneanish in nature – lavender, rosemary, citrus…. olives. Oh, olives. I love everything about olive trees – the gnarly stubbornness of their trunks, the slender shape of their foliage. The silvery color of their leaves, their […]

Solar waterer fail

Friday, December 4th, 2015

Finished my solar-heated winter watering system the other day and was so excited to see if it worked! I set it outside just before a couple of 30* nights. Not too bad looking for being made out of scraps, eh? To test it, I put two identical buckets outside at the same time. Each had […]

Integrated composting system

Monday, November 30th, 2015

I used to have a few different sources of fertility for the garden. One compost pile for fall leaves, one for kitchen scraps, and then the every-so-often cleanout of the chicken coop. I’d have to fill them all individually, only to later re-harvest them and mix them together before spreading them on the garden. What a chore. […]

Solar winter waterer

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

Keeping the birds supplied with fresh water in the winter has always been a problem. In past years I’ve only had chickens, so I didn’t need all that much water. I tried putting various pond and tank heaters into a hanging bucket, but those heaters inevitably broke after about a month. Besides, it made me really […]

A castle made of trash

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

The duck house is nearly finished. I started building it a couple weeks ago because it suddenly dawned on me that a) winter is coming and the old duck coop had no shelter, and b) winter vacations are coming up and the ducks really need to be somewhere more secure than under a single flimsy layer of […]


Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

I can’t believe I forgot to tell you all about my last huge project! But the photo in the last post made me realize that I never did post about it. Well, remember the southern slope of Backfill Hill, where I have a few grapevines? I got one retaining wall put in back in like 2013, […]

Resigned to raised beds

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

I’ve resigned myself to the fact that my farm area is suited more for growing rice than veggies. This year has been especially wet, with thunderstorms nearly every other day, and my garden is suffering. Despite all the work I’ve done to raise the beds through copious additions of organic matter every year, the water […]

First split

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

My new colony is doing great – the population absolutely exploded! In fact it boomed so much that the last week when I checked, every single frame in a two-deep was full of brood. I happily put on an extra box and walked away. You’d think this would be a good thing, right? Except I […]