I found an apple tree in with some other trees maybe 50′ off of the road. It does not have a large trunk so I don’t think it was something deliberately planted as this land has laid fallow for 30+ years and I have owned it for 11. I assume it was the result of an apple core that someone (maybe even me) threw in the brush beside the road. It already has apples showing on it. I’m cutting away the wild grapes that are growing on the tree and trying to prune back other things around it so it can get more light.
I have planted a few apple trees (2 Honeycrisp, 1 Gala) this year and plan to add more in future years. Apples do much better if they have other apple varieties nearby to cross pollinate. So I will be watching next spring to see if this wild apple is in flower at the same time as my cultivated varieties. If that apples are less than desirable for human consumption they can always go to the chickens and deer.
You can plant a crab apple to serve as a pollinator for the eating varieties of apples, but is still have to be in bloom at the same time. the other apple trees. However crab apples tend to bloom for longer periods of time so this lets you cross pollinate more trees with just the one crab apple. Another research project for the winter, find a crab apple with the longest bloom time. Plus my bees will like it.
My cousins on my mothers side love old farm tractors and engines. Last week we were there for a family picnic and of course boys being boys we had to play with the toys. First up we have an old McCormick Deering stationary engine. This was used on a farm before electric power was widely available in rural america to run various machines. Look around a farm today and everyplace you see an electric motor you had to have an engine like this to drive that piece of equipment. This is one of those engines mounted to an old riding mower frame so it does something other than turn a flywheel.
Next we have a 1938 John Deere Model B. This is the era of the “Arm-Strong Starter” in that you had to spin the flywheel by hand, using the strength of your arms to start it. This particular tractor had two fuel tanks, a small one that held gas and a larger one that held a cheaper (at the time) fuel that was like kerosene. You would start it on gas and then switch over after it is warmed up. My cousin runs it on diesel. When it is warming up you get a fair amount of un-burned fuel coming out the exhaust, which of course leads to “Hey ya’ll watch this”.
A light bulb went off in my head tonight. 27 chicks running around is very hard to count, so I finally realized I could just count them after they go to roost for the night. So I went out tonight with my flashlight and there were 27 chicks as close to each other as they could get, so we haven’t lost any. That makes this new chicken rancher very happy.
The place I got my first package of bees from got another shipment and had an extra so I went ahead and got it. This time I sprayed them bees with a 1:1 sugar solution and I think the install went better. Very little flying around until they got themselves cleaned off and by then I was long gone. I gave them one frame that was about 80% full of honey and another about 40% from last years bees to get them started.
The first package was installed on May 3rd, so that has been 16 days and I see good activity coming and going from the hive so I am hopeful they will do well this year.
Well our bees did not survive the winter. We were very disappointed because they were alive in late January. About a week ago we got a package of bees and installed them in our old hive. I decided to put the deep on top as it had comb with honey and a medium on the bottom because that what I had empty drawn comb for.
We starting to integrate the chicks with the older hens. We fenced off a section about 6′ x 6′ with just chicken wire so the hens and chicks could see each other. After a week or so we took the fence down and made a opening to the brooding area (really a dog kennel) that only chicks could get through so they could get protection if they feel they needed it. After a day or so everybody appeared to be able to get along.