Wednesday, May 29, 2013

5.27.13 Memorial Day “Thanks to all who served so we could be free”.

Woke up to a pretty sunrise. Our last day on the water for awhile.

148csWe decided to head to the jug handle by Blue Springs. It is a Manatee area and slow speed zone…good anchorage.

This gator cruised right past us. It spotted another gator and was swimming toward it. The other gator didn’t want any part of this one and quickly swam away.


A few minutes later this kayak fisherman went thru the same area.


We were going to the springs in the dingy following him. We met these folks and one of the kids asked if we’d seen any crocodiles. Told him we’d just seen 2 gators and a Manatee swirl. They make a big round flat swirl on the top of the water when they dive.


This is an Albin 28. It has 2 kayaks on top, one towed, 2 bicycles and at least 3 kids and 3 adults.


Plus this dingy…. We saw them later and I asked if they had trailered it down….the answer was “no”…they are doing the Great Loop. Started in Michigan….headed home now. They were spending the weekend with family. So I imagine it is just the 2 of them on it full time. Bikes..kayaks…dingy…everything you could ask for.


Blue Springs was busy…boats were circling waiting for a place to beach to go ashore.


There was a steady stream of boats both up and down the river. ….and lots of kayaks and canoes.


You can tell we’ve been anchored near the weeds a lot….see the dirty line across the front?


We watched the action for awhile then decided to make our way up to Butcher’s Bend at G109 . It’s only a few miles from where we leave the truck and trailer. We’ll be able to take our time with coffee in the morning and still get loaded and home before the hot part of the day.

This is the only gator we saw sunning. I only got one picture. A rental boat was coming up the river and I flagged them down and showed them where it was. Cameras came out from everywhere.


I had a tomato that was going bad and some extra lettuce and bird seed. We took it to the island for the roosters someone has left there. They still look in good shape. Just need some ladies.


On our way back to Meander we spotted this odd looking craft. Looks like two pontoons with a 25 hp motor….and places for 4 fishing poles..don’t know how you’d get to them though…


I missed most of the color of the sunset…but it was still pretty.



Frogs sang all night……as soon as they quit the birds started singing….time for coffee …screens down…bimini in it’s boot and all things stowed for travel.

We were loaded and home by 10:30 am. Still cool enough to get unloaded.


After doing a bit of dinking around, taking Raisin ashore…


We decided to anchor in Lake Beresford. Last time there it was full of debris from the tornado and the paddle wheel cruise boat “Lady Beresford” was picked up and set down on a piling which holed her. We haven't seen her on the river lately and thought we’d cruise up there and see if she is back in action.

On our way across the lake this airplane flew over.


We think they may have had friends in the area. They circled over an area several times then flew down the lake.

The Osprey take advantage of every sign. This is an adult and 2 youngsters. As we approached the adult took off trying to lure us away from the nest.


Lady Beresford was still in dry dock, but looks pretty good.


We’ve seen this one on the river….now wouldn’t that make a great house boat? Love all the windows.pinger_1530383026 (1)cs

After our tour of the far end we cruised to the area near the river so we could watch the boat traffic. Decided to check out an area beyond the lily pads. We were looking for Button Wood plants. Saw some earlier and they had Honey Bees on them…looks like a good plant for wetlands. I think there is a Honey Bee on the one in the upper R corner.


We found several and I gathered some “balls”, a couple cuttings to plant and some that we figured were seeds.

We took a short cut back to the boat. The lily pads were not real thick here so Jim got the boat up to speed, shut the motor off , raised it up and we paddled our way through.


Great breeze….enjoyed the afternoon reading and watching all the boats going up and down the river and across the lake.

I noticed a small boat with it’s outboard tipped up and the guy was rowing…..into the wind…..and headed down the lake. Jim and I decided to haul anchor and cruise up and see if they had a problem or were just getting exercise. Somehow I didn’t think a long row against the wind was what they had planned on. Good thing we checked…the pulley had come off the outboard when he tried to start it. So we tossed them our dingy bridle …they tied their line on and we towed them to the other end of the lake. It was about 1 1/2 miles. They would not have made it before dark and were very glad we took the time to check on them. Good deed done….we headed back to our anchorage.

We were blessed with a beautiful sunset.


Once it got dark we took the dingy out for a short cruise to see how well we are lit up at night. Tried to get some pictures but they didn’t come out.

Another great day on the water…we are getting so spoiled with this weather. Normally we are freezing or sweating. It has been perfect. Almost need a light blanket at night if you leave the windows open to listen to the frogs sing and the gators growl.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

5.19.13 Honey Bees “washboarding”

They’ve been doing this for several days.


Looks like they are scrubbing away on the front of the hive and their small landing board. Wish I could get them to do the floors in the house.

Here’s the entrance 2 months ago….I definitely have a few more bees.


I’ll check them again tomorrow and see if they need more space. The deep box is the brood chamber. In the photo above, the medium was being used for feeding, but now has frames in it and they are building comb. It will also be for brood.

Can’t wait to see what they’ve been up to.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Jim’s at it again…..

On the 16th he bought himself a pressure washer.

Here in Florida things can get black or dirty in a hurry. Our mobile home hasn’t been pressure washed in several years. You can see the difference. We really do have a white roof. He had to wash a spot to stand….the black stuff was slippery when wet.





all done…..


Once the mobile home was done…decks and screen room…..he started on the “tractor” building. When we first retired we were going to start a palm business. We built a wooden “potting” shed and this steel building for the tractor and all maintenance tools etc.  Well…that didn’t work out so it is now his shop.

He moved everything from the R side to the L and pressure washed it….can you see the difference?


It looked so good when he got done I suggested he buy some lumber and build shelves…he did.


Right side is done….now everything gets moved to this side and the Left side gets washed etc. Roof and outside were done yesterday.


What do you think…..did it need it? I’d forgotten the inside was white.


Most of the breeze comes right down the road into the driveway. We put a 9’ rollup door in the rear for air flow….guess all the dirt comes with that nice breeze.

Now it is a matter of finding a place for everything.


and Jim is hard at it…..


He’s moving some of his automotive stuff into this building. It will open up a nice table for me to work on my bee hives or to start milkweed seedlings this winter.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Butterflies 5.17.13

Today will be the biggest release so far this year. At least 30 Monarchs. All the dark chrysalis will have a butterfly emerge today.


I didn’t have a day when 30 went to the top and pupated…but did have a couple of cool days and it may have slowed one batch down a bit.

They have started. You can see one in the center rear that has just emerged. It’s wings are short and dark because they are damp. When they first come out the wings are very soft, and the abdomen very large. The fluid is pumped into the wings. They hang up side down so the wings can get the correct shape.


This one has been drying for an hour or so….you can see the chrysalis in the upper L corner is about ready. It becomes very clear, thin and papery.


This one has only been out for a short while. It’s wings are wrinkled and damp.


Look at the two new emerges….you can see the swollen body and the very short wings. It’s hard to believe they end up like the others.


This one is just starting to open. It has split it’s chrysalis and then the body will literally fall out…then it gathers itself up and hangs onto the empty chrysalis.


Kind of like laundry drying.


Once they started getting active, I opened the sliding screen door. Opened the door of the cage and faced it outside. They left when they were ready to go.

5.18.13   I released 15

5.19.13   This morning there were 10.

At  least 55 Monarchs. Only a few left in chrysalis and a few caterpillars. That is all I’ll raise this spring.

I really enjoy them, need to let my plants grow again. I’ll concentrate on the Honey Bees for awhile.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Butterfly House is getting full 5.9.13

I haven’t seen many Monarchs but it only takes a few to load up the plants with eggs.

So far they have eaten 3 Giant Milkweed plants ( the one on the R is mostly stalks now) and over a dozen Tropical Milkweed.  I had to put one of my young Giant Milkweed plants in. It is on the L behind the Tropical with the yellow flowers. It’s not big but it is food.


Most have gone to the top and pupated. There are about 25 in various stages of growth still eating away.


When they go into a “J”, I put a sticker on the top of the cage with the date so I can tell when to expect them to emerge as Butterflies. If we are going to be away over night, I put the cage outside, open the door and staple window screen across the front, leaving about 6” open at the top for them to escape.

That’s a lot of caterpillars. It will most likely be at least a week before any emerge, and by then the rest should be up there also. About 10 of them are Queens.


There isn’t much for them to lay on now….guess they’ll just have to go to Debbie’s. She’s got lots of Milkweed plants.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Hive Check 5.3.13

Yesterday I noticed several Drone larva outside the hive. After doing a lot of research and asking questions on the International Bee Master Forum I felt it was because I had quit feeding them.

Today I saw more dead larva on the tiles and I spotted a Wax Moth Larva that was about 3/4 inch long. It was on the hive stand in front of the hive. Looked as though the bees had killed it but I made sure.001cs

in 2011 I had a weak hive in the TBH that had been over run with red ants. Once they were taken care of we went  out on the water for 10 days and when we got back the bees were gone and the hive was full of wax moth larva.

So…I felt it necessary to check the hive and get rid of them if we did have some.

We set up with a second hive and were going to move each frame into it. Here is frame #1

This comb had some honey in it. It is a top bar that was inserted into this Langs frame, so Jim unscrewed it and put it in a medium Langs frame for the super. I had to cut a small piece off the bottom. It was inserted onto the starter strip of another frame. This should help them start building in the super.



This was an empty frame when we did our last check…what beautiful comb.


#3    this looks like brood. This was a very small comb on last check.


#4  This is all natural comb…not foundation.

f 42cs


more brood…looks like a lot of Drone cells? I was concerned that the Queen might not have room to lay but I see new comb in the L corner. I did not check for eggs in it.

f 52cs

#6         more brood


#7  more brood


# 8   brood and Drone cells…I think that is what the raised cells are.






The pictures were taken out of the video that I did. Jim was helping so couldn’t take pictures. They aren’t very clear but if anyone sees something that shouldn’t be there ….let me know.

No wax moth larva or webbing. All the comb I looked at looked good. Did seem to be a lot of Drone cells…but I don’t know what is normal. Here are some other shots of the same frames.


this is comb 10, it isn’t completely filled out, but does have brood on the R.

f10 23cs


f 4234cs


x23456789 14cs

x23456789 10cs

this is the one that went into the medium frame. You can see it has an extra piece of wood. That is the original top bar.

x23456789 11cs

Each frame had bees on it. Looked like lots of bees to us. We’ve never had so many…I guess they can take care of the wax moths.

I do have a moth/wasp trap out….sugar, white vinegar, part of a banana and water….I drained it once…at least 12 moths and it looks like I need to do it again.

Glad I checked the hive…but now we get to worry about squishing the Queen or losing her completely…all the bees went inside so guess she was in there…it is now raining so don’t have to worry about them absconding tonight.

This is the video I did…