>lost and found

>our bee population is in flux. we started out with two hives, and after spring swarms we had six. as the summer heated up, the hornets multiplied and have been attacking the hives pretty aggressively. we have been baiting wasp traps with meat and whacking away at the hornets as best we can (which can be pretty dicey when you are surrounded by already agitated bees!) but we have not been able to beat them back. and to top it off, the wax moths have found the hives. we have lost three hives to these combined troubles. when i open up the hives to do some work in there, i give a little puff of smoke under the cloth cover that is between the lid of the hives and the frames where the bees are. there is a resulting buzz that is loud and big enough sounding to be like a roar. opening up a hive that is empty is haunting, like a ghost town. one of the new colonies is doing pretty well, though, making honey and laying eggs, so if the bees can hold out and survive the hornets (which should die off at the end of the summer), they just might make it.
we also had a bit of an upset in the chicken coop. marion, the white hen, has been sitting on eggs for a while now, and has amassed about 15 eggs under her now. last year it was the same — and all the eggs rotted. anyway, it was getting pretty tense in the coop, with the other chickens, bob and divine, stealing the eggs to eat them and being pretty mean to poor old marion, who after all could not move since she sits on the eggs day and night. anyway, two days ago ali was checking the coop out and found a dead chick in there. well. we had been thinking about letting the chickens out of the coop anyway, since the plants are all big now, and it being summer we have bugs all over the place. so we shut marion into the pen in front of the coop and opened the back door to the coop so that bob and divine could come and go as they please. it seems to be working well, and it could be called the silver lining of the infanticide!
in other news, i am canning! i spent this morning canning peaches and i have to say that i really enjoy it, especially in the outdoor kitchen. it would be just murderous work in our tiny house, but the outside kitchen makes it so pleasant, and i feel like i am brewing potions or something, with bottles clattering in the pots. now i need to find a nice big cauldron that will hold more than one or two bottles at once.
pictures soon!

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