Questions and Answers – March 2014 Edition

Absolutely WARM today… up to 60˚!  Tons of water rolling everywhere and there’s plenty of snow on the mountains and more predicted for tomorrow.  Must be spring!  Let’s get to the questions!


Holly and Alice:  How are the bees?  What makes them cross-comb instead of doing it the right way? Can you prevent them from doing it?

The video should show you… my new bees are doing fine!  Cross combing doesn’t have a definite cause, and it is a man made problem.  Wild hives can have some crazy curving in them too, but it doesn’t matter there.  In a man made hive it does, as you want to be able to have straight comb to make honey harvest easier on man (or girl) and bees.  There is a guide built into the bars, popsicle stick thin bars that should have helped them build comb the right way.  For some unknown reason, they started curving and weren’t corrected.  You can correct it by cutting and straightening the combs, cutting off burr comb, and modifying it when necessary.  That wasn’t done here.  That’s what I’m working on!


Kris:  Did it smell like a flower meadow? That is something I always loved about working a hive – the smell was wonderful!  Do you have a plan for getting the hairclips out of the hive eventually? Or will you leave them once the bees start adding to the comb?

I love that too, Kris, the smell is absolutely wonderful… part of the reason why I’ve always enjoyed my pysanky craft!  I do have another bee video that shows more details, how to use the clips, why, etc…. maybe I can post it too.  Yes, once spring hits and they have pollen runs and start building again, they will build around the clips in about two weeks.  You then can cut them out, and again, they’ll fill the new hole, and complete the repair.


Holly:  Is your son still making the laser-cut metal signs?

I’m sure he’d love to, unfortunately, he’s very busy on the ranch.  It doesn’t give you much time for hobbies!  I have bounced around many ideas with him, and he’d like to do more, but he only gets them done on occasion.


Karen:  Beautiful dog! Are you ever going to add any more dogs to the mix, since losing Elsa, awhile back? Or are you just going to hang out with the ones you have. Not sure how many you actually need for herds your size. Thanks, I’ll be looking for your answers soon.

Karen, I keep debating.  Dally will be coming into heat and a decision needs to be made.  Do I keep one of the pups, or get one from another breeder?  I’ve really missed Elsa’s quiet demeanor around children and I occasionally look towards some Butcher bred lines like she was.  I know Lucas and Dally would be better had they been raised around children, but they weren’t, and are quick to abandon rooms when the grandsons are there.  Lucas is will be 8, Dally 7… I think it’s getting close to time, but I can’t make up my mind!


Marilyn:  How do your English Shepherds act around the new-born calves?

Marilyn, I’d pose this question another way.  How are the cows about having dogs around their new born calves?  The answer will always be NOT GOOD.  It’s instinct.  Wolves/coyotes/dogs are not welcome with baby calves.  Dogs are banned from the calving shed for the most part even if they are quiet, they make new mothers even more uneasy.  If the closest thing is you, and a nervous mother wants to protect her baby, you might be on the wrong end of her nervousness.  It can work to your benefit if necessary, but my dogs pretty much just stay out of the way, less wrecks that way!


Kris:  A few Q&As ago you mentioned dudes and cowboys. What is the difference?

Oh, Kris… What a question!  It seems like it could be a standup comedy routine… I’m going to pass this question over temporarily.  It deserves a much better and complete answer than I can give tonight.  Give me a few days and I’ll make this question into its own blog post, deal?


Susan L.:  How long have you and Vernon been married?

Susan, this August will make 33 years.


Sandy G.:  How many dogs, and which ones, do you have right now? (I have missed a few months of your blog due to family problems and duties.) Are you planning to have any more puppies?

There’s still just Lucas and Dally.  I do want more puppies… see the answer above.  So sorry to hear of your problems/duties, did you know these entries can be delivered straight to your email just by subscribing on the top right?  That might be easier for you.


Marie:  Wanted to know if you knew of any way to get rid of honey bees. they have taken over our hummingbird feeders and we can’t even enjoy our patio because of them. Of course, YOU could come down and collect them and put them with your new ones :)!

Marie, I don’t know how to get rid of honey bees… I’ve spent too much time trying to figure out how to *keep* the little poops!  That may be an option though, if you have so many, perhaps call a local bee keeper to come collect the hive and move it farther away so the population density would be lessened.  Be grateful you have them, they’re doing wonderful things for your gardens… 🙂  (Maybe MORE feeders would work… lessening the conflict over the available nectar????)



Questions and Answers – March 2014 Edition — 4 Comments

  1. Re getting rid of honeybees, there are specialist exterminators that will do it. After we moved out of our old house into our current one, the old house remained vacant for quite a while until we started work remodeling the kitchen. One day, I came to the house to discover bees had colonized the kitchen vent, with free access to the interior of the house. It was a mess! You would be surprised how much poop bees can leave behind when you aren’t expecting it. We called a bee removal service, and they came in and cut out the vent and 50 lbs. of honey and honeycomb. The kitchen was a wreck (but that was basically a given anyway).

  2. Carol,
    Thanks for answering my question. We haven’t found the hive and it might be miles away from us anyhow. I am enjoying your “Red Dirt” blog so very much.
    Take care,

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