Bees and Bees and Baby Bumps

So much good news.

I was clearing the bees doorway yesterday afternoon.  It was above freezing and such a beautiful day without a breath of wind. I put my ear to the beehive and there they were, making their disapproval  known with a deep far away baseball cheer of buzzing. Good bees.

Later in the afternoon, I was brushing Daisy and felt her calf kick.

Baby rippled along her belly like a little Loch Nessie.  Let me count how many days the little tike has left in there.. 39.

daisy Thirty-Nine days left. See how she is carrying to her left side. (below) Her left not our left. This is very common to have the calf bulge out to one side. Left or right. When baby begins to engage, preparing for birth, her sides will even up and drop. Seeing this bulge out to one side means all is well in that department. Of course not all cows will do this.


Daisy will have a big calf. She is an Ayrshire. Queenie is a Hereford – she will have a much smaller calf. So I did not expect quite such a big belly on her. Though it looks like she is going to give birth to a box.


Also she is not due for another three weeks after Daisy.  Maybe she is just full of good hay!

1bees-122 1bees-124

Tilly practicing her smoke rings. Little Slapper.   She is the noisiest animal on the property. I opened up the big barn doors to the sun and all the birds tip toed into the warmth.  They hate snow so have been inside for ages now and loved having the sun in to visit.


An unusual line-up. Son of Neanderthal Man,  Son of Son of Neanderthal Man and Son of Son of Son of Neanderthal Man (also known as Bob). Neanderthal Man was our first rooster, he had very feathery feet. He died years ago.  Though I have only been here seven years so it cannot be that many years ago.

And Sheila was so chipper today that we are going to start her procedure next Wednesday with a hormone shot and breed her three to five days later. I very very much hope this works.

Last night I bought three pounds of Russian Bees (read an interesting article here) and a Russian Queen to be delivered in the late spring. Russian bees have a natural resistance to the mites that are plaguing the more common prettier Italian bees. (Varroa Mites have  only recently invaded  American hives (since the 1980’s) but they have been in Russia  for hundreds of years and the bees have developed this resistance over a very long time.) Plus Russians are better in temperature extremes, so my father and our research tell me. They are not as pretty as Italians, but I am going to begin a hive and do a comparison.

I would like to have four hives in the end. Everyone loves honey.

That was a good news post! It is -5F (-20C) this morning .. sounds so commonplace now, doesn’t it,  but we have the potential to rise above freezing again today. Delicious.

Good morning. The light is coming – soon it will be dawn.

I hope you all have a lovely day.

your friend on the farm


71 Comments on “Bees and Bees and Baby Bumps

  1. So happy for you! We need good days mixed in with the others, do we not? For me, it’s just about enough that it’s Thursday. Don’t know why, but this has always and forever been my favorite day. I love it. The box shaped baby tickles me. And the smoke rings. I had a baby shaped like a spaghetto. And another shaped like a pudding. Hmmm. Must have had to do with what I was eating, hmm? It’s rude to ramble in comments. I’ll stop now. Have a wonderful day! (So happy about your bees, Miz C.) x from Milan

  2. Who can resist a post that starts out “So much good news…” ? 🙂 Roosters in the sunshine, baby bellies, a Healthy Piggie – you’ve got it all!
    A wonderful read, on yet another snowy/sleety/rainy day…we’ll be above freezing later, so I’m not complaining! (Hubby’s another story, but we’ll just let him be…)

    • The Russians smell a little different from the Italians so i am fairly sure that they will steer clear of each other, there is also a way to cross a russian queen with an italian brood to help build their immunity, but you have to very very very slowly introduce the queen.. I am trying to think of another corner i can house the russians.. Italians are terrible robbers.. c

      • That should prove an interesting bit of shuffling! Good morning to you, c, and hope your day goes well.

  3. I have a friend here that has the Russian bees. They seem to be smaller than the others, but visit my garden a lot as I have more flowers than my friend! Glad you can hear them complaining in there, probably about how much longer before spring comes. We have just had over a foot of snow dumped on us over night, so busy doing a Celi and trying to make paths for the important stuff!
    Hugs Lyn

  4. the sun has just come out here – aahhhhh that’s better.
    And as I saw the first photo of Tilly I was shouting out SMOKIN’ I didn’t shout slapper……

  5. Very thoughtful of Queenie to plan a neatly boxed delivery. Like UPS.
    I’ll be very interested to read more about your bee experiments. I use a LOT of local honey, but beekeeping is one grow-your-own skill I admire from afar.
    I love the photos of Tilly 🙂

  6. wow.
    last night on my way to work, in my jeep, i heard an interesting NPR segment on the “demise” of bees, but it seems like you have the upper hand!
    i’m going to print off that article and make it my bedtime story.

    [love the cow photos: daisy with her “house right” bump, queenie with a toolbox.]

  7. You certainly are going to have a lot of baby cuteness on the farmy this spring and I can’t wait to experience that cuteness firsthand 🙂

    And did you see the forecast for next week? In the 40’s!!!!! Compared to what we’ve had this winter, It will feel like a day on the beach and may look like that too with all the melting snow.

    • Oh that forecast is great news.. once all the babies are born and the grass is green you will love the first of hopefully many days on the farm. But you know who our springs are, WINDY!

  8. i hope you get a warmer day today! it is snowing here right now. what will you do with the calves? great photos once again!

    • If Daisy has a heifer it will be the next milk cow (in three years) , and Daisy will become a breeding Mama. and if Queenie has a heifer she will also be kept for breeding. Any steers will of course go to the fattening paddock.

  9. The previous commenter beat me to it: 40+ degrees next Wednesday!!!! I hope it’s true and not some misguided attempt to give us “feel good news”. The activity in the hive is truly good news! Your precautions last Fall really paid off.
    Now, as for your comment about the Italians being “terrible robbers” … 😉

  10. Boy, it was fun to read this post. I, too kept bees for a while and unfortunately lost them to a freeze, so I completely understand how hearing them buzz after such a cold snap, really is a wondrous sound.

    • Now I need to make sure they stay snug an well fed until spring.. I would love some honey this year.. welcome to the lounge of comments trapper gale.. c

  11. That Tilly, she’s a troublesome teen with all that smoking! What a feel good post, and Queenie does indeed look as if she’s giving birth to a box…too funny.

    • I am glad you said that Audrey, i though i heard some new birds yesterday afternoon and thought it was wishful thinking! Maybe they are beginning to sing.. c

  12. Ton is such a photo bomber….always in the fold !!
    Great post today….always start my day with you and the critters !!

  13. Yes, let’s not put the Italians down, please. And don’t forget Tillie was almost “offed”; she probably figures she has to speak up loud and often.

  14. How very interesting about the bees! I will following you and much excited to learn how the new bees make it and how the Italian bees like the new immigrants! I, for one, am always interested in new people from foreign lands…as I’m sure you are!

    *♥´¨) ¸.-´¸.-♥´¨) Happy Valentine’s Day¸.-♥¨) (¸.-` ♥♥´¨

  15. Should I send out some African Bees …. ? I hear they are terrible fighters 😦 Love the baby bump pics …. keep Queenie away from Connie :0 🙂 Now it really needs to warm up a whole lot and everything will get even better. Laura

    • Laura you are brilliant, i shall tell the Postmistress you said that! She could just pop a stamp on her.. and send her out.. c

  16. My attention drifted off as I thought how lovely it would be to brush Daisy, although watchfully, you have warned us about her swinging head 🙂 I used to brush my [somewhat temperamental] horse, and as it he loved it, it was a peaceful way to spend time with him.
    As I got up, in the pre-dawn dark, into the warm warm morning, the promise of the overnight start of widely anticipated rain proved to be short-lived… delayed… I thought of you, and the extreme US weather as I had wistful thoughts of Autumn and promised myself that I would enjoy each day for what it brings 🙂

  17. I love the shots of Tilly making her smoke rings! Those are wonderful. Sounds like a great day on the farmy. It’s going to be a busy spring for you!!!

  18. I’m glad to read such good news, about bees, the first kick of the new calf, and some rays of sunshine. Tilly and her smoke rings made me laugh. Am a bit behind with your posts, and off to the bach now so that will put me behind again. Never mind. You know I think of your blog even when I’m not getting to it, and when I hear bad weather reports from USA I think, ‘how is Celi coping with this?’ My sister just flew back from a trip to New York and said 900 flights were delayed due to ice! Her plane was 2 hours on the runway, being de-iced and then waiting in a queue, but at least they got out.

    • Lucky your sister got out by the sounds of it..and you can never be behind, it is just life.. I look forward to your post when you come back from the bach.. c

  19. Russian bees have been our very favorites. Very laid back. Just didn’t like the foundation we had in our frames. They made their own comb design. Messy, but it was just their thing!

    • Do you think I should just give them the frames without foundation and let them have at it? I have always wanted to do that actually.. c

      • I would just put about an inch or two of foundation at the top of the frame and let them build down as they wish. It’s messy when you open the hive,because they free form it a bit, but they are much happier!

        • Wonderful that is just what i will do. I am looking forward to them.. hopefully they will be more resilient in this environment.. c

  20. Glad to hear your bees are buzzing. Are you supplementing their food source at all? Read a few days ago that supplementing at this time of year can be tricky – sugar water or other liquids can freeze and/or chill the bees, however granulated sugar is a safe alternative. Have a look at a wonderful blog called “Thy Hand Hath Provided”, They are new to beekeeping, but have some interesting posts about bees, food, and all kinds of things.

    Hope you are missed by more storms and start warming up soon.
    Chris S in Canada

    • Yes Chris, well done, that is exactly what I am doing, they have an empty super above their hive with sugar in there and a ziplock bag of honey, (anything else would freeze solid very fast!) with small slit in the top for them to feed, bees keep moving upwards so when it is warm enough I will very quickly rotate the supers, so that they will find the honey they often forget in the lower supers. The moment we hit the 40’s for a few days i will replenish their food trays.. bees often die right at the end of winter.. so i am feeding alright.. c

  21. I wondered if the girls had taken to smoking in the barn. I didn’t think that was Tilly. She looks so–sheepish. Big girl sheepish. Queenie may just have a surprise for you, a gift-wrapped calf!

  22. Morning ! So happy for all of the life wriggling and buzzing away on your farm. We have earnest small birds belting round the garden eating seed and insects and getting themselves built up for courting and nesting, new feathers on and all. The robin dives into the birdbath in the rain and the jackdaw colony in my neighbours’ chimneys appears to be growing. Xx jo

    • Your birds must be very clean, with all that water around. Can’t wait til our robins come back with their beautiful calls, but we are still knee deep in snow no wriggly worms yet.. c

  23. Those smoking sheep really made my day! How interesting to read about the Russian bees. I’m sure they’d thrive here as well, although there’s always been something of a stand-off between the Swedes and the Russians 🙂 We’ll see… meantime, the world continues it’s march towards spring.

  24. Well you’ve just taught me something…I thought bees went south with the birds. I took a picture of this huge icicle hanging from our roof and noticed a good size hornets nest. Maybe somebody’s in there.
    I’m surprised Daisy doesn’t tip over 🙂

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