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Prairie Views

~ Dreamy abstraction in Four Square House on the Pairie

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Swarms and Flowers




Even with the best of prevention methods you will get a swarm. Earlier this year I had done a walkaway split to a hive to prevent it from swarming. Still a couple of weeks ago I walk outside only to find a swarm on a cedar tree next to the hive. We quickly set up another hive to put the swarm into. The swarm is doing well although it is not likely to build up enough this year to produce honey.  The property still has blooms all over blooming strong.

Wild Bird Area and Intro To Permaculture.


Fragrant Sumac with berries



I decided to complete a free permaculture class given by Oregon State University. It was a free class but you can really learn a lot about permaculture and what others are doing. I really leaned more from this class than two other class I learned locally. They also have online a class for peraculture and water. As soon as I get some time I will study that one. I need to begin plans to divert water from the barn to a catchment type of system.  With the  class you needed to do a 10/10/100 project. Participants are challenged to bring their course experience into the world with something of value within 10 days of the course, 10 hours of work and no more than $100 of the participants currency. So I finished my Quail/Pheasant food, shelter, travel and harsh weather area.  In this area Fragrant Sumac, sandhill plums and service berries were planted.  Because of previous experience with horrible weeds. I now plant in pockets leaving most of the grass undisturbed.  This provides cover for the area before the large shrubs take over and shade out most of the grass. The grass also will provide cover before the shrubs mature. 


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Prairie Views Updated Plans

Some times change is needed. I needed to do three changes to my plan. First I needed to add the quail and pheasant nesting, food and protection area.  I also needed to update my pasture paradise plan. Lastly I had to the way water moves in the property. I need to make plans to better get the water to move to an area I could make a very small pond for the dry seasons.


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Southern California Out and About


This weekend we flew out of Kansas City to spend a few days in Southern California to visit family and get some relaxation. Other than the traffic congestion we had beautiful weather and a wonderful time.  We took a couple of side trips. We took a few side trips to the beachwalk Pomanade, Solvang and Bennets Honey.

In Solvang we choose to meander through the pedestrian-friendly village to view the Danish architecture, large European style windmills and go into the many small shops, We found the knife shop he wanted to check out on one of the side streets very close to the main street of the little village.  At noon time we decided to eat a smorgaasbord and have frikadeller (meatballs),  herring, cold cuts of meat, cheese, pate and other Danish favorites for lunch. As we explored the  high-end boutiques, European imports and art galleries I searched for Thumbelina Needlework and found in one of the small side paths.  It is smaller that when it was on the main street but still has an array of needle crafts items. Our last stop was a bustling bakery with a wide choice of bakery items you can’t find at most bakeries anymore.  I decided on the bear claw which is puff pastry dough and almond filling.  If you are into wine tasting this place has many winery tasting stores.


Every trip to Ventura requires a walk along the beach and on the pier. This day as most days was filled with surfers. As almost always you have the fisherman on the pier catching count on catching Jacksmelt, mackerel, sand sharks, perch, a few types of croaker, stingray but many times the anglers catch halibut too.,

I discover this honey farm and decided to check it out with a short trip to the Fillmore area. This store had honey from many places including Hawaii and New Zealand at prices lower than I have every seen. They also carry local honey which is what I purchased. The Avocado and eucalyptus was great. The have a tasting area where you can taste all of the flavors they carry. I cant’t wait to go to the bee club tasting and bring these along with my honey.



Californians favorite fast food burger joint is In-N-Out_Burger. The lines at this one was crazy so we went to another in Oxnard.

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A Four Square House: Decorating the Living Room/Parlor/Away Room

In the new houses unless it is very huge they have only a great room.  This is the room of social connection with the kitchen, diving and living space in one room. I older homes that were larger the areas for separate. You have a living room, dining, kitchen and family room. These may or may not be open to one another. My dining and living room which I can the Away Room are connected by an opening. The family room and kitchen are now open to each other but they used to have doors between the two. The living room and dining room are separate from the other rooms by doors and hallway.  Anyway we have finally  made the room usable for have guests.  still have my computer desk in this room.  Some of the items are antiques or items we have collected over the years. I took out about half of the books from my book cases to put some items of interest.

Still, we still have more things to do to complete this room. The front door is in really bad shape and the door to the family room needs to be painted or stained. I will most likely be painted white later. We already took an old oval picture my  grandfather painted to put over the faux fireplace.  I still want to put a stain glass over the one window. Most importantly the ceiling will have to be done since to old ceiling is cracking a coming off. We plan to encapsulate the popcorn and ceiling instead of tearing down to prevent breading possible asbestos or lead paint with ceiling-grade gypsum board or with cofered ceiling tiles. coffer ceiling were very popular in four squares.


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Late April Showers Bring More Flowers


I took a walk around to see what flowers were growing and being visited by bees.  The dandelions were still in bloom in areas and quite popular. The onions I left over winter to go to seed were blooming. The bees really like onions.  As yo can see in the photo above some plants had more than one bee at a time.



The huge poppies were very popular with the bees.   These were here when we purchased the property in a planted around a worn out cement little pond or pool. I tired to transplant some last year without luck.  They are not in a good area in the lawn so we have to mow around them until they stopped blooming.  I tried before blooming but this year I will try after blooming to see if I can get some in a  back yard planter.




The saliva was very popular last year and now that it is blooming it is very popular with the bees. There are at least three bees on the flowers in this picture. I really like this plant since it is easy to grow and a perennial.

Arkansas River, Keeper of the Plains, Veterans Park, and Sedgwick County Zoo

We recently too a drive to Wichita with the grandchildren in tow.  Our first stop was the Sedgwick County Zoo.  This zoo in opened in 1971 with the American  and Asian farms. This was our first stop were we were able to view some rare livestock I have only seen before in pictures. These animals are designated as critical or rare by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.  They used to have a Lakenvelder cow but I did not see one. The girls enjoyed the goats until they got a little pushy.  I enjoyed looking at the Poitou donkeys.  



The American Cream that you can see behind the donkey was also a very really nice horse. 




After walking around and seeing the typical birds and koi found off the paths of most zoos we entered a tropical forest with all types of interesting birds and bats. Yes the had bats loose in the area but they were the fruit bats and just hung around. The vampire bats could be viewed in a aquarium, type of cage. The enclosed huge area was humid and made me shudder at the thought of what it would be like in the summer. I was glad it was a nice cool spring day.



It was fun and challenging to take pictures in the area especially the waterfall.


I have been wanting for years to walk along the Arkansas River and view the Keeper of the Plains. The no cost attraction seemed to be popular with the grandchildren. Well I should say rocks were.


For whatever reason their were a lot of goose decoys set around the Keeper of the Plains. There were reals geese too that seemed to enjoyed basking in the sun.





Along the river is a walkway very poplar with local walkers and bicyclists too. The walk is 15 miles long for those of you wanting to get mileage on your fit bit. The Arkansas River Path also provides access to other parks and city attractions, including museums, the stadium, ice rink and the zoo.  It is around 15 miles long. While waling to find the playground we discovered the Veterans Park. It had some very beautiful monuments for different wars.







We took the bridge over to the Exploration Place and found the playground. This playground has three different areas intended for different age groups. It has a large picnic area for a few or a large group.

The The Arkansas River is a major tributary  of the Mississippi River which means in Kansas you can float in the river.  The river starts in Colorado providing a great white water rafting and exceptional trout fishing until it proceeds into the great plains were the river flattens and widens considerately. With the 190-plus miles of the Arkansas River from Great Bend to the Oklahoma border you can float for a short time or months if you want to go all the way to the Mississippi River..

Blooms, Bees and Swarm






Last time I checked the hives inside I did not find any capped cells and just a few eggs. I did not see if happen by I suspect the hive swarmed. I noticed two queen cells that looked like they hatched.  I will again check the hive as soon as I can to see if there are any capped cells.  The rain has made it difficult to maintain my hives since it seems the nice days are when I work.  I also noticed the bees from the other hive seem to be robbing this hive. This is a really bad sign and I just might end up loosing the while hive. It is a depressing sight since you have 1/2 of the bees and a lot of the honey is not  a lot in the hive anymore since the bees packed a supply to swarm.

You might wonder what I could had done. Sometimes when they get in the swarm more it can be difficult to stop.

Adding a new queen

Sometimes the  lack of queen pheromone in their food exchange and the swarming impulse is triggered. When this happens new queen cells are started. You will find those mostly at the bottom of the hive. they are easy to spot since they look like a peanut. 

No eggs and only Queen cells found.

Thinks happen and sometimes the queen goes missing. It might have gotten killed when you were last in the hive or some other reason. The hive may be too crowded or lacks ventilation..  The best way to help this hive is to split. Put a queen cell or two in a nuc or another hive body.  Hopefully they will decide the conditions are good again so the start feeding the queen and putting her back into the laying mode.

It too hot for the hive. 


Yesterday I checked my hives and found one  full of bees and brood even in the honey supers.  I took a frame with 2 queen cells and a couple of brood cells into a hive body with some honey supers on top with quite a bit of honey.  I am now crossing my fingers to get another hive and hope that hive full of bees and brood will not swarm.  In place of those frames i removed I added new empty ones.  The hive I am sure that swarmed I was still unable to find any eggs , capped brood or a queen. I am planning to go back to the full hive and remove a couple of queen cells and put into that hive to try to save it.

The bees are still enjoying the blooms of dandelions and the lilacs.  I noticed I have blooms in a backyard flower bed and plan to investigate as soon as I can. I am excited that the wildflower patch in the side garden seems to be growing. It will be a matter of time before I find out what grew. Hopefully plants that will bloom later in the season for the bees.

Prairie Views Strategy for Bee Pollen and Nectar






My strategy at Prairie Views is to provide enough sources of Pollen and Nectar for the bees from March to October. With the native plantings and bee source landscaper I will be mongering what is available in used by the bees during these times. Last month the plumcot bloomed when we had a warm period. Later came the pear trees and dandelions which are still booming at this time. Now we have the the crab apples which will also provide beauty in the front as well as food for the winter for the birds and maybe a jar or two of crab apple jelly for us. The period I will be concerned about will be In July were there are fewer blooming plants due to the heat. It will be interesting if the seeds I planted will live to my expectations to provide booming plants during this time for my bees.




Since it was a very nice weekend, weather wise, it was very important to put a bee hive inspection at the top of the TO DO list. The hives are looking great. They are strong without any signs of swarm development. So you might wonder what I look for in my inspection. 

  • We look for the queen. If we cannot find her we look for brood and the brood pattern.  After inspecting to first brood box we put that one aside and take a look at the second brood box. Most frames on the second brood boxes were empty or had a little honey on them.  This is what we expected.  I was surprised that the  stronger hive had some brood in the second box. We set this box aside and then check the bottom screened board. This board was really clean on one hive but had quite a few bees on the first hive we inspected,  We scraped any stuff and dumped any dead bees into the grass. This is not something we would worry about this early in the spring since we have just started having spring weather except for the rare January warm up. I think this might of happened becasue we had very warm weather in January that turned to snow the next day. 
  • After inspecting the hives it is time to put them back together. We moved the top box to the bottom and the bottom box to the top. The reason we do this is we want to give the queen more room. The queen usually likes to work up so it you switch it around she has move room to move up while making brood. 
  • On top of the hives we added one supper since we are already having pollen and nectar flowing from the flowering bush and pear tree in the Food Forest. The apple trees and more pear will bloom soon too. It it looks like they are not getting anything I will put syrup out for them. The only problem is if you have suppers on you take the chance of getting sugar water honey. Not good honey at all!  Most of the supers were in the freezer all wither with a mix of capped and uncapped honey so they will have honey available if it gets a little too cool to go our or it rains too much.  
  • You might wonder why I have honey frames. The reason is you do not want to take uncapped honey from a hive becasue it will contain too much moisture. Later we will add more suppers to collect honey. 




I like to watch the bees and noticed they had to go all the way in the red flowers to get the pollen and when I saw them going into the hives they had their pouches full of red pollen. Many had white pouches too which is from the pear tree. Dandelions are blooming  too but I suspect that they prefer the other flowers. It made me remember to make some dandelion jelly this year. It was interesting to see the red and white pollen patterns in the combs. An interesting note during the inspection is I did not find one hive beetle walking around. There were some in the hive beetle traps.  Getting rid of them would be great but I am only hopeful at this point. 

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