“I’m on my way back from giving a talk in Michigan, so today’s news comes via Mark. The weather seems to be trying to make up for its poor behavior earlier in the season. We got a very well-timed eight-tenths of an inch of rain last night, which watered in the oat/pea mix that was just planted in Chad Field. It will help move the grass along toward some nice second cut hay, and it gladdens the buckwheat strips in Fifty Acre Field.
If you have never seen buckwheat, members, it might be worth the long walk to see it. It’s a vigorous grower, and good for weed control because it tends to outcompete all the other plants. The bees love it when it flowers, and it gives a dark color and distinctive, molasses-like flavor to their honey.
Speaking of the bees, they need all the help they can get this summer. Sam Comfort of Anarchy Apiaries came to check our hives a couple weeks ago. He usually gives us glowing reports on the health of the Essex Farm bees, but this time, there was something really wrong. He saw a lot of dead bees, and some live but twitching ones.
A bit of investigation revealed that we’d inadvertently poisoned them by using wasp spray on a nest of yellow jackets in the machine shop. The hives are not particularly close to the machine shop, but as Sam says, that poison is strong stuff. Lesson learned, and all but one hive should recover…” [Continue reading this Essex Farm Note to learn more.]
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