May 31, 2015

Baby Chickens Report

It didn't take long before our chicks outgrew their box in the pantry and needed bigger quarters. I decided to go ahead and move them into the chicken coop. Before we could do that, however, we needed to set things up to accommodate them.

The first thing we had to do something about was the roost.

"Tree" roost right after it was built.

I love the idea of the tree roost, but in reality it didn't turn out to be very practical. For one thing, some of the less intelligent birds had a hard time figuring out how to get up and down. For another, since the bars were permanently placed, it was difficult to clean out under. We decided to go back to a conventional style roost with removable roosting bars.

(Notice the peeling whitewash? A new coating is on my to-do list)

That left better room for a brooding pen for the baby chicks.

My baby Australorp chicks

All was well for the first couple of days. Then one morning I discovered three chicks were missing. After our last incident of disappearing chicks, we were pretty sure it was rats. I beefed up security, added screens over the top, and Dan set up the animal trap. So far so good.

Hopefully this is rat-proof. The window screens add a "roof" to the pen.

I feel kinda bad for these little guys with no mama.

We currently have 14 chicks

Not that she could protect them from predators, but because there is no one to teach them about finding food and to fuss over them the way mama hens do. I believe that everything that is intended to have a mother ought to have one. Fortunately, none of the hens is hostile toward the invaders in their coop. A rooster might have something to say about it, but we have no rooster at the moment except for the little up and comers. Hopefully they'll all make it.

Baby Chickens Report © May 2015 

May 27, 2015

The Beast Is Dead

Here is an equipment tale of woe that many of you will be able to relate to. Dan's beloved walk-behind 2-wheel tractor, fondly referred to as "The Beast," is not moving.

We've only had it for a year.

The engine still runs but there is a problem with the transmission. Fixable? That remains to be seen. In the meantime, it set off a rather lengthy discussion about our goals, needs, and working smarter on our homestead.

Before we bought The Beast we set out to find a farm tractor. We scoured Craigslist and Dan traveled many miles in search of something that matched our pocketbook. Such a tractor did not seem to exist, or at least not one that was in working order. All too many ads said "runs great" only to have it mysteriously not start when Dan went to look. Or the battery had just died. Or the owner forgot to put fuel in it. Or there was something they didn't mention in the ad that they were sure was "easy" to fix. When the walk-behind turned up, Dan went to look. It started right up so he bought it.

One of the problems with buying equipment that is no longer manufactured is that it's difficult to find replacement parts. For example, ours needed a coulter. The purpose of the coulter is to cut the ground ahead of the plowshare. The plow then turns over the ground with a nice, neat edge. Without it, the plow is difficult to control.

Simplicity Model W Walk-Behind Tractor

Coulters are available for larger tractors, but we need a 10-inch size, smaller than standard. First Dan contacted our local John Deere and Kubota dealers. Unfortunately they specialize in lawn tractors and didn't have a clue about plows and coulters. One said he'd look into to it but we never heard from him again. The next step was for Dan to try to make one.

Homemade coulter, made of a 10" saw blade & two grinding wheels. 

The grinding wheels add strength & keep the saw blade from bending.

Another problem he had was that the tractor isn't heavy enough to plow our tough ground. It needed more weight in the front. Again, these weren't available to he added his own.

These are the challenges of older, no longer manufactured equipment. Dan is definitely going to try to fix it but we still question what the best option is. I've researched no-till for field crops but learned that a tractor is still used, just with different implements, things like seed drills and seeding discs, which were not made for our walk-behind tractor.

Even if The Beast can be fixed it will eventually break down again, and once again we'll struggle with parts we can't get. Every time this happens it creates a tension between work to be done and the time required to fix the equipment. On top of that it is heavy and takes strength to control.

A small farm tractor still seems like the best option for us, especially as we get older and need better work-smarter-not-harder options, especially ones that will enable us to conserve strength and energy. On top of that, a four-wheel tractor is a better candidate for converting to wood gas than the two-wheel one.

 The question now is can we find one that runs and we can afford? Can we find the attachments? Ours has never been a big agricultural area so most farm tractors around here are only used with belly mowers or bush hogs.

I suppose we'll just have to wait and see. Do stay tuned.

May 24, 2015

In & Around The Garden

The bad news is that we have not gotten a good rainfall in over a month. Between that and temperatures in the low 90s, many things in the garden are suffering. I just can't seem to keep everything watered well, which is a concern. Anyway, here's what's happening in and around my garden.

I only planted two rows of peas. I planted turnips too but they were a no
show. I won't have a huge harvest but we'll have some good seasonal eating.

Kale is doing well. 

So is my lettuce and multiplier onions. Radishes
have mostly been harvested with a few left to go to seed.

Beets! This is the first time in several years the deer haven't wiped
out my beets. Also broccoli here, although it hasn't flowered yet.

My chicory volunteers every year. I love the blue blossoms and the
goats love the greens. Garlic in the background is near harvest time.

Green beans planted up in double rows. I planted cucumbers between the
double rows but with no rain they haven't sprouted, but weeds are growing .

This is the first time in a long time that I've mulched with straw, but we had all those bales from our make do pig digs so I've been using them.

Volunteer dill transplanted into the cabbage row. I started
the cabbage plants early but they have been slow to grow.

I planted 4 rows of popcorn but hardly any has had a chance to sprout. The
rows are filled with volunteer marigolds and amaranth. I leave the marigolds
and pull the amaranth. The roots are thrown into the compost while stalks
and leaves are chopped and dehydrated for the goats' winter mineral mix.

I leave other "weeds" as well. This is a row of heartsease.
It has medicinal value and makes a good ground cover.

It appears that only about half of
my sweet potatoes have survived.

Elder is beginning to bloom

A few red raspberries

A baby Gala apple. Do you see how lop-sided it is? I learned from Anna
Hess's The Naturally Bug-Free Garden (highly recommended) this is a
symptom of poor pollination. Our bees arrived too late to help this year's
apple crop, but will help correct will all fruit pollination in the future.

That's my garden report for the end of May. Hoping and praying for rain soon. How about you?

May 21, 2015

Polly's Piggy Pregnancy Pointer

Waldo and Polly

It's been a long time since I've done a pig post, over two months. I had hoped to have some good news for you by now, namely that we either had baby pigs or we had baby pigs on the way.

Polly. Pregnant?

The problem is that I've not seen any breeding behavior whatsoever.

According to Walter at Sugar Mountain, a pregnancy is detectable in a sow by the hind end of her female anatomy. If it points up, she is pregnant. If not, then she isn't. What happens as the piglets grow in the womb, the weight pulls the uterus down so that her genitalia is pulled up.

Polly's does not point up, although it not longer points down like it did a week ago. So maybe?

Polly will be one year old at the beginning of June and according to Walter that's an average age for first farrowing. Until then, all we can do is wait.

May 19, 2015

The Saddest Thing

It was 5:42 AM and I was standing at the customer service door of the post office, waiting for someone to bring me my baby chicks. Through the door there was a bench against the wall, with a box on the floor next to it. Inside the box was a wadded up American flag.

My mind flashed back to Girl Scouts. Our troop worked together to earn a merit badge on the American Flag. We learned its history and rich symbolism. We learned flag etiquette and protocol. The culmination of the project was a flag burning ceremony, so that we could learn the proper way to discard our nation's flag. It was a solemn ritual which could not help but evoke emotion in each girl's heart.

By the time I got to university, flag burning was an all too common means of protest against the government's policies and politics. When you think about it, really, it's more than just a protest, it's a blatant symbol of disrespect. It sends the message that if one disagrees with someone else, then the appropriate response is to disrespect them.

We live in a day and age when it is stated that respect must be earned. I'm amazed that few folks see the circular reasoning in which this results. Person A requires that Person B earn their respect. Until then, A treats B rudely. Person B requires the same thing - that A earn their respect. But A is treating them disrespectfully, so B reciprocates in kind. In the end, no one ever earns anyone's respect and the result is a society of rude, self-centered, disrespectful folk. I would propose that respect is the proper and logical manner in which to treat all people and all things. It is TRUST which must be earned.

I realize that it takes some amount of self-respect to treat all others respectfully. Instead, popular psychology addresses self-esteem, which appears to build itself on the principle of equality. I had a friend who grew up in California. She said that they did not believe in using the terms "sir" and "ma'am" because were terms that hearkened back to slavery. She said there were other ways to teach respect. I always wondered what that meant because every time she came over her kids got into things they shouldn't, and usually ended up breaking or destroying something.

Contrast that to Coach Ken Carter. (Have you seen the movie? It's based on a real life basketball coach starring Samuel L. Jackson as Coach Carter. Highly recommended). He requires all members of his teams to address not only himself, but one another, as "sir" because, he says, it is a sign of respect, and he requires all his players to respect one another. I would propose that if each person on this planet automatically showed respect for one another, there would be no need for so call self-esteem training. Why? Because respect cannot be taken, it can only be given.

Folks cite many reasons (economics, industrialization, the environment, etc.) as to why our modern way of life is doomed to fail. Others disagree, claiming that science, technology, and our evolving universal consciousness will save us. What's that got to do with a flag? After all, a nation's flag is just a colorful piece of cloth; it is neither holy nor sacred of itself. But as a symbol of that nation and that people, it has value greater than gold. How they treat that symbol is a reflection of what they think of themselves. To see that flag lying neglected and crumpled in that box spoke great symbolic words to me. I could not help but ask, what hope can there be for a nation that does not respect itself?

May 17, 2015

New Babies With No Mama

16 Black Australorp chicks

My baby chicks are here! I picked them up early Friday morning at the post office. Their arrival was meant to coincide with the 21 day mark for a broody hen. Alas, she abandoned her post after about two weeks, but the chicks were on their way nonetheless.

This is the first time I've hand raised chicks since our very first batch. Since then we've both allowed our hens to hatch some of their own eggs, and also grafted baby chicks onto them. We've done that because we simply haven't settled on a breed. I would like to keep a flock of purebred heritage breed chickens, but finding the ones we like best has been a bit of a challenge.

Right now the chicks are residing under a heat lamp in the pantry. Without a mama hen to run interference it will be challenging to introduce them to our adult birds. Chickens are rather ruthless when it comes to establishing the pecking order. My hens are all older birds so it may be time to retire most or all of them. Perhaps I should stock up on eggs and do just that.

May 15, 2015

Wheat Hay for Goats

Sometimes I feel caught between a rock and a hard place. Dan's and my goal is to grow as much of our our food as we can, for both us and our animals. All too often I feel no closer to obtaining that goal than I did five years ago. Oh, we've made huge progress in many areas, but one remains elusive - growing grain.

I have a post in my drafts folder entitled, "Growing Grain: What I've Learned So Far." It's a post I really should finish and share, even though I can't say we've got it all figured out. The biggest challenge has been the grass grains, i.e wheat, oats, and barley. They have been easy to grow, but not easy to process.

April - this year's winter wheat heading up.

By process I mean threshing and winnowing, also grinding some for flour. We've experimented a lot and come to the conclusion that for a two person homestead with one person having to work full time, the only thing for it is some sort of mechanized piece of equipment. Yes, it can be done by hand, but it's a lot of time and work. We don't mind the work, but time is what we're always short of.

Small scale farming equipment is not readily available in the US. Europe and especially Asia seem to be the places to get such equipment. When we do find something, it's always used and priced out of our range.

May - cut in the milk stage as hay for the goats

What we have found locally is usually relegated to the category of "antique", meaning, it is assumed the buyer will be willing to pay a lot of money for something to simply look at as a decorative item. That puts most of it out of our price range. Add the cost of correcting disrepair, and it isn't worth it. On top of that, I think it likely that both fuel and electricity will be in shorter supply in the future, and therefore more expensive. Consequently, I question the wisdom of purchasing equipment that may ultimately be useless. For some things, like grain and hay, Dan has his scythe, while I have my sickle mower. The sickle mower is gasoline powered, but as a work-smarter-not-harder tool it is a useful choice for now. The scythe is our low-tech backup.

Walk behind sickle mower

Fortunately, I have learned that we don't need as much grain as I originally thought we did. My original assumption was that we'd have to grow a lot in order to feed the goats, but I now know that grain isn't all that good for goats so we don't need bushels and bushels of it. Instead, we need high quality hay.

We had a hard time getting good hay this past winter. We cut and stored quite a bit of our own, but had to buy it as well. Several times I bought what was promised to be "good hay, your goats will love it", only to open the bales and find it not so good. Some of it the goats refused to eat, so it ended up being an extreme waste. Not only is it a waste of hay, but also a waste of the money to buy it and the time and fuel to go get it. Some of you may recall the triticale hay I bought and was offered for future trade for goat cheese. Well, only two of my eight goats would eat the entire thing including the stem. The rest only wanted to eat the grain heads off and refused to eat the stalks, meaning most of it was wasted. That plus driving distance put an end to my hopes in that.

As with most things on the homestead, it's a little here and a little there; it's small steps rather than big ones. And it's learning how to be content with those small steps. All I can say is, I'm in route.

May 12, 2015

Second Hive Check

Two of my questions as a novice Warré beekeeper were how long to feed my hive of package bees, and when to add more hive boxes.

Honeybees in my hive top feeder

In his video tutorial, "About Hivetop Feeders", Chris Harvey of The Warré Store (where I purchased my feeder) says to feed them until the first hive box is entirely filled with comb. In The Backyard Beekeeper Kim Flottum says to feed them as long as they'll consume it. This check was to see how far along they were in building comb in the top hive box.

If you look closely at the bees I've arrowed, you'll see scales
of wax being secreted from glands on their abdomens. 

Dan and I lit the bee smoker, removed the top, quilt, and feeder, and took a look.

This time I had the camera!

The first thing I noticed was that they were drawing comb along the wax beads I painted on the top bars.  That was good news because it will make it easier to remove individual bars of comb if needed. Sometimes they attach comb to two or more of the top bars, making it impossible to remove only one. This is known as crosscombing.

I also noticed that some of the comb is already capped, some cells aren't, and that some of the top bars had not been drawn out yet.

Busy bees at work

I did not look for the queen or brood. I'm trusting that my hive is queenright (has a healthy queen) by the bees' behavior. They are busy, purposeful, and bringing in quite a bit of pollen. Pollen is necessary for initially feeding brood, which takes 21 days from egg to emerging adult bee.

They had emptied the feeder so I put it back on the hive and added more. I'm using a 1:1 sugar syrup with a tablespoon of homemade honey-bee-healthy added to each quart.

How will I know when to add another hive box? According to David Heaf in his Natural Beekeeping with the Warré Hive, boxes are nadired (added to the bottom) when the bottom box is about 1/2 built with comb. How will I know that? With a handheld mirror. The idea is to add more boxes before they fill up the available space and decide to swarm in search of a larger home.

Checking progress. We're looking up through the screened bottom at the
top bars in the bottom box. Bees are present but not yet drawing comb.

That's where a screened bottom comes in handy. When I first took a peek about a week and a half ago, I saw no bees in the mirror. Now I see them because comb-building has progressed so that bees are in the area. Once they fill up that top box they'll start building comb in the next box down. The queen will move down as well, to lay eggs in the new comb. The cells vacated by newly emerged bees will be filled with honey.

About a week ago I enlarged the hive opening a bit.

Traffic is lightest in morning and
evening, heaviest in the afternoon.

Traffic was bottle-necking at the entrance so I swapped out the little chunk of wood to accommodate them. The purpose of narrowing the entrance is to give the new hive a better chance to defend itself, until the bees build up better numbers. Shortly after that I observed a carpenter bee trying to gain entrance. It was not only repelled but literally kicked out on its butt! Much to my relief it gave up after that.

They are certainly busy during the day, bringing in pollen, nectar, and water. I've only had the hive for about three weeks now, so the first of the brood ought to be hatching. These will take up house bee duties for their first several weeks of life, allowing the older bees to enter the foraging ranks. Some time I'll have to write a post about the life stages of a honeybee, because of all of God's creatures, I think they are the most fascinating.

Next - Honeysuckle Hive Varroa Mite Count

May 10, 2015

Me Versus the Chickens -Or- Who Outsmarted Whom?

My sad news is that my broody hen has abandoned her nest! I've never had a Buff Orpington do that before. They are usually champions at brooding and mothering. I don't know if it was the nest shuffle, the other hens, or what, but I suppose it falls under my category of a first time for everything. Ordinarily I wouldn't mind, but I have 16 Black Australorp chicks ordered to be ready for pickup at the end of the week! I suppose I'll have to dust off the ol' brooder lamp.

One other thing I did recently, was deciding to not let them out to free range so early in the morning. I'm not getting a whole lot of eggs from my flock of older hens, and was getting tired of having to hunt all over for those few. Since we enlarged their yard when we opened the new coop, I figured they could stay in the yard until later in the morning. I hoped I'd get more eggs in the nest boxes. Instead, egg production dropped to about three per day for 15 hens. Good thing I have replacements on the way.

The other day I was on my way into the coop to fill their feeder, when I saw one of my Speckled Sussex crawl out from under the nest boxes. Aha!

Could it be that my broody hen had simply moved? Alas no. There is apparently just a waiting line for this most prized new spot.

My haul was nineteen eggs and all of them were still good. Quiche, anyone?

May 8, 2015

My Best Strawberry Season Ever

My strawberries are wonderful this year!

One morning's pickings

They've never been so bountiful nor so pretty. I'm crediting the right amount of rainfall, compost, and all those hardwood ashes from my wood cookstove. Jam and strawberry short cake are at the top of my strawberry to-do list, but I also wanted to try an idea I've had for kefir ice cream.

I love my Cuisinart ice cream freezer.
No salt, no ice, just ice cream in 20 minutes!

The photo's color looks a little funky because of the flash but was it ever good: creamy, tangy, and not too sweet. Here's the recipe.

Strawberry Kefir Ice Cream

The proportions are for a small, freezer bowl ice cream maker.

  • 1 cup cream
  • 1.5 cups crushed strawberries
  • dash sea salt
  • 1/2 cup unbleached sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1.5 cups kefir

Mix cream, sugar, strawberries, and salt in a saucepan. Heat until almost simmering. In a blender beat the egg yolks. Slowly add the strawberry mixture, then add the kefir and mix well. Chill thoroughly before putting in the ice cream maker. Makes a generous quart plus.

May 5, 2015

The Question of Self-Sufficiency

Not too long ago we had an interesting discussion about the term sustainable. I'm interested in your opinions on something else, although my questions might not be what you'd assume. Let me use an example to explain.

When I used to homeschool, the predictable question by non-homeschoolers was, "What about socialization?" Not once, in the hundreds of times I was asked that question, did anyone mention academics. It was as though the number one reason for sending kids to school was "socialization," not learning and not life preparation. I put that term in quote marks because, properly, socialization is the acquisition of cultural norms, values, customs, ideologies, etc. I think what folk were really referring to was social interaction, with the assumption that homeschooling amounted to locking up one's kids in a closet.

My introduction to the term "self-sufficient" was in the 1970s during the back-to-the-land movement. It was one of the goals we hippies strove for in our communes. What we wanted was to not be dependent on The Establishment and all its failings. At the time I knew of several groups of young idealists, all working together as a commune to become self-sufficient. We would get together with other groups from time to time to help one another with things like wheat harvest, but that never negated each group's goal of self-sufficiency.

The back-to-the-land movement has long since faded away, but the homesteading movement has grown out of a similar concern. Most (not all) homesteaders seem to have a similar goal, i.e. to not be dependent on the consumer system or the government to meet needs. Their reasons vary and I discuss that in other posts. Yet, when the term self-sufficiency is now used to describe such goals, there is a rather overwhelming assumption that the term refers to isolationism. One of my questions is, why? Why do folks assume self-sufficiency refers to a social condition, when in fact it refers to an economic condition? The question is addresses is how are our needs being met? Are we dependent upon the industrialized consumer model to provide everything for us? Or are we knowledgeable and skillful enough to meet some or most of our needs ourselves? To put it another way, if someone or something pulled the plug today, how well off would we be?

I think the number of homesteaders who reject a community of like-minded folk are minute. Most of us would love to have a like-minded community network, and absolutely do not feel it's a contradiction to our goal of self-sufficiency.

The key is being truly like-minded. The most common points of division within groups are politics and religion, i.e. belief systems. A more insidious problem is work ethic. Some folks are givers, some are takers. More than one shared work agreement has failed because one party or the other does not hold up their end of the bargain. Another important agreement must be on values. Some of us are willing to trade and barter, even give things away, on a needs basis. For others, it's all about making a profit. Some of us are working toward material simplicity, while others love their technology.

What do we do if we cannot find this like-minded local community? Some may accuse us of being isolationists, but what is the alternative? Give up and follow the crowd because that's what everyone else is doing? Or do we have the courage to stand alone in our conviction in what we're doing? As my mother used to say, if everyone else jumped off a cliff and broke their necks would you? It does take courage and strength of character to stand alone, especially when there is criticism and pressure to conform. It's a risk, but are you willing to take it?

Okay, the floor is yours. Speak!

May 3, 2015

My Stubborn Broody

This is where she wants to be.

Evening head count for the chickens is at chore time when we toss scratch into the chicken yard. They come running and are easy to count then. If I come up short I check the nest boxes, where the missing hen is usually to be found. If I get a short count several days in a row, I check to see if the hen in the nest box has gone broody.

A broody hen will maintain a puffed position even after being removed from the nest. I collect the eggs and wait to see what she'll do. If she keeps returning to the nest, then sure enough, she's broody. With no rooster at present, the eggs she's trying to set on are infertile.

I've actually been waiting for a broody so that I can get our next batch of chicks. All our hens are getting older and we haven't had any pullets hatched on the homestead for a couple of years. Egg production is down quite a bit so it's time to get some younger hens into the flock mix. Also another rooster, so we can keep on perpetuating our own flock.

Our nest boxes are a tad too small for a mother hen and 16 chicks, so I set up my brooder area in the chicken coop.

This is where I want her to be.

My primary reason for this is not only to give the chicks room, but to keep other hens from laying in the broody's nest. My chickens love to lay their eggs in a broody's nest. Does anyone else have this problem?

Unfortunately, my broody doesn't want to be where I want her to be! She keeps jumping fence and returning to the nest boxes. The non-broody hens have managed to get into her pen anyway and have been laying eggs there. In fact, it's become the number one egg laying spot these days.

I have until the end of next week to figure out what to do. I'd like to get her settled and used to the new nest at least several days before the chicks arrive. Seems a more secure pen with covering is in order, wouldn't you think?

May 1, 2015

Bee Plants: Expanding My Definition of Edible

When we first started discussing plans for our homestead, one of the promises I made to myself was that I would only plant edible, medicinal, and otherwise useful plants. Basically that meant no ornamentals. That has grown to include things like companion plants which might not be directly useful to us, but support other plants which are useful. Now that I have an extra 10,000 mouths to feed (give or take), I need to include plants that will make my honeybees happy. Technically called nectary plants, these provide pollen and nectar for insects, including honeybees. Here's my list so far. It's neither complete nor categorized, but it's a start.
  • alfalfa
  • almond
  • American Holly
  • angelica
  • anise hyssop
  • apple
  • apricot
  • aronia
  • aster
  • basil
  • basswood
  • Bermudagrass
  • blackberry
  • black haw (Viburnum prunifolium)
  • blueberry
  • borage
  • buckwheat
  • bugleweed
  • candytuft
  • caraway 
  • catnip
  • cherry
  • chickweed
  • chicory
  • chives
  • clover
  • corn
  • cowpea
  • crab apple
  • cranberry
  • cucumber
  • currant
  • dandelion
  • goldenrod
  • gooseberry
  • gourds
  • grape
  • hazelnut
  • Honey Locust
  • honeysuckle
  • Joe-Pye weed
  • lavender
  • lemon balm
  • maple
  • marigold
  • meadowsweet
  • melons
  • mulberry
  • mustard
  • oak
  • oregano
  • peach
  • pear
  • peppermint
  • persimmon
  • plum 
  • poison ivy
  • poppy
  • raspberry
  • redbud
  • rosemary
  • sage
  • selfheal
  • sorghum
  • squash, summer and winter
  • strawberry
  • sumac
  • sunflowers
  • thyme
  • tulip popular
  • vervain
  • vetch
  • wild carrot
  • wild rose
  • willow

Happily, I already have a lot of plants on this list and many are included on my list for our forest garden hedgerows.  Quite a few have already bloomed, but knowing I have them feels like a step in the right direction. Eventually I'll categorize this list by month of bloom and aim toward having something blooming for our bees as many months as possible.

Interestingly, one site ( lists poisonous honey plants. In other words, plants known to damage colonies which collect nectar from it. The ones that caught my attention are common ornamentals in these parts: rhododendron, mountain laurel, and azalea. Rhododendron is a killer for goats too, so not a plant I want around, but we do have azaleas in the yard. All of these are naturalized plants in these parts. However, I also read bees will naturally avoid these plants unless they are starving, so hopefully it will never be a problem.

One more link. I recently found this one, "Plants that Bees Love". Rusty Burlew at Honey Bee Suite has compiled the most extensive lists I've seen, and as handy downloadable PDFs. His is overall a great bee website with excellent information and how-to articles. Highly recommended

Next - Second Hive Check