Archive for June, 2017


A Hive of Homicides or Hive Demise

Author: Meera, June 21, 2017

The title of the third novel in my Henny Penny Farmette series suggests loss of bees and murderous intent. No beekeeper wants to lose a hive, regardless of how it happens–whether some invader wants to kill the bees, go after the honey, or use the hive as a host for proliferation of its own species.

 

 

 

A healthy hive box with lid removed

A healthy hive box with lid removed

 

I’m not one-hundred percent positive why I lost a hive this year. My best guess was that the demise was due (not to homicide but rather) to a tiny little pest, possibly a beetle that weakened it so that the bees and queen fled leading to the hive’s demise.

 

 

My beekeeper neighbor and I spotted a small beetle and treated for it. My best efforts to keep my small bee house and the area around it clean as well as doing frequent hive inspections wasn’t enough. Now, I’m considering moving my remaining hive onto a higher, drier, sunnier location.

 

 

Bee garden in June bloom

Bee garden in June bloom

 

 

I’ll do it at night which is the correct time to move bees. You just put a little strip of packing foam along the hive entrance, gently move the hive, and place it in the new location. Remove the foam strip so the bees can leave at dawn and make sure there’s a water source nearby.

 

 

These honeybees will visit a backyard fountain throughout the day

These honeybees will visit a backyard fountain throughout the day

 

 

The bees will likely accept the move if there is water and food in the area. I like planting perennial bee gardens and flowers and bulbs with high nectar value for bloom throughout the year.

 

 

Since hives can be compromised by wax moths, hive beetles, and other pests (as well as parasites and diseases), frequent inspections to decipher a problem and treat it before it destroys your hive is imperative.

 

With supers (smaller hive boxes with ten frames each) on the hive in June, the bees will forage on abundant flowers and produce honey that can be taken off in July. That’s also the time to inspect for mites because these populations tend to swell during summer.

 

 

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If you’re interested in beekeeping and other farmette topics, check out my Henny Penny Farmette series of mysteries. All are available to order online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other retailer sites as well as traditional bookstores everywhere.

 

 

Murders at a N. California winery is a catalyst for ex-cop turned farmette owner Abigail Mackenzie

This third novel in the series will be released Sept. 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Plant for the Pollinators

Author: Meera, June 20, 2017

I seldom need an occasion to put in another bed of flowers, but this is National Pollinator Week. I think a new bed is in order to attract local bees, birds, bats, and butterflies–all considered pollinators. Having these small creatures around benefits landscapes, gardens, and orchards.

 

Between showers and periods of sunlight, this beauty showed up in the bee garden

Between showers and periods of sunlight, this beauty showed up in the bee garden

 

 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has noted that over 75 percent of our plants are pollinated by birds, animals, and insects. We can help ensure these creatures will be around for a long time if we restore their habitats and ensure they have food and water.

 

 

 

A longhorn bee is twice the size of a honeybee

A longhorn bee is twice the size of a honeybee

 

 

 

There are many lovely plants you can grow that don’t require a lot of care.

 

 

 

  • lavender
  • bee balm
  • echinacea
  • sage
  • cilantro
  • thyme
  • sunflowers
  • sweet alyssum
  • anemone
  • borage
  • geraniums
  • scented pelargoniums
  • mint

 

The florets are falling off and the seeds have formed on this giant sunflower head

Sunflowers are a favorite of bees and the seeds are loved by squirrels and birds

 

 

 

 

A tapestry of colorful herbs and flowers beautifies your landscape and pollinators love the diversity. If you don’t have a lot of space, grow some of these plants in planter boxes, clay pots, or other types of containers.

 

Robins drinking from a pottery saucer

Robins drinking from a pottery saucer

 

 

 

Put in a water feature, too, such as a table-top or larger fountain that recycles water. Even a pottery saucer filled each day can attract pollinators.

 

 

It won’t take long for the bees and hummingbirds to find the water. Their frequent visits are fun to watch, and they’ll likely be sipping throughout the day.

 

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If you enjoy reading about farmette topics, check out my Henny Penny Farmette series of cozy mysteries from Kensington Publishing. My newest novel includes delicious recipes, tips on keeping bees and chickens, and much more. Click on this URL for more information, http://tinyurl.com/ya5vhhpm

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Coming Sept. 2017

Coming Sept. 2017

 

 

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Thanks to the drought-ending rain and the robust activity of our honeybees, my orchard has produced a phenomenal crop of cherries, apricots, and plums this year.

 

Apricots are plentiful this time of year and easy to dry for snacking when the season is over

Apricots are easy to make into jam or to dry for snacking

 

 

 

I picked some wild plums today. They’re unusually sweet so I will make them into jam this week. I think the apricots will be ready next week. Today, I’m getting ready for jam-making by taking down cases of canning jars from the storage shelf over the washer and dryer. I’ll need to get lemons, bags of sugar, pectin, and jar lids.

 

 

I made a test batch of the wild plum jam to make sure it tasted great before canning a lot of jars

Wild plums are small like cherries

 

 

The vegetable garden is also benefiting from bee activity. The summer Italian striped squash and the crooked neck squash plants are producing squash faster than we can eat them. The tomato vines are loaded, and I expect the corn to be ready soon, too.

 

 

 

 

Nothing beats fresh summer jams to brighten a dreary winter morning. This summer, I hope to make enough to last through 2017 winter into next spring. This past winter, I ran out of apricot jam because it is the one most of our neighbors, family, and friends prefer. But thanks to the rain and the bee activity, running out of jam won’t be a problem for next year.

 

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Like my honeybees, I’ve been busy this winter/spring, writing two nonfiction books for readers who embrace the path of yoga, healthy living, meditation, meaningful ritual, and mindfulness. To be released this year: My POCKET MEDITATIONS (July 2017) and MY DAILY RITUALS (Christmas 2017).

 

 

Check out MY POCKET MEDITATIONS, the newest forthcoming nonfiction title from Adams Media/Simon & Schuster, at http://tinyurl.com/l6lzorq

 

My Pocket Meditations: Anytime Exercises for Peace, Clarity, and Focus by [Lester, Meera]

 

 

COMING SOON: My newest offering in the Henny Penny Farmette mystery series,  A HIVE OF HOMICIDES (Kensington Publishing, Sept. 2017).

 

 

 

This cozy features a mystery to be solved, a hot romance, and delicious recipes

This cozy features a mystery to be solved, a hot romance, and delicious recipes

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second novel in the Henny Penny Farmette series comes out September 27, 2016

The MURDER OF A QUEEN BEE is the second novel in the Henny Penny Farmette series

 

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