Friday, July 31, 2009


I recently captured a small swarm. We had some debate about taking it on as a third hive, but the expense of a new hive was really the factor that led us to deciding against it. Both M and I had noticed that the Urania bees, normally easy going, were defensive and impatient. They were likely to bump us as we went about our normal business near the hive. I opened the telescoping cover to see how things were and found a gang of bees with their tails up. I closed the cover right away, not wanting to challenge the patience of angry honey bees.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Busy because of bees.

We made a cheap and cheerful solar wax melter from a cooler (about $3 from Orchard Supply and Hardware), some leftover black paint (not enough it seems!), my bread pan, a paper towel, and some saran wrap. We were roughly following this guide.

Growing challenge: Tomatoes, cucumbers, and strawberries, oh my!

The recent gopher attacks on our strawberries (along the fence) have caused a few of them to get pushed up with the soil. The good thing is they haven't been uprooted, but many of the plants are now a good couple of inches taller. They are still growing strong and producing tons of berries, so my guess is they aren't bothered. I'm hoping the rain in the fall will help settle the dirt again, until then - we make do.

Friday, July 24, 2009

We are the buzz.

I'm loving that people from work, yoga, and other circles are bringing me news clippings relating to gardens, bees, and honey. I'm delighted to be part of such a positive awareness.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Camping and Capturing.

Camping at Memorial Grove was fantastic. After hiking there in May, we decided to camp there. Three of us arrived Friday around 1:30pm, and the other four were there around six. The site was roomy and we lucked out having neighbors only on one side. There were a lot of wasps there! Happily they were only annoying and not overly aggressive, no one was stung. Plenty of Dark-eyed Oregon Juncos were hopping around the site. The brilliantly colored but slightly harassing Stellar's Jay was also in abundance. We were careful about locking up food, but saw that a raccoon had done some tap dancing on one cutting board, and heard them cruise through the site during the night. The mosquitos were thick! Guess I wasn't careful enough about putting on the insect repellent!

I brought some of our new honey and recently bottled Syrah and Elderberry to share. It's heaven to share fruits from the home and heart with good friends.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Our first jar! We gave it to our dear friend Christopher when he arrived to pick me up for yoga. He's very happy with it. :)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sun Day.

Woke up early to make two batches of Ginger Ale and get the deck ready for the extraction. (thankfully - the ginger ale was in plastic bottles and in a tub in the shed. One of them built up too much pressure and popped today.) Around 9am I added a small amount of Bee Quick to a cotton pad on the inner cover to encourage the bees to leave the top two supers. It works on the bees the way a stink bomb works on us - doesn't hurt us, but makes us leave the room. They did NOT like this. As I opened up the cover and set it down on the inner cover, the tone of the hive shifted quickly. I closed the outer cover and left them alone.

A busy week.

Where to begin!

Chronologically, I guess. :) Where we last left the hive - two brood supers with three honey supers on top. Oh, and plenty of active bees!

Sunday July 5 - put the mite board in to check. The Guild meeting got me thinking I'm not tracking the mite potential very carefully. Took it out on Wednesday evening (July 8) and after careful inspection we found wax caps, pollen, propylis, and no mites! hooray!

Wednesday M drove to Mann Lake in Woodland and picked up an extracting bundle, yay!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Holiday weekend.

Last Tuesday afternoon we added a third honey super to the hive. The girls took to it immediately, they were hanging out in the top the next day. I've also noticed they have appeared calmer - they seem to be staying in a bit later in the morning and heading in earlier in the evening.

Thursday night I went to the local bee guild meeting and talked to some members about the hive and honey harvesting.