Monday, December 27, 2010

Fall and Winter

If there's a way to easily update the blog via smart phone (and I'm sure there is!), it's more likely this blog would have been more lively!  It's been a busy fall, and now we are in winter.  

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Harvested honey and moved a hive

In the last couple of weeks, we've been busy!  We harvested our Urania hive, and moved our Terpsichore hive.  

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Plum Wine, 2010

Mostly because I hated to see any plums wasted (and wasn't brave enough to try canning yet!) I decided to make a plum wine.  

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Camping: Samuel P Taylor

We took off for a weekend of camping at Samuel P. Taylor Park

summer explosion in the garden.

The cool and wet spring has given way to a warm and sunny summer.  Our own little corner of the world is experiencing a typical season:  foggy cool mornings, clear and sunny afternoons with temperatures about 70 - 80 Fahrenheit.  I spent some time watering and weeding, and taking some photos.  

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Bottling wine

In anticipation of the summer fruits, I bottled our Pomegranate 2007 wine into bottles.  

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Capturing a swarm

I was at work Monday morning when one of our groundskeepers, Scott,  knocked on my door.  "A swarm has just landed in a tree!  You were the first person I thought of!"  

I followed him out of the building and towards a nearby tree.  

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Virgil said that the bees "partake of an Essence Divine and drink Heaven's well-springs."

It's been a very busy April so far.  And we are left with muses!  

A Day in the Life of a Beekeeper.

M's gone pro.  After weeks of prep work, the bees all arrived and it was time to get them into their homes.  I took a day off work to lend a hand (not to mention a back, legs, feet, truck, etc...) and took plenty of photos.  

garden, garden

Last weekend, the winter garden was pulled up and the spring garden was planted. 

Sunday, April 11, 2010

where has the time gone?

so much happening, and so little time to update!  First - what is this? 

I found this in the garden as I was weeding.  I gave it a slight squeeze to see if it was hollow, and it moved!  The pointed end wiggled just a bit.  I set it down under the rose plants where it wouldn't be disturbed.  Would love to know what it is!  

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


So amazing!  We hadn't gotten to cleaning up and removing the hive from the rain, and then last Wednesday M was working out in the yard.  He heard a sound that he described later as sounding like several leaf blowers starting at once.  He got inside the house, and remembered my camera is in the desk.  I'm so excited he got photos!!!  

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Spring Garden Prep

At last!  The rain has paused, the sun is shining, and it's a day I am off.  The planets have aligned, and the garden box has been built.  We are ready for spring and summer!  

This is the "before" photo.  We placed the box here as it's a pretty barren part of the garden.  Loads of digging, buckets of compost, heaps of worm tea, and it still doesn't want to produce.  Last year we grew tomato plants here in soil bags (the soil in there was from those bags!) and it worked out pretty well.  But this year - more soil!  more tomatoes!  more garden!

Friday, February 26, 2010

I hardley knew ye.

M took the hive apart Thursday afternoon to take a look, and possibly combine good frames into one brood box to give the bees less space to manage.  There was no sign of the queen.  He said there was only about a dozen bees still hanging out.  

The brood frames have pollen and honey stored in them.  They are covered with mold as well.  Talking about it, we think something else caused the bees to go and the mold was a secondary opportunistic infection.  We don't seen any signs of foul brood or chalk brood - there is no brood.  Just honey and bee bread.  We know the hive was healthy and thriving in mid-October.  I found the inner hive cover to not be glued down in late December.  Something must have gone astray after the last harvest.  

I started a bit of a hive autopsy, but remaining (and robber?) bees were about, so I left them.  I couldn't help but think I was being callous to be pulling the hive apart so soon, reminded me of the delicate process of cleaning up after a bad call on the ambulance.  I backed away.  Hopefully the bees can salvage honey and benefit other bees.  There are other days for examination.  

We took a walk to the store for dinner.  It was good to walk and process.  Losing a hive is a lot harder than I thought it would be.  There is an air of sadness about the house tonight.  

There are questions that will never be answered.  That's ultimately what we are left with.  An amazing year of a new experience, 175 pounds of honey, a good amount of money from honey sales, a few stings, and a lot of questions. 

This afternoon, I poured a glass of wine and M a pint of beer, and we sat on the deck overlooking the garden.  We choose to hope the bees went to find a more positive future.   We listened to the ravens, and watched a pair of crows groom each other.  A hummingbird darted around.  A bumble bee buzzed loudly by.  Mia hoped from lap to lap.  Looking at the strong garden and the bursting plum tree, it's good to feel hopeful.  It's good to think about setting up a new hive.  And there is a lot of sweetness left.  

Thank you, bees.  You brought sweetness into my life.  You made people that used terms like "bee vomit" turn into honey aficionados.  Your labors were the gift of choice.  You gave drawn comb to your sisters.  Your honey traveled half of the globe, China to Wales, with many stops in between.  Through you I met an amazing community, and I learned a lot about myself.  I'm sorry you left.  You were loved.  You changed lives. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A farm morning

Mondays and Wednesdays at work are my early days to accomodate one of the labs.  I was up early this morning, and with time to kill before getting to the train station, I decided to get a few tasks done around the house and yard.  This also led to examining the beehive a bit, and thinking more about what changed. 

Saturday, February 13, 2010

First hive inspection of '10.

A week ago, I visited a friends house, and saw many honey bees around her garden.  The number of bees and their activity made me wonder (ok, worry) about our own quiet hive.  We took advantage of the mild weather on Friday to check the hive.  It's not terrible, but it wasn't good either.