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The Buzz…

May 5, 2008

This weekend kicked-off my new hobby, Beekeeping. first we bought two hives from a local farmer. He’s eighty-six and can no longer tend his bees. Second I bought a book to learn what I needed to know. Third I inspected the hives. If this sounds off-the-cuff, it is.

The Wife has wanted bees for twelve years. More than once she’s mentioned that we need to get bees. Two factors working against us getting bees has been: bees sting and I hate the taste of honey. Well last month she informs me that two hives are for sale by a farmer with health issues. Recognizing the subtle poke-in-the-ribs ploy and realizing that I’d put it off long enough I acquiesced. Usually she has to drag me kicking & screaming towards anything good. This time was different. I’m in a very good place now and can stand to deal with something new. So I simply said, “Great. When can we go get them”.

My girlsPlease note that I know nothing about bees. That, however, changed immediately. Apparently you can only move hives at night! Which means that I had to manhandle two hives in the dark without any prior experience. Noooo…that wasn’t intimidating at all! Yikes! I felt like I was a bomb technician on his first day trying to disarm The Holy Hand Grenade. Lift them up, whole hive. Place in back of truck. Drive home. Carry hives down dewy grass hill to place in prepared spot. IN THE DARK! Real hives. Fifty-thousand bees each. Yet, it went off without a hitch!? Hallelujah!

Well we bought some basic equipment and did the inspection this weekend. We learned a lot more. Namely that bees are loads of fun. We also found out that Farmer Ben did not (could not) do any maintenance last year. I’ll need to replace several of the ‘Suppers’ and get some hive structures he never had.

The Princess Bee
The inspection was a real family event. Kid One hasn’t been that excited since he caught his first fish. He was helping me whether I wanted his help or not. After I cracked open the hives the whole family just walked up and stuck their heads next to the buzzy bees to see inside. I felt stupid since I was the only one wearing a bee net yet all of us were poking around in the hives. I though Kid Two was going to climb into the hive and take up residence. After all she is a Princess & I did tell her about the Queen.

Well After taking a full inventory of what parts of the hives need to be fixed I began looking at it’s health. One hive had lots of brood cells and one short super must have weighed forty pounds with the honey in it. The other hive was producing Queen cells (not good) because they are out of room. I will add suppers to that hive. All in all I can’t complain. The hives are healthy enough to grow as big as I want them to. With the fixes I have to complete (I’m taking a half day off of work tomorrow to deal with it) I will learn much in the way of maintenance that a book could not convey. All’s looking very good for my new hobby. Especially since the taste test went very well and got six thumbs straight up.

Who wants some?

Who wants a taste?

13 comments

  1. Sounds amazing. Thanks for sharing some interesting info about your new hobby.


  2. BTW – Is that a frame I spy in the background of today’s lesson picture?


  3. That is way cool! This was a great post that made me think of a great song by 10CC(adapted of course to your recent additions):

    The things we do for love (the things we do for love)
    Like carr-y-in’ two hives in the dark
    With a million humming bees
    And you’re feelin’ like a part of you is dyin’
    And you’re lookin’ for the answer in her eyes
    You think “We’ll have to fix ’em”
    Then she says “Honey, will you fix ’em?”
    OOO They made me love them
    OOO Those bees got a way
    OOO They mesmerized us
    All day….
    After twelve years, what surely helped the situation
    Was her insistence and I just fin-a-lly gave in
    When after all it’s just a compromise of
    The things we do for love (the things we do for love)….

    Thanks for a great post, and enjoy that honey!


  4. giggle
    I love Chantal’s song!
    looks like you are doing something tasty for love, but A quick question…
    aren’t bears suppose to love honey?
    You know I have a rumbly in my tumbly for a smakeral of honey?
    I hope that you learn to enjoy your new hobby…


  5. Oh my goodness…what fun…maybe your kids could have a honey stand this summer…Congrats on the new hobby. ๐Ÿ™‚


  6. Yummm..fresh honey. I’ll bet your kids are really enjoying this with you.


  7. immwia,
    It’s a frame who’s final look was a glossy lacquered black with hints of wood grain.

    Chantal,
    “The things we do for love…
    Like wandering through the bees,
    and the stings,
    just to get a little honey.
    And we feel like a part of us is dying”

    LOL! I didn’t know who 10CC was until I looked them up only to find a lost favorite from thirty years ago. Wow!. Sounds to me like you’ll need a very special juke box in your coffee shope. Hoping all is well.

    Lady Sorrow,
    Yeah, yeah, yeah. I never really liked the flavor (black cherry is the flavor for me). However, I will certainly become a connoisseur overnight where something I make & distribute is concerned. Well I don’t make it really, my girls do. I just sort of borrow it…without returning it. Kinda like the books you lend to friends but never see again. It’s like that.

    Harley,
    A honey stand? Huh. I think by the time someone actually drove up all that would be left are empty bottles. My kids are sweet for a reason you know. I do not know how much honey I’ll get this year as it is my first time at it. I hope to have some for stocking stuffers but we’ll see.

    Goldenferi,
    Kid One is my official tool holder & retriever. Kid Two’s job is to find flowers & do a dance so the bees can find them. It’s as cool as a new puppy but the rugs last longer.


  8. Lets here it for the rugs lasting longer!
    Did i forget to give you back a book?….If i did I ‘m sorry, let me know what the title was and I’ll see if i can find it on one of the chairs!


  9. “I felt stupid since I was the only one wearing a bee net yet all of us were poking around in the hives. I thought Kid Two was going to climb into the hive and take up residence.” Delightful. Your family will deeply treasure these moments you capture in writing.

    My brother in law lives in the Cascades and has been raising bees for several years. He also taught himself and has faired well. Best.


  10. Lady Sorrow,
    Yeah it was my only copy of ‘War & Peace’. The binary version. In braille. I need an anchor for my boat!

    Qazse,
    Thank you and I agree. I’m also teaching myself, if I can get away saying that. When I buy more supplies I’ll ask a question or two and end up staying for a lengthy discussion. I’ve seriously considered taking notes. Bee people are unique in that they are patient and helpful almost to a fault. I don’t know how I fit in but let’s hear it for complete metamorphosis.


  11. Kewl!


  12. Janet,
    If I can get it figured out in time for a good honey harvest then it’ll be Keeeeeeeewwwwwwwllllllll! BEE good. Dobry.


  13. aw, man. i wear a bee suit on a regular basis. i don’t raise them, i’m just allergic to them. how nice that i happened upon this nightmare… ๐Ÿ˜‰ oh, well. nothing a few belts of glenfiddich won’t cure. ๐Ÿ™‚

    a friend and i were just talking about the state of bees in the union, and how their shrinking numbers are bad news for everyone. i’m glad you’re contributing to the resurgence. i thank you and my garden thanks you.



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