Beekeeping Feed

the garden, the blues and the bees

June Garden - 3
June Garden - 3
June Garden - 3

 

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6:27 3After several days of cool weather and rain (Sunday we fired up our wood stove it was so cold), we finally had a beautiful day to enjoy the outdoors.  We filled it up with a morning outing to a nearby beach then more time outdoors at home, whereas this mama tended to the garden and bees then hiked up our back ridge with the kids in search of ripe berries.  I usually find a few blues before the 4th of July, last year at this time we found a few more than we did today, but we did find some!   It has been a great day to experience the sunshine.


Inside my beehive - mid-June

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IMG_3068Here are just a couple of snapshots from the workings inside my beehive.  They are making progress with their colony size and there are some honey stores (not much, but some).  I am keeping a close eye, monitoring and treating for Varroa in effort to build them up as strong as they can be.   

 


Around Here...

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These last weeks of school are a whirlwind.  With my own responsiblities and happenings as well as those of our family (our four children are getting busier and moving in all of their own directions with there interests and activities) I have not found that much time for updating this space.

However, I am taking a few minutes today to share a snapshot of my garden that I just planted.  You may notice I went all out with weed covering this year.

I also am sharing some pictures from my hive investigation this morning, I was happy to see things moving along with the bees.  They are doing what they are suppose to do - and it is a privilege for me to watch, nurture and help them out in my own little way.

Signing off for now -

Happy Weekending Friends!


Welcome back bees!

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Bees 2What is wrong with this picture?  Snow!   It is however spring in Northern Minnesota.   We do not exactly welcome snow in late April, but we cannot rule it out.  

As you can tell from the images above I am giving beekeeping a go this year, starting again with a nucleus colony of bees to get as much of a head start as I can given our limited season in my northern Minnesota north woods.

They are installed and already settling into their new home.  I am already enjoying the familiar sights, sounds and smells of the beekeeping experience, happy to welcome bees back into our hobby farm - and the experience of learning about them - and from them back into my life.


inside my beehive - August

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I spent a little time with my friends the bees late this afternoon, investigating their progress for the month of August.  I found lots of healthy bees!  

This particular hive is pretty frisky.  I try to emanate a sense of calm, but these bees tend to get aggravated easily and they show it by swarming around my head and face and hitting up against my veil...in large groups.  

So today's investigation was pretty quick, I just pulled out some frames from the top super, took some snapshots, then retreated to my garage armed with my smoker and bee suit.  My plan is to keep the honey in the hive for the bees going into the winter and we will see if they make it through.  I will probably check on them again at the end of September before I bundle them up for the winter. 

I will keep you posted on the progress!


inside my beehive - June

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 capped cells of brood (worker bee larva growing inside)

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 The more bubbly, extended brood is drone brood, the hive needs workers  -not drones at this point.

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    lot's of nectar, but not a surplus amount of capped honey 

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a healthy amount of beesIMG_0135

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 Sharing a couple of snapshots of a recent investigation of my beehive.  

They seem to be doing just fine - not especially great, but not anything to really worry about either.  

There is evidence of brood, nectar, honey and plenty of bees. I am content and eager to follow the development of this colony of bees throughout the summer.

I hope you enjoy tagging along!


a new season of beekeeping

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This morning I installed a nucleus colony of honeybees!   I am happy to be embarking on a new season of beekeeping.  I am learning a little more each year - and most of all enjoying the experience.  

I had some frames with capped honey that I saved in my deep freezer to put in with this new hive.   I also saved the honey lined plastic foundation from my honey harvest that the bees gravitated to right away.

With a yard full of dandelions and apple blossoms and a forest rich with blueberry blossoms, I know they have some nectar to seek out along with a variety of pollen sources.

Now we have chickens, pigs, a planted garden and honeybees.  A perfect way to start my summer break!


Garden notes 5/11 -a photographic garden journal

I am going to try to record, document and share snapshots of our garden this year.

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Here's our starting point!   Not too exciting, but I am happy to be digging in the dirt again.

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We have a little garden neighbor - our angora bunny, who has been dubbed "Checker."  He was hopping all around today, excited with a little company (the mama digging in the dirt and four crazy kids in the backyard playing on the swing set).IMG_9460

We still have our girls.  I am still waiting on a hatch in my kindergarten classroom.  But we will be holding steady with this batch of layers this year.

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I have two nucs of bees on order, but right now they are somewhere warmer than here - which is just fine.  I am eager to plant, but as  it is currently snowing, I am content keeping all of our seedlings indoors.

Cheers to the start of a new garden season!

 


::with gratitude to the bees - an unexpected honey harvest::

 

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A couple of weeks ago I checked in on my bees and determined one of the two hives that I tried to overwinter was still buzzing.  Yesterday, checked in with intentions of adding a pollen patty (protein source) and I found that the small cluster of bees that made it through the winter had since perished.   

This hive was strong going into the winter and even now had quite a surplus of honey.  I decided to take three frames of honey for an early spring harvest, saving a couple of full frames for the for the new bees that I will be starting over with later this spring.  

6a01053643b439970b017616aaff75970c-500wiThis was a fun learning experience that resulted in a yield of wonderful raw honey from my very own hives…and a very sticky kitchen.

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I used the "crush and strain" method to harvest my honey, using materials and supplies I had on hand - learning as I was going along.IMG_9181

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I also rendered the wax to use for lip balm and lotion bar recipes.

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Even though I will be starting over this spring, I am happy with my unexpected harvest, and I am eager to embark on another season of beekeeping.