My bee mentor (Popa Jim) arrived to check out my beehive and equipment. He is old school so my fancy English garden hive was a mystery to him. It was eight frames not 10 frames! That would be a problem.
He gave me a list of items that I needed to order before getting started. As I called the bee supply company I didn't have any idea what I was ordering let alone what I was talking about. It was like speaking a strange language. When my supplies arrived (they were quick) Jim taught me how to assemble beehives, wire the frames, and carefully insert wax sheets into the frames. I wasn't very good at it at first but later found it very relaxing! However at this point I began to feel that I had bit off more than I could chew. I had so much to do before my girls arrived and when they arrive, THEY ARRIVE.
Spring was wet and not ideal bee weather. Next I had to find a good location for the hive. Location location location! My first choice was too close to the property beside me, the next spot was on the outskirt of the vegetable garden,that just didn't feel right. The best spot was Jim's idea and what a good idea that was.
On the east side of the chicken coop would be were they reside. The chicken didn't mind at all.
Protected in the winter,sunny, and close to the house.
It's bee day, a five frame nuc was delivered on a beautiful day in May. They seem to be happy in the new hive. Thank goodness. I had visions that they would all fly away and I would be left with an empty hive!
I belong to the Muskoka Parry Sound Beekeeper Association and I have a certificate of registration for my bees. Our meeting provide valuable information and it is good chance to socialize with other beekeepers.
I am responsible for these crazy little beings, I'm excited and nervous all at the same time.
The next step was to purchase the fencing to protect the hive from bears! There is a great Home Hardware in Port Sydney. It is pretty close to an old fashion hardware store, it has the electric fencer, chicken feed and a very friendly staff. The girl at the cash gave us all a great laugh when she asked "does the electric fence really keep the bees in?' Great store!
Now I can sit back and enjoy watching my busy bees.
It has been two weeks since my bees arrived and it is time to check the colony
The smoker is smoking, the veil on and the hive tool in hand. I am ready or am I? To be honest this is a little scary but once into the hive I am amazed at what I am seeing.
The queen has done a good job laying lots of bees in the brood chamber and my colony seems to be strong.
The clover, bumbleberries, dandelions are all in blooms and the bees are back and forth from early morning until late in the day. Often while walking to the chicken run I will get pinged in the head with a bee returning to the hive.
It is now August and it's time to harvest some honey! Very exciting and I'm hoping that my girls have done a good job.
I am working with a very busy beekeeper and harvest day wasn't the best of days to open a beehive.
As we were well into removing the frames from the hive, it started to rain.
The bees began returning to the hive( bees not do well in the rain) and they were not impressed that the hive was taken apart and we were stealing honey. To defend the hive they stung both me and my granddaughter Raine.
I felt so bad that her first real bee experience wasn't very positive.
Off to the honey house in Windermere to extract,strain,and bottle the honey. It is very hot heavy work. I now know why honey is expensive.
I brought home about 60 pounds of beautiful golden honey. I was exhausted but very pleased with my girls! I now feel that I can call myself a BEEKEEPER.......Thats awsome and it's something I always invisioned I would do in my lifetime. I'm turning 60 this September so that is proof that it's never too late to follow your DREAMS!
October 6 2011
As I pass the hive the sweet smell of honey reminds me that we are getting close to the last harvest of 2011. This harvest went without a hitch this time and produced another 60 pounds of honey.
Now that the hive empty it is time for the bees to stock up for a long winter. They must work that much harder as most flowers are no longer blooming. The purple aster and the goldenrod are in bloom so lets hope the weather holds up and the bees can fly.
I have been busy making tags for my jars of honey and to be honest I have been struggling with a name for the honey. I go back and forth from Taylor Road Bee Farm to Backyard Bees. Any ideas?