Tuesday, August 28, 2012


   With such a hot dry summer I have used my bird baths as a bee baths.  The rocks allow the bees to land on a rock and this prevents them from drowning.

Keep your veil on, your hive tool in hand, and your smoker smoking....there still is alot to do!



My daughter Christine put my new hive together.  This is my third hive and it won't be used until next year.  The two hives that I have are slow because of the bear attack and I don't expect to get much honey this year.

Monday, July 30, 2012


My new D. E. Hive

  I wish Bandit could build and paint  my new hive because I haven't the energy to even start putting it together. In this heat the best I could do was unpack it.

It will be so nice to see my three hives all setup and full of bees.

I didn't intend to get more than two hives, but I am getting ready to set up a third hive.  Once you get the bug it is hard to stop adding hives.  I really love having bees but three hives is the limit!

Friday, July 27, 2012


 After a very trying couple of months I  have two hives and two queens.   I ordered some new frames and foundation  to replace what the bear damaged.  With the new equipment in place the two hives appear to be strong and healthy.  When I am working in my garden I stop to marvel at one of my girls going from flower to flower on a borage plant.


The blue-purple star-shaped flower can be candied and used for cake decorations.  I like to float the flowers in a punch.
The root is used to flavour wine and it can be used to treat fevers, chills and influenza.

This is a lovely herb for the garden and bee yard.

Saturday, July 7, 2012


Muskoka Parry Sound beekeepers Association 
annual bee tour

  The tour was given by Claude Dupuis an Apiary Inspector for the Ontario  Ministry of Agriculture.

Friday, July 6, 2012


Last year all went so well for me as a new beekeeper.  One hive, a colony of bees, electric fence, an experienced beekeeper to mentor  me, lots of  sunny days, and I ended up with about 160 pounds of good honey.   It was a good year!

Not the case this year!  The hive seemed weak and upon inspection I could not find the queen or any  brood.

I needed a queen.  With the help of Poppa Jim, Hugie Smith, and Kathy Crowder ( all experienced beekeepers) queen cells were used to re queen the hive.

It's very much a waiting game, to see if a queen emerges, she gets mated,  then starts laying eggs.

At one point there was at least three queens, one in the new hive and two in the big hive (the hive was separated  into two)

Then again both hives seemed very weak and no queens could be found.  Big puzzle!

I was lucky as Jim (Poppa Jim) gave me a beautiful queen   I just had to call her Queen Louise after my Mom.  

 All was well in  bee world until scary big bear decide to bust through the electric fence July 4th at 3:00 am and push over the hive eating all the brood (eggs)  and Queen Louise.

As soon as it was daylight I quickly put back the hive.  The remaining bees were crazy mad and just wanted to sting everything in sight.  The silly neighbour dog came for a visit and was stung, my two dogs were stung and of course yours truly was also stung.  The bee inspector  came to write a report on the bear damages and a prince in shinny armour (Hugie Smith) came with two Queen Cells from his bee yard

The fence was fixed and all was well until about 7:30 pm when HUGE BIG SCARY BEAR came back.  I don't know if it was the crazy bees attacking his face or me banging two metal pots (my sister-in-law Brenda) told me to do that,  but he ran off and as of Friday at 2:00 pm I haven't seen him.  My bee world is calm once again!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


My bees are doing well and I  plan  to start a second hive.   My new super ( box to put frames for the bees) arrived today from  SC USA.  It has to be assembled and painted before the bees can go in it.


  I had Home Depot cut a  new pine board and I worked away until it looked like it had been around for awhile.  A cheap and easy sign to make for your garden.  I have some power tools that I need to learn to use.....  I  could make all kinds of signs!


This is the  crazy turtle running into the grass after I chased it off the driveway.  The  UPS driver would have flatten him/her like a  pancake .  

Saturday, April 28, 2012


My new chicken coop sign.  
The hens enjoyed some delicious grubs and June bugs that I dug out of the garden.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


 It  has been a crazy couple of weeks!

It all began with my sister Donna arriving for a  two week visit.

Donna who is a very calm person was going to give me driving lessons, however the car and the mice had other plans.

 Our first trouble began when we got stranded in the Canadian Tire parking lot in Huntsville which is about 30 mins from home.  Not too far but a long walk for two old girls!
The mechanic got the car to start in neutral to get us back home.
Later it was found that a mouse nest along with  mommy and babies had caused the gear shift to seize.( I think they peed all over the gear shift)

The next bit of drama was that all of my roosters were killed by a fox.

Then my electric fence (to keep the bears out of my bee hives)  is no longer working.

With the high winds yesterday my garage and gazebo blew over.

The good news is that there is always light at the end of the tunnel!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


It seems that everyone had spring fever today.   We all piled out of the house to enjoy the warmth of the March sun.  The bees were spring cleaning( taking the dead bee bodies out of the hive) flying around pooping all over the place.

The chickens were in the run basking in the sun.

I was using the roof rake to take snow off the plastic shed (they shouldn't even sell plastic sheds in Muskoka)  I was glad that no one came to visit as I was doing this task in capri's, a t-shirt and winter boots. A real fashion statement!


 Then Pretty Boy decided that he would fly off his cage and hide under the sofa.  Both dogs think this is lots of fun.  I will be glad when his owners get back from Florida!

It was a great day in Muskoka!

Monday, March 5, 2012


I couldn't wait to go to the chicken coop this morning as I knew the water would be frozen.  The temperature dipped down last night and will not warm until Wednesday. That means that I will be spending my day thawing the chicken's water.

Saturday, March 3, 2012


It is surprising where you will find bees!

Here is an article from a newsletter from Brushy Mountain Bee Farm.

In early February I had a meeting in Washington D.C. Of course while there I had to see the White House bee hive. As a beekeeper, it was a real pleasure to see the hive on the White House lawn. It highlights the importance of bees and helps convey the message that bees can be kept anywhere. I applaud the efforts of the White House beekeepers. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012


I started this Bay Laurel a year ago; the seeds came from Richters herb and vegetable catalogue.
The girl from Richters said "once you grow your own you will never go back to store variety."

The blurb in the catalogue says that it is a frost-sensitive small tree; best grown in a tub that can be moved indoors in winter.   My small tree is on my window ledge for now;  I think it will be awhile before I can reap the reward.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


I'm sure this warning has been passed down by concerned parents since the beginning of time.


Today I found out why !


Monday, February 13, 2012


I have a habit of putting eggs in my coat pocket when I go to the chicken coop.  I always forget to put them in the fridge and  this is going to get me in trouble someday...... I have visions of having scrambled eggs in my coat pocket in public or getting arrested in Walmart for stealing eggs.  How would I explain that!  NO YOLK

Sadie and Bandit decided to run down the middle of the road this morning with  the  roaring snowplow hot on their heels.  (Do dogs have heels?)  I was still in my morning attire ( PJ's and a bedhead hairdo) pleading with them ( at the top of my lungs) to get off the road.  I offered treats,praise...no way were they coming home, they were on a mission to give me a heart attack!  The snowplow  slowed then stopped!!!  OH NO ...  then I noticed Sadie's head just above the snowbank and finally little Bandit appeared at the end of the driveway...Relief  THANK YOU snowplow driver!
 Sadie brought me a  peace offering a Timmy's coffee

Saturday, February 11, 2012


Bee Jacket:   I made the mistake of wearing a bug jacket after a few stings I quickly ordered a bee jacket.

Boots:   I wear my Dad's old Wellingtons, I make sure my pants are tucked into the boots.

When I put on my bee jacket the dogs go and sit on the couch.  Not sure if they are concerned for me or themselves.

Hive Tool:  This is used to open the hive,pry frames apart, and remove wax and propolis.

The bee brush is used to brush bees off of the frames when harvesting honey.

Smoker:  The smoker is used when working in the hive to calm the bees.

Looking at my bee equipment has got me excited for the coming season.  With today's temperature of minus 10  it seems so far off.

Friday, February 10, 2012


I wish I could open up the hive and have a look!  There is a fair number of dead bees at the entrance of the hive. I have been assured that it is normal to see some dead bees, however there is aIot more than I would like. I am worried that when spring arrives I will not have any bees left.  The bees do have what is called "a cleansing flight".  This means that on a sunny day when the temperature is as low as -1C bees will take a quick,short flight to void feces (bee poop).  Some of these bees die, usually they are old or sick.

Friday, January 27, 2012


This is where my poor rooster spent the night. ...
 He flew the coop while I was putting new straw in the nesting boxes.  My grandson and I tried to round him up before dark. but to no avail.   We trudged around in the snow trying to convince him that the coop would be better that outside on a cold winter night. He was being unreasonable, night was setting in and we were freezing.  So after a few more attempts we gave up .....feeling bad for the poor guy.  As I lay in bed feeling guilty, I thought of my magazine cover showing a chicken with leg warmers and a hat.  I bet he wished he was that chicken!

In the morning I found him sitting next to this tombstone.  Cold but OK.  He did find his way back into the coop. and all his buddy's gave him a few cock a doodle dos.

Monday, January 23, 2012


I do love trees...really I do.  However after last weeks wild ride into the woods, I have decided that some trees will have to come down.
I was trying to back the car down the driveway( I'm really not good at backing up) and the next thing I knew I was staring one of those old scraggy pine trees right in the eye.   It happened so fast!
I had to be pulled out of the trees with my neighbour's tractor.  I wonder if he was thinking....thank goodness she only has her G1 and can't go on the roads by herself yet.  Now that I have driven my driveway ( this is how I practice driving) I  don't think it is a  user friendly driveway.  I'm not the only one that has ended in the trees in this same spot.  Unfortunately that time the  tree was hit.  Tree was fine....car had a couple hundred dollars in damage.

So before "three strikes your out"  the trees have been tagged and will be cut down.
When I first saw this house I loved the way it was nestled amongst the pine.  What I didn't know was that some trees are not always a treehuggers friend.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


 How exciting....... 2012!   It will be a long time before I can think about the new bee season.  I did walk around the hive today and with temps of minus 16 I was so glad that the hive did get wrapped.