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Bee Tragedy Averted

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Houston had some huge downpours at the end of this week. I had noticed that my hive had a slightly forward leaning stance but wasn’t too concerned. I should have been! The ground softened and the weight in the upper portion of the hive caused the soft ground to give way and it apparently toppled.

Today is Saturday and based on input from my wife the hive was upright on Wednesday. Because of the rains she had not checked on my little guys. I arrived home Friday night and decided to spend time with my bride rather than in my garden and with the bees! That was a good choice and it paid dividends, but……….

So up and out to see my bees fairly early on Saturday morning and oops, the hive was upside down in the mud! The bees acted lethargic and many dead ones scattered about in the area! I scrambled to get some of my gear on, the smoker was just barely lit but I needed to help my little buddies out! I moved slowly and calmly as I added more support to the pedestal that the hive had previously sat upon.

I slowly restacked the hive, shimmed the hive so it was level and left them alone for a couple of hours. In the meantime I poured a portion of my quart jar of honey into a small a jar for a friend. Rather than rinse, or lick the excess honey from the funnel I decided to give my bees a treat and let them lick it clean. It doesn’t take long for the word to get out. A waggle dance here and a waggle dance there and the feeding frenzy is on! Those dang littl sugar ants find the treat pretty quickly too!

Once one bee has a sip of the good stuff the response is amazing!

IMG_2142.JPG

IMG_2143.JPG

TTFN
Bishop

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Harvesting a Little Honey

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While inspecting my hive this past week I was pleased to see that the medium super above the brood box was chock full of capped honey…..all 10 frames. The medium super above it was not showing any signs of activity so I decided to move some things around and in the process, harvest some honey.

I removed the top super and set it off to the side. I then pried loose the bottom super. It was heavy and loaded with honey. I removed two of the full frames and took two untouched frames from the top super and inserted them in the bottom one. I shooed the bees off of the full frames, took them inside and began the extraction process. I used the scrape and squeeze method. I used a fork to uncap and scrape the honey and beeswax into a big pan. I then used a spatula to scrape as much as I could from the frame without disturbing the base layer. I poured the honey and beeswax through a sieve. I then gently squeezed the beeswax sitting in the sieve to get as much honey as I could. My reward, about 4.5 lbs. of tasty and dark  honey.

A quart jar for me and a pint jar for Lisa.

A quart jar for me and a pint jar for Lisa. The extracted frames in the background.

Once the frames were mostly cleaned up and barely dripping I placed the wet frames into the top super as a lure to begin filling the top. I had four and half pounds, that  is ~ 1.5 quarts of honey. My beekeeper daughter gets the pint jar and I have the quart jar. Retail – at about $ 5.00 per pound,  that is $ 22.50 toward paying out my investment…The CFO is curious when that threshold will be met. Hmmmmm, 1.76 year payout Hun!

Clean-up easy and minimizes or eliminates waste. The honey coated beeswax after the extraction process is placed out near the hive and in less than an hour the message gets sent and the clean up begins. I was tempted to chew all of the beeswax to get most of the honey out, but, I had licked the bowl and spatula enough! Let the bees take it back into the hive!

Bees working on the honey coated beeswax. They were making great progress.

Bees working on the honey coated beeswax. They were making great progress.

I hope I don't gross you out but this is a wad of beeswax that I had chewed on for a bit. Less than two seconds after I set it down the work had begun.

I hope I don’t gross you out but this is a wad of beeswax that I had chewed on for a bit. Less than two seconds after I set it down the work had begun.

iPhone photos….batteries had died on my other cameras and I had not been diligent! They turned out well enough, I think!

TTFN

Bishop

Los Osos Corner Plot

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Los Osos, a little town near Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo, is gardener’s paradise. It has that Goldilocks weather, not too hot and not too cold, it is just right. The soil may be a bit on the sandy side but add some compost and it will drain well and produce amazing crops.

I have been wanting stop and look at the corner lot in town near my mother’s place for several years and finally decided to stop and look. It looks a lot like my hair on a windy day, disheveled yet remnants of a part still visible. There is obviously a plan but the owner of the plot, I am sure, never worried about staying in the lines while coloring.

Cool weather crops can pretty much be grown here round and warm weather crops benefit from the warm sun and soil after the morning fog rolls back. By stopping and looking, I noticed his “girls” in the fenced run at the far side of the garden. Looks like 8-10 well feathered hens of various colors and varieties. I am certain that they produce some tasty and beautiful eggs.

Buying a lot in Los Osos to vegetable garden would probably not payout in several lifetimes. Unless, of course, it was inherited from way back when they were begging people to buy lots there in the 60’s and possibly earlier. I have tried to talk my mom into allowing me to put in some edible borders at her place but I haven’t convinced her yet. Yes, the cost of water in this extended drought they have been facing is a real concern, we could use drip irrigation. Whaddya say Mom?

From this angle it looks disheveled, yet interesting!

From this angle it looks disheveled, yet interesting!

Now I see some organization and pretty decent spacing.

Now I see some organization and pretty decent spacing.

Looking back toward the street .

Looking back toward the street .

Look closely and you can see a few of the girls.

Look closely and you can see a few of the girls.

I am going to use this as a model for my fall peas!

I am going to use this as a model for my fall peas!

 

TTFN

Bishop

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