Thursday, August 26, 2010

honey extraction

honey frame in the uncapping tank waiting to be extracted

uncapping the wax cappings from the honey frame

honey frame in the extractor

honey being filtered 

finished honey--25 jars with 1/4 pound of honey

We began cleaning up and closing up our hives for the winter today.  We took what honey we are going to take from them this year, (except that we left one honey super on Bree, who seems to be doing the best of our hives), and took off the honey supers.

We got very, very little honey in our honey supers, but we did manage to take two frames of honey to extract--and from those two frames (one only being 1/4 full on one side), we got our 25 jars.  We are learning that as the years go by and those frames get wax comb on them, the bees will spend less time making wax and more time making us honey...or that's the hope we have!

In bee updates:
Avalon looks terrible and is very cranky.  From what the State Beekeeper Inspector told Paul on Friday (he got a sting that swelled up as bad as any of mine), they either just swarmed, or planned to swarm soon.  And there were no eggs in the hive...NOT a good sign.

Bree looked awesome and was so calm and docile for us.  We got to watch a baby bee hatch...and stole a frame of honey which we replaced with a new frame.  I'm a bad beekeeper and forgot to mark the new 2010 frame so I know what's new in the future.

Chalice had no honey for us to steal...in fact, I am worried for their winter survival.  They seem to be short on bees and have several empty frames.  Hmmm.  I'm so sad, that was our swarm hive that was doing so INCREDIBLE back when we first got them.

Dionysus is doing well.  No honey in the supers, but they are building up and have bees and honey...though they still need to get moving to get enough to make it through the winter.

My theory was that since the plants are running two weeks ahead of schedule, I should do my beekeeping chores two weeks ahead of schedule.  I err on the side of leaving more for the bees, less for the people.

For Avalon sponsors...now that we know a bit more about extraction, we are hoping to set extraction dates in the future so that our sponsors can come and get sticky and gooey and play in the honey.  Note, we will be doing these later at night, so we don't have flying company helping...YIKES!!!  But the bees do a GREAT job cleaning up behind us.  And we did learn that they can smell the honey in the house and will swarm the house to try to get in...it's been an interesting evening...

Now, we are trying to decide if we have enough honey excess to sell any of it...

Thanks Kirk and Kari for all of your help!!!






Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hornets

Got billed $500.00 but the little monsters should be gone....

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Scary Farm Life

Paul left me to do barn chores all by myself...and it's been a scary ordeal ever since he left!!!

I finally planted a tree that Katie gave me in the spring and I was so proud of myself.  But when I opened the tools in the barn to get a wire cutter (you know, to protect the tree from goats)...an ENORMOUS mouse jumped out.  I mean, it was HUGE...about the size of a field mouse and scared the b-jeepers out of me.  I screamed like a girl.  (and for the record, Troy just stared at me)

Oh, it gets worse!!!  I'm looking for chicken eggs in new places, knowing there have got to be more out there.  I check under the rose bush where the chickens all hang out...and there is what I think is a GIANT paper wasp nest.  Oh, no, it's not.  I went inside to get the camera cuz that's only a little scary and I realize it's a (insert the expletive of your choice here) HORNET'S NEST bigger than MY HEAD!!!!  I'm a girly, girl.  I am still shaking!!

Here's a picture....

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Squash Beetles

The nasty, disgusting creatures I mistook for stink bugs have moved out of the picket fence garden, away from the half dead summer squashes, across the lawn, and into the WINTER SQUASH beds.  I am afraid that I will lose all of my squashes!  Damn.  Damn.  Damn.  And it is August, therefore, I have given up on fighting the bugs (besides, the garden is so crazy, I don't think I could get in there to do anything about the bugs anyway).  So, I will let them be and hope that they don't eat everything...then I will let the chickens in to hopefully EAT THEM and their LARVA TOO!!!  Later, after I've harvested what I can, because in a chicken garden massacre, I know from experience I will get nuthing!  Maybe, just maybe, I have a chance with the bugs...ahem, okay, all right...lets hope the farmer's market has some good winter squash this fall.

Monday, August 16, 2010

New Homes...

Sammy, Mary, and Franklin went to their new home this evening.  They are going to be so happy in their new home...though right now, Sammy is really unhappy about the car ride to get there.  He and Mary are crated in the back of the SUV, while Franklin is cuddled between two very happy boys who worked very, very hard to get a home ready for the goats to come home.  It's going to be good, happy digs for the kids!

I must admit, it was a bit sad to see Sammy go...he was one of our first kids born on the farm.  And Mary had this little special place in my heart... she is so like her mother.  She will be an awesome mommy and milker!  But I know that I can't keep everyone here at BumbleChick...so I do the next best thing...find them awesome homes!  And this is another one!

If you want to check out the orchard they are going to, visit www.sentinelfarm.com.  Apple picking starts on September 11th...that's the same day as the HillTown Brew Fest!!!!  Ahhhh....Autumn is on the way.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday, August 6, 2010

Monday, August 2, 2010

Honey Bee Hives

We checked all the hives yesterday.  Just a peek to see if they needed new honey supers.  And nope, they sure don't.  I don't know if it's the lack of rain, making a lack of nectar, or the bees are just busy with their own boxes before they work on our honey boxes.  But nothin' is going on in the honey boxes.

There are lots of bees in the top boxes of Avalon, but no honey work being done.  Though they are busy packing the propolis screen with propolis--it looks like they are working the middle of it toward the outer edges (so I did put it on correctly...it goes between the inner and outer cover...or, even if I put it on wrong, it still seems to be working).  So, we should have some propolis to share with those of you in our bee share...what you're gonna do with it, I don't know, but you should get some anyway.

Bree has lots and lots of bees in the top boxes...and some comb in the honey super, but I think the majority of that is just leftover from last year.

I wasn't hoping for a lot of honey this year, but I was hoping that all the bees would build up the comb in the honey supers so that they'll have a good head start next year (and the years to come) with built up comb to just pack honey in!  But if they don't build up some comb...well, they'll have to do it next year.  Patience, Charlotte, patience.

Oh, and I was hoping for more honey this year than last year.  But we still have a month, a month and a half, or so, before we take the honey supers off for the season.  So we still have time.  We just need some rain and lots and lots of nectar!!!

Chalice...same story.  Few bees up in the honey supers...enough to be annoyed at me, but no honey or comb.

Dionysus...yup, same thing.  No comb.  No honey.  And I did do the silliest thing...D is tucked up under the C, so to open up D, I have to tilt the lid on C.  Yes, we most definitely need to do some rearranging of the new hives before next spring.  And we will need to block those two hives from the wind before winter.

And I just hope they are going to have enough honey to get THEM through the winter.  THAT is the most important thing!!  SURVIVE the winter.

Happy Beeing Everyone.  We will keep you posted.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Goatses


Franklin visiting BumbleChick Farm!

We sold three goats yesterday morning who will be leaving the farm just after Labor Day.  Franklin went.  Samson went.  And since we didn't have another boy for sale, Mary went.  That leaves every mother with one kid, so the barn should stay a happy place this winter.  We are willing to sell Annie and Willa as a pair if anyone is interested in does...which would leave us with Ginger and Lilly as our breeding does (don't worry, it will be another year before we even THINK about breeding Lilly).  And then our pets, our retired Aria and her Mozart (AKA Chewey).

The plan was to keep Franklin with us until he left with his new owners, but he's a sneaky little critter and when we came home from the airport, I guess the sight of humans was too much for him and as we were unpacking the car, he squeezed between the cattle panel holes and came to help.  After that, there was no keeping him in.  So, he stayed with us while we chatted, and had wine, and grilled dinner.  He hung out while one of those darn red chickens stole the bun off my burger, off my plate!  And then his WindyFields human Mommy came to take him back home.  He was awesome.  He is going to make a great little buddy for someone at the Apple Orchard...he followed us around like a little puppy.

Once we have a second between visitors and traveling, we will shore up the paneling and take him back.  That way he can get used to his new companions before his final destination at sentinelfarm.com.

So, it was a very productive visit yesterday.

We also did some egg bartering with a neighbor.  I think we made out on that deal.  One dozen eggs for a g-zillion cukes and zukes and summer squash.  Bartering works for us!

And my batch of Peach Butter came out really, really yummy.  It's a little softer than I intended, but it's still spreadable and delicious.  I might try to make one more batch before I move on to relish making time!  Eek.

Happy Summer Everyone!!