Busy…Humans

I admit it. Last week we didn’t get to open up our hives. Believe me, my husband & I were disappointed. I have caught myself looking out at my hives wondering what the colonies are up to (my husband calls me the “crazy bee lady”). In between softball & all of the rain we’ve had lately, it was hard to find a day both John and I were off together to hive check.  It’s a fun hobby for us to share; so I wouldn’t dare open them without him (although the suspense has had me considering it).

We did get around to installing ratchet straps to both hives. Some keepers are anti-straps, others are not. I was tired of waking up in the middle of the night, during a thunderstorm concerned my hives were knocked over–ratchet straps make me more comfortable.

Rest assured John and I are eager for our Sunday check. Remember we added some frames to both hives, and supers to both. I worry about my hives, as if they’re my kids…only we’re talking 34,000, at this point, of these precious creatures.

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Sister & I on our way to a softball game.

Meanwhile during practices & games, I’ve been accumulating a few bee gifts. I love it! My mother found me some bee-serving trays; my brother-in-law stumbled upon a bee hat and sent it to me via mail; my Mother’s Day gift was a personalize tumbler with bees & my name–Keep bringing me the bee gifts. I’m now a bee-thing collector.

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And So It BEEgins…

So how did I end up here? The beek* lady.

*Beek is a combination of Bee and Geek…A title I’m quite proud of!

It all started with a passion, a sincere interest in the honeybee. I was mystified by the complexity of honeybee colony (their mini-society), and its impact on our ecosystem. These intelligent insects keep mankind well fed, yet they’re ignored.

My husband and I recently purchased a part of my late grandparents homestead, a beautifully historic home and five acres. I have always had a passion for nature and the outdoors, the flora and the fauna, and in the last several years I’ve dreamed of becoming a beekeeper myself.

…one day while self-loathing, it dawned on me; my dream hobby didn’t have to be a dream. In fact, this internal epiphany was a dramatic Scarlet O’Hara moment: “I can do this. I may have to save and it may take time, but YOU can do this. You have this land. Use it for something good; heck, you’re always up for a challenge. If you were to die tomorrow wouldn’t you be proud to be known as the crazy beek?”

From this epic self-motivating moment, I registered for my first beekeeping course, attended an amazing all-day workshop and left with a receipt for two boxes of Russian bees, a head chalk-full of information, excitement and determination.

That’s how it began. A dream and a leap of faith.

Moscow & St. Petersburg: Hive Check 2

Life at our house is busy, just like most homes with children and parents with full-time jobs!

John, my husband, & I have found that Sundays are usually the best days for us to check our hives. The reasons:

1.) This is the only complete day we have off together (insert sad face here).

2.) We can rely on our wonderful family to watch the kidos for a couple of hours. I despise having to rush our checks (rushing makes me grumpy–just ask my husband). I love to take my time to admire, inspect & do some general housekeeping on the hives. Knowing my adventurous son is inside (he’s going to be our little beekeeper) & my daughter is entertained, really allows for us to take our time–not having to worry about interruptions.

Sunday’s hive check was awesome! John & I found Her Majesty of the Moscow hive, & we had our first mini-harvest of honey…spectacular taste, mind you.

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My dad said “It’s the best tasting honey he’s had in years.” For those that don’t know my dad, he’s not a man of many words–so you can hold stock in what he says.

Both colonies are growing-we added brood frames to brood box two, a queen excluder & honey super to St. Petersburg. For the Moscow hive, we added an excluder & honey super.

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We need to invest in additional brood boxes & honey supers…these busy bees are growing their colonies & producing some sweet honey!! We LOVE our new hobby!!

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John showing his excitement after opening St. Petersburg.

I continue to be in complete awe of these amazing creatures.

Our First Hive Check

I’m thrilled! John  & I checked our hives for the first time since we released our queens, & the colonies are thriving!

Although we couldn’t find the queens, we spotted lots of larvae & capped brood-all of this in JUST a weeks time.Larve_FirstHiveCheck_HomesteadHunny

One hive even surprised us with an odd, but common shaped burr comb.

1stHiveCheck_SoulComb_HomesteadHunny I’ll let you tell me what it looks like to you – & the honey on that comb, DELICIOUS!!