Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Where to start?

No place like the beginning, I guess?

This year started out pretty normal.  We had six bee hives, and we knew we were going to expand.  I say "We"...I think I am including the little voice in my head.  I had already placed orders for bees, and queens, and I kind of knew what I wanted to do.  My initial plan was to take our six hives up to twelve and see how things went.  As with any other project, the whole thing started with a list.  A list of supplies that we would need to order.

  • I made this list based solely on need.  
  • I took an inventory of what was on hand.  
  • I sat down with my catalog.  
  • I made a list.  
  • I placed the order.  

You can imagine my surprise when the trucking company called to see if this was a business, and if we had a loading dock.


Apparently, my order was large enough to be shipped via trucking lines, and it was a 600 lb. pallet!

Once I recovered my senses, and picked my jaw up, I called my supplier to get my invoice total.

Once I recovered my senses, and picked myself up off the floor, I started cleaning out the garage.

I had ordered enough supplies to cover fourteen hives.  I only had plans for twelve, but I have learned it is better to have a couple spares.  You never know what will come up and it is no fun to be caught unprepared.

Once we received our delivery, the construction began.  It was about this time that my Part-timer came home for a visit, and she was more than willing to roll up her sleeves and give it a go.  She invited a friend that lives locally to come over and give us a hand.  As I recall, it was cool and rainy outside, but we were comfortable in the garage.  Those girls gave it a solid effort.  Pretty much up to this point, my prerequisite for building equipment has been - Can you swing a hammer?  I learned after this little endeavor to expand my question by one - Do you succumb to random fits of high-pitch screams?

This poor little girl that came to lend a hand was very excited.  She was eager.  She was ready.  She also screamed at the top of her lungs!  For no apparent reason!  At random intervals!

It was the craziest thing I have ever seen.

It was a little scary.

It was very loud.

I do appreciate the help, and for the most part, they produced solid equipment.  They went through periods of not driving their nails all the way in, but other than that, they knocked out some work.

The year proceeded.  We received our bees and our queens.  We made our splits, and just as I suspected, we ended up with a couple of swarms that we captured and fourteen hives!  The weather this spring was amazing.  It was cool.  We were actually getting regular rainfall, and the flowers started blooming.  The bees were happy.  We were happy.  The honey was in the making.

Going into July, we started planning our harvest.  There's a lady that lives up the road who runs The Blue Dog Bee Ranch.  We cry on each other's shoulder occasionally about our struggles with bees, and we laugh, and we cry, and she sends my silly pictures of her dogs.  Like this one...

We scheduled our extractions at the honey house on the same day.  This allowed us to ride together, and to give each other a hand.  Her extraction started at 11:00 and ran until 1:00.  Mine picked up at 1:00 and ran until 5:00.  We had to be on the road by 9:30 to get over there in time.  This meant my Full-timer and I would be up at the crack of dawn to start pulling supers of honey off our hives.

We pulled out of the driveway at 6:30 in the morning.  We had the truck loaded and iced coffee in hand.  Of course, once we were a mile or so down the road, we realized we forgot something and had to turn around and come back.  Even with this little hiccup, we kept calm and went to work.  Being our third year doing this, we did develop a nice little system and started making good progress.  Somehow, on schedule, we made it back to the house to grab the supers here.  Still making good time, we cleaned up and were ready to go.  The Blue Dog Lady pulled in, we transferred her honey over to the truck and we were out of here.

It was an extremely long day!

We pulled back into the driveway at 7:00 that evening.  We were tired.  We were sticky.  We had empty supers that needed to go back out on hives so the bees could clean them up, but...

We had honey!

Our first honey harvest was pretty much like last year.  It is light, mild, sweet, and a silky texture.

I love you Indian Blanket!

My absolute, new favorite flower!  

The bees make amazing honey from this little beauty!


  1. First: the dog picture? HA! That's awesome. Second: the screaming girl? I can totally picture it and it cracks me up. Third: when do you sleep? You're always so busy!!!! Bet that honey tastes good though!

    1. Sleep? What is this thing you speak of? This is only the beginning of the story. Just wait. It has actually gotten so bad that now, if I experience idle time between crazy time, it makes me nervous. Like I'm forgetting something. It is weird. I don't know what's happening to me.