Thursday, June 25, 2009

First Honey Harvest of 2009

Good News Everyone!!!

We are over the moon on Sasserfrass Hill. Mr. Charlie and I extracted the first of my honey today. We put a bee escape screen on three hives yesterday. Mr. Charlie came over this morning at 10am. He picked up the three supers ( they are too heavy for me to pick up) and took them to his honey house. Mr. Charlie has a 9 frame power radial extractor and a air conditioned honey house. I have a four frame hand crank extractor and no air conditioning in my bee shed. So needless to say I was fortunate when he offered to let me use his well equipped facility.

I drove over to his house so he would not have to drive back across town. When I got to his honey house he had the supers unloaded and the hot knife plugged in. He asked if I would like him to do the honors or do it myself. Of course I was happy to watch a master work. He had all three supers uncapped and ready to return to the box they came from (The bees like to get there own frames back) in less than an hour. It would have taken me twice as long to get the job done.

I brought along three five gallon buckets or holding tanks as they are called in the catalogs to bring the honey from his extractor back to Sasserfrass Hill. I ended up with a little over 100 pounds of sweet golden honey. I had to replace eight queens this spring. I was afraid I may not have much honey to harvest this season. I was delighted with the quality and quantity of my honey.
I will let the honey sit in the holding tanks for a few days before putting it into jars. The bubbles will rise to the top. Mr. Charlie says.... You should skim it off and feed it back to the bees.

We are very grateful on Sasserfrass Hill tonight for all our many blessings and our bountiful harvest.

Thank you Mr. Charlie for making this harvest smooth and easy.

Bee Well and Stay Cool,

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Happy Summer !

Tomorrow is the first official day of Summer. It is the hottest day of the year with temperatures racing near 104 degrees. It is going to be a super hot few days. I don't think we can expect anything but more hot smoldering days. The bees seem to take it in stride. I did put up their colorful umbrellas to help shade them from the scorching afternoon sun. I also put out some ice cream salt. Mr Charlie said....the salt will provide some of the minerals they made need in this heat.
Happy Birthday Sarah!!!! Hope you have a wonderful day and many many more!!!
Try to stay cool and we will do the same.

and the "Girls" on Sasserfrass Hill

Monday, June 15, 2009

Greetings Everyone,
With temperatures heating up well into the upper 90'ies, it has slowed the production on Sasserfrass Hill down a bit. I am trying to keep the plants watered. The tomatoes and peppers are producing very nicely. The wildflowers in the garden are beautiful and after being staked they are standing up and showing their faces. We have the intense Georgia afternoon sun with no shade to help with the broiling heat. I bought umbrellas last year to help shade my girls. With summer fast approaching I think it is time to put the umbrellas up over the hives again. (My neighbor says it looks like a roadside stand when the umbrella go up.)
We have had a bit of a setback. On Saturday Rick and I went through seven of the hives, to check for queen cells and to check for brood and pests. To our disappointment we found four MORE hives with NO brood. Four hive with NO babies and no Queen. Remember we had to put three queens and brood from Mr. Charlies hives in last week. To find we have four more queen less hive is a big set back to us on Sasserfrass Hill. This will slow honey production down to a crawl.
Mr Charlie ordered more queens and we are going to pick them up from Wilbanks Apiaries in Claxton on Wednesday. I hope these queens are strong good layers, so we can make it through the summer and get busy making honey for Sasserfrass Hill. I am learning many new things everyday about the bees. This is a hard lesson but, a part of beekeeping.

I will keep you posted on our progress.

Bee Cool,

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Mr. Charlie (my mentor) and I went through my ten hives last week. We expected to be harvesting honey this week, but to my chagrin I will not be harvesting this week. We found three hives with no queens. I have no idea what happened to them. Yesterday Mr. Charlie brought frames over with queen cells and lots of brood. (babies) to replace a frame in all three hives. We are hoping the queen cell will emerge about the same time as the baby bees, so the queen will have bees to care of her and get the hives working and productive again.

When there is no queen in the hive the bees chill out and don't do much work. Spring is the most plentiful time of the year. They should be bringing in lots of pollen and nectar. This is a set back and I will miss out on lots of honey production, but as Mr. Charlie says... This is a learning experience and a part of beekeeping.

I met a fabulous lady, Carla Grayson a few weeks ago at a holistic fair. She linked my website onto her site. She is a renowned web designer and has an interesting and informative website. I am very grateful she added to her site. Check it out.

Mr. Charlie and I will go through my hives again soon to see how the queens are progressing. I hope we will be back in full production in just a few weeks.

Bee Well,

No Honey yet!

Mr. Charlie (my mentor) and I went through my hives last week. We were expecting to start harvesting honey this week, but to my chagrin I found I was not ready to harvest honey and even more disappointing was three of my hives did not have a queen. I am not sure what happened. The purple, green and aqua hives had no brood (babies) at all. Mr. Charlie came over yesterday and brought frames with queen cells and lots of brood from his hives. He replaced one of my frames with one of his, in each of the three queen less hives. We hope the brood will hatch around the same time as the queen, so they can take care of her and get the hive working and productive again.

The spring is the busiest time for the bees. This is down time for these three hives, when they should be working the hardest. When there is no queen the hive slows production instead of going like gang busters. This is disappointing but as Mr. Charlie says.... It is a learning experience and part of being a beekeeper.

Also I met a fabulous lady, Carla Grayson at the holistic fair a few weeks ago. She put our web site on her site (We are under the news letter portion of her site). She is a renowned web designer and has a creative and very interesting website.

I really appreciate her adding to her site. Check it out.

Bee Well,