May 2011 Archives

From my dear friend Sam Comfort of Anarchy Apiaries:

"Don't Beemoan the Past! Beehold the Future!

Remember simpler times and simpler bees? Remember the time when you could step outside, past the baby goats, and return with a bright honeycomb for breakfast? Was that yesterday?

The Beekeepers Association of Northern Dutchess (BAND) does not beegrudge or beelittle. We just Bee.
Check it out as we kick off the season with an open Beetalk Session at the Tivoli Town Hall Gazebo or thereabouts, Tuesday May 24, 7 PM.
Nothing runs like a Hive.

That's all free, as well as are upcoming field days and potluck-type gatherings in the bee yard.
But
Beefore all that,
-for those who only feel validated to steal honey from bees after they've PAID for a course:

BEEKEEPING BOOTCAMP

Anarchy Apiaries is proud to announce the first ever BEEKEEPING BOOTCAMP, A three day beekeeping intensive based in Germantown, NY

This Friday - Sunday, May 20-22.

This event is designed for established beeks, exploring more advanced beekeeping tactics, but also accommodates newbees and provides a lot of hands-on experience.
Some potential topics: making splits, rating hive health, using natural and grafted queen cells, grafting, caging and introducing queens, shaking package bees, alternative hive designs (top bar hives, Warre-type hives, skeps, gums, etc) and building these boxes, bait hives, harvesting hive products, wintering, becoming sustainable in your beekeeping operation, and bee songs around the campfire.
Price is $120 per person, sliding scale, to just cover costs, liability, food from Fog and Thistle Farm. Limited to about 15 people. It's informal. It's intensive. We're not Bugging out over it. We are bringing the Means of Production back to the beekeepers. Two dinners will be served and camping is encouraged. (Local hotels in Hudson and such are available.) More details are coming as I find time to explain them. Did I mention INTENSIVE? Visiting several beeyards and other local beekeepers, there will be exposure to climatic conditions, ticks, poison ivy, and of course, bee stings. What's worth more than that?!
If interested please sign up early by emailing anarchyapiaries @ hotmail.com

Live Bee or Die,
Sam

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A Honeybee Bonanza!

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Boy-howdy! This week has been an intense, gauntlet-esque feat of bee-ness! I'm just a little guy in regards to the process of transporting bees all over the dang place. I know folks that have been doing this for far longer than me with far more bees and over far longer distances are going to think I sound like a lightweight....and by all accounts they would be right, but man (!) this week of running bees everywhere has me really fried! I don't know how some of you big shot beekeepers out there do it!

My adventure started mid-week when a young Florida beekeeper named Mark Negley trucked up with his father with the back of his pick-up filled with nucs for me, my good buddy Tim O'Neal and some other beekeepers who had been feeling the pinch of all of these crazy package delays. Nucs were the only way many of us felt like the bees we bring in could build up enough to take advantage of the nectar flow and overwinter successfully. As I write this, I am still waiting on packages that I should have gotten in early April. It's likely that I will have to combine them this fall because It's doubtful they will build up enough to overwinter without copious amounts of fussing over, which I simply don't do. But I digress....the important thing is, we got these nucs in and set them down at the Red Hook Community Farm run by Added Value overnight. These bees travelled a long way and deserved a break.

The next day I sorted all of my gear, made phone calls and had planned to take all of the nucs up to Tarry Market and Newton Farm by myself....and in the back seat of my car that likes to make a habit of breaking down. I needed someone to tell me that I was crazy and that it wasn't going to happen. Fortunately for us all, I found that person and subsequently the world was spared one of my absurd, spastic freak outs.

I made a new friend last week in a neighborhood dude named Daniel Pippenger. He built the raised beds at Francis Perkins Academy ...you know, the Automotive High School on Bedford Ave with the amazing looking vegetable garden in front of it. Yeah, well that guy totally saved my ass in a tremendous way this week. Not only did he take me to the vet to get my sick cat, but he volunteered to help me truck (or station wagon, as it were) about 80,000 bees (small potatoes, I know) upstate overnightwhere we proceeded to haul them up VERY precariously placed ladders on rooftops, finally settling in at Newton Farm at about 4 am. Dude seriously rules. He's gonna be my new bestie whether he likes it or not. He might be posting here about his adventures in homebrewing. Stay tuned for that.

Once at the farm we set the closed up nucs in the barn to wait until sunrise. I slept for about 2 hours and got up with the sun to set the bees loose on their new territory. It was damp and misty that morning so there was little activity coming from the nucs at first. Then at around noon, we all went out to check on them and they were flying like crazy, countless foragers bringing in baskets full of bright yellow and orange pollen. It was a thing of beauty...almost enough to make me give up on urban beekeeping all together. I NEVER see that amount of pollen coming in on my Brooklyn bees. Am I doing city bees a disservice? That remains to be seen.

newtonfarmhives.JPG (Pretty as a picture...The hives of Newton Farm in West Kill, NY.)

After we transfered the bees from nuc to hive at the farm, we skeedaddled down to Tarry Market to get those girls in there new hives. Note the footprints on the side. We had to stand on the deeps to get through the window to the roof where the bees are situated. Rooftop beekeeping can be kinda crazy sometimes.

tarrymarketbees.JPG (Team Mario and Team Joe, ya hurd?)

After the bees at Tarry Market were situated, we wolfed down tasty speck sandwiches and iced coffees, and hit the road again. Daniel dropped me off at home and went off to whatever wonderful rock he crawled out from under and I slinked into my PJs and fell into bed with my kitties and my man, totally exhausted mentally and physically. Phew!

The next morning, I went over to the Brooklyn Kitchen to get their shiny new bee hive into place. Loving these new bees so far!

bklynkitchenbees.jpg

Bees are kind of a big deal, dontcha think?

Hope is Kindled.

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MyraSunbathe.jpg

Ugh.

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My sincerest apologies, dear readers. I've been a very bad blogger. I can explain though, really. It's been a fairly crappy couple of weeks and my head was just elsewhere. And it just kept getting worse as the days passed. I won't complain, I won't fish for sympathy, but as a fan of lists I am going to make one to exorcise the demons of the past 20 some days since I've posted an entry and then I'll spend some time "keeping on the sunny side" so to speak, to keep things balanced. This is a venting post. If you don't like it, please click away from the page.

Here goes....Things that went down that nearly made my rip my own face off:

-Car broke down, again. (Mother Trucker!)
-Nasty, blinding stye in my eye for a week. ;(
-Cat got tremendously sick, cost thousands of dollars and will have to be fed every two hours from a tube for the next month.
-Car got towed for no apparent reason. (ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!)
-Currently scrambling to figure out how to transport nucs to the farm and to a client in Port Chester to little avail.
-Had to cry to my mommy for moral support. (How old am I? Couldn't possibly be 30.)

SickMyra.jpg (Poor baby cat. Myra in the hospital kennel where she spent 4 days above a barking Rottweiler)

Things that make me feel a little less homicidal:

-I've got great friends and am connected to people who are always willing to help me in unexpected ways when I need it.
-I got a new computer so I can get pumped on writing this book.
-My cat WILL get better with time and care.
-Farming, removing my head from the equation in yet another way
-My bees will all be here and in their hives after this weekend so I can stop stressing.
-I've got a boyfriend who is the kind of guy that all men should endeavor to be like. He's kept me in one piece all of this time. I couldn't do all of this without him.
-The garden is coming up really nicely. I'll be harvesting pea shoots and radishes next week. Waiting on two new beds to put the potatoes in but that too will happen sooner or later. I'll try not to fret over it. It'll get taken care of. It always does, eventually.

gonnaeatcha.jpg (Get in my belly already!)

p and i planting seeds.jpg

In my small town, we are lucky enough to own a rather large lot, with mature trees and shrubs, a thornless raspberry patch, a gazillion tulips, daffoldils, lily of the valley, and tonnes of other ornamentals. We also have a lovely hedge which gives us plenty of privacy, but doesn't keep neighbourhood cats out. And if you've ever had a sandbox, or had anything remotely resembling loose soil in your yard, you'll know that the second a speck of soil is disturbed, the cats' spidey senses activate and they come running to use it for a litter box. This was annoying before we had kids, but now that I want my sons to be free to plant and dig and grow things with my husband and I, I really don't want the cats around.

So tonight, since i know that some of you must be in the same boat, I have a quick tip for you that I've found very helpful in my little town garden.

raspberry canes.jpg

When we thin the raspberry canes in the Spring (cutting the ones that fruited last summer) we lay the canes on top of our freshly amended raised beds. Rain and sun can get through to the soil (and seeds when they're planted), but cats will steer clear. Our raspberries are thornless, but I can only see this working better if they have thorns! Any other branches or twigs found around the yard would work, too.

Good luck!

I'm Sherrie Graham, an urban homesteader of sorts in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. I'm a mother, teacher, and soapmaker, and I blog about it all at Twenty-Two Pleasant.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from May 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

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