Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Weekend Beekeeping

After a lengthy absence, we made it to a Backwards Beekeeping meeting. It is frankly thrilling to see the amount of people interested in beekeeping.

Kirk Anderson was there, of course, spreading the gospel of chemical free beekeeping. I have no idea why this guy doesn't have his own television show or at least rule the greater portion of the universe. He is an amazing speaker. So thoughtful and incredibly witty.

Scooters were brought to Farmlab. I remember when this guy could barely see over the handle bars. His older brother chose to recline and read a book; later in the evening, he (the older brother) succumbed to a nasty stomach flu, poor guy.

Inspired by the meeting, Eric and I came back home and took a look at our hive. This was my maiden voyage. Eric has been the go-to beekeeper at our house while I've been hanging with the kids inside. The kids are finally old enough to be trusted to watch us through the window while we work (although the youngest made a mad naked dash to visit us prior to opening the hive. He returned to his perch by the window, but I think he is a prime candidate for a beekeeper suit.). My suit was an anniversary gift from Eric which is one of the best anniversary gifts ever. My suit came with an Eric drawing about the birds and the bees. I find myself gazing at that card often.

I understand bee fever completely. I'm already an avid proponent of beekeeping, especially Backward Beekeeping. It's about observation and being a true student of the bees.

Under Eric's tutelage (while the boys stayed safely inside the house), we inspected the hive. The bees are drawing comb and producing honey. I did not see the any brood (I only pulled out three frames from the top box). Next time we open the hive, we will do much more. We have some deep frames in the bottom boxes. We plan to take the hive apart & pull out those frames and replace them with the regular sized frames. I'm really looking forward to suiting up and working with the bees.

Kirk, we'll have those deep frames back to you soon.


  1. How exciting! I have my bees on order and one of my chores for this winter is to build my top bar hive.

    I see you have an OSH bucket. My first job was at the very first Orchard Supply Hardware on West San Carlos in San Jose. Back when I worked there it was owned by the Allen brothers. I still have a deep and abiding love for all things hardware.

    Good luck with your bees this season!

  2. Hi Paula. Keep your eyes open for a swarm. If you see one, you can capture it (the bees are docile because they have no honey or brood to protect) & start your hive with feral bees. Ours are feral. They came from a drinking fountain in Riverside, CA. Our interest in bees sprang from a swarm in our yard. At the time, we had no idea you can capture them fairly easily & start a hive. Now, we know.

    I too am a big hardware fan. What a great story about OSH. Our local OSH is the former Ole's that burned down a cause of arson. The fire starter was a Los Angeles fire captain John Orr. Joseph Wimbaugh wrote a riveting story about him called Fire Lover. Well worth checking out from your local library.

  3. Don't know if you are allergic to stings, but I now tend them without a veil a lot and without gloves. I put a heavy shirt and the veil on in the fall when they are defensive about their honey. One can tell quickly when they want you *OUT* so, I listen and work another day. Adding 4 more colonies to my farm this year. I am addicted!


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