Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Busy, Busy... as a Bee

On Friday, we inspected our two queenless hives, to find that they'd both been unsuccessful in making viable, mated queens.  Sigh.  We had such high hopes, especially for the Fish Hive.  It's been raining a lot, so it's highly likely that any new queens that hatched were unable to mate or simply unable to get back to the hives.  It's a precarious thing, going on a mating flight.  She could get caught in the rain, eaten by a bird, or any number of other mishaps might befall her.

Sorry, no photos, we were moving quickly to check them out after my half day at the office.

So we headed on up to Hudson Valley Bee Supply on Saturday morning (yes, the 4th, but it's become evident that there are no holidays when you're dealing with agricultural concerns), where we picked up two new mated queens and their attendants, together with just about everything we'd need to extract honey.  Except the extractor.

But then Saturday evening, after I face painted at a country club July 4 party, a beekeeper friend let us know he'd ordered a new extractor and was selling his old one... so we went over there and bought it!  We are now the proud owners of a three-frame Kelley Bees extractor, unlike any of the ones currently on their site, but I suppose the predecessor to this one.  We're so excited!  Now the biggest problem (aside from the fact that we still need to order jars and design/order labels) is waiting for the bees to be done making their honey!

We're not patient types.

I guess it's ok, though.  Where we are, the echinacea, black-eyed Susans, daisies, butterfly bushes, and balloon flowers are just starting to bloom, and we still have a bunch of our fruits and veggies flowering - zucchini, cantaloupe (although if you watch Alton Brown's Good Eats, what we're really growing is apparently muskmelon, no matter what the label says), tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, etc., so if the nectar from those blooms all get added into our honey, that's just fine with us!

In the meantime, I've been knitting my little heart out.  This photo shows the bee blanket as it stood a few days ago; at this point, I've got the second motif (with hearts and another row of dots) completely finished, and I've started in on the third motif, the big bunnies and bee.

Besides that, I got my ceramic bee bowl back from firing!  I think it came out really cute, and find it amazing that this...

... became this.

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