Saturday, April 9, 2011

Sweet stuff at our place and I am so excited!!!

 This has been an exciting week at our "homestead". I have mentioned before on here my dream of keeping bees. I have wanted to do that for several years and I have done some reading up on it but it still continued to feel like a dream. I just didn't quite have the confidence to go into it. I could read books but in this sort of thing I do much better with hands on or visual learning and I was a little afraid to just jump in and do that.

   There was a class on bee keeping offered locally by the academy of life long learning- which is free of charge and usually attended by a bunch of retired folks but my kids and I have had fun joining them a couple of times now. It was on Tuesday morning and we went, me with notebook in hand and a plan to learn just as much as I possibly could.

   There were two beekeepers doing the talk (one of them was the guy that I actually buy our natural beef from but we had never met in person before, just talked on the phone) one has kept bees 4 years and the other 19 years and both of them love it. They brought a hive for us to see and showed us how to put it together. They showed us the equipment that we needed and told us a lot about bees and their care.  Afterwards we visited with them a lot and I told them that I would really love to raise bees and asked if they knew of any disease free used equipment for sale. They weren't sure but Les took my number. That afternoon he called me up and said he had found some. Yesterday the kids and I went and picked them up.
Our beehives!
 The bees are also ordered (Beekeepers in our area order through Les and we all go to get our bees at one time) and we will be picking them up the first week of May. The bee hives are currently stacked in our garage as I need to get a good foundation made and put up an electric fence. My Dad had extra fencing so that was a huge blessing. I had hoped not to fence ( for aesthetic reasons )but it is pretty important in our area for keeping bears and skunks away from the hives.

  This whole experience is pretty unreal to me as this went from being a dream to reality in just a few short days. I am learning so much right now too. There is a whole new set of words that go with bee keeping and I am trying to learn them. Such as a hive/frames being "drawn out". The frames that I got area which will give the bees a huge head start. That means that they already have the beeswax cells on them. (See picture below)
 I also feel so very blessed because both of the beekeepers (older gentlemen) that taught the class have just taken me and my kids under their wing and are very gracious to help and answer any questions I might have. We got to go and explore Les' beekeeping shed and even saw a few hives that he already has going this year. My Dad has also been very helpful with fencing, a smoker he had on hand and other ideas.

 Other sweet stuff around here has included canning Maple syrup. I have 16 jars all sealed up and ready for using on our pancakes and waffles this year. It looks like our season might be pretty much over. The nights have been staying too warm. We had hoped we might get a bit more than we did but we will be thankful for what we do have!!
  My parents have also been getting a bunch of milk which they have shared with us. This week I made yogurt and quick and easy cheese.

Have you ever kept bees? I would really truly love to hear your thoughts on bees or any of the other things I mentioned in this post!

I will be linking this to:

Also... Don't miss out on a giveaway of 2 Imagination Station books! (I will post the winner on Monday)


Anna said...

That is very exciting! Enjoy them.

Jamie said...

My husband wants to get bees really bad.Great for you and the kids,this is going to be a great learning tool for you all.


From the Country Farm said...

eventually I'll have bees here, my my father-in-law is really allergic to them so my husband has requested that we don't get them now.

Our maple syrup season has also come to an end, I pulled the taps yesterday and finishing off the last bit of syrup mow. I was able to finish off over two and a half gallons though, so I'm pleased.

Good luck with your bees, I know I'm looking forward to me turn as much as you have been!

Martha said...

You should read Keeper of the Bees aloud to your family. It is such a sweet story and it is full of real info about the keeping of bees.

Miri said...

Abbi, I am so happy for you! What a 'sweet' blessing indeed.

Miri said...

Abbi, I am so happy for you! What a 'sweet' blessing indeed.

Abbi said...

Thanks so much everybody! It is fun to hear of so many others that are interested in beekeeping as well. Hopefully I will be able to share stuff I learn and that will someday be helpful to you.

Martha- I did just borrow Keeper of the Bees from Mom and Dad when I was out there yesterday or Friday. I do plan on reading it outloud. That book is probably part of the reason I have wanted to get bees so much. It is a favorite of mine.

jo said...

hi! i just started beekeeping this year, its so exciting! alot of fun for the kids too :)

Amy Sullivan said...

So, no, I don't know anything about keeping bees. However, this weekend my two-year-old tried to grab a different bee three different times!

Thanks for sharing and for the pics. What a fun time!

Miranda said...

Congratulations Abbi! Just jump in and go for it. I bet you will learn so much along the way and soon you will be posting "Beekeeping 101" for the rest of us.

BTW, I feel the same way about getting chickens. I've wanted to forever, but am nervous about it. Well, I think we are getting them today. There's no way to know until we try.

Congrats again.

Dollwood Farms said...

Bees are great. Check out my blog as I write about them often.

Birds, Bees, Berries, and Blooms said...

I am letting a beekeeper keep his hives on our property. I love it. I love watching them and the honey is awsome. You will not regret your decision. I'm sure glad I don't have to fence mine off.

TDM Wendy said...

Coming over from the UBP party. Thanks for coming by Tales from the Motherhood and Confessions of a Former Child Actress! We love honey over at his house! Would love to have fresh, local honey like that! So exciting.


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