Beautiful Beekeeping – Permaculture Playing Cards

Permaculture Bees

Good advice!  And this is just one card out of a deck of Permaculture Playing Cards.

How do you tell people what permaculture is? If you give them a book, they might look at a few pictures.  If you send them a link to something they tend to save it for later.  The idea of the deck of cards is that they might browse it like a book – but this is all pictures and just a few words.  Much easier to browse.  And hopefully convey a bigger picture in a smaller package.

playing cards

If you want to explore this subject further and/or purchase a deck of Permaculture Playing Cards, go to http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/paulwheaton/permaculture-playing-cards

Summertime

Summertime,
And the livin’ is easy
Fish are jumpin’
And the cotton is high

Oh, Your daddy’s rich
And your mamma’s good lookin’
So hush little baby
Don’t you cry

One of these mornings
You’re going to rise up singing
Then you’ll spread your wings
And you’ll take to the sky

But until that morning
There’s a’nothing can harm you
With your daddy and mammy standing by

056

058060065074

Nothing Could Be Finer Than To Be In North Carolina In July!

On July 11-13 I had the great pleasure of attending the North Carolina State Beekeepers Association’s Summer Meeting in Pinehurst, NC!

North Carolina

Pinehurst is absolutely beautiful! Gracious Southern hospitality at its best…

Pinehurst-NC-Resort

I conducted two honey cooking workshops/cooking demonstrations in the Demo Kitchen of the Sandhills Community College. I felt like a food network star!  So much fun!!

Sandhills Community College

Sandhills Community College

Culinary Arts Department

Culinary Arts Department

I made one of my favorites, Honey Tiramisu!

Honey Tiramisu

I made enough for all of the 150 attendees to have a serving. I can now make Tiramisu in my sleep!

The NCSBA is one of the largest and most active beekeeping associations in the US.  It’s also one of the most hospitable!

I picked up lots of helpful information about beekeeping and enjoyed the company of other enthusiastic beekeepers.  I’ll definitely be a return visitor!!

Happy Bees!

My two new hives of Buckfast bees had a rocky start.

005

They hated the plastic foundation I was using and built comb almost everywhere else.  From the ceiling of the Hive cover mostly…

The bees are happy even if I'm not...

The bees are happy even if I’m not…

I replaced the plastic foundation with wax and they were a bit happier.  Not a pretty sight from the inside however.

Now Hive Number Two seems to have slipped a bit from its moorings. This will be fixed ASAP.

001

The good news is that both hives are happy and healthy and prospering!  I couldn’t ask for anything more!!

004

Smoke

Beehive Smoker

Beehive Smoker

I’ve never liked smoking my bees. Smoke calms them down all right, but they aren’t quite themselves for a day or two. I figured a few minutes of bee panic is better than several days of befuddlement.

I’ve never smoked when installing a new package of bees.  It hasn’t seemed necessary. They’ve been more than happy to get out of that dreadful packing box.

Likewise I haven’t smoked when I’ve opened the hive for only a few seconds to feed or stick in a frame or two.

Smoking a Hive

Smoking a Hive

Today I pushed the envelope. Big mistake!

I wanted to switch out frames in a new hive from one deep box to another. Not for a good reason, mind you, but because I liked the paint color of the second box better. It wasn’t going to take very long.

It turns out that from the bees’ perspective it isn’t so much how long the disruption is but how distressing. Moving a frame with the Queen on it is apparently very distressing!

My gentle hive stung me five times through my bee suit and then went after the landscapers working next door. Thank goodness the landscapers did not get stung!

id_smoke_that_beehive_round_stickers-r8d4fad5f43254819807300073155423e_v9waf_8byvr_216

I quickly closed up the hive and ran inside, followed by a few angry girls. My dog, the Noble Bayard, ate them with gusto. All is quiet now.

I’m going back out shortly to finish the job. Needless to say, I’m going to smoke from now on. It’s better for all of us!!

Beautiful Beekeeping – I Was Framed!

My Buckfast bees refuse to build on easy-to-use, pre-assembled cheap plastic frames. I can’t say that I blame them.

So I spent the bulk of my weekend hand-crafting wooden frames with wired wax foundation. Thirty-eight of them!

Twenty-eight of the thirty-eight frames I built this weekend

Twenty-eight of the thirty-eight frames I built this weekend

When I bought my first hive almost a decade ago, I had the option of having it assembled or assembling it myself. The difference was $60.00. In an uncharacteristic fit of thriftiness, I chose self-assembly.

About $200 dollars worth of tools and countless woman-hours later, I had built my first bee hive, complete with frames!

I’m still proud of that accomplishment. I also learned a whole lot about the structure and function of every part of the hive.

Which is why I wasn’t daunted by the prospect of assembling thirty-eight frames from what looks like a bag of sticks and some sheets of wax.

Bag of sticks and sheets of wax...

Bag of sticks and sheets of wax…

Two of my three hives are now happy campers. The third hive is another story. They’ve rejected wax in favor of building their own digs.

Combs built from the hive cover

Combs built from the hive cover

The bees are happy even if I'm not...

The bees are happy even if I’m not…

I removed a frame from each hive box and placed comb between the spaces. I hope it works!!

In any event, I’m going to try going foundation-less in my next hive. The bees seem to really like building their own homestead.

I’m going to let my bees be bees!