Category Archives: Beekeeping

Beek’s Log: 6/21/10

Yesterday Steve and I removed and replaced 5 just-cleaned frames from Fuzzy’s medium honey super w/5 recently-harvested frames.  We did this so the bees would clean / rearrange the gooey frame / honey to their existing frames and I, in turn, could place the newly-cleaned frames in garage storage vs bagged and in the freezer for use @ a later time.)  Because I can’t lift right now, Steve placed the removed frames / super as a unit on top of Fuzzy (for the bees to final clean) and this morning (while it is still cool w/little bee activity) I placed the frames in their garage storage location.

Easy Beesy, huh?  (Hey, whaddyawant – this is a free site and I’m (clearly) not a writer 😉

While I was there, I also inspected Freddie-Ray and Jimmy Dale. Freddie had TONS of activity – lots of bees carrying in very large bags of pollen to feed the brood, so it looks like they’re doing well.  Next to zero honey stored in the honey super, so it’s likely they’re filling frames down inside the brood boxes that I cleaned ~2 months ago – everybody’s a winner: they / their queen got more room for brood and we got the honey.  Jimmy Dale is just now building up it’s population, so I don’t expect to see any honey from them this year… though one never knows.

Beek’s Log: 6/16/10

Following up on last night’s post, this morning Liv and I jarred the honey we harvested yesterday.  The 5 (medium) frames yielded slightly over 1 gallon of very light and easy-pouring honey… nice flavored stuff.  I suspect tomorrow afternoon, I’ll suit up and remove the frames installed in the super yesterday (they were gooey then, I assume they have now been cleaned / refreshed by the bees) with these just-harvested frames for use in storing honey… and I’ll bag and place the just-cleaned frames / foundation in storage for use as the season progresses.

By comparison, most beeks will add supers / frames to their hives through the season, then harvest them as a group @ key times throughout the year – fall and late winter being the normal times, though they may do it during others “as need bee” :).  I harvest on an ongoing basis because (1) it allows me to minimize the amount of $$’s invested in beekeeping – supers, frames and foundation are expensive, so to keep adding means I have to keep buying. bzzzzzzzzzzt, not for me… especially since beekeeping and honey gathering is a hobby, not a means to make money and (2) single-super harvesting is relatively short / easy work done in a couple of hours compared to group-harvesting 3-4 supers from 2-3 hives… and, I suppose, (3) because I like working honey and wax… it’s a very tactile experience that I enjoy… I’m constantly reminded of what the bees have been doing, how their health is, how the nectar flow is progressing, etc… it’s always a work in progress.

I scrape the comb in to mash, then strain, then pour (also process the comb wax) vs hot knife the comb caps, then stack frames in an extractor, spin the extractor, pour the honey, then clean and store the extractor.

So that’s it – another gallon of honey jarred and put away, this batch called, “Happy Birthday, Pandora!”

Beek’s Log: June 8, 2010 – New hive named Jimmy Dale

It’s been a while since the last beeks log, so here goes:

About a month ago I inspected Freddie-Ray and Fuzzy and found them both to be in pretty good shape.  IIRC, I harvested a couple of gallons of honey from their brood supers – they were both somewhat honey-bound, artificially restricting the queen to the quantity of eggs she could lay before she – and the colony – would have to swarm to find more expansive digs.

Since that time, Fuzzy has provided me with 3 additional swarms – none of them very large – to build up a third hive.  And so I have, and I’ve named it Jimmy Dale in, uh… “honor” of a friend of mine.  I inspected Jimmy Dale today and determined they needed some expansion room, so I installed a 2nd brood super… that oughta hold them for a while.

When I completed the installation, I inspected both Freddi-Ray and Fuzzy… each of whom appear to be very healthy.  In fact, Fuzzy has ~6 full frames of capped honey in the honey super, so in a week or so I’ll likely harvest that super.  (Seems likely that not long after, Freddie-Ray will need its honey super harvested, too.)

That’s it for this beeks log – BEE GOOD 😉

Follow on to swarm post…

After going through the swarm-dance, I decided to check the hives to see if they were over-crowded – especially with honey… it’d be a shame to put the full burden of honey-watching on them.

Anyway, it turns out that between them, Fuzzy and FreddieRay had ~9 medium frames of honey that could be removed while leaving them both with a single medium super of partial capped brood / honey. (though, come to think of it, NONE of the honey supers w/brood in them had any pollen stores… that’s odd. hmmmm)  So while I was feeling “in the mood”, I dug deeper in to FreddieRay quickly found the upper brood box had numerous solid honey frames that weren’t in the wall frames, so I removed those, then re-ordered the hive and closed it up.  Thinking more about it afterward, I believe I will go in to both hive’s brood boxes tomorrow to see if they’re getting honey-bound (that happened to me once, but I was young and drunk – hey, it was the ’70’s! 😉 and if they are, I’ll surgically remove those frames and replace with…


We’ve got an ice-chest full of honey frames that we’ll harvest tomorrow with Owen and Olivia… stop by if / when you’re in the neighborhood.


After returning from lunch today, Pepper came in to my office and was really anxious to go outside.  I typed a few more things then headed to let her out the den door… then thought, heck, it’s a nice day so I’ll check on the bees.


Hmm, said the not-so-bright-jr-beek, seems like one of my hives have swarmed.  grabbed the HD Flip video and headed out to film the backyard swarm, then fuzzy – which was bearded with bees in the front and on the ground. I suited up, kept the camera running and eventually moved the nuc next to fuzzy… a couple of minutes later I brought the lid and an empty frame inside and put lemongrass on the inside of the lid and smeared honey on both sides of the frame… hoping I might entice them to take up residence.

  I opened Fuzzy and ray and they both seem normal inside, so maybe this was someone else’s colony that has swarmed and looking for a home; with the nuc next to fuzzy, last I saw them, the nuc had lots of interested bees… so maybe we’ve picked up a swarm.  I suspect we’ll know later tonight / in the morning.  

I’ll put some video up as soon as I figure out how to do it with the new version of blogger I’ve just upgraded to.

Honey harvest (w/Olivia)

Liv’s up for a long weekend so we attacked the 2nd brood frames from Ray, the under-producing hive and here’s where we are as of this moment. (Btw, Ray Davies of The Kinks has said many times that The Kinks didn’t live up to their potential – maybe I should have chosen another frontman’s name for the hive.) Remember to click the pic to see greater detail.

Liv and I both thought the visual on the honey oozing out of the strainer was pretty cool. Even though it was ~90F @ the time, the honey still wept through very slowly.

Ah, the Pot o’ Honey….

Liv’ and I are in complete agreement that keeping bees is like having your own candy factory 🙂

(After harvesting, Liv’ and I picked up some lunch goodies, we ate lunch and I headed off for a nap. Upon waking, I discovered Liv and Joanne had snuck off to see the new Harry Potter… everybody’s a winner, eh? 🙂

I get a little misty…

Ok, so I’m stretching for the cleverness button and it ain’t happening… sigh.

Anyway, I turned on the mister on the back deck and darned if it didn’t turn in to a visual experience with a spider web that had been developing on the gutters. (Note to self: To reduce the number of spiders around the house, remove spider webs.)

If you set aside the fact that this is home to a handful of arachnoids, not so bad, is it?

Plums. Man, have we got plums…

It’s that time of year again. Our two plum trees are ripening and fruit is beginning to drop (in addition to the walnuts the squirrels throw at us… but that’s another thread.)

Anyway, Steve and I had guitar practice yesterday and between songs you could hear, “thump”, “thump”, “thump” coming from the back fence / corner area. Yep, it was the plums dropping to the ground… kinda like a towel-covered base drum being hit (almost) in perfect time. After practice I headed out and picked them up… probably about 5 lbs in the bag (with another 5 lbs on the ground that we won’t keep).

If you’re a local, in the neighborhood and want some fresh plums, shoot me a note / gimmeacall and you’re welcome to have some. (This big bag is going to my barber and her shop but there will be another bag that will hit the ground today, so no worries.)

And squash… well, the squash have exploded, too, so if you like squash (we have 4 types), stay tuned.

As always, thanks for stopping by, be well and don’t forget to write when you get work.

One day, Two Beeks(!)

It’s Father’s Day here in America, so Happy Father’s Day to fathers everywhere 🙂

Joanne and I headed out on an amble-through-Campbell bike ride this morning (picture perfect weather, btw) and as we cruised down one road through the next, we came across a woman we’d met a year ago… working in her large garden, just as she had been a year ago when we met. Her name is Joanne. In addition to having one heck of a (working) garden, I recalled her husband as being a beekeeper. (A beek)

We stopped to chat for a few minutes and I was astounded to hear that this season he’s already harvested ~400 pounds. At 1 lb. per quart, that’s a lot of honey – and we’re not even half way through the season. As I peppered her with questions, she finally said, “I’m not the beekeeper, go ’round front and I’ll have him come out and talk with you.” And so she / he did.

Nice fella. Like most beeks I’ve met (not many, btw) he wasn’t exactly a fashion plate kinda dresser. In fact, I swear he had on the same sweats as the beek I met a few weeks back over in Saratoga.

Anyway, he came out and introduced himself: “Name’s Jim but everybody calls me Fuzzy”. Turns out (no surprise) he knows Mr. C. We spent about 15 minutes with me asking questions, him answering… probably the longest 15 minutes of his life 😉 He looked like he was starting to wilt a bit so we bid him adieu and pedaled to the next street over where, rumor had it, another beek lived.

One down, one to go.

I think I may have mentioned it in an earlier post, but I’ve come to the conclusion that beeks have a different perspective on flora and fauna and the relationship it plays in our lives. In days gone by, I thought it was important to remove / kill any / all weeds on our property. Ugly. Ruined our lawns. Made the property look crummy.

After becoming a beek, I began to look at weeds as food sources for our bees. Nectar and pollen are what our bees need and, don’tchaknow, weeds have some of both. And when they are converted in to honey that I eat, my allergies get reduced to non-issues – no drugs. no shots. no surgery. The just go away. (or should I say, after 38 years of terrible suffering from hayfever / allergies, I no longer have any symptoms. Could be our local honey. Could be the allergy gremlins just moved on to pimp somebody else – it’s your call as to which you believe.)

Where was I… oh yes, returning to our amble, as I turned the corner on the street where I thought the other beek lived, I looked for the front yard area that appeared unattended… dry grass (if any), weeds… you know, raggedy. And I went up, knocked on the door and asked if this was the house of the beek.

Lucky guess on my part, eh? 🙂

Turned out to be true. It was before noon and it was a Sunday, so she wasn’t exactly ready for unexpected company / drop-in visitors, so we chatted for a few moments (we have a friend in common) and said our good-byes.

Two beeks, nice bike ride and Father’s Day… doesn’t really get any better does it?

Sure it does: I cooked one of the Abalone I caught on Thursday for mid-day Supper. Herbed rice, brocoli and Ab… just like “back in the day”.

Two beeks, nice bike ride, Father’s Day and a wonderful Ab dinner… doesn’t really get any better does it?

Sometimes it does: Owen and Scott called today and we had good discussions about life and the challenges / rewards of being a good parent.

Just doesn’t get any better, does it?

No, I’m not sure it does.

As always, thanks for stopping by. Be well and don’t forget to write when you get work.


I can’t stop myself from posting this… (Not Safe For Children)

(a joke that’s been posted to another forum I belong to.)

A guy out on the golf course takes a high speed ball right in the crotch. Writhing in agony, he falls to the ground, when he finally gets himself to the doctor.

He says, “How bad is it doc? I’m going on my honeymoon next week and my fiancée is still a virgin in every way.”

The doc said , “I’ll have to put your penis in a splint to let it heal and keep it straight. It should be okay next week.”

So he took four tongue depressors and formed a neat little 4-sided bandage, and wired it all together; an impressive work of art.

The guy mentions none of this to his girl, marries, and on his honeymoon night in the motel room, she rips open her blouse to reveal a gorgeous set of breasts. This was the first time he saw them.

She says, “You are my FIRST, no one has ever touched these breasts.”

He whips down his pants and says… ” Look at this, it’s still in the CRATE!”