Thursday, April 15, 2010


Earlier this morning I was thinking that our bees should be in very soon. Days ago Kelli and I even discussed it. I had full intention of looking at the post card I get from our bee guy that tells when they will be in. He drives to California to pick them up. In the past he got them from Georgia but, the past couple times it's been California. But the queen is a Minnesotan. In a short time the hive takes on the queens characteristics.
But as I was saying, I was wondering when the bees would be in. I was just about ready to get started with some projects for the day when I found the post card and it read " Your bees are expected to arrive on April 13th. "The 13th" I exclaimed!!! "What day is this" I asked to who ever was nearest by! The morning hubbub continued with no obvious reply to my question, as is often the custom. Then I quickly drew my trusty cell phone from it's holster and saw that the date was now the 15th. ''It's the 15th" I exclaimed! "Uh, oh" I heard from my wife. With out a second to lose I quickly called called Chris, the bee guy. "Chris, I just found my post card, did the bees come?" " Yep", said Chris. "Are my bees still there?"I quizzed. "Yep". "I'll be there as soon as I can." "OK ' says Chris. He is the biggest honey producer in our area.

So I raced around getting ready to run down to Rhinelander where Chris lives. I had to call our neighbor Mike and let him know I was going to be gone for an hour or so since he was going to come over after the rain stopped and help me load paper from our garbage route onto a trailer.

I couldn't believe I forgot what day the bees were coming. I wasn't even ready for them. Previously I had inspected the hive shortly after the snow melted. I noted that the bees did not survive the winter but, the hive seemed in excellent condition and I figured finally this year we should get some honey out of it. I admit that I'm not a very good bee keeper. So far the only benefit we've had from keeping bees is that they pollinate our crops. I've yet to get any substantial amount of honey.

When I got to the bee guys place he was not at home. Apparently I had called his cell phone and he was currently at work. Fortunately his wife was home and she found my box of bees, which is pictured above. That is how they come. The brown thing on top of the box on the left side is a pollen patty. It helps nourish the bees in the first days when there isn't much pollen being produced by nature. I just happened to set it there until later.

Not shown in the picture is a tin can mounted in the top of the cage full of sugar water to feed the bees until they get to their final destination. Also the queen is inserted in a little cage that rides right next to the tin can.

As you can see they pack a whole bunch of bees in these cages. The close up above shows a bee that escaped.

If you've never seen it before it is truly a sight to behold. It's hard to believe they can pack that many bees into the things.

Since I was not yet prepared for the new bees I had to get the hive ready. It was full of dead bees from last year and a mouse had made a nest in there during the winter so I had some cleaning to do.

There was some honey left over from the year before so I decided to leave it for the new bees. I don't like to feed them sugar water since honey is their natural food. So I figure why not just give them honey. It is way more natural. I don't believe refined sugar is good for any living thing. So why give it to our bees.

Our daughter Ryann caught me during the clean up. Last year I put our bees in an old dog pen to help keep the bears out. A bear could easily get in there but none did all last year. I think it is strange enough for them to stay out of it.
Plus it is all bent up and out of shape from when we kept Dakota, our ram, in it. He beat the snot out of it.
I spent about a half an hour cleaning up the hive, removing the dead bees from last year and the mouse nest.
Once I got it all ready I put in the bees with no problems. Didn't even get stung.
It was really warm today. It's been unseasonably warm, and dry. But, today we finally got a little rain. I worked on the hive between rains.
I wasn't planning on doing bees today. As is often the case things don't always go as planned. In fact after our neighbor helped get the paper loaded on the trailer we took it up to Eagle River and the place we usually take it to was closed. Another change in plans. Can't run paper until Saturday.
However today's unexpected events was perfectly in keeping with yesterday. Yesterday we wound up spending the evening at a vineyard that is closing down. Our friends Phil and Diane called us at the last minute about it. We were blessed with getting 33 grape vines for real cheap. And a bunch of raspberries. The catch was we had to dig them all up ourselves. We've been wanting to establish some grape vines for years and now we finally have the opportunity. We weren't planning on it right now but, here we are. Ready or not. So now over the next few days we will be putting in a vineyard of our own.
On another topic.....Doreen is still doing good. And they are expecting she will get out of the hospital tomorrow. Hard to believe what they can do these days. I mean just days ago they ripped out her heart and gave her a new one and tomorrow she goes home, most likely. But, I believe there is more to it than just a "medical" miracle. There have been tons of people praying for her. In fact I put more stock in prayer than I do medicine anyway.
Until Next Time


Blogger Cary at Serenity Farms said...

Have just discovered your blog and enjoying it very much! Good luck with your bees and God Bless ;D

9:08 PM  
Blogger RL said...

Welcome to the blog! Thank you for the comment!

11:21 PM  

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