Sunday, March 27, 2011

Bee Class...

I took an interesting beekeeping class this weekend through the Washington State Beekeepers Association.  It's part of the Master Beekeeping Certification Program.  I'd taken a similar class before but didn't bother to take the test last time.  This time I took the test to get the Apprentice status.  And no, Donald Trump wasn't there to say, "You're Fired!"

Shout out to the instructor David Pearson.  His beekeeping blog is
and his Honey Farm Website is if you're interested.

So I got inspired after the class and got the rest of frames assembled for my two new packages of bees that are coming next month.  Got another coat of paint on some stuff I'd been meaning to paint, and ordering some parts that I realized I need.

Here's the color of the hives this year... made this in Jan:

See You Next Time...


Monday, March 21, 2011

Bee Up My Sleeve...

I got this illustration done for $5 on 
But I didn't get stung.

I'm glad to announce that both my hives made it thru the winter.  My first year I didn't insulate the hive, and it died when a brutal storm came through late in the year.  After that, I've been insulating the hives every winter and have had more success.

This year, I saw that one hive was not doing very good in comparison to the other, so I made up some emergency fondant.  Similar to what you see on Ace Of Cakes.  It's basically just sugar frosting that you can set right on top of the hive. 

I think the fondant saved one hive, and it has my second hive thriving right now.

As soon as the night time temps are in the 40's, I'm going to take the insulated covers off.

If you're into beekeeping, I have a beekeeping website that sells my Basic Beekeeping DVD - it's

Or you can buy it online with this link.

See you next time.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Help Japan

If you haven't done it yet, consider a $10 donation with your cell phone to help the People of Japan.

Text to 90999 and enter the word "REDCROSS" for $10 to the Red Cross.

Text to  80888 and enter the word "JAPAN" for $10 to the Salvation Army.

As someone who lived thru Katrina,



Sunday, March 13, 2011

Organic or Not Organic - that is the question...

I've been doing a lot of reading & studying this winter about organic beekeeping, or managing a hive with as few chemicals (or no chemicals) as possible.  I realize it's along the same lines being a vegetarian or buying "organic" at the grocery store, but a few thing really resonated with me.

1)  Beekeeping was the last agricultural endeavor that adopted chemical pest control. Up until the late 1980's, beekeeping was virtually chemical free.  That's when the Varroa mite was introduced to American hives.  Commercial beekeepers wanted fast answers, and in short order, there were chemical solutions.  If you look at it another way, for hundreds of years, there were no chemicals or pesticides used in beekeeping.

2)  You are what you eat.  I've been told this, as I'm sure you have been, since a young child.  If the bees are eating chemicals, then it's inside the wax and inside the honey.  That seems to defy logic.

3)  If there are relatively simple ways to manage pests, and get unadulterated products from the hive, that seems superior to me.

I can understand why commercial beekeepers rely on chemicals: time is money.  But for the rest of us, I think we can invest a bit more time, and keep the chemicals to a bare minimum.

I just bought Natural Beekeeping: Organic Approaches to Modern Beekeeping by Ross Conrad after listening to a speech he gave.  So far I think he makes some really good points.

So I'm hoping to try some Organic pest control this season, and if there's anyone else out there that wants to experiment, let's compare notes this year.

Talk to you soon...


Curiosity Killed the Bee?

So I'm super curious to see what's going on inside my beehives, especially during the winter.
And being a tech nerd, I bought a USB mini camera. Kinda like this one, but the camera part is a bit smaller.   Then I went all McGyver on it and rubber banded a small flashlight to the side, and took it and my laptop out to the hives.

 I was thinking I could just feed it into the front of the hive, and get a good look at what was going on.  It didn't turn out as good as I thought.
But it's still interesting.

Here's the videos I got.

I was using my Macbook, and it seemed like there was a problem recording with Quicktime... I might try it again with the Cowgirls PC laptop...

Spring is almost here, and I'm getting two new hives. 


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Frogger! Who turned on the frog switch?

So I got home tonight and was feeding the dogs when I noticed a very loud drone of frogs. I don't remember them last night. It's almost like someone flipped the "frog" switch for them to all turn on tonight.

Here's where I need your help. How does one get a good look at some of these frogs? I pulled this picture from wikipedia - supposedly the North American Bull Frog should be in my area, but I really have no idea what frog is back there.

I don't really want to capture any frogs, but I would love to take some photos or video.

Any one know how to do this or what kind of frog would be in Maple Valley, WA?


From City Boy Starts Farmin'

Sunday, March 6, 2011

My Nieces started some blogs...

So I was visiting my sister this weekend and my two nieces started blogs.

The first one is Hannah... she's quite the crafty person. She shows kids how to make things.

Very cool stuff. I already bought a bracelet.

My other niece is Mackenzie. She has a blog about living her life with Crohn's. You can check out her blog here.

See you next time..