Tuesday, November 27, 2007

taking the bee keeping plunge

So, yesterday, on Cyber Monday, I ordered bee hives, bee keeping supplies, and bees.

The apirary area should be ready well before Spring, and the bees should arrive about 4/10. I chose Buckfast bees because they're among the most gentle and mite resistant. In fact, the official "West Virginia" bee is a Buckfast variant. I couldn't find any place to get "West Virginia" bees online, so I ordered Buckfasts from Texas.

For starter hives, I ordered four complete cypress hive kits. My "starter" kit also comes with a couple of hive bodies, along with the gloves, hat, veil, suit, smoker, etc.... I also ordered four big plastic footed hive stands, which should let me keep the ants and other crawlies away from the hives.

Over the next couple of weeks, boxes of hive parts and beekeeping tools should start arriving. As long as I have places ready for four 3 packages of bees before April, everything should be fine. Hopefully, about the same time, the big field will be pushing up grasses and clovers, and the bees will have a ready food source to build up their numbers. I'm not expecting much in the way of honey or wax the first year, but my goal for 2009 is to have all four hives survive next Winter and produce well.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

the season moves apace, even if the blog entries don't.

the very cranberry cream ale has become my christmas tree, fermenting away under a blanket of cranberry slices in a 15 gallon green demi-jon. the barleywine is waiting on a 10-gallon brewpot but otherwise ready to go, and the mead is waiting on inspiration, although the honey is already on hand.

clearing of the apiary continues, now with just the scrap metal and large rocks to remove before the final brush clearing. should not be any problem to have ready before the bees and hives arrive.

a dead deer has appeared in the maze, fallen to ground right in front of where center stage will eventually be.

the freezer is full of hot peppers (and pork) and I have processed the first 10 gallons of raw JalapeƱo sauce. there will also be Serrano sauce and Mixed Greens, though Mixed Greens will be in shorter than desired quantities due to an unexpected frost.