Our sign in peace

Our sign in peace
Our sign in peace

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween from Coon Hollow Farm

Happy Halloween, Fall, Samhain and a Blessed New Year from Coon Hollow Farm!!!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The heartbreaking loss of a hive

Over the past few days, I have noticed a lot of yellow jackets at hive #1. This is not a good sign! They are coming and going at will with no guard bees to drive them off. So today, I went in to see what was up.
What I found was empty frames...

no dead bees in clusters or spread about...

and tons of honey, but NO bees. What has happened to this hive that I have had for 3 years is something called absconding. This is a term in beekeeping when for unknown reasons a hive will just take off. Sadly at this time of year, this hive is a goner in more ways than one. So the hive has been closed down as we head into the winter with just 2 hives. Beekeeping is never simple, we can only do the best we can, the bees call the shots! Kisha's hive is also bee strong. The bees were given a powdered sugar treatment as well for mites. It's sad to loose a hive, I care about the well being of these amazing creatures.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Their first eggs!!!

The little chicks from the spring have finally laid their first eggs! They are well over 20 weeks old and I was getting a bit worried! Most lay after 16 weeks of age so they have been some late bloomers here!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Cleaning beeswax the easy way!

You accumulate a lot of wax when you keep bees. There are so many uses for it and is a very important by-product of your bees!

When all the wax is gathered, we place it on a few cookie sheets and place it on the picnic table out back...

and the girls come to clean it! No sense in wasting any honey they can consume after harvesting it.

When the wax is cleaned, place it in a pot and fill with water. The pot should be one that you are only going to use for this very purpose! It will be ruined by a ring of propolis and wax that you can never get off!

We place the frames outside for them to clean as well.

Place your pot on the stove and bring it to a boil. Skim out all the debris that will be mixed in with the wax. The skimmer can only be used for this purpose as well!

Let the water and wax cool. The wax will float to the top and separate from the water. Rinse the water out and there will be a lot of debris in the water. Fill the pot again, this time only half way and repeat the boiling process. At this point you can strain the water and the wax while hot, bring it back to a boil and let it cool.

Here is two cakes of wax, cleaned and beautiful. After I took this picture I re-boiled the cakes into one big block. The bottom will have propolis caked to the base, just scape it off. Save it if you want to, I don't keep it. Nice beautiful wax ready to use!!!

Monday, October 20, 2014

It's the naked truth!

It's that time of year again, that time when there is nothing but nakedness in the chicken coop! Feathers here and there, feathers everywhere!

And with all that nakedness, less eggs! They stop laying and put all their energy into growing more feathers. We usually get quite a few eggs with 2 hens, today, just 4 ! Hopefully they will get their feathers in quickly as the cold set in!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Welcome Pepper!

Welcome Pepper who has come to stay with us during breeding season! He's a handsome fellow with a nice dispostion. He fell asleep in the truck on the way here. It was not a long ride but He made us laugh how he took the opportunity to relax and take a nap!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Honey Harvest season comes to a close

With smoker in hand, I set out to collect the remainder of the honey. The girls were slow to cap it, I have been really busy and the weather has not wanted to cooperate when I did have time.

The honey was beautifully capped...

In some areas they really got out of control with the capping!

The supers were pulled off the remainder of the hives...

Queen excluders were removed which they managed to propolis almost to the point it was hard to pull off!

Each hive has two Hive bodies on them, plenty of honey stores, brood with healthy queens as well!

So I will be busy for the next few days, spinning down, straining and bottling lots of golden delicious honey!!!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Acorns, Acorns, Acorns

How about a handful of Acorns? Or...

a bowl full of Acorns? These are fun to make and made from wool and alpaca. The past few fairs I have done have these on high demand, so I have been felting away!