Our sign in peace

Our sign in peace
Our sign in peace

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Going Live!!!

A long overdue project has been getting our bear fence installed! Clearing the area has been quite the chore. We had trees, shrubs and leaves to clear.

We ran the fence and realized it was a lot more than we needed but we made do. This gives us a bigger bee yard and a larger range in the event the bear returns. He will have a lot of problem solving that he is not ready for and hopefully will get enough of a jolt to go away. 12 volts can knock you on your behind.

The trick was making the fence more taunt so Tim added some poles with plastic poles around that. This was at the advice of another beekeeper friend who's yard I visited and this was his trick. 

We mounted the energizer which was at the advice of some other beekeepers who's yard I also visited. A lot of research went into installing this fence.

After a phone call to my beekeeper friend on how to get this thing going, we got it hooked up and of course Tim was right! He wanted to hook it up inside and I wanted it outside and I am quickly realizing he was right! After a few stings he got from the bees, I am going to have to eat some humble pie and move this thing! Those are live wires that go to the ground and the fence. It's all trial and error when we take on such a task. We are not electricians! However I have more piece of mind about my hives now.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

A little "Pride" in our soaps

I made these soaps a few months back. They are finally cured and smell amazing! These are Milk and Honey scented. So I thought I would makeep some felted soaps.

I had some dyed merino wool which was perfect for the soaps.

Merino reacts well to hot water and agitation. This will encourage it to shrink around the soap and act like a washcloth so to speak.

You really have to repeat the process a few times especially to get the best results, hot water, agitation and adding more wool completes the process.

The finished process! These are our special "Pride" soaps, every color of the rainbow just like we all are, each unique and beautiful! Happy Pride month from  Coon Hollow Farm!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Looking ahead...

With a little down time after a very busy Spring of work around here, two of my three jobs on Summer break, I am able to get some things done. It's never too early to work towards the Fall shows! I have been dyeing some merino wool that I had bought sometime back.

Separating and packaging them for felting kits and other things that I will be using the wool for. Merino is such a soft wool and felts incredible too!

So far, many small batts made in one dozen packs. Ready and packed away for Fall shows that you can never be too prepared for! Don't worry, there will be time for play! These were our best sellers in the Spring show so either way they will go fast!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The good with the bad

This morning was a quick inspection to see where the hives are at. There was some good news and not so good news! Hive 1 has probably one of the best hives I have ever seen. If you loo, at this frame, you can observe every stage of the baby bee from an egg to larvae to capped brood.
Hive 2 does not have a queen. They had two queen cells 2 weeks ago but nothing today.

The frame above was added to hive 2 in an attempt to get them jump started.
Hive 3 was gone. That was the hive that pushed the queen out for her breeding ground flight a couple of weeks go. I believe the Queens are not making it back. We have so many birds nesting that I think they are feeding and picking off the Queens. I closed this hive down and will hope for a swarm call again.
And then hive 4, my swarm I collected back on Memorial Day, they are just amazing! The queen is doing an amazing job, the hive is flourishing and I am pleased!
So we continue our journey and see where it takes us with the bees!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Talk about perfect timing in the Apiary!!!

This morning I fired up the smoker and got ready for a day of inspections of all the hives.

I gathered all my tools and put aside the whole morning to fully look into each hive to see what was going on. I began with Hive number 1 who has an over achieving queen. I was so happy with all the brood, the workers had begun drawing out the second hive body but I did notice some trouble making, a few queen cells that I set aside in the event I may need them for one of the other hives. Hive number 2 was unsuccessful with the new queen so they have 2 queen cells that are now capped so they should have a new queen soon.

I jumped over to Hive 4 to check the swarm that was caught almost two weeks ago. I had checked them a week ago and I could not find the queen or see any evidence of her laying eggs but today bingo!!! I not only found the most amazing, fat queen!!! I quickly caught her and marked her.

This is the queen from Hive 4 being consoled by the workers after I marked her.

And then the most amazing sighting that you often only read in the bee books, the workers escorting a virgin queen out of the hive for her breeding flight! I was growing a bit concerned about this queen, it has been 9 days since she was released from her queen cage from the beekeeper that gifted two to me a couple weeks ago. They moved her out of the hive, then onto the hive stand and would not let her go back in.

This went on for quite sometime. I sat patiently and watched the interaction which I found fascinating.

They continued to coax her, nudging her along until they got her onto this rock and then...she flew off!!! As you can see the task was left to just a few bees as the rest of them went back into the hive to get back to work. I am just hoping she has a successful mating flight. As I was watching this a drone from another hive landed as almost anxious about mating with her and ending his life!