Friday, June 28, 2013

Sweet stuff!

I spent all of yesterday morning working in my eight (!) hives. I was sweating like a pig in the humidity, but found it totally engrossing, as it usually is. And while I was savaged by mosquitoes and bitten by stupid ants, I did not get stung by my girls.

I am hoping to extract some honey next week, if this damn rain ever stops! The farmers' fields around here are flooded, including many tile-drained fields. There is a pumpkin farm near Ottawa that may lose 4 hectares of crops to the flooding. While we're not having horrors like what's going on in Alberta, it has been tough for farmers. And we still don't have our 21 acres of grassland planted. Kyle from Ducks Unlimited came to give it a try last week, but no sooner had he started than a thunderstorm broke out! He's going to try again when it dries up. Fortunately the grasses aren't so time-dependent on planting the way, say, soybeans or corn are. 

But my bees have been doing well! I have  a total of 15 honey supers on my hives right now, four of which are full and ready to be extracted. And it's not even July!

Here's a lovely little frame of capped honey... 


When the correct amount of moisture has been evaporated from the nectar, and it has turned into honey, the bees cap all the cells with wax. It's nature's way of sealing in freshness!


Seeing all this honey ready in June makes me very happy. I am hoping to have a really good year with my bees. 


This new hive is expanding nicely!

Yesterday, I removed some of the comb the girls had built between supers and... ate it! You haven't lived until you've tasted warm honey right out of the hive! I just chew up the wax and spit it out. I can't believe how different my honey is to the pasteurized Billy Bee-type stuff in the supermarket. I never even liked honey until I started keeping bees and tasted raw honey from the hive. The flavours are so complex and nuanced. And I love how different honey can be from one crop to the next, depending on what the girls have been getting into.

This is one reason I'm so excited about our native grasslands going in. I can't wait to see what the bees do with 21 acres of grasses and wildflowers! Sweet honey goodness!

Meanwhile, in other sweetness...


My friend Ronna has been working for Gordon a day a week, helping him out with all his admin stuff. Gordon has bought himself an office in Lancaster, but until he moves in on July 8th, Ronna has been using my office a day a week. This has made all of our pets very happy. They love Auntie Ronna! And Naomi decided that Ronna's shoulders were the perfect place to hang out.


Note who's under the table!


Ooops! Claws!



 The picture of concentration!


Here's Gordon's new office...


He has finally outgrown his teeny-tiny home office. I have been worried about him being crushed to death by the mountains of files and books that surround him in there, so I'm glad he's moving to a bigger space. :) This building used to belong to a realty company. It's in great shape, just needs some painting and tidying up. Our friend Tammy, who looks after our garden, is going to sort this one out too! It will be beautiful once it's been "Tammified"!

Meanwhile, in the bathroom...


A FRICKIN' WALLPAPER BORDER! Just when I thought I was all done with wallpaper. 
Recognize the photographer in the mirror?

The place will be painted, starting with that sign over the kitchen area! The fireplace is propane.


Gordon's going to put a dividing wall across one end, to make himself an office.


It will be good for him to have his law office out in the real world, with nice visibility on the main street through Lancaster.

So it's been a busy summer around here, and it's only just begun!

22 comments:

  1. Your honey is the best. Again, I'm learning more about bee-keeping today. :) Yes, it's really wet and we have been trying to do things outside at the property with great difficulty. Anyway, I guess we shouldn't complain. Nice office! Wow...he should love it there. He'll have walk-ins, maybe? Do lawyers like that?

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    1. He would be very happy with walk-ins!

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  2. Mmmmm , I bet your honey is going to taste GREAT !
    Here we have rain , sunshine , rain , sunshine , rain , sunshine every day.
    You can´t complain about how varying it is :)

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    1. You'll never be bored with the weather!

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  3. The previous motherly love photo made Ma smile x

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  4. Ouch! Claws hurt!
    Gordon's new office will be superb.

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    1. He desperately needs more space, so this should work out really well for him. :)

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  5. Swanky office! Naomi looks so perfect on her shoulder.

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    1. The kitties love ROnna! WEll, so do the dogs... :)

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  6. So a little later it will be just you and the bees. There are so many things that taste much better in the natural form. I'm surprised you haven't got a cow and milk by hand and drink unpasteurized milk. I still remember all those tastes and miss them.

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    1. I would love to taste milk straight from the cow. I know people freak out about the health risks, but it's still something I want to try! I need to suck up to my dairy farmer friend. :)

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  7. Here's a question... if you didn't harvest the honey.. what would happen to it? Why do bees make honey, other than for people and bears?

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    1. They usually make far more than they need, Valerie. If I didn't take it, they'd just keep it in the hive, but they like to work harder than they have to. The trick is making sure you leave them enough honey to get through the winter!

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  8. No doubt a small section of the new office will be dedicated to HONEY sales!!!

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    1. Yes, an excellent idea!!

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  9. That frame with all the capped honey is gorgeous! We put our super on and they didn't even touch it. One of the members of our local beekeeping club gave us a whole super full of frames that had comb already drawn out. So we put that on and hopefully they'll decide to put honey up there for us!

    Gordon's office is so cute! It'll look great once you guys get everything settled.

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    1. I'll send your bee-girls good vibes to GET WORKIN' on that super!

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  10. Natalie, When Ari was here, we finished up the last honey in the jar you sent me. I told him how my friend raises bees and sent it to me and he said, "she's a good friend." Indeed!! Can't wait to see the final office decor, XOXO

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    1. I'm glad Ari got some honey! :)

      We have to figure out what colour to paint that office!

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  11. The rain has been terrible for hay, too. If you ever get that horse, it may be on your mind... I admire your skill with the bees. Very brave and clever.
    Congrats to Gordon on the new office. Looks great. Sheri

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    1. The farmers are not happy!! The farmer renting some of our land has some very unhappy corn in the wet parts of the fields. And we have tile drain, too!!

      We've got the front fields all planted in hay now. :)

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Thank you for all your comments, which I love to read!