Saturday, July 13, 2013

Summer's in full swing!

My bees are keeping me REALLY busy right now. I have 20 honey supers (boxes for bees to put honey in) plus a super for comb honey on my hives right now, and I need more boxes!! I am going to assemble the rest of my frames (to hold foundation that the girls turn into honeycomb) this weekend, because I need still MORE supers. The main nectar flow is on and the girls are going crazy. The three tallest hives below are just bursting with bees. I'd say at least 60,000 in each hive. And yet I can go in there and work them with just my veil and a t-shirt on (and pants. I don't do naked beekeeping) and they are very gentle.

Today I bottled 18 kg of honey (that almost 40 lbs for you Americans! :) with way more to come. I have another five-gallon bucket to bottle, plus those 20 supers will need to be extracted at some point.

The weather today was gorgeous, but I took this photo the other day when it was still stinking hot and humid, and the girls were bearding on the hives again.

Yesterday morning I had to go out and add still more supers to the hives. The second hive from the left drew foundation and filled an empty box with honey is SIX DAYS. That is amazingly fast. So I slapped two empty boxes on  that and another hive this morning. That'll keep 'em quiet, at least for a few minutes!

Wearing a beekeeping helmet and veil does absolutely nothing for your hairstyle, except perhaps to make grey hair more obvious!

Meanwhile, down in the vegetable garden...'s going to be a great potato year!

The sweet clover I planted for my bees is doing well.

Beans are appearing!

So are peppers. Not sure what this is... serrano?

Also not sure which berry this is! Loganberry? Boysenberry? I bought a bunch of berry plants last year. It would have been smart to mark them!

Jimmy Nardello peppers/

A bush basil my friend Pierre gave to me as a tiny seedling!

Tomatoes! Not red yet.


Black currants

Haskap berry. I am looking forward to trying these. Hope the birds and squirrels don't get there first. Squirrels ate most of my strawberries this year!
And the bane of my existence...

Colorado potato beetle. Surprisingly attractive, amazingly destructive. I have been working hard to hand-pick these buggers and their larvae on a daily basis. Last year they nearly overwhelmed my crop, but this year we're doing much better. As cute as this beetle was, it went under my heel after the photo. You can see how much of the potato leaves it had already snacked on!

Blueberries ripening.


The nest of 13 eggs. Karène had gone for a brief outing, so I took a photo. I think they may hatch sometime in the next week.


...the Eastern Phoebe is back on the nest for a second clutch. I think this was originally a barn swallow nest (I love the piece of rope hanging from it!) but the Phoebes use it every year now.

Sadly, I have not seen many barn swallows this year. I have read they are in decline. They are one of my favourite birds, so it upsets me not to see them around.

But my bees are doing well, and are no doubt a large part of the reason my flower and vegetable gardens are doing so incredibly well. LOTS of pollination!

Have a great weekend.


  1. Lordy, it's like paradise there. I'd never have to go near a super-market again. The honey you brought me is so delicious. I'm putting it on everything and sometimes just eating it off my finger. :-b
    My daughter's garden is so lush, too. This will be an amazing year for produce. She is over 7 months pregnant now so we will be going out to help her with the weeding and snatching dinner at the same time. Enjoy your weekend. We have company comin' so we'll be all over the place showing off the area. Hugs

    1. That sounds like a pretty great weekend you have planned. Are you sure you don't want to come here and help me weed? ;)

  2. It certainly is all happening there..
    Shame that beetle is so pretty, I'd hate to squish it.
    13 eggs! Can't wait to see the babies..

    1. They are easier to squish when you see 100 of their babies devouring one whole potato plant! ;)

  3. I like a naked photo of you:-)

    1. You'll be waiting a long time for that! ;)

  4. Your yard is just exploding! Wow. I can't believe your bees are doing so well. That's awesome! Sounds like a very good honey year for you :) Congrats!

  5. Your bees sure work hard :)
    My mom-person would love to have some Raspberries !

  6. Wow! The beekeeping is amazing and the garden looks great. Last summer I had an Eastern Phoebe successfully nest twice on my porch and then a barn swallow took over and did the same thing in the old nest...;)

  7. Well, the fecundity makes up for winter, apparently! Although I'd be ax-murdering folks by late January...I need the sun.

  8. And I forgot to tell you! The bees swarmed in our arborvitae again this spring! They stayed a few days and then moved on. The word must be out that we have good sap.

  9. You are having a fantastic summer. Your bees are going wild with honey production. Your garden looks fantastic. It looks like you'll be busier than ever in a few more weeks.
    Song birds are in steep decline all over North America.

  10. Anonymous7:01 pm

    Do you have a ready market for such a large amount of honey? What would you do with a big leftover? I suppose it will keep but a couple of bumper years can make quite an overstock I bet. Is there a way to stop bees from over-producing if you would like them to? Just curious.

  11. Wow, what a nice garden!!!! That is a lot of honey those hard working girls are making!!! Good job!!!

  12. Your bees are busy, aren't they! Love the photos of the garden and it looks like you're just as busy. Now, I really do wish I lived closer to make some jam from the raspberries, currants, and that new little berry that I've never seen before, XOXO

  13. Such succulent produce! Yes, Colorado potato beetles and their larvae are incredibly destructive, and they'll eat other nightshades if potatoes aren't available. Regular larvae smushfests are the best way to cope with them.

    I've never heard of haskap berries -- I'll have to look them up.

  14. It is great to see the productivity of Nature in full swing (with a little help from you, of course).

  15. Wonderful to see nature in all its glory :-)

    Grey hair?? People pay a lot of money to have such pretty highlights in their hair ;-)

  16. Wow, so much going on at your place Natalie.......those bees are busy and then some!!
    Fresh hone grown vegies can't beat them and in Summer I think beans would have to be my favourite. Those raspberries look delicious.
    When we had sap sucking bugs on our berries, I would pick them off the leaves by hand and feed them to the chooks who were eagerly awaiting these tasty morsels.
    Hope you manage to eradicate the beetles before they do too much damage to your spuds.

    Claire x

  17. Anonymous10:21 pm

    Your garden is looking great!


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