Thursday, June 05, 2008

in the bees

bee suits not just a sexy fashion statement.

that lower white box is completely full of honey. i had to add this top box pronto.

in an effort to be lazy we are trying to go foundationless. in a normal apiary wax sheets with comb impressions are put on each frame so the bees can extrude them out in the right place. we had horrible luck keeping the foundation in place. the second time we got into the bees there was huge crumples of foundation and comb haphazardly extruded everywhere. we decided to just put thin strips across the top to get them started. that effort worked marvelously. then we had to add frames in a hurry without any foundation to keep crazy hives from swarming. they built out the comb perfectly and filled it with babies. we started to wonder why should we bother with the wax foundation at all. we don't have any plans on using an centripetal extractor so there is no need for reinforcement wire or anything.
anyway, we are trying a huge experiment. michael bush of bush bees has a huge site dedicated to lazy beekeeping. rather, letting the bees be bees and trusting nature. he has an example of a little triangular addition to the top bar. this allegedly lets the bees know this is where to begin. harvesting this honey could really suck if this experiment goes badly. the risk is huge but the reward might be that we never have to buy foundation again. not that the wax foundation sheets are very expensive but anywhere we can cut costs means more "hookers and gin" for me.

here is another view of the addition "v". i am holding the frame upside down for better shading.

i also purchased a little brad pusher--six bucks. it makes assembeling these frames and new addition triangle. easy.

all of these bees were chasing me down just a few minutes after this shot.

when they have a ton of honey the get really protective. poised on the front porch looking for trouble.

other farm news

our first cow is looking really healthy. she gets a daily dose of kombucha too.

this is rory she is kinda bossy

i, finally after three years, put cabinet fronts on tabitha's cupboards. she loves them. easy to please isn't she?
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