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9642 Randle Rd
Williamsport, OH, 43164

Honeyrun Farm produces pure raw, honey, handcrafted soap, and beeswax candles in Williamsport, Ohio


Big Things

Jayne Barnes

-Posted by Isaac

What do you get when you cross a biker with a cowboy?

...I don't really know, but it's pretty funny.

Yesterday Jayne took the kids horseback riding in the Hocking Hills. It was part of Maizy's week of birthday celebration. Big things! Our princess turned eight last Friday, and the Barnes Kingdom has been rejoicing with one thing or another just about every day.

The week started with a roller rink party and about 30 screaming kids.

Most were second graders, some were younger. A loud and frantic three hours loaded with ice cream, cupcakes and Kidz Bop. For better or worse, a learning experience for one and all.

At some point early in the week, a beautiful present showed up at the Honeyrun Farm doorstep.

Last year Jayne wanted me to build a "face board." After a little eye rolling, and dragging of the feet, I finally got it done, and promptly forgot all about it.

We needed a real artist, so we sent it to our long lost employee Julia Thompson. Julia is now studying to be a pharmacist. This summer she found a little time to work on the board. It surpassed all expectations!

Come on out to the farmstand and take a closer look. Bring the kids!

For what seems like years, Mason has been counting honey sticks and doing odd jobs in the honey house. We pay him and encourage thrift -- Instead of spending his hard earned cash on junk, think about something he'd really like, and save up. For once, he listened. Now he's the proud owner of a fluorescent green kayak. 

We took it out for a spin on the mighty Dry Run creek this week. 

Unfortunately, in August, the big waters are no more.

A different sort of white water...

A different sort of white water...

At some point, Jayne and I had put up with about enough of our kids. It was time to dump them on Grandma. We had a Gillian Welch show to catch in Nashville. 

Making our way to the Ryman, we ran into an old friend. Another great singer / songwriter. 

Look at Miss Ohio.

Look at Miss Ohio.

Jayne is a big bluegrass fan and an accomplished mandolin player in her own right, so running into Bill Monroe on the streets of Nashville was quite a turn on.

But what got her so unhinged with the PDA, I haven't a clue.

"Drink a round to Nashville, before they tear it down..."

"Drink a round to Nashville, before they tear it down..."

We sat down and simply asked to sample some local honey.

Apparently the bees forage on something different down there.

That's right, let's get back to the bees!  Enough of the playing around. Focus!

On Thursday Dan Williams had the Scioto Valley Beekeepers over to talk about queen rearing. Dan is the largest queen breeder in the state and a wealth of knowledge to boot. Over the years I have not only relied on Dan's great queens, I pick his brain any time something comes up.

Speaking of Dan's great queens, last night 32 more of them went into the pumpkins. These nucs, started in mid-June, are now employed at Circle S Farms.

You can see how strong they are already. It takes a little love and a good mama.

So that's the last of the pumpkin pollinators. Most of the hives on the vine crops have been employed a month or more. Circle S is a little late with their planting, but they'll be the first to want the bees out. It's a pick-your-own pumpkin patch.

Back by midnight, it was an early night. I was even able to see Jayne off to market at 5:15 this morning.

We'll see the girls again in a few weeks for some more love.

So that's the end of our big week. But not the end of our Big Things. Maizy is already working on her Christmas list, and soccer practice looms large on this beautiful Saturday morning.

vox clamantis in deserto

Jayne Barnes

-Posted by Isaac

Another one for the beekeepers.

Feed me!

Feed me!

Farmer Bill, followed by many, loved by many more, thought last week's post had enough merit to share with his admirers. So I'm thinking there may be a few more beekeeping eyes present at the moment, and I don't want to waste the opportunity. (With the usual blog blather.) Make hay while the sun shines, right Farmer Bill?

It's time to feed those bees! Vox clamantis in deserto. It means, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness."

(Impressive, huh? You didn't know I could speak Latin? Sure, why, all the time back at Dartmouth we used to get drunk and have wild Latin parties. Good clean Ivy League fun, just for cacat olim, et giggles.) 

A voice crying in the wilderness. Aside from trying to sound smarter than I am, I referenced that bit of Latin in my last post because sometimes it feels like the preaching and drum beating falls on deaf ears. No, not exactly deaf ears, maybe beginner ears. And truthfully I'm right with you. I didn't know the importance of summer mite control and feeding protein until learning the hard way- years of watching my bees dwindle into fall. And of course I have gleaned some good tips from commercial beekeepers who are always ahead of the curve. At huge expense, the commercial guys are feeding protein!

Why? Because the bees need it. If you haven't noticed, July and August are horrible pollen months. Just stand at the hive entrance and watch what little comes in. And I sometimes wonder if what little is coming in, is actually benefitting anything...

It seems a little absurd, being the middle of summer and all, but we're in a pollen dearth right now. The days of weedy fields and diverse forage are long gone. It's clean mono-crop as far as the eye can see.

You can do your bees (and yourself) a real favor by giving the girls a few pounds of protein. Whether it be in block form that you have to cut, powder form that you have to mix, or the easy, lazy way of feeding patties. They're expensive, but I like the patties.


We feed a lot of them.

I've learned that during this mid-summer dearth, the more, the better. They need something to help build brood until the coming goldenrod. Ideally, every hive will get four or five pounds. But what makes it hard is you can't feed it all at once. Hive beetles can get bad when the bees take longer than a week to finish the patty.

We start in August with two pounds, and continue making it around to the bee yards right up until the pollen starts flowing again in mid September. If the bees have made a lot of honey, it means a lot of lifting. A workout! You have to place the protein where it's needed- between the brood boxes.

It's all about nutrition. Recently there have been some great articles in American Bee Journal. 

Not ideal, all this work and expense, but definitely worth it based on what I've seen. The bees are bigger, stronger and fatter by fall and they'll be ready to take advantage of that beautiful goldenrod flow.

Or go out and gather you buckets of tasty goldenrod pollen...

Either way, your bees will go into winter much stronger. Between controlling mites and feeding protein, a little TLC right now can pay big dividends later.