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9642 Randle Rd
Williamsport, OH, 43164

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

Blog

The Swinging life

Jayne Barnes

-Posted by Isaac

No, not that kind of swinging.

We capped off our week with some sunshine swinging.

Let me tell you how we got there.

About a week ago we once again plugged away at the bee work despite the miserable weather.

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 I even had the bright idea of bringing a tent along.

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We had to make up the first 150 nucs. Weather be damned. 

And just when I thought it couldn't get any worse... when I thought I'd cursed the very last of my nasty weather complaints...

It snowed.

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At this point, I don't know why I was even surprised.

But I was. How could it happen? Again? Our poor poor babies... out there in the cold cold wind. On April 19th!

I realized I simply needed to make a habit of checking the forecast.

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Looking at my favorite Facebook page, I also realized it could be worse. This guy in Minnesota had to install package bees this week.

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No one will argue that it's been a tough winter/spring for midwestern honey bees.

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Then, finally, things turned around. Late in the day on Thursday the sun actually showed itself. And by Friday we were kissing the sixties again. Things didn't feel quite so futile.

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It was a joyful moment. Rare sunshine!

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To build up some of the weaker nucs, I simply steal brood. We have a lot of big hives that will soon be going into the apple orchards. Some of those can spare a frame. I mark the weak nucs, then it's about a two minute walk across the yard to the big hives.

Between the two bee yards, I came across Maizy doing some rope swinging. Her first of the spring. It was finally warm enough and sunny enough.... Oh be joyful!

She insisted on being filmed. As I accommodated her request, I thought, well that looks kinda fun. And I was feeling kinda happy. With the sun, you know?

So Maizy returned the favor, capturing this rare footage of a happy beekeeper.

The show must go on

Jayne Barnes

-Posted by Isaac

I couldn't sleep last night. Nerves? Or maybe it was Eden screaming at 3 am for no apparent reason. Sometimes she likes to sleep scream.

But I think it was bee worries that kept me up. The last three days have been dawn to dusk in the bees. It's splitting time.

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We'll put together 150 of these nucs each week for the next three weeks.

This involves a lot of running around and a lot of looking at bees.

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I've been prepping hives, finding queens, shaking bees, etc... and in about an hour we'll fill the first of our nuc boxes. Hopefully knocking off 50 a day for the next three days. The queens come on Tuesday.

I guess I'm nervous because most of these hives have no business being split. It's still too early, and they're a bit small. Winter lingered around too long. But I'm tired of pushing things back. We're already two weeks behind schedule and the show must go on. We'll just have to sacrifice a good portion of our spring honey. 

But at least things turned around this week. The temps finally made it into the 60's. And despite 40mph winds, our girls fought their way to some pollen.

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The blood red pollen comes from the purple deadnettle covering the unplanted fields, and the orange is dandelion. 

Yesterday I was working a yard near some dandelion and it made me realize just how hungry our girls are.

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Then when you start pulling brood, it really hits you. A normal hive right now has about five frames of brood. At this time last year, it was eight to ten frames... capped brood! We just haven't had the weather for growth.

Oh well. At least the queens are easier to find.  About half the time, I don't even bother shaking the bees down. With only four or five frames, it's just about as quick to pull the brood and find the queen.

It's especially quick when she's marked. Thank you, Dan Williams!

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So that's what I've been doing. Finding queens, and getting ready to split small hives. It makes me nervous.

But at least I had a vote of confidence from my Super girl.

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Mom was at a three day food safety meeting this week. So Eden hung out with dad in the bee yards. 

But she doesn't fool with the bees. Usually there is plenty of entertainment in close proximity to any given yard. And if the entertainment isn't nearby, she'll wander until she finds it.

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It was interesting, to say the least-- dividing my time between finding queens and finding Eden.

When the days finally warmed later in the week, I was very happy return my Super girl to Mamma.

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