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

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4/20 Dude, It's Intense!

Jayne Barnes

-Posted by Isaac

When I was in college I was a geology major. For whatever reason today's date was held in high esteem by the students in this particular field. To study geology, it was requisite to not only understand the importance of the date, you were fully expected participate in the day's activities. It was charming.

The charm had worn away when I taught school years later. My freshmen science students would rush in, "Mr. Barnes! Mr. Barnes! It's 4/20! How bout it, Mr. Barnes! Whatcha doin' after school, Mr. Barnes?" Huh! Huh!"

They had all the motions to align with what they were insinuating. 

I didn't laugh. I didn't smile. I played dumb. 4/20? Whatever do you mean?

And years after that, here I am, a beekeeper. Thank God. The only thing getting smoked is the hive. 

Let me take you through the busy busy week leading up to this special date. Last Thursday we had yet another batch of queens arrive.

Soon after welcoming 50 new ladies, I said goodbye to my one lovely lady and four very loud children. They were heading to Myrtle Beach! Without me. I had to work.

Bridger christened the van just before departure.

The very next day, Jayne's tulips bloomed.

They missed it!

But I don't think they cared.

So I busied myself in the days following. 

To the point of exhaustion.

These are nuc boxes shown above. Filled with bees, almost ready for their new owners. I needed a wide angle lens. This shot doesn't even show a third of them. I think we're nearing 300 total.

Sometimes they have issues.

And as in life, if the issue isn't resolved, it escalates.

At least the chickens got a free show.

Where do you find the nucs? Let me show you... this is what I did all week. Out in the bee yards I would lay everything out.

And after about an hour or more, hives were split and supered, the nucs were packed and ready for a queen.

Yard after yard it went like this. I think I missed a few meals.

In fact it got so intense, I lost track of days. Yesterday I got the call to move bees out of the apples. I was far from ready! Usually I can drop them off in prepared out yards. This year there was no preparing. I had to plop them right back where they started-- here at home.

If you count the nucs, we now have around 400 hives on two acres.

Yes! Intense!

If you happen to be deathly allergic, maybe this week isn't the best to visit the farmstand.

So the family came home on Monday night. It was late, but they were still loud. I hadn't realized how much I missed the noise. And I finally got around to splitting the last yard today.

On 4/20. A special day indeed. You can see what the bees were up to. Almost all the hives looked like this.

I'm about a month late in removing that spacer... 

These hives were near Tarlton. Or untamed redneck wilderness, if you live in Columbus and have never been to Tarlton. I was driving home and checking out the real estate. You know, for investment purposes, and I saw some fine acreage with some autumn olive growing out front. That's what the bees have been up to: Making honey! If you've ever tasted autumn olive honey you know it's the best in the world. 

Above is a young autumn olive bush just starting to mouth off. Whole hillsides of this grow around Tarlton. I was able to capture this beauty just before the shotguns came out.

I love Tarlton. 

They celebrate 4/20 in their own special way.

Beauty and the Beast

Jayne Barnes

-Posted by Isaac

On Saturday Maizy and I dolled ourselves up and attended the annual Westfall Elementary Father-Daughter Dance. 

It's a ball! This was our third year in a row and I don't think we'll ever miss. If you check Facebook after the dance, you learn that it's a big picture taking thing. All the mothers like to get a shot of their beautiful couples and post it to the world. Jayne posted the above photo and said something about a "beauty and the beast" theme.

I'm not sure what she was talking about there, but I thought that 'beauty and the beast' would fit the bill in showing some of the recent juxtaposition concerning the bees. So here we go:

Beauty- The splitting process and the brood that the bees are giving us. Unbelievable! 

You can make a lot of nucs relatively quickly when you have this kind of brood.

Beast- the weather. Old crotchety mother nature is still up to her tricks. Besides giving us four inches of rain in the last couple weeks, we've had two nights with 20 degree wind chills. 

Here you can see a wind break that I threw together in about ten minutes:

We didn't lose any bees, but I'm guessing our queen acceptance is not the best due to the cold.

 

Beauty- Apple pollination. (So far.) The other night, after an amazing dry stretch of three days, I moved bees into one of the apple orchards. Pulled it off without a hitch.

Beast- It was a long night. I was alone. Lafe got sick and couldn't make it for the fun. So I started early with my ancient forklift and worked slowly. So early in fact, I managed to snap a shot in the daylight. Without Lafe, I was forced to use only one truck. And as you can see, I was slightly overloaded.

Beauty- once again, the bees are doing awesome. I've only got seven bee yards left, but I'm falling behind. On almost every hive now, you pop the lid and the bees have given us some sort of sculpture. They're really artsy!

They use the space provided by the winter spacer... which shouldn't be on in mid-April.

Beast- keeping up with them! I'm working as fast as I can, but it looks like we're going to see some swarming from those last seven yards Yesterday we had our first:

But the end is in sight. I can see the light! Maybe another week, maybe two? 200 more queens coming, about 100 more hives to move to the apples, 1500 supers yet to place...  What a rush! Beekeeping in April is hardcore. Nuts and bolts and elbow grease.

But we always manage to clean up nicely.