-Posted by Isaac
Dan Grant was at one time the biggest beekeeper in the state. 2000 hives, pollinating everything from the Ohio River to Lake Erie, winters in Georgia, summers in Wisconsin some years, honey production by the semi load. He lives in Circleville and has since settled down to an easy couple hundred hives. He must feel like he has a lot of time on his hands because he likes to come out and talk.
Dan talks a lot.
As he talks, I've learned to keep working at whatever I'm doing and keep an ear out for Dan's precious nuggets of wisdom. Sometimes it's hard to sift through all the B.S. Sometimes that's all there is.
This time he caught me out working on the latest project:
And something he said rang true: "If you have some land and you happen to keep bees, you might as well put down four posts on the corners and build a roof over the whole damn thing. Even then, you'll have to buy land and add on."
Beekeeping requires equipment (sometimes called junk) and lots of space to put it. I've got the big barn jammed full of honey supers, the honey house full of honey. The extracting equipment, bottling supplies, packing materials, wax, oils, tanks, melters, trucks and trailers have to find a place somewhere.
This winter involves building on. This addition to the big barn got done this week, and a big annex to the honey house is coming soon.
As always, we find a way to do it cheap. These are windows and doors from Grandmother Barnes' house that burned down ten years ago. The metal came from some big barn doors that got ripped off in a wind storm three years ago. All but $50 of lumber was salvaged from old barn wood.
Thing is, I'm already regretting not putting in a big overhead door. I guess I'm too cheap.
Now we can buy bulk and get that elusive reduced rate with our bottling supplies.
|What child labor laws?|
The week stayed sunny and slowly warmed. By Friday the temp had hit 50 degrees and the bees rejoiced with a few hours of flight.
Mason welcomed these bees by throwing acorns at them.
By Saturday it had hit a balmy 54 degrees and we were able to sneak in our second unexpected November market. The pre-Thanksgiving crowd didn't disappoint. I saw many North Market regulars who I won't see again for the next five months. I'll miss you! You guys can still stock up inside at the Greener Grocer.
I think my next post will be about the wax rendering process and what we do with it. From comb to cappings wax to candles.
Or to chewing gum... whatever suits your taste.