-Posted by Isaac
What a blur! This month has been quite the ride. Day and night, bees, queens, apples and buckwheat. I'm going brief you... Give you a frightening little glimpse into the intense, high stakes, fast lane pressure cooker of springtime commercial beekeeping. (Wink)
And for your convenience, I'll break it down into three categories. Hold on tight!
We started with 50 Georgia beauties on April 1st, and have been burning through the queens each successive week in rapid fire. Making splits, making nucs.
This year we had the best dandelion nectar flow I've ever seen.
Which made it convenient for splits put on new foundation...
...but not as convenient for the poor beekeepers trying to keep ahead of the swarming: Trying to get that foundation out to the hives in a timely manner.
Of course, of course... some got ahead of us.
And continue to do so.
At the same time all the splitting and bee work was happening, the apples were coming on strong.
I wanted to be ready when the pollination calls came, so we had a few hives in the yard.
The calls came, and we jumped into our annual nocturnal duties.
Pollination work is night work. Windows down, loud music, regular caffeine, bottles of hard amphetamines. It's fun!
I never miss hearing my favorite pollination song two or three times.
When the bloom starts, you really hope for good weather. There's a limited time to get the bees to the orchards.
And we tried not to dilly dally.
I really wanted to capture a charming photo of the orchards in full bloom. The beautiful fluffy white blossoms from a bee's eye view. But this is about as close as we came:
There's more! There's more! There's more than beekeeping to this crazy month. And there's more than pollination. There's more!
We like to make buckwheat honey. In order to do that, you need buckwheat. Other years we have hauled the bees to the buckwheat. This year my farming brother decided that the price of corn is so low, he could part with a few acres. We're renting a field for buckwheat honey production, and I figured that if we got the seed in by April 20th, we may get three blooms out of the deal. We'll see...
Luckily I had an expert farmer along to help.
It took a full day right in the middle of our intense splitting of hives...
...but hopefully the big gamble on an early buckwheat crop will be worth it.
The seeds are sown. Only time will tell. Any more cliches? I'm game.
Life is good. Like a box of chocolates.