About Brookfield Farm Bees And Honey

Beekeeper Karen E. Bean of Brookfield Farm Bees And Honey and Grafted Queen Cells

Beekeeper Bean with Queen Cells

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brookfield Farm Bees And Honey  (PacificNorthwestHoney.com) focuses on the beauty and bounties of Washington’s wilderness: raw honey, raw honey products and beeswax products from our Naturally Treated, Antibiotic-Free hives.  We produce and create all of our products. I (Karen Edmundson Bean) am the beekeeper.  Ian, my husband, helps build hive products and can be found at our the farmers market booths even in the coldest, wettest of weather.  He draws upon his skills as a woodworker who specializes in handcrafted furniture of historical designs (View Ian’s Page at Walking-Wild.com).

Ian Balsillie of Brookfield Farm creates a rendezvous chair

Ian Balsillie & his supervisor

Our off-grid farm lies beneath cedars, alders, and big leaf maples on ridges cut by flowing creeks in the Mount Baker foothills, near Maple Falls, Washington. We share our lands with a myriad of wildlife from deer and bald eagles to bears and cougars. We have been able to do this with the able assistance of our livestock guard dogs, who create a vocal, but peaceful co-existence with the native animals which live on and roam our lands. This also allows us to be certified Predator Friendly by Keystone Conservation.

Honeybees fly at one of Brookfield Farm Bees And Honey's Bee Yards in Maple Falls, Washington

Spring & Bees Are In The Air

The diversity of the wilderness that surrounds us is reflected in our crafts and products.  Our honeybees have been flying for over a decade from naturally-treated, antibiotic-free hives at the farm and from near-by bee yards. I tend to the bees and harvest their raw, unheated, unfiltered honey.  I also create Brookfield Farm’s herb-infused raw honeys; organic vinegars infused with raw honey; as well as salves and lip balms made from our chemical-free, antibiotic-free wax.

Bees and Goats - they go together at Brookfield Farm Bees And Honey, Maple Falls, Washington

Goats & Bees happy together

When I’m not working with bees or honey,  I can be found with a camera in hand in the back country.  My award-winning wilderness DVDs focued on Washington state wilderness trails, with special attention to the Pacific Crest Trail.   My wilderness pinhole photography images and “ripping tales”; (hand ripped wilderness photo collages) are shot during her sojourns into Washington’s backcountry. If you find a woman perched on the side of a mountain, pinhole camera in hand, while two or three pack goats wait near-by, that probably is me.

 

 

Ian’s the woodworker/craftsman. His specialties are rendezvous chairs and wooden tables which fold to three-inches wide with no metal hinges. His handcrafted furniture is based on historical designs, to which he adds his own special touch, including stains created from strong British tea. Rendezvous chairs were used during the Civil War. The tables are documented in the Napoleonic era. Ian adds his own personal touch to these historic designs, including a wood stain he creates from strong British tea.

Woodworker Ian Balsillie's handcrafted rendezvous chairs & folding table

Rendezvous Chairs and Folding Table

He also creates rustic house wares: lazy-susans, candleholders, cutting boards, and clocks. Some are created from milled lumber; others are hand-hewn from the branches of trees downed by the wind. Balsillie believes that life and work should be simple and not require computers or undue mechanization. He uses a circular saw to cut the milled lumber and a drill to make holes. The rest of the work on Balsillie’s furniture and house wares is done by hand. Visitors to Brookfield Farm Bees And Honey’s market booths will often find him working on his furniture.

Snow covers hives and cedars at Brookfield Farm Bees And Honey

Quiet Season At The Farm

Brookfield Farm started out as a dream: We wanted a place in the wilderness and happily found the land which is now Brookfield Farm. We focused on natural fiber in our early years at the farm: Shetland & Jacob sheep and Cashmere goats. Then I  became tired of shearing, and fell in love with bees around the same time. Beekeeping’s wonderful. It’s science, nature, art, and just plain luck, all rolled into one.

Contact Brookfield Farm Bees & Honey

 

 

6 Responses to About Brookfield Farm Bees And Honey

  1. Reece & Rusty Calloway says:

    Hi My wife Rusty and I heard about the babcock honey bee from a friend could you tell us what strain of bee they are our friend said he liked them very much since they were very gentle and good producers thanks R&R looking to hear from you.

    • bean says:

      Hi Reece & Rusty – I think Ron would tell you that his bees are hybrids by now. I think he uses both Italians (not my personal favorite) and New World Carniolans (I like them better). Both of these types of honeybees are generally nice (there’s always an exception – I once had a ram, of a very friendly breed, that would charge me across our fields at full-tilt, and he had 4 horns). Because bees open breed and can often superceed (naturally), bees can quickly become hybrids of one’s chosen bee and whatever bees are in the area. So I’d say go with New World Carniolans (better in this climate), and in any case, if you get an aggressive hive, kill the queen and put in a new one (drag yes, but better than a hot hive).

  2. katie says:

    Hi there! It is my understanding that bees can travel up to 4 miles in 1 direction. I am trying to find as close to “organic” “pesticide-free” honey as possible. What you do with the bees and where you have them is awesome, but I am more concerned about the surrounding areas that the bees could potentially get to.

    Thanks! I will look forward to your reply!
    Katie

    • Bean says:

      Hi Katie – the upriver hives are the furthest from agricultural areas – That’s our Mountain Wildflower Honey (the downriver hives are in agricultural areas). However, although the Mountain Wildflower Honey come from bees upriver, there are communities up river, and who knows what people put on their yards. The hives are also next to or near DNR and private timber lands. The DNR doesn’t use pesticides, but they do use herbicides, usually one application over 10 or so years – or so they tell me – which could be tracked to the hives. Hives with no pesticide contact would need to be placed at the center of a 16 square mile organic area… Hope that helps.

  3. Terry Ludwig says:

    Found your site fascinating
    Mother born Spokane Father born raised around Monroe
    Grandpa Ludwig had honey bees around Snohomish for as long as I can remember thru the 50′S at least
    I have lived in Nome, Ak for 40 Years mostly. Never saw a bee around here only huge bumble bees and I don t know if they winter here
    Have heard fishermen talk of huge swarms traveling across Norton Sound but have no other info
    Did see some people in McGrath years ago trying to raise honey bees in a big foam encased hive but don t know if it worked either
    We do have a lot of fireweed and wild flowers about in summer times but really don t understand winterizing hives. About to retire and poking around for a hobbie
    Nome temps vary widely from interior. A lot more moisture….
    Sorry for the ramble
    Was really looking for raw honey types
    As well as comb honey
    And knowledge on shelf lives of various types vs. filtered, pollen containing… Etc
    Thanks

    • Bean says:

      I love a good ramble, verbal, printed, or on foot….Snohomish has probably changed a bit since your Grandpa’s days, but it’s still lovely. All I know of Alaska beekeeping is what I heard from 2 beekeepers who were from around Fairbanks (I think). They don’t overwinter bees. It’s like going back in time to skeps: they bring in the bees work the bees, harvest honey, then bees die. If anyone know different, please write.
      Seems to me one could overwinter bees outside in Alaska – you’d have to leave a lot of honey on the hives as I’d figure 6 months (?) without forage (or light?), and dark bees (Russian, New World Carniolans..) would be the choice as they over winter in smaller clusters. But I would think one could also do the “overwinter in the basement” – which CC Miller did back in the early 1900′s (see “50 years Among The Bees”) and a lot of folks still do , or in temperature controlled buildings – that’s done here in WA by at least one commercial beekeeper (you’d have to get a group for that as the word “pricy” comes to mind). It wouldn’t be easy – but it would be a fun challenge – which is what a lot of beekeeping about, especially in places not particularly suited for bees – like, say, up river in the mountains in the northwest corner of Washington state on the westside of the Cascades – my area…..
      Raw Honey Types : if you go to http://pacificnorthwesthoney.com/ and click on Honey, a drop down will give you click-throughs to all our raw honeys. I don’t do comb honey, but Ron Babcock does. Let me know what amounts you’re looking for – he would want to ship a box, and I’ll give you his phone number down here.
      I bet you could find comb honey in Alaska – if the bees die each winter in most bee yards, there must be a fair amount of comb honey going at the end of the year (poor bees). I do hope someone chimes in and says not all honeybees die in Alaska each winter… There, that’s my ramble….

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