I have been derelict about writing in this blog as my beekeeping chores and some personal time combined to keep me hopping for the last month or so. Thus this overview is the short form of what I’ve been doing. I’ll expand on most of the topics in each subsequent blog post – intercut with new and exciting moments – ok, make that “new things happening at the farm” (some how I don’t see wrapping hives and putting on their rain hats as exciting, but that’s coming up soon).
What’s Been Happening:
HONEYS FROM A NEW INDEPENDENT WASHINGTON BEEKEEPER
At Brookfield Farm Bees And Honey we sell our own honey, honey infusions, honey infused vinegars, and also broker honey from select independent Washington beekeepers. This is our first year with beekeeper Stan Kolesnikov
of K Brothers Pollination and Honey in West Richland, Washington. I went over the Cascade mountains to pick up some fabulous Alfalfa/Wildflower Honey from Stan and was later able to get his fabulous Yellow Star Thistle and Buckwheat Honeys. He’s a great guy, wonderful beekeeper, who has a truly family operation. I’ll do a blog about Stan soon.
BROOKFIELD FARM HONEY PULLED, HIVES BALANCED AND HONEY EXTRACTED.
It has been a devastating year for many beekeepers in our area: Northwest Washington on the western side of the Cascade Mountains. It rained from October 2010 until August 2011. No joke. We had a few breaks in the weather, but not enough time for the bees to really put up stores. Frames of honey from my down-river bee yards in the farmlands of Whatcom County were brought up river and placed in my foothill hives. Few of these upriver hives had sufficient stores for the winter. There were lots of brood, but no food. What frames were left were extracted. This year’s honey is the taste of Whatcom’s farmlands: vegetables, flowers, and lots of berries. More on this, you guessed it, in an upcoming blog.
HIVES DUSTED AND FED
I do the powdered sugar dusting each spring and fall. This year I miraculously got all three dustings in on sunny days (amazing). At the same times I do three feedings of cane syrup and essential oils. I’ve written about this before on this blog, and it’s pretty much the same every year.
BROOKFIELD FARM POWDERING LINK: http://brookfieldfarmhoney.wordpress.com/2010/03/16/the-girls-get-powdered/
I’m not totally convinced that the powdered sugar does much, I’m afraid at this point it’s become a habit. The essential oils I do think work. A disastrous experiment one year of not feeding these resulted in the death of each hive that was denied the oils (spearmint, lemongrass, and thyme). Of course they might work with my bees because they are descended from bees who always had these oils in the early spring and late fall.
BROOKFIELD FARM ESSENTIAL OILS LINK:
THE BEEKEEPER ESCAPES
It’s not all bees all the time for this beekeeper. The rains and low snow levels kept me from my usually 3 week sojourn into the back-of-beyond, but I did get to visit a wondrous diversity of lands that are in Washington and Oregon: from the deserts to the mountains to the oceans. As I can’t invite you all ‘round for a slide show (did I hear a sigh of relief?), I’ll put some shots on a blog soon.
Must end with a family photo. This is Packgoat-In-Training “Pequeño” aka PK on Cougar Divide on Mt. Baker, Washington. He’s a cashmere so he is always ready for the cold weather. He wore a leash on his first wilderness walk. He now walks free.
That’s the general news from Brookfield Farm Bees And Honey in Maple Falls, Washington – I’ll start the series next week – the writing’s the easy part, the hard part in all in in-putting. I’m so much happier dealing with thousand of stinging insects than dealing with the vagaries of the web.