Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Me...the Beekeeper!

Do you remember a while back, I stopped by Uddermost Farm to buy some local honey? (Go down a couple posts.) I don't blame you if you don't remember - it's been quite some time since I wrote about it. Since then, it's been a busy few weeks. Amelia, who is an urban farmgirl, invited me back to see how they tend to their hives. Now, if you know me, you must know how excited I was to be part of checking the hives.

Amelia advised me to wear long pants and socks with my shoes. When I arrived at her little farm, I was suited up in beekeeper's gear. Her husband, Scott, also suited up and away we went. I was not afraid at all. Amelia had told me during my first visit that many of their worker bees had most likely been to our home to gather pollen and nectar, so I felt like I was meeting up with old friends. Bees travel within a five mile radius to gather and then return to their hives. Our home is well within that radius.

Worker bees not only gather, but also clean the hive and keep it cool by beating their wings. By the way, the 'buzz' of a honeybee is just it's wings beating so rapidly.

Uddermost Farmgirl and my hubby stayed a safe distance away while (we) went to work. Scott pryed the hives apart, beaking the propolis seal that had been placed by the bees. That's to keep the hive waterproof which is very important.

Me holding a honeycomb frame

Scott prying the hive apart

The light colored substance over the honey is the wax cap that the bees put over each honeycomb cell to protect the honey and their brood (eggs).
Bees are a very protective society. Scott told me that in the cold of
winter, balls of bees have been found deep within hives. The ball of bees surround
the queen bee to protect her from the cold. A queen bee would simply be a worker bee, if not for being fed and nourished with royal jelly.
Her job is to populate the hive with another queen bee and female workers.

Besides the queen and the workers, there are the drones.
Their only job is to mate with the queen bee and during that time, they die.
If, at any time, there is not enough food to support the hive,
the drones are forced out.

Scott firing up the smoker.
He then 'puffed' the smoke into the hive to calm the bees
so that he could go deeper into hives to check things out.

Something I learned is that when the smoke goes into the hives, the bees think the hive is in danger and try to save their honey by consuming all they can.

Amelia and Scott, thank you so much for being so generous in inviting me to share in this experience. It's something I've always wanted to do. You are both most kind.

I was invited back to Uddermost Farm again. This time to watch as the honey was extracted from the honeycomb. My next post will be about that.

Hope you will come back!

Do you know?
Honey is the ONLY food that includes all the substance
necessary to sustain life, including water.


claudie said...

There is my sweet little Bee keeper. You look like your in a moon suit. What a great day you had. One of your dreams come true.
Now tell me all about your next adventure. I'm sooooooooooo jealous.
I didn't know that fact about honey...Randy did, but of course. He knows everything.
Give my girlfriend a big hug for me would ya'.
Love You
Love Me

Rebecca said...

I never knew that about a bee's buzz! What a fun experience. :)

JEANNE said...

Hi Deborah, I love this post about your bee trip. You look so cute all suited up. This sure is interesting and I would love to do this. We have a local farm that sells wildflower honey. It is delicious.

Tomorrow we are going to my brother's 50th anniversary party. We have a ton of family here. Lots of fun!!! It is being held in Waynesville, NC. We have lots of family here to attend the celebration. Kind of a family reunion.

Love, Jeanne

UdderMost Farm Girl ~ said...

We were delighted to have you! We always enjoy sharing our fun with those who share our passion for any aspect of homesteading. Come back any time!

Confessions of a Plate Addict said...

Hi Deborah! How fun...although I am not sure I would have the courage to do it! lol I love honey, though! One of my neighbors kept bees when I was a little girl and often gave us fresh honey...yum! We used to chew the comb...not sure why...it's not very good! lol Enjoy your Labor Day weekend!...hugs...Debbie

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Look at YOU! Wow! That is so neat!

Miss Bee, I wish I was going with you to Canada. Hug Julie tight for me. I sent her an email thanking her for a CD she sent me for my birthday, and in case she didn't receive it, please tell her how much I appreciated it!

I hope we can all meet at Claudie's. That would be so much fun as I really look forward to meeting you.

Thanks for your prayers for Mr. Magpie. We leave in a few to go to the hotel at Mayo.

Have fun in Canada and take LOTS of pictures!


Sheila :-)

Elizabeth and Gary said...

Oh no! I would have been so scared!!. I do not like bees at all. Many years ago when my girls were small we live in a very old home with lots of trees, the neighbor had bee boxes and they exploded, and the bees were flying so fast and swarming my yard so quickley! I had the windows open and the kids and their friends were playing outside. I ran outside to get the kids just as quickly as I could and then close all the windows in the house. Some bees did manage to get in. I called the city and they said I had to call a bee keeper to round up the bees. By the time the bee keeper arrived at my home the bees had made a huge nest the size of football on one of my trees. I can still hear them buzzing.. I get goose bumps every time I think of the bee hives.
You were so brave!!
Have a sweet day,

JEANNE said...

Hello Deborah, I just came over to say hello. Once again I love this post. I would be frightened to be near bees I think. smile.
Have a wonderful weekend.
Love, Jeanne

JEANNE said...

Hello Deborah, I just came over to say hello. Once again I love this post. I would be frightened to be near bees I think. smile.
Have a wonderful weekend.
Love, Jeanne

Anonymous said...

Wow neat! This is a really great site! I am wondering if anyone else has come across something
exactly the same in the past? Keep up the great work!

Mary said...

Did you enjoy Vancouver and Victoria? Brave you with the honey bees - they are amazing creatures and your post taught me many facts.

Deborah, the booth opened last Sat. and the tray is still there I think. You can call the shop and they will tell you. Vanessa and I will be there tomorrow morning at 10:30 if you can stop by - we'd love to see you.

Hugs - Mary

Julie said...

Hi Deb....

It's so nice to look at your pictures and see a real you now. Those bees didn't know they were going to meet such a warm and interesting girl. Of course they would never sting someone like that! Who would?

Loved our visit together. Thanks to Claudie for bringing us together. Looking forward to seeing you again next year in Montreal. I have pics for you too.

Love J.