Long Days of Summer
I love having daylight for so many hours this time of the year. Fall is still my favorite time of the year, but summer is a close second! All the extra daylight gives me plenty of time to tend to the now not-so-baby baby chicks, the garden and all the other farm chores.
Not forgetting though, to leave time for riding & fishing - two things we need to do more often.
I've been feeding my creative hunger by making some new and much needed products. Per a clients request I made some Bug Balm. This unique product is easy to spread and creates a barrier between you and the bugs. It is now available in 4 oz tubs or 3.5 oz roll on container. Look for it under the "Just Hatched" tab. It's all natural and effective! Made with love and: Organic coconut oil, Organic shea butter, Local MO Beeswax & Citronella essential oil.
Another fun thing I did recently is have a Co-Op Chicks Home Gathering. It was hosted by a good friend and was so much fun! No pressure to buy, we just talked, laughed, ate, talked bees and sampled products.
The hostess received free products and fun was had by all. I don't have a big sales pitch, my products truly sell themselves.
Everyone loved the bee talk which included some videos and games and everyone left with a free Some of Your Beeswax Lip Balm!
Please contact me if you are interested in hosting a Co-Op Chicks Home Gathering, it's easy and fun!
Speaking of bees... I speak of them a lot! That's because well, one they are just plain fascinating and secondly, because they are a big part of Co-Op Chicks. Having our own apiary has been such a beautiful experience. I am often asked about swarms. How and why they happen and how we get them. The somewhat short answer is: swarms are a natural occurrence in a healthy hive. When the queen runs out of room to lay eggs (she lays approximately 1000 per day!) she simple leaves and takes about 75% of the colony with her.
Recently we got call from a co-worker of Mike's. He had bees in his chimney, which means they were getting in his house. This is clearly a problem! He (thankfully) did not want to spray them so he called us.
We set up a swarm trap ( a box filled with frames and lemongrass essential oil) outside in a tree to try the most non- invasive approach first. Well it worked.
This was tricky. We expected them to be IN the box not ON the box! We were not sure if this was due to it being hot in the box or just that many bees.
Ends up, it was just that many bees as I found out the next day when I moved them from the swarm box to a hive.
Yea.. A LOT OF BEES!
Getting back to why they swarm.. again, when the queen runs out of room.. she goes and 75% of the colony leaves with her. So how do we as beekeepers know she is out of room? Well, here's a simple video I captured showing a queen in one of our hives frantically looking for cells to lay her eggs in. She is out of room. When we see this, time to add more frames/boxes.
Lots of space equals happy queen; happy queen equals happy hive! I shared this video on my last blog post, but it fits here to show it again.
Queen doing her thing.
When we capture a swarm, we have prevented them from dying by a freighted home owner and given them a new home, here on the farm.
Another question I get asked a lot is about honey. Do we take all their honey? NO! Bees are hoarders by nature. They produce far more than they will actually need. Of all the honey a colony produces, we only take very little. Leaving them approximately 60 pounds for the winter, per hive. This year we did a spring harvest. We normally don't do this because getting the extracting material out and extracting the honey from the frames is a lot of work and a bit messy. Normally done just once a year. Judging by how much they already had stored, we deemed it safe to take some. NOTE: in no time flat, they replaced all the honey we extracted! It's been a nice nectar flow this year, but it is coming to an end. WOW this spring harvest is amazing! Light and sweet! The flower collection during the time they made this honey was mostly dandelions and clover.
Before I get to the big announcement in this blog post.. I don't want to forget to "talk" about these 3 amigos! Our 3 this year are 2 bull calves (now steers) and one heifer (young female.) They are something!
I wish I had a better picture of them, but they are so active lately it's hard to get them all in one frame. The little one here is our Waka's newest calf. She really has some wonderful offspring. Waka is the cow that started my love affair with cattle. She's our "Ol Bessie"
Waka is the Cherokee word for cow, in case you were wondering.
Okay, now on to what you have been waiting for... the answer to the question I get asked more than anything.. "You talk about and write about this awesome raw honey you have, do you sell it?" Well, turns out the bees aren't the only ones that hoard! We do have a little bit left of our spring harvest. After some thought (a lot of thought actually) the answer is YES! HOWEVER, I have only a very limited supply. It's just too wonderful not to share the harvest.
The honey that our bees make is pulled from the excess as I described previously, then only poured one time with a large mesh only to separate loose pieces of comb. It's never pasteurized and is truly right out of the hive, filled with SO much goodness!
I have 3 options available. Each are $10 and they will go super fast.
Eight ounces in a Ball Mason jar with spoon
Eight ounces in a beautiful Muth jar with cork that stamped "Pure Honey"
Four ounces in a super neat "spice" jar that I just knew had to have honey in them!
Pick which one is right for you, or to give as a gift.
This spring harvest is truly unique. It's light & sweet yet just the right consistency that raw honey should be. I am quite sure you will LOVE this honey!
Again, I am only selling a small amount because it's all we have left of this years spring harvest. I don't have to sell it as pure raw honey does not go bad (unless the water content is too high, which ours is tested and is at a PERFECT percentage.) Does it sound like I am bragging? Well, I am. I am super proud of this beekeeping endeavor Mike & I have taken; but really, it's the bees that do this work. I honor their hard work by using only glass to package this liquid gold in. I just won't cheapen it with plastic, okay for some, just not my thing.
If you are interested, please comment on the Facebook status that this blog post is attached to. Locally we can meet, if I am in your area, otherwise there will be a $6.75 shipping charge. Payments can be made via PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org. Cash works too, if we meet.
I can't say it enough, these will go FAST! I have lost count of how many people have been asking me to do this. If you miss out on this, don't fret! We hope (but can't say for sure yet) that we will have more to sell this fall, however it will not be this light sweet spring harvest, but it will still be incredible. We won't know how much (if any) we have to sell until late summer.
If you read all of this blog post, THANK YOU! Don't forget to check out the new Bug Balm!