Monday, October 13, 2014

Fall Honey Harvest 2014

It's been months since I wrote on my blog. I'm terrible. I don't know where the summer went. It went fast. Here's a quick update of what happened last month. We harvested honey from our hives. In the beginning of the season, we had high hopes and was hoping to have a big harvest of honey. We started the season with 2 hives and grew it to 4 hives by adding 2 Nucs. We had a series of problems such as some kind of poisoning killing off almost half of our bees. Plus we had a slow cool summer, with wet temperatures. We were lucky to even have any honey to harvest with these issues. We inspected the hives and pulled the super frames for harvesting.

Of the 4 hives, we only could pull 10 frames of honey. Way less than last year's harvest. Last year we pulled 18 frames in the Fall and we had less hives!.

But at least we had a harvest. Our first year we didn't have anything to harvest. So we are glad to have some honey.

It's amazing to me that these two frames of honey are from the same hive! The top one is likely from early summer and the bottom one was made recently, late summer. Just beautiful and two different taste profiles!

I love scraping the wax off the frames. It's almost therapeutic.

Can you believe how dark this honey is? Some of the frames of honey was this really deep black coffee color! Now that is rich fall honey!

And when it starts flowing, oh my gosh. It smells incredible. Like you want to dunk your head in it!
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The flow of raw harvested honey! Yum!! #honeybee #honey #beehive #beekeeper #beekeeping #brooklynbees

A quick video to demonstrate what I mean. If only there was a smell app!
After we harvested the five frames of honey and split them up between the four of us (2 beehosts & 2 beekeepers) this is what each of us ended up taking home. 1 quart & 1 pint jar. This was the saddest harvest ever! But, at least we got a harvest.
I'm going to savor every last drop of this precious drop of my local Brooklyn honey!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Frustrations of Urban Beekeeping Part 2

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how sometimes beekeeping in an urban environment can be very frustrating and disheartening. This past weekend, the frustrations continued. When we went to the first beehive location, we were shocked to see that there was yet again, another huge die off of bees. Has this ever happened to your hives? What did you do to combat this?
I’m not exactly sure what is causing the bees to die off in this manner. We are looking into moving this hive to another location in hopes that whatever is causing this will stop. Luckily, when we opened the hive, the bees looked healthy. They weren't disoriented like last time.
There was also pretty good numbers of bees, so the hive had healthy numbers as well. We saw that the Queen was laying very good brood. So that is a good sign that it hasn't affected the inside of the hive. We suspect the die off the bees are likely the foragers. Hopefully with the Queen laying well, the foragers will be replaced with the newly hatching brood.
We pulled some frames and they were also building out wax and filling the frames with honey.
We looked inside our other hive and they have also been busy with making honey. In fact, they built some honey on top of the frames.
That looked and smelled so incredible, so we scraped these off the frames. And had a little taste for ourselves. Oh wow, is this every good! Floral, sweet, deliciousness!
After beekeeping duties were done, I saw that my favorite Cesar's taco truck was sitting outside the subway station.
I picked up one of these beauties. This is a chicken empanada. It's a perfect snack after beekeeping. Yum.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Making Sourdough Pizza!

I have lots of sourdough starter and have been looking for ways to use it. I found a sourdough pizza recipe that uses up one whole starter! Sweet! I decided to give it a try!
I followed the recipe and let it rise. Then I put the pizza dough in a ziploc bag to make pizza the next day. Since the dough takes awhile to rise, it's best to start this in the morning or early afternoon if you want pizza for dinner. Or do as I did and put the dough in the fridge for the next day.
Rolled out the dough and added marinara sauce and cheese.
This came out soooooo good! The pizza didn't come out as crispy as I liked so I'll have to see if I can invest in a pizza stone. I'll definitely try this recipe again when I want to get rid of some of my sourdough starter. Do you use starter? What do you bake with it?

Friday, July 11, 2014

Frustrations of Urban Beekeeping

I love beekeeping, but sometimes it can be frustrating in an urban environment. Especially when you have neighbors that don't want you there. Two weeks ago, at my last inspection, I arrived to the backyard where I keep two of my hives. It's a beautiful yard, full of blooming flowers. I was getting ready to do an inspection, I started up the smoker. Only to be greeted by an angry neighbor behind the fence, screaming at me. In a very angry voice she was shouting at me to stop what I was doing and to not open the hives or continue with my inspection because she had guests in her backyard for a party. I was going to comply with her requests, and then she starts threatening to call the police on me. Upon which I stated, "Go ahead, call the police. My beehives are registered with the Department of Health. These hives are completely legal to own and have." I proceeded to tell her that she didn't have to scream at me in that manner and all she had to to was ask nicely to not do the inspection, and I would have complied. Apparently, she was stung by a bee the previous day, and now she feels scared of them. But how does she know they were my bees? And what if it was a yellowjacket, or wasp, or hornet? They all can be mistaken for honeybees. I now feel frustrated with having my hives here, if there is a chance that I will be accosted every time I show up for an inspection. I can tell she seems pretty unreasonable to talk to, since every time I tried to calm her down, she would talk over me loudly. People like that don't care that honeybees are an integral part of the eco-system, and that without them and their pollination, we wouldn't have the fruits and vegetables we consume.
Have you ever experienced something like this? It makes me really sad and start to rethink the location of this hive. Would I need to move it elsewhere? Somewhere where there are less neighbors perhaps? I have an upcoming inspection this Sunday. I'll have to see if I get into another verbal altercation with this neighbor. Hopefully, she has calmed down a bit. Fingers crossed.

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