Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Where I've Been

I've been pretty quiet on the blogging front. I have been so busy. I just returned from a trip to San Francisco. I saw some pretty amazing plants out there. I completely fell in love with the giant sedum plants that I saw everywhere! This one I saw on our visit to Alcatraz Island.
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These sedum plants were in front of our hotel. So pretty!

Also on Alcatraz Island, there were these giant peace lily plants. The bloom was the size of my head!
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On the Alcatraz tour, they said that the inmates used to garden the land to pass the time. You can tell how well they landscaped it. Here is another photo of the peace lilies.

In the gift shop at Alcatraz, they even sold seeds from wildflowers from around the gardens on Alcatraz Island. I wanted to buy the bag of seeds, but they were a little pricey at $15 a bag. Plus, I no longer have a garden to grow in so I didn't buy it.

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I loved the leaves on this plant. This is a tropical plant, looked like a type of elephant ear to me. I'm not sure what the name is. The leaves were enormous!
Here is a close up of the leaves. It was easily 2 feet tall. And had a very waxy shiny texture to the leaf. I loved it!
Everywhere we went in San Francisco, there were these amazing views! Look at this view from Coit Tower! Just phenomenal!
I ended up taking a piece of San Francisco greenery with me. Here is a cutting of a sedum plant. I placed it in a coffee cup and it flew back with me. I planted this in a pot of soil, I hope it grows roots soon!
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Monday, November 10, 2014

Winterizing and Wrapping the HIves

Two weeks ago, we closed up our hives for the winter. We consolidated all the honey frames into three boxes. Then we add a sugar feeder and add 7 pounds of granulated sugar in the box. I also added a frame feeder holder inside the box and poured sugar into the frame.
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We then put the inner cover and staple a mesh over the hole of the inner cover. We staple mesh to the hole because we don't want any bees climbing up to the box above it.
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Above it, we then put an empty super on top of the sugar box and fill it with cedar chips. Cedar naturally keeps the pests at bay, such as mites, fleas, ticks, termites etc. The cedar chips also helps with the moisture, it wicks away any of the condensation that builds up. We also drill a little hole in this box to help with ventilation.
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We wrap the entire hive with tar paper to help insulate it and keep out the moisture.
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I always get a little sad when I wrap the hives for the winter. It'll be months before I see them again. The Buddha statue will hopefully watch over the ladies and hope they all survive the winter.
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Here are the hives all wrapped up. See you in the spring ladies.
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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.

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