Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bear Attack!

Our boss brought in a treat for us yesterday.
 And I attacked it. I ate his ear and it was good.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Back to the Roots Discount for You!

If you follow my blog, you know that I have been raving about the Back to the Roots mushroom kit that I bought and tried for the first time.  With little effort, I was able to grow a nice batch of Oyster mushrooms.  It is so fun to watch the funghi grow in a matter of days! The fine folks at Back to the Roots have graciously offered to extend a 10% discount to the readers of this blog.  All you have to do is use this code "secretgardenblog10" for 10% off on their website BacktotheRoots.com. The coupon is effective through the end of August.  Hurry, get yours today!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Lessons Learned

I've been so busy this summer, that time is going by faster than I can keep up with blog posts. So I am attempting to catch up on a month's worth of beekeeping in this one post.
We've already put up the second deep box with it's 10 frames and the bees are busy with building honeycomb and honey for storage. Checking the frames every Sunday is the highlight of my week! Pulling out a frame that looks like this is beyond exciting!
Like how incredible is this?  That is all capped honey! We won't be touching any of this honey, this is food for the bees during the winter months when they don't leave the hive.
In this photo it's an entire frame of pollen.
Here's another view of pollen frame. Isn't this gorgeous??
Earlier this month, at one of our hives, we had a die-off of thousands of bees. We came to inspection one day to discover a pile of dead bees in front of the hive. We suspect this was caused by some kind of pesticide spraying in the neighborhood. We heard that 5 other beehives were afflicted with this same die-off.  It's incredibly sad and frustrating for us to see this. I literally felt like crying when I saw the dead bees.
Luckily, the following week, during our inspection, it looked like the bees bounced back from the die-off.  The following week, we saw very little dead bees and the Queen was still alive, thank goodness!
One big lesson that I've learned however is to not travel without antihistamines.  As my doctor suspected, I am mildly allergic to bee venom and every time I get stung, the affected area gets really swollen.  Case in point, a bee flew up my veil and I got stung right near my eye. 
And the next day, even though I iced my eye all night, my eye looked like this!! My entire left side of my face was completely swollen. I had to go to work looking like this, and I kinda scared people. LOL.  Since this sting was near my eye, I went to see my doctor again.  This makes 2 visits in 1 week.  The previous week, I was stung on my hand and had a really bad reaction as well.  She was like.... "are you sure you want to continue with this hobby?" I asked her, will bee stings kill me?  She said no. So I said, well, then I am not quitting! My doctor decided to prescribe me a prescription strength antihistamine since I have such a severe reaction.
Since I started beekeeping in April.... I've been stung a total of 13 times.... Guess which foot was stung?  Now I know what the term "club feet" means. hahahaha.
My latest beesting.  I was stung on my thigh this Sunday, and my welt to prove it. The biggest lesson I've learned from beekeeping is that just because you wear a protective suit from head to toe and gloves... You still get stung! LOL LOL LOL.  The suit, like my bee teacher says, does not prevent you from not getting stung, it just prevents you from getting stung less.  Gee, lesson learned!!
Despite getting stung over and over and over again, I still enjoy this hobby as much as I did on the first day I started beekeeping.  I get extremely excited and giddy when I see frames like this. This is an entire frame of capped honey. In the center is uncapped honey that the bees are working on capping. We don't know if we'll be able to harvest any honey this summer for our consumption, but we don't even care if we do. We are happy to have healthy hives and hopefully next year we'll be swimming in honey for both the bees and us!!
Photo by Victoria Booth

Friday, July 13, 2012

My Addiction

Hi, my name is Mimi and I have an addiction. I seriously cannot go to the Union Square Farmer's Market without bringing something home with me.  Need therapy. Pronto.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Summer Blooms

I've been so extremely busy with life lately that I have very little time to enjoy the garden this year.  I was walking around the property and saw that the hybrid lilies that I planted a few years back have come back!  I picked a few to enjoy in the house. Lilies are by far one of the easiest things to grow.  You just plant the bulbs and year after year, you have this to enjoy! As a lazy gardener, this is definitely my kind of gardening!
When I first picked the flowers, there were a few buds that had not opened.
Then within two days and this unbearable heat wave we're in, they all have started to bust open. They sure are stunning, and the scent is wonderful!  I just love walking in the room and seeing these blooms. Instantly puts a smile on my face!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Hive Locations

We were extremely lucky to have two hosts this year for our beehives.  The hives are located a mere 5 blocks from each other in Fort Greene / Clinton Hill,  Brooklyn which makes it easy for us to inspect them. Although close in distance, the two hive locations could not be any different. One of the hives is in a lush backyard filled with greenery and flowers. 
There is this gorgeous Adirondack chair right next to the hydrangea and the hive.  It's so pretty how the greenery is growing all around it.  Enveloping it.
The bees seem to really love this location.  They are always buzzing with activity and building out the frames.  Here we are inspecting.  Paul is using the frame spacer here to make sure that there is the right amount of space between frames.  If there is too much space, the bees build out wild honeycomb, rather than in straight rows like we want.
The other hive location is on a rooftop.  It's where a lot of beehives are located in the city because of a lack of backyard space.  We have noticed that the bees seem to do fine on a rooftop, they are productive but not as much as the backyard hive.
Here we are doing an inspection of the hive.  I always wonder if the people on the street see us when we are up there.  I guess they would have to be looking up!
Fort Greene / Clinton Hill are amazing neighborhoods.  The residents who live here are really serious about their gardening.  Which is great news for us and the bees when they forage.  I even spied this amazing cherry tree in the front of one of the houses on the block.  I wonder if these cherries are edible.
Isn't that just amazing?  I love how creative people are with their small spaces.  :)
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