Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Buzzing Along.....

It has been quite some time since I have talked about our bees.
Yes, we still have bees....
but, sadly, only one hive at the present time.


Over the past two years we have suffered massive losses.
Our eight original hives have suffered gravely.
Colony collapse disorder took out all of our hives except this one.

I am happy to tell you, though, that the one hive we have at present 
is vigorous and strong and full, full, full of honey.
Oh, that sweet, sticky, delicious nectar...
straight from the hive...
with its almost magical healing powers...
truly a miracle of nature, if you ask me!


You may have noticed that I have not blogged much about our bees this year,
save for the instance this summer when they swarmed and attacked me while mowing.

Yes, I have been a bit perturbed at these buzzing darlings this year,
and decided to leave them alone as much as possible.


Hubbs added "supers" when necessary throughout the summer
and they obligingly filled them with honey.
Usually by this time of year we have already harvested our honey.
This summer, however, we decided to not harvest any honey.
We are leaving all of the honey in the hive for the bees.
Fearing that our winter might be like our autumn has been...
extreme weather conditions...
we thought the bees might just need a little extra nutrition for those long cold months.

Because this hive seemed to have survived Colony Collapse, we are doing everything in our power
to keep it healthy...hoping that perhaps these bees may have some genetic defense
against the disorder.
Perhaps that is what may ultimately save the bees...
the ability to genetically adapt to that which threatens them.

Hopefully this will assure that these remaining bees will again greet us in the Spring!
We are also feeding them sugar water right now,
 in order to conserve their honey for winter.
The very top, thin layer of this hive is filled with a 1:1 concentration of sugar to water.


Because there is precious little nectar left out in nature right now,
the sugar water acts as a replacement for what the flowers
had provided all summer long.


My plan is to place an order for bees and queens to arrive next spring
and repopulate our other hives.
And thank goodness we still have part of our honey harvest from last summer
to get us through the winter.


Did you know????
Honey never goes bad.
Never.
Honey may crystalize over time, but is still usable.
Simply heat your honey and it will return to its original sticky state.
Honey was found in an unearthed Egyptian tomb...
and it was still edible once heated...
just like the day the bees made it!
Amazing!
(Word of caution: never re-dip your honey spoon back into your honey
once you have stirred your tea....water will cause honey to spoil!)

Did you know?
Honey has healing qualities.
It is being used in third world countries as an antiseptic for wounds.
It's true.
When applied to a wound, honey draws fluid from the body
which it then combines with to make hydrogen peroxide.
Amazing!
(I actually have used our honey several times as a treatment for
mildly infected cuts.)

Did you know?
Candles made from beeswax are ecologically safe.
I melt down our beeswax, strain it, and pour it into a mold to make these
bee hive candles.


Before I leave you for today,
let me take you into the feed room.
Here, on top of the horses' hay is this scene....


Bobby woke up just long enough to see who was snapping his picture...


and check out his bunk mate....


then back to sleep again.
Don't cats always sleep with chickens?


One of the things that warms my heart more than anything,
is how well all of our different species co-exist.
Amazing!

Ok, well I thought I was finished,
and then I remembered that there were still a few pictures from down the lane
that I wanted to share with you.

Come, walk with me....


Our old (1700's) log cabin....


Our neighbor's springhouse....


A neighboring barn....


Another covered bridge....



The countryside....


All of these things are just down the lane.
See why I love the country so much?

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love reading your blog. It has become one of my favourites. You are so lucky to live in such beautiful surroundings with your lovely animals!
Kathy from Tasmania(Australia)

Sherry@ Ties2ThePast said...

What a wonderfully peaceful place you have! Bobby & the chicken are priceless! I'm with you...I love living in the country!
♥'s
Sherry

Anke said...

I hope your hive makes it through the winter! It must have been such a disappointment to loose all the other hives. Your photos are beautiful Bev and the area you live in is gorgeous.

Diane Cayton-Hakey said...

We have as many bushes as possible in our yard that the bees love and we have MANY bees buzzing around each year. I so worry about the little creatures though and what is to become of them as less and less seem to be surviving across our nation each year. Good that you are leaving them their honey for the winter. :-))

Country Gal said...

Wonderful post and photos.A shame about this years honey for you hope it is a lot better next year for you. I love honey on toast in a sandwhich and in my tea when I have a sore throat. Love the photos of kitty and chicken napping soo cute and your country side is beautiful. Have a wonderful day.

Junebug said...

I love the roommates on the hay, too cute. Your countryside is gorgeous! Your State is on my future bucket list to visit and I can see I will enjoy the sites. Oh honey, I so love thee. I so hope your last remaining hive survives the winter, I am so bless to have a friend who give me some every year. The bees pollenate the raspberry fields and the honey is so delicious. Hugs to you this morning!

Aunt Kristin said...

You are very, VERY fortunate to be surrounded by such beauty. I've always wanted to live in the country. I hate living in a neighborhood where the houses are so close together that you can see inside them.

Last year my parents bought 2 acres near Austin, but even that isn't the country as there's a noisy highway next to it. Ah, well...

LOVELY pictures, by the way. The one with the cat and chicken is priceless. Lol! Bobby is a lot friendlier with the critters than my own cat is. (Our cats - mother and daughter - have to be separated now).

Kristin

Dawn Dutton said...

You live in a very lovely area. Thanks for sharing with us. Your blog always makes my day.

Tree Hugger - Suzan said...

Your wax bee hives are adorable and the huge white barn is magnificient!! Do you sell them?
Not to mention the 1700 2-story log house!!
You are just oooozing with history and beauty!!
Thanks for sharing your country side!! You are blessed!

Denise at Autumn Sky said...

It's all so beautiful. And I see your leaves are changing which just adds to the charm. I hope those bees make it through the Winter. I recently bought some honey from another blogger who has her own bees in Indiana. It's just delicious.

kpaints said...

I just know your bees will make it...it sounds like you are doing all the right things. They will love you for it. Sorry they got you on the mower..I didn't know.

What beautiful country..it is just how I pictured it. I love all the color!

Julie Harward said...

Such a beautiful post...I love bees..and those candles and the cat and hen...lovely place to live, very sweet! :D

Teresa said...

I love hearing about your bees, and you've really included some fascinating facts about the honey here. Heck, I just love everything about this post. The cat and chicken, the beautiful scenes, everything!

Farm Girl said...

Yes, I am still sick about my bee hive loss, and I don't think I will go back to having bees. I miss them though just a tiny bit. Even though like you mine attacked me on a daily basis. I don't miss that. Mine were so aggressive.
I do miss the lovely honey.
It looks beautiful around your farm.

Linda Stubbs said...

Thank you so for stopping and leaving a comment on my blog. I really enjoyed coming to your blog this evening. Beautiful pic's! Loved the momma chicken and kitty. I went to gather eggs yesterday and a momma kitty was laying in one of the boxes in the straw. I think she is the one that has been eating the eggs on occasion.

I will be back again. Enjoyed the bees also. One of my dreams.......maybe one day it will come true!

Blessings, Linda
Prairie Flower Farm

Maura @ Lilac Lane Cottage said...

Bev you live in such a beautiful area...I love the rolling hills and how GREEN everything is. Your old log home is in amazing shape for it's age and that barn of your neighbors is gorgeous! Thanks for the info on honey and for mentioning about the sugar water. I think I'll make a batch today for the wild bees on the farm...it would be a sad day if we lost them. One day we'll have someone come in and move them to a hive. Give Bobby a 'scritch' for me please!

Debi@7Gates said...

Im just silly smiling at this post and all the lovely pictures you posted for us. I guess my best is the last with all the rolling hills and farms and barns. I've always loved that look of countryside. You're a lucky girl to be living your dream and you do it so well.

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