Spring Inspection

Early in the year, when the weather permits, it is time to assess which hives survived winter.  For those that did not make it through the long winter, a hive autopsy should be performed to see what you can learn from what remains.

Last fall, I had ten colonies being prepared for winter, 7 in my Carniolan apiary (picture on left) and 3 in my Italian apiary (picture on the right).

Before we even reached December only eight remained. My Italians struggled all summer long, re-queening and one succumbing to laying workers. It was a struggle keeping them alive.  My Carniolan apiary was the opposite, I captured 2 swarms near them and was able to make 3 hives from one that was attempting to swarm.

However, by mid February, 3 more had perished, leaving us with 5.  We are now sitting at the end of March with only 3 hives remaining.  During each of the last 2 cold spells I have lost one additional hive.

Now is the time to perform autopsies on these hives, to see what I can learn from them, and determine what I could have done differently for next year.

Follow me on this journey and learn about hive autopsies and what signs to look for.

~ May all your wandering take you to may wonderful places!

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It’s Maple Syrup Time


What a busy last two weeks it’s been.  Maple syrup season has come and gone and what a short season it’s been. The length of season is all dependent on daytime and nighttime temperatures.  The flow begins when temperatures during the day reach 40 degrees or greater, while the nighttime temperatures remain below freezing.

This last week we’ve had temperatures in the mid to high 60s, with nighttime temperatures above freezing. This signals the start of the end and then within a few days the sap stops running.

Did you know that it takes approximately 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup?  Also, with our method of boil down, it takes approximately 8 hours to boil down each 40 gallons of sap.  This year we got approximately 4 gallons of syrup. That’s 160 gallons of sap, boiled over 32 hours.  That’s a lot of hauling of buckets and many hours of boil down.

Hauling, boiling and getting ready for bottling.

Once the season is over, it’s time to enjoy the fruits of our labor. What’s better than maple syrup on pancakes, waffles or French toast in the morning?  How about making a sweet and salty sauce for ham steak?

Here’s my Maple Glazed Ham Steak recipe:

  • Purchase 1 pre-cooked ham steak
  • Pour 1/4 c of maple syrup into a frying pan, one big enough to hold your ham steak.
  • Cook the ham steak per the instructions on the package – I normally only add a little bit of water, I don’t want to water down the maple syrup too much.
  • Once cooked, remove ham and  keep warm.
  • Increase flame to high and boil liquid until reduced and thickened.
  • Pour glaze over ham and serve.

Do you have any special maple syrup recipes? I would love for you to comment below and share.

~ May all your wandering take you to many wonderful places.

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