Let’s get creative with those hives!

I have decided to spruce up my apiary.  Why go with plain, simple, solid colored hives when you can paint scenes and designs on them?

I have joking told my husband, that as more woman get involved in beekeeping, the more decorated bee hives there will be.   Not that men are not creating amazing hive designs,  I’m sure there are many wonderfully painted hives done by men.  If you are one of them, post a picture below in the comments!

Here’s a few that I have painted….

 

A few that I am working on….

 

 

and a few that I am thinking about…

If you would like to see more, or how I transfer my designs onto a hive for painting, let me know.

~ May all your wandering take you to many wonderful places……   and, show me your painted hives, post a picture in the comments below.

Lisa

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How to make honey comb

When I was young, my mom bought honey comb for my brothers and I to try.  I remember, as you bit into the comb, the pockets of honey would burst open and it would be oh, so sweet.

Honey comb

I wanted to see if I could bring that memory to life, using my own hives.  However, I didn’t want to over do it, but just to make a few frames of comb for the family to enjoy and to share with friends.

The method I used, was to take a plastic foundation and cut it into 5 strips.  I placed each of these strips at the top of an empty frame.  I didn’t need to pin the strip into place, it fit snuggly into the grove at the top.  In fact, I had to use a hammer to set it into place.

I placed each frame between 2 already drawn out frames, which helps to give the bees a pattern to f0llow. The bees drew out each frame, filled the cells with nectar and when they had made honey, they capped the cells. In this picture, you can see the small strip of plastic cell at the top of the frame.

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The bees filled this frame with a mix of very light honey and a darker honey.

Using a small sharp knife, I cut each frame into 4 combs that fit nicely into my containers.

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I found this quite easy to do, however the bees don’t always build a nice straight comb, especially when there is a frame missing foundation.  I was lucky that they didn’t build crossways between the frames on either side of the honey comb frame.

I hope you find this inspirational and, perhaps during your next nectar flow, you will give this a try.

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

Lisa

 

 

 

Creamed Honey

Making creamed honey is simple and, oh, so delicious.

Creamed honey is not made by whipping honey, but by controlling the crystallization of it. When honey naturally crystallizes, it produces crystals, which when rolled across the tongue, feel rough and gritty. Creamed honey is made using smaller crystals and these smaller crystals roll nicely across the tongue, giving a smooth creamy feeling.

The easiest way to make creamed honey is to purchase an already made creamed honey, to use as a seed.

Over the weekend, I went to our local farmer’s market to scope out the different creamed honeys produced by my local beekeepers.

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I ended up purchasing from 2 different beekeepers and brought it home for the family to do a taste test, to identify a winner. We thought the one on the left was smoother, but only after you got through a top layer that was not as smooth. The sugar grains, in the one on the right, were not as smooth, but were consistent from top to bottom. Remember that you are looking for smoothness and not taste,  once you mix the “seed” into your honey, it will be your honey flavor that shines.  Since we couldn’t make a decision on which one we liked best, we made 2 batches, 1 from each.

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For the 1st batch, I measured out 4.5 pounds of honey and mixed in half the creamed honey, from the jar purchased from the farmers market. As you mix, be careful not to mix in any air.

Once thoroughly mixed, I then poured the mixture into jars. 4.5 pounds of honey, plus 4oz of creamed honey resulted in 7 half pint jars.

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All jars were then placed into the refrigerator in order to set. After 2 weeks we removed them and gave one a try.  My husband remarked that it was the best creamed honey that he’s ever had.  (What a wonderful husband I have.)

Next time I would like to make a flavored cream honey.  I’m thinking of lemon infused creamed honey. I have fond memories of drinking tea with honey and lemon juice when I was young.  Or perhaps cinnamon creamed honey, I love putting cinnamon sugar on my toast. This might be a good way of further transitioning from sugar to honey in my diet.

I would love to hear what flavor of creamed honey is your favorite.  Please leave me a comment.

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

Lisa

DIY Sugar Block Recipe

I checked on my bees today and they are doing great. I’m not sure if my 1 Italian hive has any occupants anymore, I did not hear anything or see any bees near the entrances of the hive.  My 7 Carniolan hives are doing very well.  6 of the 7 are noisy when I listen to them using my stethoscope, but I have 1 hive that is very weak.  I made sure all hives had ample sugar stores, since it will be a couple of weeks before I will be able to take a peak.  We are due for about a week with lows near zero.

Here’s my recipe for making Sugar blocks.

Ingredients:

  • 4# of sugar
  • 6 oz of water
  • Few drops of essential oils
    • Lemon grass – mimics the Pheromone scent
    • Spearmint
    • Wintergreen – helps control tracheal mites
    • Tea tree oil

Directions:

  1. Measure water and mix in essential oils.
  2. Add water to sugar and mix until combined
  3. Using small aluminum pans, divide sugar and pat down.
  4. Place in 250 degrees F oven for 20 min or so.  You just want the sugar partially melted.  Since ovens vary, keep an eye on your sugar so it doesn’t brown.
  5. Remove and let cool.
  6. Use or store until use. – Keep in a sealed container, away from mice.

I place these blocks directly on top of the top frames, with a shim or upside down candy board sitting above to give it the space it needs to be able to close the top securely.

Do you have a recipe that works well for you?  I would love to hear about it.

~ May all your wandering take you to many wonderful places

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DIY hive stand

You can use almost anything as a bee hive stand, as long as it is stable and can handle the weight of multiple hives, such as a pallet, an old coffee table, cinder blocks or something homemade.

In the picture to the left above we are using cinder blocks with a pallet and an old coffee table. In the picture to the right is our DIY stand, from instructions we pulled off the Web. It was very easy to make and low cost.

Material List:

  • One 4″ x 4″ x 10‘ post (for a 18” high stand) or 4”x4”x6’ post (for a 12″ high stand)
  • Three 2″ x 6″ x 8′ boards OR two 2″ x 6″ x 8′ and one 2″ x 6″ x 10′ boards
  • Box of 16 penny nails

Step 1:

  • For an 18” high stand: From the 10’ 4”x4” post cut eight (8) 18-inch legs.
  • For a 12” high stand: From the 6’ 4”x4” post, measure and divide equally into 6 posts.

 

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Step 2:

  • Take 2 of the 2″ x 6″ x 8‘ boards and measure them. Each board can be off by as much as one to two 8ths of an inch, therefore it is important to measure and trim if you deem necessary

Step 3:

  • Using the 16 penny nails, 3 for each leg, secure the 8’ board onto the legs.
  • Note: Picture to the right is what one side will look like when complete.

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Step 4:

  • Cut two 20″ pieces from the remaining 2″ x 6″ board.
  • Set the 2 sides up with the legs facing inward and nail the end boards to the legs, using 3 nails per leg.
  • Note: You will now have a stand that is 8’ by 20” by 18” high.

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Step 5:

  • Measure the distance between the middle legs. (should be ~17” long)
  • Using the remaining 2″ x 6″ board cut 2 center braces. If you purchased a 10’x2”x6” board then you should have enough to make 3 braces.
  • Attach the center braces using 6 nails per board as shown in the picture to the left.

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Success!!

~ May all your wandering take you to many wonderful places

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