Tuesday, December 18, 2007

exciting weekend

This past weekend I gained some experience in moving a hive...a full hive!

A fellow beekeeper decided to sell one of his hives and I agreed to purchase it...and thankfully Tim helped me move it. We did this on sunday...but required some preparation sunday morning by the hive seller. He had to "button it up" by using a screened wire top and front cover as well as some straps around all the boxes to keep it together in transit. He did this in the early morning so that the bees would be in the hive. It was pretty cool this past weekend so that was another factor we had to consider. Anytime you move a hive the bees will of course be disturbed, and once at the destination, will want to get OUT of the hive. If it is too cold they will freeze, which obviously isn't good, so we did the best we could and chose the warmer of the two days...but I don't think warm is a word I would use to describe seattle right now.

Upon arrival at the origin point, tim, myself and john had to maneuver the hive down from its stand and onto a handtruck. I was not in beekeeping uniform nor was tim, but john was. He was at the front of the hive, and tim and I were on either side. One of my hands was at the front of the hive though and at some point I heard ..."we have a leak". I feel tickles on my hand and try not to freak out. No stings, whew. We readjusted and continued on into Tim's van without event.
It was a bit unnerving to be sitting in a van with 5 boxes of bees sitting behind us, buzzing. This seemed like a nightmare just waiting to happen.

The only event came when we had the hive settled in its new home, next to my other hive...and I had to "unbutton" the hive. I failed to bring my boots, but did have my beesuit on. I let the bees loose and they went crazy, and clung onto me for warmth. Did I say I didn't have my boots on? I gingerly walked around the hive trying to get the screened covers off with a screw driver. In between looking at my ankles, which were covered with bees and trying to flick them off with the screw driver, I finally succeeded at getting away from the hive. I almost made it until I got it...right on the ankle, no doubt by a perturbed and cold bee...which now died as a result of me not wearing boots and having to sting me.

here's a pic of the hive in the van:

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sneak Preview of the honey

After much anticipation...and risking ruin of your surprise if you are a lucky recipient of my honey....Here's a special preview.
But first...to give proper, and well deserved credit* to my fabulous friend and designer, suze, who worked on the label design and metal tag for me. After a few iterations of sizing the text to the various bottles, it was left to me to start printing, cutting, and gluing. (Needless to say not ALL the bottles are done yet, but I hope to give the lucky recipients some honey before the holidays.)

* special thanks to, of course, the bees...as well as my beekeeping mentor, Tim, who continues to support me in my expanding beekeeping endeavors.

In succession of the iterations of bringing the label components together

My first wax seal attempts- the wax kept sticking to the stamp, so I first tried putting the wax on tissue paper, but it looked kind of weird (see the black tissue paper around the seal?). note the metal bee stamp next to bottle.

Added the new label, with improved wax seal and gold string instead of ribbon

Wowee...the metal tag- this was the coupe d' etat on suze's design input. I love it!
Thanks to Aculine for the great work on the tag- and accepting my bribe of honey in exchange for a waived setup fee.

My first batch order done..

.just a few more hundred to go....