Thursday, June 13, 2019

Getthing things done

Good morning everyone
Its been a few months since i have put pen to paper so i decided what better day then to do it, then today
So much has been happening since my last post. First and foremost, James managed to finish the bee yard while i worked at the Post Office for 3 weeks. He did a fab job and it ended up being larger than the original plan. It turned out to be 35' x 50'
Moving them was somewhat of a night mare. It was easy moving the hives but really hard to convince the bees where their new home was. Even though it was a short distance so many of the bees coudnt figure it out. I spent nights rounding up stray bees and putting in Nuc boxes and carrying them over to the bee yard. It went on for 4 nights. After that, they finally figured it out.

So the bees are doing pretty good, we have been battling a bit with Chalk Brood. Last year our bees also had it and i read up on it and sadly i didnt read how the spores can stay in the frames for up to 15 years. Sheesh. So now i am dealing with it. Our Bee Inspector, Barry Clark spent some time talking about it and he made some suggestions which i have done. He is coming our way to do inspections for some of our club members so he will stop in here on his way home and inspect ours. We will decide then if we need to replace queens. But the populations are increasing so i am hoping they will be able to get through it ok.
New bee yard

So what else has been going on at the homestead, well....lots  On our trip to Prince George the other day, we went to a nursery to check on fruit trees. We had in mind 2 apples and 2 cherries. We came home with 2 apples, 1 cherry and 1 plum. So now the bees share their compound with the 4 fruit trees and the black currant i started 3 years ago from a cutting. I really didn't think the orchard was going to happen this year so its a bonus it has.
Hard to see but 4 fruit trees planted
  Another little project we got done yesterday morning was, we got the outhouse (dubbed the "Confessional") over a hole and set up. So now when the power goes off....we are covered.  The new 3 bay woodshed has been started. James had to fall a few trees to make room for the shed, so he was in his glory.

James dropping trees to make room
New 3 bay woodhouse

Well so much for working on the woodshed right now....the blue sky dissappeared and the thunder clouds rolled in. But as they say......wait an hour and the weather will change.
Till next time. Bye for now

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Riverside Apiary's new home

After we first moved in before we moved it
March 19, 2019
We made it home, although not until March 11 but never the less we made it.
The house had been locked up for 6 1/2 long years so needless to say, there was a lot of cleaning and organizing to do.
Our house is not the typical house and by now you probably figured it out that its a old church. We bought it back in about 2006   where it sat in a sorry state for many years, unloved. Over the years we have slowly picked away at it until it became a house.
The church first opened its doors in 1959 when the Bishop traveled by train from Giscome to bless it, Our Lady of Fatima. It only remained a church for about 10 years when it closed it doors forever and sat basically empty until we bought it.
When we first bought it, it was rather sad looking and it was no wonder no one ever gave it a second look. One of the little boys in the neighbourhood  shot out 9 panes of windows with a sling shot and there was broken glass inside, dead birds, bats and lots of flies and lord knows (no pun intended) what else. But we saw its potential.

When we first bought it 

Back before the highway was in, the priests use to travel by train to some of the small towns. One of the locals would go over before the priest would arrive and light the barrel heater in the main room so it would be warm when he arrived. Once we bought it, we went ahead and wired it so we could have lights. We moved into it in 2007 and just recently have water lines run throughout it with hopes this summer there will be a indoor toilet and running water. For the time being....the little house (dubbed the Confessional) out back gets plenty of use. In 2010 we  purchased another piece of property out of the same estate and made plans to move the church onto that.
It was a big deal in Sept 2011 when the old Dome Creek Church moved down the road to its new location. The whole town came out.

The bell tower was removed for the move

The towns people following it down the road

So now that we are home. Maybe we can finally finish it and give it the love it deserves. But first......the bee yard has to be built before the bears wake up. So...the confessional out back will get used a little while longer

How it looks today

Saturday, March 2, 2019

My bags are packed, I'm ready to go............

Now that i have put that song in everyone's head, let me share some exciting news. Its been 2 years in the making and I so ready. Riverside Apiary is moving and expanding...wooohooo.
Thats right, the Motel sold and we are heading home March 9th. I haven't had a lot of time to get real excited yet, as there is so much to do to shut down the business, change over addresses, pack plus all the other chores in the life of a Motelier. (is that a real word?)
Despite all the obstacles and hurdles....we are going to make it happen.  Like the other day,James took a load of stuff and his welding trailer home  and got 20 minutes out of town, when the engine in his truck decided to pack it in. Not the best of times to not have a truck! Anyways, we have some pretty great friends and its coming together.
So earlier i mentioned we were expanding the Apiary, i have ordered 4 packages of bees, which should be arriving near the end of May sometime. So once the snow goes, we will be busy putting in fence posts and building a bear proof compound for the future orchard/bee yard. 

So, a few weeks ago, i decided since we were heading home, i should bottle the Bochet (caramelized honey mead) I made months ago. A short time later some friends came over and Barb and I got to talking about mead. I mentioned that the Bochet was such a nice color and went and brought a bottle out to show her. Then we decided we should smell it...oh my, it did smell good. So out came the glasses. Now i am no expert in the art of wine tasting...but i do love food and really like to savor each morsel i put in my mouth, so  I tried to do the same with the mead. The two of us sat there, taking in the aroma and discussed what we smelt. Then we let it slide over our tongues. Oh it was so smooth and sweet, but sweet in a delightful way. We were so enjoying it, that the guys decided they needed to try it too.

It was a hit and i will definitely be making it again. Oh and after a couple (or more) glasses of it....i dubbed it Bitchin Bochet

Anyways, i should really go and get some more packing done. Not that i am counting or anything but there is  only 7 more sleeps and we are heading home to our little old church in the boonies.  

Friday, December 28, 2018

From our Hive to yours....

Well it is almost the end of yet...another year. 2018 flew by way to fast but i am told that is how it works once you get "over the hill".
It was rather a depressing beekeeping year for me. We lost all our bees coming out of winter, then ordered 2 Nucs to get going again and they were not that great. I struggled most of the summer to keep them alive. One didnt make it but the secnd one did and hopefully it makes it thru the winter. Last Feb i took a Webinar course through the Ministry of Agriculture on beekeeping, which i found very helpful and for 4 Saturday mornings, got me out of cleaning rooms. It was great.
Our local bee club decided we would take steps to become a "real club" so next month the elections will begin. I also joined the local Farmers Institute.
So whats new for Riverside Apiary in 2019, (all going well) there will be some exciting changes. Hopefully retirement is just around the corner. If that is true (and it better bee) we will be moving back to Dome Creek. I am ordering 4 packages of bees this winter in anticipation of retirement. I will be able to dedicate all my spare time to my bees (oh i guess i should probably spend some time on domestic duties and gardens too) and making a great apiary for them. There is a orchard in the works, so far only in my cluttered mind and a bee house. So lots to do.

Anyways, i just wanted to get one last babble in before the year ended. So from our hive to yours...we wish you a very happy New Year, may it be filled with good health and much happiness.

A special gift from a special person

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Merry Christmas from our hive to yours

Christmas is almost upon us and the winter has been a kind and gentle far.  But holy moly....the wind. We have never had such winds and for such a long time. Its been blowing now for around 3 weeks, thankfully its not -20C.
The bees are tucked away in their cozy coat and i am hoping for the best that they will survive the winter and come out strong in the spring.  After last winter i have lost a bit of my confidence of wintering bees over.
Since i didnt have enough honey to give as gifts, i made a batch of Cinnamon Honey Butter. If you are a fan of Cinnamon Toast then you will love this. (pictured below) If you would like the recipe, drop me a line.

 Creamy Cinnamon Honey Butter

 Anyways I just wanted to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and hope the new year is filled with much happiness and good health. See you next year.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Mead Mead and more Mead

Are you kiddin me! Is it really Nov 12. How did this happen.  Its been a long time since i wrote anything, but then nothing much was going on so i didn't want to bore you with a bunch of "fluff".
We finally got the bee yard cleaned up and the bees put to bed for the winter. Like last year we have made sure we could move them incase this never-ending motel sale goes through. We moved the hives onto 2 stacked pallets so if the bottom one freezes to the ground...we can pick up the top one.  We even wrapped them differently this year. I read a article about how someone from Prince George wraps their bees and did my version of his method. I hope it works. It has 3 layers. Pink fiberglass insulation, then a layer of silver bubble wrap insulation then a thicker plastic over top to keep the insulation dry. I have left them lots of honey, 8lbs of candy board and some fondant and hopefully that will keep them fed for the winter. Once again  i say a little prayer they will make it through our long unpredictable winter, and see them again in the spring.

So what am i up to this winter....... Mead Mead and more Mead
Mead is believed to be 1000's of years old and one of the oldest known alcohols. It is also know as Honey Wine. It is made simply of honey, water and yeast.

Only a couple weeks old.
 The latest project i have been working on is a new batch of Mead. This time i wanted to try a Bochet (pronounced Bow Shay) its made by caramelizing the honey for a long period of time.
The first batch I made i cooked the honey for 20 minutes, then a friend and i made a second batch cooking the honey for 30 minutes this time. We will do a taste test when we rack them off in about 4 weeks.  Earlier this year i had decided to make a gallon of Traditional mead. It has been resting since March so we decided it was time we try it again and holy cow it was good. I was sort of impressed. Not that i am counting or anything.... but only 11 more days until i get to sample the Bochet...yum.
Bye for now

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Never give up

After coming out of winter with 2 dead hives and feeling like i was not a good beekeeper, i brushed myself off and got back up.
The place i had ordered a nuc from in the New Year had suffered losses also and couldn't supply me with bees. So i desperately searched for a new source. I found someone who was bringing up a large amount of nucs from the lower mainland. So i ordered 2.
To make a long story short, the bees weren't in very good shape. One hive was better than the other. One struggled since i got them, they hardly expanded their numbers, very little pollen was brought in and no capped honey.  I tried all i could to save them. We even sent some questionable larvae to the lab. A mite test showed they were infested big time. And even after treatment, nothing could be done to save them. The lab test showed nothing like AFB or EFB. The inspector figured it was a mite related virus. I felt sooo defeated.
Thankfully the other hive seems to be doing good.  And even though they still have chalk brood, the hive is large and vigorous. They have a good amount of capped honey and a good amount of bees so if there is a bee god...they will make it through the winter.
The summer has been a horrible one. It started off really hot, then it cooled down. Then we were socked in with smoke for a weeks. Now, here it is Sept 12 and we had snow today, yes you heard me SNOW. Although it was only mixed in with the rain, the snow is half way down the mountain. Last night on the weather we had heard of minus temperatures over the next couple days, so after the news i went out and gave the girls another frame of partially capped honey and wrapped the bottom 2 boxes with the silver bubble wrap insulation. This should keep them comfortable until better weather returns.  Winter can't possibly be coming already.....right?

Here it is Sept 29th now. Fall is definitely in the air. We have had many frosts, but yesterday and today we are blessed with having sunshine. Today the bees are out and about, scrambling to get ready for winter and kicking out the boys before they eat them out of house and home. Poor boys :(
Anyways, with the threat of minus temperatures arriving soon, its time to get the candy boards done and deciding on what form of winter wraps will be going on this winter.  Well....that's all for now, i am going outside to enjoy this beeutiful Autumn day.