Our venture to Toledo, Ontario for maple syrup and beekeeping equipment was successful today. First, I bought 30 more sap buckets, spiles and lids to make my grand total number of taps to 300. We’re going to put my evaporator (150-300 tap capacity) through its paces that’s for sure. Next, I visited a beekeeping equipment supplier who equipped me fully for my beekeeping endeavors. What a day!
I ordered my bees!! Wow, I’ve got so much to think about and do and prepare for my their arrival now! My mind has been buzzing, hatching new plans about this until they arrive. Now I get to wait. Until May. Wait and brainstorm until May when they arrive. Maybe wait and scheme conjures a better mental image. I’m excited!
We planted some apple trees last year close to where they’ll be situated. I know there is an abundance of other nectar sources around as well and I’d like to be able to identify them as I walk around so I’ve been doing lots of research on that. The beekeeping course I took at Algonquin College last year was very informative and made me feel ready to get my own hives this year. “Attracting Native Pollinators”, “The Hive and the Honey Bee”, “The Backyard Beekeeper”, “The Quest for the Perfect Hive” are a couple of the books I’ve been reading to educate myself on what I’m getting myself into. Since I work in a library, finding books on the topic is a cinch. In fact I’m up to my eyeballs in beekeeping literature. Finding the time to read everything is the hard part. Luckily I’ve got a couple of more months to get through the deluge of bee info before they arrive.
My mind is abuzz with questions about how the bizarrely mild weather so far this winter is going to affect the sap flow. If we don’t get a very deep freeze the season will likely be very short indeed. A recent trip to Montreal’s Dominion and Grimm warehouse has me enchanted with the amount of specialty equipment there is. I reigned in the urge to splurge on all the spiffy equipment and gadgets that appeared essential to have. If everything goes according to plan this year, I’ll add 20-30 more taps if I can. More on that later.
In other news, my excitement about beekeeping is mounting as I put together my order for equipment and hives. I’ve been in touch with a man I can order my bees from too. Oooohh I can’t wait until the spring!
My newest venture is beekeeping! Even though my adventure into the world of beekeeping will commence next year when the bees arrive in the mail, my preparations for their arrival have already begun. As with any other hobby or study of mine my first steps are to immerse myself in literature on the topic. I am up to my eyeballs in beekeeping books; I have scads of research on seasonal nectar sources. And the sketches have started. A doodle in a margin here, a quick drawing on a pad of paper there. Anytime my mind wanders I start doodling. Plus, I have a book on order that is considered by many to be the source for all beekeeping knowledge. “Hive and the Honeybee” by Lorenzo Langstroth himself, the man who revolutionized beekeeping with his hive design. I am going to start my bee-yard with one or two pre-assembled hives, then using those as models try to construct my own. I attained instructions on how to build Langstroth hives and I’ll start on construction of those this fall.
While meandering the woods my mind is also at work devising where to put my bee yard; access to water, nectar, and shelter from the wind are musts. Just the other day I came across a big bear paw print in the mud along a path. The fact that we have a bear living in our woods I must consider in my beekeeping plans as well. While the idea of Winnie the Pooh stealing honey from my hives is humorous, real bears do not exhibit Pooh’s docile manner. They will rip my hives apart to get at the honey and nectar inside. In order to protect against the destructiveness of bears and other vermin I’ll need to get vermin boards and an electric fence to surround my hives. I’m excited to start harvesting honey yet I think it’s a good thing that I am starting my preparations a year early. There certainly is a lot to learn and think about.