Beekeeping: A New Hobby

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.

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Winter Anticipation

Winter 2015 has seen some pretty extreme weather. -40 with the wind-chill? I’ll stay inside thank you very much. I heard on the radio that this winter has seen the coldest temperatures in 114 years.  We went for a walk in the sugar bush yesterday and found that a new path branching off from the main road had been roughed out with the RTV by my Dad. We walked it while I excitedly counted maple trees. “1 tap in that tree, 2 taps in that tree….” I thought to myself as we slogged through the snow. My rough estimate is we will get 15-20 more taps from the trees down that path. Us being as horribly unoriginal as we are, none of these paths have names. We’ve come up with ‘the treeline’ to refer to the path along, you guessed it, the treeline. Or the main road we’ve called ‘the main road’. I want to name this road something more exciting than “new path”. Maybe the rabbit path… We’ll see. More on that later.