Wednesday, July 24, 2013

"Favorite Hive" Update

-Posted by Isaac

A quick update on that favorite hive of mine... and the general honey-making of late.
When we left for Montana I was feeling a bit nervous. The early July rains were keeping the bees from foraging often enough.  The soybeans were starting to bloom, which usually constitutes a decent honey flow in our area but there wasn't much of anything in the supers. 
Upon our return it was a different story. The bees have been busy and the boxes are filling up. 
I put some pollen traps on our home bee yard hoping to collect some buckwheat pollen. (We've planted a lot of buckwheat this year, which I'll post about later.) To put the traps on you have to remove all the supers and brood boxes, so I basically did a thorough inspection of this yard. We have honey! Some of the hives were so caked full I added a super. You can see I added a deep to this "favorite hive." The golden Italians are hard workers in addition to being 'lookers'. Hard not to love.

I hope this honey flow keeps up. The recent cooler days and rains will put a damper on things but I've got a feeling the stronger hives will still add a few pounds as long as there is something out there blooming.


Friday, July 19, 2013

Congratulations to the Beekeeper! Second Place in the Missoula Marathon!

-posted by Jayne

Last week we took some time off and snuck in a summer vacation- something that hasn't happened in quite a long time.  Those Saturday markets usually keep us from venturing away - in the past we try to leave Sunday morning and get back Friday, but this year- we planned a trip to Missoula, Montana so Isaac could participate in the Missoula marathon.  He took 2nd place!  His time was 2:38:53.  Like most runners, he had hoped to run it a bit faster.  Meanwhile, I'm just wishing the #1 guy hadn't shown up on race day.  But oh well.  ;-)

After the race, we took a hike up to Glen Lake in the Bitterroot mountains and Isaac took a much-needed dip.  It was a lake fed by snow-melt and it was pretty chilly.  I took my shoes off and dipped my feet in the water, and Bridger promptly grabbed my shoe and threw it in the water.  The boy just loves throwing things in water.

This picture is from the same hike.  You can see the area around the trail was recently burned.  Despite the blackened trees, the area was spectacular.  The beargrass was blooming all around (this is what Bridger is holding), and the fireweed, although not yet in bloom, was covering the landscape.  Bees love fireweed and it makes an excellent honey.  

Earlier in the week we visited Glacier National Park and stayed at one of our favorite places on earth- Polebridge, MT.  There is a great little hostel there called North Fork Hostel.  

Just down the road, the Polebridge Mercantile makes excellent Huckleberry Bear Claws and other pastries and breads.  The entire town operates without electricity, running mostly on solar power and generators.  Outhouses abound.  

Enjoying a Bear Claw by the river.  We had one for dinner, breakfast, and a snack the next day.
 We hiked the Bowman Lake Trail, viewing some of the most pristine water I have ever seen.

Bridger happily tagged along on Isaac's back during our many hikes.
Such a cooperative little fellow!
 After hiking a ways around Bowman Lake we took the suggestion of the locals and tried the Hidden Meadows Trail- a short hike that led back to this lake with two Swans.  I am really curious how the swans got there.  What do you think?  Do they migrate?  Or did someone put them there for the summer?

The next day we hiked on the Grinnell Glacier trail- which was only partially open due to snow cover near the glacier.  Just check out those wildflowers.  Bee's paradise.

We headed over to "Two Medicine" on the East side of the park the next day and took a hike there as well.  Next time we come (with Mason and Maizy in tow) I want to rent a canoe in this spot.  

And the final hiking picture I'll leave you with; Camas Lake Trail.  We ended up circling the entire Lake which was a much longer hike than expected, but we snacked on Huckleberries all the way around the lake.  Fortunately we had our cousin Rachel, resident Montanan, to make sure we only ate the edible Huckleberries and Thimbleberries.  I had purchased Huckleberries many times at the farmer's market in Missoula, but never gathered them myself in the wild.  It was so great having Rachel join us!

Speaking of Huckleberries- check out the hefty price they fetch at the Missoula Farmer's market! 

The Missoula Farmer's market is where we first started our dream of becoming market farmers.  It is a huge, bountiful market with such a great expanse of produce.  Cool weather crops such as root vegetables, kale, chard, and other greens, sweet peas, carrots, and onions are plentiful.  Very few farms had tomatoes this time of year, and there was no sweet corn.

 This is Josh Slotnick, my former professor and thesis advisor from the PEAS Farm.  He and his wife run Clark Fork Organics.

The name of this flower eludes me.  I know it grows best in cooler climates- which is why I have never grown it here in Ohio.  Can anyone help me identify it?

We have Bison meat here in Ohio- but nary a Buffalo hide to be found at our farmer's markets!

Here is an "above-the-bridge" shot of the Missoula Farmer's Market.  This is only one-third of a section of this particular market.  And there is another farmer's market less than a mile up the street.  Missoulians love their local food!

 I hope you enjoyed this short visual tour of our vacation.  We visited a beekeeping operation up near Glacier National Park and I'm sure Isaac will be posting about it in the next blog post, along with more hiking and wildflower pictures.

Nevertheless, we're back to work, and we're pleased to say our bees were working pretty hard while we were gone (along with our employees Delinda, Julia, and the Josephs who worked our Worthington and North Market booth- THANK-YOU!)  Isaac and fellow beekeeper Jim North went out to check a few hives today and reported that the bees are bringing in a lot of Summer Honey, although it is not quite yet capped off and ready to be extracted.  We'll keep you updated!  And once again, thanks for following us on our journeys!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Wet Summer Days

 -Posted by Jayne

It's a busy Friday and I have a babysitter for a few hours, so I thought I'd get a quick blog post in before I pack up the car for farmer's market tomorrow.  Just a few quick photos showing what's going on around the farm.

We're having lots of fun on the farm with these wet summer days.  Who needs a swimming pool when there's a natural swimming hole in your front lawn? This only happens when we get 2 inches of rain in less than 15 minutes.  But luckily it hangs around for a day so we can play in the water.

Mason, Bridger, and I took a trip to Deer Creek State Park to throw rocks in the water.  It's Bridger's favorite past-time.  Hours of endless fun.

 We had the Annual Scioto Valley Beekeeper's Club Picnic at the Clark's Farm on the eastern side of the county.  They have a gorgeous farm with a beautiful pond.  It was a perfect day for kite-flying.

 My niece and nephew, 9 year old twins Owen and Olivia are selling sweet corn at their new produce stand just a mile down the road.  Only $3.00 a dozen!  Come on by their place to try it out:  20245 Pherson Pike, Williamsport.

I finally got out to weed the Lemon Verbena this morning.  It will soon be infused in our Lemon Verbena Infused honey (my favorite variety of infused honey!).  The green weed-looking plant behind it is buckwheat!  We decided to downsize our vegetable garden this year and plant more for the bees.

Weeding the lemon verbena is a favorite chore.  Brush against the plants and you get a whiff of a fruity, lemony scent.  I've always thought it smells kind of like Fruity Pebbles (but much more natural of course).

We have a long bed of Echinops ritro, also known as Globe Thistle.  Although many wonder why I would plant a thistle in my garden... they simply have to wait for the beautiful purple/blue balls to appear to understand my love for this plant.  Here they are just thinking about turning silverish blue, and there are just a few that the bees have begun to notice.

Three little ladies on one flower!  Lots of nectar to be had, girls... just be patient.

Isn't she a beauty?

And in other matters- we will be closing our Etsy shop from Tuesday July 9th through Tuesday the 16th.  If you have any honey, soap, or candles needs during that time- please place your order now!  My office assistant and I are ready to assist you.  Bridger loves to "organize" my packing supplies.