Friday, March 28, 2014

We want to Pump You Up!

-Posted by Isaac

This time of year is hard on bees. The weather is turning, sun is out, days of flight are taking place with increased energy expenditure. The queen's egg laying rate is on the upswing, the brood nest is building... but there's nothing to eat!
In this area, until the maples bloom, there's really not much out there. 

Here's a little trick for some quick protein.
Dry Feeding:

This bag came free, compliments of Joe Latshaw, and compliments of Dan Williams our Scioto Valley Beekeepers club president. (Dan's always hobnobbing with the bee world upper echelon.)
It is basically a protein / nutrient mix meant for combining with syrup and placed on the bees in patty form. I mentioned feeding patties in that last blog post... same thing.
Bee Pro from Mann Lake works well also. But we've actually had to pay for it.

The good thing about dry feeding is that it requires all of one minute in the bee yard. You can cover a lot the ground fast.

I like to use buckets turned sideways with a hole cut in the lid. This keeps the powder from getting wet. The chicken wire keeps unwanted guests from grabbing a free meal. Placing the bucket high helps with this also.

The bees are crazy about it.

Until the maples bloom... then they simply ignore it.

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Best Pet

-Posted by Isaac

Just when I blogged about Mason having virtually no interest in bees, he latched on to the idea of helping dad. "It's about SCIENCE, Mason!"
Or maybe he simply liked the repetition and practice with his counting. We spent several evenings placing nearly 3000 frames in supers. 
Even Maizy pitched in. (In spurts) 
Bridger, not so much. But somebody had to manage the operation.

We had a lot to get done:

Mason also helped in conducting a little experiment.
Dan Williams, our bee club president has been posting about the thermal retention of hive bodies when wrapped in tar paper. (With some amazing results.) I had to see it for myself.
This is black stretch wrap instead of tar paper.
Thank you, Jim North
 Mason inserts the temperature probes.

 And sure enough, after about two hours in the sun the hive bodies wrapped in black had gained nearly eight degrees.

With a living cluster of bees, those precious degrees would surely be retained and appreciated.

Maybe we'll get smart next winter.

Beekeeping must have crept into Mason's thinking. One day last week he brought this home from school:
That's my boy!
Maybe his grammar could use some work, but he has already surpassed his father in handwriting and spelling. (Thank you, Spell-check.)

We were talking about what bees eat and how they make honey (Huny). The word "nectar" came up several times and I realized (I think) he's probably getting nectar confused with the protein patties we're putting on the hives this week.

Yes, bees eat nectar, but this time of year they relish protein. The winter pollen stores are diminished and they need some protein muscle to build up a healthy brood nest.

Ummm... Not too bad!
So bees eat Neptr and boys eat Neptr.
A kid'll eat Neptr too.
Wouldn't you?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Does Your Beeswax "Bloom"?

Have you ever noticed your beeswax candles changing after they sit in your house for several months? There is a natural process called "bloom" that happens to 100% pure beeswax candles.  Bloom refers to the whitish cast that takes over the outside of the candle.  It does not affect the way a candle burns, and is simply a natural process of the softer oils of the beeswax rising to the outside surface.

Here is an example of beeswax candles that have "bloomed."  They were sitting in a very cold part of our honey house for several months.

Beeswax with bloom.

And pictured below you see the exact same candles, just moments later.  To remove bloom, simply rub the candles with a soft, lint-free cloth.  Another method I like to use is gently blowing on them with a warm blow-dryer.  Both methods work well.

Here are some taper candles with bloom.

Here you can see how I used a warm blow dryer on the candles without taking the center tag off.  The bloom remains on the area that was not warmed.

And here is the finished product - candles after the bloom was removed.  After you remove the bloom, you may see it reappear again after several months.  Cold weather tends to cause the candles to bloom more readily.  But the good news is you can always restore the candles back to their original luster if you wish.  

-posted by Jayne

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Slow Down - time to enjoy a cup of tea

-posted by Jayne

We've been experiencing a "slow down" here at Honeyrun Farm.  Babies have a way of reminding us what's important in life.  These days, I am just content to sit on the couch and hold baby Eden.
I closed the Etsy shop for a few days (something I rarely ever do).  I suffer from sleep deprivation, but can't really be upset about that.  We are so blessed by our children, and as the popular poem by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton says, "Babies don't keep."  Here is the last stanza of that poem:

Oh, cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
But children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust, go to sleep.
I'm rocking my baby. Babies don't keep.

Baby Eden, 10 days old

The weather is finally beginning to change here in Ohio, and with it changes our tea-drinking style.  Today I brewed my first batch of iced tea.  All winter long we've been enjoying a bounty of hot tea.  Bridger loves hot tea, and he doesn't let me make my own cup without also making one for him.  He's even been known to throw a temper tantrum when I told him "No- no tea right now."  The boy loves his tea.

A boy and his morning tea.
 Today I thought I might share with you two of my favorite sources for tea, as well as how I like to pair them with our honey.  I have found that loose tea imparts much more flavor than store-bought tea bags. The tea leaves themselves tend to be larger and more intact, giving a fresher flavor to the cup of tea.  I mentioned in my last post about tea that Brew Mama Herbalism makes a delicious Herbal Chai.  I like to pair it with a darker, stronger honey, such as Fall, Tulip Poplar, or even Buckwheat.

Herbal Chai from Brew Mama Herbalism (photo credit Angela Kiser Brown)

 The morning that I went into labor with Eden, I had made myself a cup of "Calm" which is a mild chamomile flavored tea.  I told Angie from Brew Mama that she might want to call it "labor inducing tea."  It is made with Chamomile, Lavender, Passion flower, Skullcap, Red Clover, Catnip, and Dried Orange Slices.

Calm- a mild tea with a chamomile flavor (photo credit Angela Kiser Brown)
Another place I source my tea is from Montana Tea and Spice Trading.  I usually order a one year supply of my favorite, Montana Gold (a dark cinnamon rooibos tea), as well as white tea and green tea.  The prices are great and the quality of the tea is excellent.  I like to drink the Montana Gold tea with our fall honey.  Green tea and white tea pair well with Spring and Summer honey, since they are more mild in flavor.  

White tea from Montana Tea and Spice Trading

The first day of Spring is just 6 days away, and the sun is a welcome sight here in Pickaway County.  The treacherous snow and ice that blanketed the ground around our farmstand for the past 3 months is now gone.  It's time to enjoy our last few cups of hot tea before iced tea takes the stage.  If you need some honey for your tea- come visit Isaac at the Worthington Winter Market tomorrow from 9-12.  Or stop by our sunny farmstand, where our dog Lucky will greet you with a tail-wag.

Our farmstand - and THE SUN!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Birth and Birthday

-Posted by Isaac

It's been quite the eventful week on the farm. Monday started out with spring bee feeding expectations. I made a trip to pick up about three tons of bee feed:

On Tuesday morning, 4:30 AM, I started out on another trip. This one heading south to Kentucky to pick up an order of 3000 frames and foundation among other bee related odds and ends. About a mile down the dark road I noticed the trailer lights were out. I had to turn the whole outfit around and try to figure out what was going on. By daylight I was still no closer to a roadworthy trailer so I thought I might as well fix myself some breakfast.
That's about the time Jayne came downstairs. She was having labor pains!
Major surprise.
Our previous three babies were born a week past their due date. This one was apparently coming six days early! As it turned out the trailer problems were a blessing. I'd never live it down if our forth child was born while I was off in Kentucky hauling bee equipment.

By the day's end, she was in our arms:
Eden Caroline Barnes
Born March 4th. 8.0 lbs
What a beauty! What a cutie! Welcome to the World!

By this point in our baby having careers, the nurses and doctors all knew us as the beekeepers (the prolific beekeepers). I was surprised to receive quite a few thank-yous and compliments about the honey we brought two years ago when Bridger was born.
 Couldn't disappoint this time around.

Yes, of course, the big one was for Dr. Goldfarb.
He catches a baby and gets all that honey. Isn't that just the way?

Eden timed it perfectly so that we'd have to stay two nights as captives in the hospital. The family all had to visit. Welcome to the noisy world, little girl.
My brother brought cigars. Once again, adamantly, Jayne refused to let the baby have even one puff.

So after nearly 48 hours we were homeward bound with a new addition in tow:
Even for you, Eden!

And the day we drove Eden home happened to be Mason's birthday.
Our little rocket scientist turned six!

He's pretty serious about space.
Everything space.
When asked if he wanted to play basketball in town this winter, he responded, "No, I guess not..."
"Why not, Mason?"
"Because... it's not about science."

Now that's my boy!
We thought he could handle a telescope:

So far we've been able to explore the interstellar mysteries of bird feeders, branches and sandbox toys.

At this point in his career his head is completely in the stars with almost zero interest in bees. Maybe he'll come around, maybe not. (Beekeeping really is about science, Mason!)

And even if the astronomy doesn't work out, he's smart and talented; so many roads for a young man such as this:

Urgent Update: (at Jayne's request)   I would like to clarify that I'm not laughing at Mason in this video, just the funniness of it all. In fact I didn't discover the little "plumber aspect" until re-watching it. Also, I'm not knocking on plumbers. There have been many instances, living in this old house, that I have wished I was one.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Honey and Tea Give-a-Way! Guess our baby's arrival date!

-posted by Jayne

•This contest is now closed.  Congrats to Heather who picked the date, March 4th!

As many of you know, we are expecting our fourth little honeybee to arrive in about 9 days.  Well.... 9 days (March 10) is what the doc tells us, but as you know, babies rarely come when they are "supposed" to arrive, so we thought it might be fun to do a little give-a-way and let you try to guess our baby's arrival date.  The winner(s) will be the one(s) that pick the correct date!  Here's what's up for grabs:

A 25 pack of Summer Honeysticks

One of these 8 oz honeys:  You pick: Tulip Poplar, Summer, or Fall
Three of these herbal tea sample packs from
Brew Mama Herbalism
 My good friend Angie started a new Etsy store, Brew Mama Herbalism, where she sells her own tea blends as well as gift sets (containing our honey!).  Her teas are so unique and I've become quite addicted to her Herbal Chai.  It is almost impossible for me to sip this tea- I have a bad habit of chugging it (I'm not exaggerating).  The cardamom in the tea gives it such a warming flavor and uplifting scent.  I was never a fan of traditional Chai made with black tea- but this Herbal Chai is something entirely different.

Herbal Chai from Brew Mama Herbalism - my personal favorite!
Each person who correctly guesses the date of our baby's arrival will win:

All 5 items:
-One 25 pack of honeysticks
-One 8 oz honey: (Tulip Poplar, Summer, or Fall)
-3 Sample packs of tea from Brew Mama Herbalism- you choose the varieties

Here are the rules:
1.  You may enter only one time.  Please, no entries from your pets or young children that cannot yet use the computer.  ;-)
2.  The contest will stay open until March 10th.  This will keep it fair for everyone, as if I am overdue the chances for those entering after my due date will have better odds than those that guess early.  So guess early, but keep in mind that babies come early and late.  I have never been induced before and don't plan to this time either.
3.  Open to United States residents only.  Sorry, international followers!
4.  Winners will be notified no later than March 30th.  Thanks for your patience as we spend time with our family!
5.  Enter by commenting with your guess of the arrival date and your email address, unless you can be contacted through blogger, then a date will suffice.

Good luck!

This give-a-way is sponsored by Honeyrun Farm.