Saturday, January 31, 2015

A Good Shop

-Posted by Isaac

I mentioned  we've been putting in some hours of shop work this winter. For beekeepers, winter is not only a time of dreaming and watching football. There's plenty to do-- thousands of frames build, brood boxes and supers to paint, foundation to wax, feeders to repair...
To do all this, you need a good shop. Maybe this is a good time to spotlight our little set-up.

When we moved back to Ohio in 2006, one of the first things I jumped into was turning an old garage into a shop.

Much to Jayne's chagrin.
It's not like there was nothing to do on the house. But I tried to explain why I needed to be out there day and night.
Eye rolling.
It's not just a dumpy little shack, Honey! It's the foundation of a business!
More eye rolling.

Well, anyway, eventually it got done. Electric, outlets, lighting, insulation, heat, benches, cabinets, drawers, tools, saws, grinders, nuts and bolts... the works!
And decor. Very important, decor... as you saw in my last post.

Now, spring, summer, fall and even cold winter, we can turn a pile of old bee boxes...

Why snowshoes?
Decor, very important.

...into a pile of old bee boxes with paint on them.

Heat, storage, decor. Check. check, check. 
And music. Also very important. Music.

Ok, enough already. Let me show you a real shop.
I spent some time in my brother's shop this week.
The first noticeable difference: there's room to move!

Also, new tools. Good for "borrowing."

I had to do some welding. He has a welder in his shop! Also a torch. Most beekeepers don't fool with that stuff.

Everything is air-powered:

A big compressor sits in a soundproof room.

Of course he has his toys.
And a little of his own brand of decor.

Some farm toys just a step out the door-

So we're cramped. That's ok.
We can still awkwardly fit three separate work stations.
Henry waxes foundation, Mr. Blair builds frames.
I watch.
I sip martinis and read Tolstoy. (Because it's a long day.)

Sometimes Jayne brings out the linens.
We both watch; nibble some Italian cheese with a touch of honey. Ah, so refined.

Thanks, Whole Foods!

So there you are.
The shop has evolved over the years. The work has evolved.
But I still contend, a good shop is the base of a successful career.
Whatever the career may be.

Masonry or general construction:

Or even animal husbandry:

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Worthington Winter Market- Come Check It Out!

-Posted by Jayne

Have you been to the Worthington Winter Market yet?  Many of our customers lament the end of the summer market season.  I just got an email this week that read, "I can't wait for the return of the summer Worthington market!"  While the Summer market is great, the Winter market is really awesome, too.

I can only believe that these folks have never given our Worthington Winter Market a chance.  So I thought I should take a little pictoral tour of our market so I could create a blog showcasing all the fine offerings of the winter market.

Let's start with the newest vendor: Prairie Fields Farm.  My friend Rachel Najjar blends amazing teas, makes handcrafted soap, salves, lip balms, AND to top it off- she raises her own sheep, spins and dyes the wool, and sells the hand-spun yarn at the market!

Pictured below, Dan the Baker always draws a large crowd with his display (and free samples!) of fresh bread.

Have you tried fresh pasta?  Maria's makes ravioli as you watch.

Or- if you are too impatient to have it made while you watch, grab a bag from their selection.

And just around the corner, bak serves up samples of their cinnamon rolls.  What's that I see?  Honeyrun Farm Fall honey?  Why yes- they use it in their pecan bars!

For the gluten free folks- there is √Čban's Bakehouse.

And for the lovers of fermentation:  Kombu-Tea.  Also offering free samples.  It really does taste great!

I tried the Original and the Ginger-Goji, and I actually liked the Original the best.  They are only at the market every other week, but Raven Rocks has kombucha on alternate weeks.

If you head on up to the heart and soul of the market and you'll find a staple:  FRESH coffee.  Silverbridge roasts their coffee the day before they bring it to market.  And they love giving out free samples!

Have you met Dana and the crew from Dana Lee's Bakery and Catery?  They always have a huge display of baked goods, and offer snacks and pastries that are themed for parties (OSU vs. Ducks, holidays, etc) depending on the season.  

My favorite stop is Swainway Urban Farm- where you can find an assortment of Shiitakes and Oyster mushrooms.  They also have ginger!

Down the hall you'll find another great bread and bagel selection:  Sugar B. Bakery.  She makes an excellent Spinach Loaf.  I also love her bags of Mix'd Up Bagels- an assortment of 6 varieties of made-from-scratch bagels.

Now- the vegetables.  People think there are no vegetables grown in Ohio in winter-time, but that's just not true!  There is an abundance of storage crops you will find at market, such as:

Butternut Squash


And veggies grown in hoop houses, such as:  Kale

Not pictured here but also often found at Winter market:  Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Spinach, Sprouts, Winter Squash, Beets, Potatoes, Salad Mix, and Avocado.  Haha, just kidding.  We don't even grow avocados in Ohio in the Summertime.  I was just making sure you were actually reading, not skimming.

There is an impressive display of apples from Gillogly.  Gold rush are my favorite.  Super crisp, sweet, and tart.


Freshly pressed cider!

And don't forget the meat!  Oink Moo Cluck has a lot to offer.  Do you think locally grown market meat is too expensive?  I've been doing some comparing, and it's just not true.  I have found that some of the local meat often beats out Kroger prices.  

Then you can stroll on down to the Honeyrun booth and check out our large supply of sample soaps.  

Lots of beeswax candles...

Bee Pollen- don't forget to start taking it every day NOW.  Don't wait until Spring when the pollens are in the air.  Your body has to get used to the stuff.

The cinnamon honey seems to fly off the shelf in the wintertime.

And we have a few squares of comb honey left.  Get it while you can, because it will be gone until the bees make more (usually by July).

You will get to meet our favorite "market Nanny" Linda.  She has been taking care of our baby Eden every market since the beginning of May.  What a blessing!

So if this pictoral tour of the Worthington Winter Market hasn't enticed you enough- I don't know what will.  You really need to come check it out for yourself.  For a complete list of who and what you will find there tomorrow, check out the market blog:

Tomorrow you can bring your kids to make a free craft with market sprouts.  The Columbus Folk Music Society will be playing music (they also encourage children to play along with toy instruments they supply).  You can often find a face painter for children, and there is a large playground / slide area at the north end of the mall.

Or, do what we do- leave the older kids with the babysitter and make it a "market date."  There are so many great people to meet, vendors and customers alike.  Stop by and say hi!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Buckeyes Win!

-Posted by Isaac

What an awesome season that was!

Did you avoid the tear gas and 89 dumpster fires?

And what a way to cap it off. Especially for a team that seemed to be perpetual underdogs and had so many things go wrong from the beginning. I'm not one to plan my week around it, but I thoroughly enjoyed watching Buckeye football this year.
It's over?
Has life now left us empty? A meaningless void?

Oh yeah... there's always the bees.

Lately we've been doing a lot of shop work. Mainly building frames, waxing foundation and painting hive bodies.

Off in a forgotten corner of the shop, I found this:

Twelve years ago? Remember? Craig Krenzel and the underdog Buckeyes vs. Big Bad Miami?
I remember. I was unmarried, childless, (penniless) and living in Breckenridge, Colorado more or less as a ski bum. I watched that crazy game at my buddy's place in Fairplay. Riveting it was.
The previous day, I had gone hiking with some Ohio friends and a hot Mennonite girl named Jayne Gerber. We were on the Great Sand Dunes near Alamosa, and one of them (Clayton, you goof!) wrote a gigantic "OSU" by making tracks across the face of a high mountainous dune. We laughed when we reached the car. Looking back, you could clearly see it from over a mile away. And anyone pulling in the lot the next few days could also clearly see it.
I suppose this "vandalism" could be considered somewhat obnoxious if you were not a fan.
But hey, they won!

Winter has set in, hasn't it?
I hope the hive wraps are doing some good.

They certainly hold heat to the touch on a bright sunny day.

The bees are fun to watch. Even when it's a chilly 20 degrees, if the sun is out, there is still quite a bit of activity seen through the upper vent holes.

Hello in there!
We've been sledding and big game hunting.
Maizy stalked this herd behind the bee yard at Grandma's.

And look at this trophy!
What a kill! This baby's going on the wall.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Santa was feeling Guilty

-Posted by Isaac

2014 became a year of projects, big and small.
The biggest, most pressing and most time consuming project continues to be the bees. Keeping them alive. So far I've peered in over 300 hives since Christmas and things are looking good, I must say. Only two dead and many are just busting at the seams.
Permit me to show off some of these monsters:

I'm glad we did an early round of feeding in December.

As you can see, these ladies are ready for more.

Round two will be a heavier feeding.

I've got a question for the beeks out there--
Why am I seeing capped brood this early? Not everyone, but definitely over 10% of the stronger hives have capped brood!
Another question--
What the heck is a drone doing, hanging around on January 1st?

Between the bee work, other projects continue.
The barn addition is coming along nicely.
We're just about ready for metal... but we're waiting for it to get bitterly cold just to prove how tough we are.

And getting around to the title of this post...
Mason finally got his long awaited clubhouse.
Let me explain. At some point last winter a portion of our deck, loaded with firewood, fell in.
It was crappily built. By me. Eight years ago.
I didn't use treated lumber for the joists, as everything was scavenged off an old house. It was done on the cheap, the entire thing built for under a hundred bucks. But as so often happens, in the end I paid for my frugality.

So this past summer it was back to the drawing board.

Treated lumber this time!

About the time I was putting the last of the deck boards down, Mason approached me with, "Dad are you going to build me a club house like you said?"
"Sure Mason. I forgot all about that. As soon as we get the deck done, we'll jump right on it, ok?"

So about a month later, I had decided to get fancy with the railing. I have a thing for old osage.
This took a awhile, and in the middle of it came the question. "Dad... what about my clubhouse?"

"Sure thing, Mason. Doesn't this look pretty?"

By October, things were looking good on the deck and I guessed Mason had forgotten all about his clubhouse as he was now fully immersed in the excitement of first grade.

I was wrong.
We were full swing into concrete one Saturday morning in November. The next project-- Pouring the pad for the honey house addition... and again came the question. "Dad??... clubhouse??..."
"By Christmas, Mason. I promise."

This time I just felt too guilty. Mason's project was actually going to make it on the list.
The next day Mason pointed to where he wanted it and I started digging post holes.

So if you saw Jayne's last post, you can see that it wasn't quite done by Christmas. But close.

As the thing took shape through December, I have to say, I really got into it. The swing set was Jayne's idea.
My idea was to make it look somewhat like the Swiss Chalet I've always wanted. True, it's on stilts, and there are no mountains around...
But we can use our imaginations can't we?

It has since become a kind of Texas roadhouse Swiss Chalet.

Complete with mailbox.