Heaven on Earth

Heaven on Earth

Tuesday, June 2, 2015


Here we go again.  I told the story of the "Accidental Beekeepers"  in this post.  The feral hive that lived in our roof eaves for years was removed.  The beekeeper/contractor who we hired to cut them out, accidentally put the queen in the colony after he sprayed her with insecticide in the roof. He was trying to kill any bees he didn't remove so they didn't recolonize in the roof. OOPS.  Three days later, the whole colony died.  Then we bought a hive from a local IFA store  We later discovered that it hadn't really been taken care of very well when we got it; not very many bees. I don't think we fed it enough either and it absconded, which in beekeeper terms means the colony didn't like the accommodations we provided and moved on to greener pastures. This year, armed with more knowledge and hard won experience,  we are trying again; this time with two hives so we can compare the two.
The kitchen garden is providing some nice pollen and nectar right now.  The poppy pollen is bright orange.  It looks nice in the bee frames next to the bright yellow of the dandelion pollen.
One hive is stronger than the other but both are gaining in population and the queens are laying. We've had at least one hatch and this weekend I'll put a second brood box on each hive. The colony needs to more room to grow so the queen has comb to lay new eggs. The average life of a field bee (the foragers that collect nectar for honey) is about 3-4 weeks this time of year. They literally work themselves to death.  It takes 3 weeks for an egg become a bee so it's important the queen is laying well.

There is a great deal of pollen and nectar now and the hives are thriving so cross your fingers and hope we do better this time around.

This starling and his mate pulled out some mortar from the ice house eaves and they have a nest full of baby birds under the roofline.  The bird on the ridge was watching me pretty carefully with a worm in his beak.
And here's a photo of one the beekeepers.  Don't tell him I posted his photo though.  He's camera shy.
We both use a full bee suit when I open up the hive. B's allergic to bee stings and I just don't like getting them!  I could sit all day watching the hives and I don't use a suit for that.
This is the way to "mow" a lawn/pasture in my opinion.  Our neighbor, Peter, borrows his friend's sheep for the weekend. Love this breed and their black faces.
That's a pretty nice view from our back garden, don't you think?


  1. WOW, I love honey but am afraid of bees. Looking forward to hearing how that honey taste at the end of the season. Oh those sheep,wonderful!

  2. That's a AWESOME view -- SHEEPIES!!! I would definitely be in heaven! I'd sit out there with some needlework, watching the bees and sheep and know life didn't get any better. You Lucky, Lucky Girl!!! XO

  3. Hi good Bonnie! You have a lot of buzzing activity at your house! I hope you are doing well. Have a great weekend!

  4. Oh, but I do love your neighbor's mowers!!
    I'm so happy your bees are working so hard. We are getting bees this summer. A Calif. beekeeper came up our country road and asked if he could set out hives this summer in exchange for honey. I'm hoping he shows up this weekend. Exciting!

  5. I went for a ride in S.C. the other day, and I saw the sheep "mowing". They are cute!!
    Wishing you all the best luck with bees this year!! Hope your hives thrive.


  6. I just saw Julie's new pattern, Kitties!! Will you teach a class? If you do, please announce it or let me know so I can be there.
    Hope your bees are doing well.
    Jill Beck

  7. Dear Bonnie, good luck with the bees this year. I know your honey will taste way better than that which we buy in the store. I love the shots of your country property. We are no longer on property, and I miss it. Twice recently, semis transporting bees have had accidents and have let go, they said, millions of bees, and apparently the bees will all die because they have been separated from the queen. Thanks for visiting me at my blog. Hope your summer is going well. Joni