Thursday, May 31, 2012

Zinnias, JUST DO IT!

The bees and I are currently loving the zinnias that have made their home in our back yard.  They are technically an annual so you replant them every year but I lucked out this time! I planted them from seed in April of last year and about half of the seeds came up. I planted a lot so it was probably a good thing in the long run. Anyway, I got lazy and the end of last summer and never pulled up the horrid looking half dead plants until about November and lo and behold they reseeded themselves! I now have a smorgasbord of different color zinnias for cutting and the bees have plenty to eat!

Point of the story: plant zinnia seeds in the spring, let them die off and look like crap for a while and they will come back even more plentiful than before!

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Hillwood Honey Project has Begun!

It's official ladies and gents, Tyler, Strongbow and I are beekeepers! Our bees were delivered on Friday and all 30,000 of them seem to like their happy new home.

The yellow thing on the front is a feeder which is filled with a 50/50 mixture of sugar and water and all I have to do for the next few weeks is refill it every other day or whenever they drink it up. They need to be fed for a while until they can get used to their new surroundings and repair any damage that may have happened in transit.

In case you are wondering, my bees were started from a nuc (nucleus colony) in early March by a guy in Alex City, AL so it's bigger and stronger than the average nuc or package. He sold me one of his own nucs because he wanted to make sure that I started my newest hobby with bees that he knew were docile and healthy so I was very grateful that he went over and above to make sure I got the "right" bees! I also purchased all of my equipment from him so he knows me well by now!

In about 2 or 3 weeks they will have filled up both of the boxes with babies (brood) and will need to be split into 2 separate hives so they don't get too crowded and swarm. When that time comes I'll take the top box off and put it on another base with a purchased queen and I'll go from 1 hive to 2 hives. I'll also add a smaller box to the top of each hive for them to grown into and store our their honey.

Here I am on my maiden voyage to the hive. I am well protected if you can't tell!

 Doesn't Strongbow look excited to introduce himself to the bees?! He decided to follow me out to the hive and "help" me change the feeder by sticking his nose in the opening. Brilliant idea bud! After being stung by about 5 bees that all seemed to get stuck in his fur he decided to back off. 

Check out that swollen eye that he is sporting! Maybe he has learned his lesson?!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Yet Another Hobby

So a few weeks ago I was hanging out with Tyler and a few of his colleagues when something funny came up in the conversation and one of his coworkers responded with, "she is pregnant, not stupid!" We all had a good laugh over this statement then it kind of got me thinking, I'm pregnant, not disabled, I'm pregnant, not in a coma, I'm pregnant, and my life may be changing but I'm still the same ole me!

With that said, in usual Sara fashion, I figured now is as good of a time as any to pick up a new, somewhat "different" hobby! It may not be conventional for someone who is almost 7 months pregnant and living in a midtown neighborhood but I don't care; I'm becoming a beekeeper! Yes you heard me, a beekeeper. I already have my 2 hives and the majority of my gear and I have even joined our local beekeepers association. Now all I need is my bees which should be in here in about 2 weeks.

In case you were wondering:
  1. Yes, I am aware that I am about to have a baby
  2. Yes, I know I will probably get stung
  3. No, I am not allergic
  4. No, Tyler is not allergic
  5. Yes, I have cleared it with my neighbors
  6. Yes, Strongbow will probably get stung too
  7. Yes, Tyler will help when the baby comes
  8. Yes, it is legal in my neighborhood
  9. Yes, I know what I am getting my self into
  10. Yes, I do love honey, THAT MUCH
I'll be sure to keep you updated on my beekeeping/sewing/cheesmaking/breadmaking/vegetable gardening (which is looking AMAZING right now BTW), baby growing progress!