Beekeeping, Gardening and Quilting in Eastern Wake County, North Carolina

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

End of the Year Surprise

Yep, an egg - the first of many to come!
I think this might have been Buttercup or Dumpling - it's almost pink in color.
Maybe the other girls will get the idea now!
Yippee . . . . . .

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Holidays

Whew! I don't know about you but I'm glad the holidays are done and gone. This was some of the action around our house during the holidays . . . . .

Thank goodness I have two sofas - it's a tough life at my house!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Card

For those of you not on my Christmas Card List . . . .

Happy Holidays!


Lily, Roxy, the Little Black Kitty and more additions to our family!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Cold Weather

I know this doesn't seem cold to a lot of folks but it's mighty cold to me!

Monday morning the girls just peeked out of their coop - windy and brrrr cold. This morning they came out - I gave them some cracked corn and some collard leaves.

The thermometer is on the inside of their coop - it was in the 20's. It has warmed up some today and by this weekend we'll be back in the 60's.

They sure are fat and sassy - I'm still waiting for those eggs. That's Lucy on the left, Dumpling and Buttercup up front.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Begins - December 21

Longest Night of the Year

The winter solstice marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year. The sun appears at its lowest point in the sky, and its noontime elevation appears to be the same for several days before and after the solstice. Hence the origin of the word solstice, which comes from Latin solstitium, from sol, “sun” and -stitium, “a stoppage.” Following the winter solstice, the days begin to grow longer and the nights shorter.
The precise moment of the 2008 solstice will be Sun., Dec. 21, 7:04 AM EST (12:04 UT).

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Somebody Has Eggs . . .


These are Ann's chickens - she went to Winston with me and got BB, Lucy and Ethel.

These eggs are green - don't know if you can tell in the photo and I'm still waiting!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Gift or Anytime of the Year

The Buzz About Bees
From Uganda to El Salvador, bees from Heifer International help struggling families earn income through the sale of honey, beeswax and pollen.
Beehives require almost no space and, once established, are inexpensive to maintain.
As bees search for nectar, they pollinate plants. Placed strategically, beehives can as much as double some fruit and vegetable yields. In this way, a beehive can be a boost to a whole village.
Although most Heifer partners keep bees as a supplement to family income, beekeeping can be a family's livelihood. Your gift can help Heifer provide a family with a package of bees, the box and hive, plus training in beekeeping.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Bee Ornaments

Some of my bee ornaments on my Christmas Tree.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Beekeeping Classes 2009

If you're interested in beekeeping, classes are beginning in January in Alamance, Buncombe, Chatham, Guilford, Henderson, Hoke, Mecklenburg and Wake County.

All "wannabees" should take a class (just my opinion) - there's so much to learn. By the end of the class, you'll be ready to get a nuc or hive.

I've been keeping bees for five years and every time I open a hive, it's a learning experience. Nothing is ever the same and all beekeepers are different just like the queens.

If you're interested, take a class - beekeeping is a great hobby.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The New Girls

The new girls have settled in and are having just the usual squabblings. They're still a little scared of Lily (of course, she just runs up and puts her face right on the wire).

They all have names - the darkest golden is Buttercup (from "The Princess Bride"), the white and black - Dumpling, the dark red headed - Lucy and the brown, of course, is Ethel. And that's Miss Minnie in the front of this photo - she is still the head honcho!

Not to be outdone, here's Ellie Mae with Dumpling and Buttercup.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Bee Feeder Box

I'm no carpenter but decided this weekend I could make a smaller box for my sugar syrup containers (the gallon baggies). The height of the box is about 3-1/2" and that gives plenty of room for the bees to move around and eliminates all that dead air space. It sure has been mighty cold so I added duct tape (the cure all for everything) to close up that crack a little.

And I added duct tape to the front of Hive #1 - a little gap there and I felt the need to help the girls a little.

Monday, December 8, 2008

My Helper

She's a digger - no doubt about that.
And she eats Christmas ornaments too!

Monday, December 1, 2008

New Girls in Town

I picked up my four new girls on Saturday in Winston-Salem at the Forsyth Fowl Fair. I got them from Green Family Farms near Wilmington so meeting at the chicken show worked for both of us.
I'm so pleased - they are just stunning and their feather colors are so pretty. I wanted "easter eggs" and that's what I got - Ameraucanas. They have muffs and beards in their facial area - a puffy look around their heads.
They're settling in with Miss Minnie and Ellie Mae.
I'll say Miss Minnie is not being very nice - hope she finds her manners soon.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Bee Feeding

Feeding Hive #6 again on Friday afternoon. They had not taken all the sugar syrup but at least they were working. I replaced one bag and made a little mess at the front door.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Adding On

I've added on in anticipation of getting some more chickens.
Miss Minnie and Ellie Mae need some companions.
I enlarged the run and it now meets the compost bin - gives them much more room for running and scratching around in the dirt.

No need to say this but just in case you're wondering - I'm still not getting any eggs.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving Day

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Miss Minnie and Ellie Mae

Ellie Mae

Miss Minnie
On a little sad note, Dottie has passed on to "Chicken Heaven". Oh no - she was not a tasty treat for Lily - I think she got a chill and chickens are fragile little things.
Chickens are a little like bees - you just do the best you know how and hope everything works.
Unfortunately this was not the case for Dottie.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Carjacking suspect clubbed with frozen turkey


NC carjacking suspect clubbed with frozen turkey
2 hours ago
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Stopped. Cold turkey. North Carolina authorities say a shopper clubbed an alleged carjacker with a frozen turkey as he tried to steal a woman's car in a grocery store parking lot Sunday.
Police say 30-year-old Fred Louis Ervin of Raleigh stole money from a gas station before running across the street to a Harris Teeter store in a town just south of Raleigh. Garner police say he began beating Irene Moorman Bailey while stealing her car.
Other shoppers came to her rescue, including one who hit Ervin with the turkey. Police did not release the person's name.
Despite serious head injuries, Ervin got away in Bailey's car and hit several other cars as he fled. But police arrested him a short time later.
He faces several charges including assault inflicting serious injury. Ervin was hospitalized Monday in good condition, a hospital spokeswoman said. He had not yet been assigned a lawyer and was to appear in court Dec. 30.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Snow Again (the 21st)

I'm behind - believe me I know it.
I wanted to post the photos of snow on Friday morning.
Of course, it was gone quickly.

Chicken feed - gotta a little snow on it too.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Snow Flurries

Snow flurries yesterday.

I hope this isn't a sign of things to come this winter. My holly bushes are so full of berries this year and the acorns - well, there's enough for the neighborhood. Old folks would say we'll have a hard winter.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Feeding Hive #6

Our weather has not been the greatest other than getting lots of rain so I've had to wait to replace the baggies on Hive #6. Even though Sunday was chilly and windy, that was my only opportunity.

They had taken all the sugar syrup and were ready for more. Since it will be cold (really, really cold this week) and I don't get home till after dark, I'll have to wait for the weekend to replace the baggies.

And I had not used baggies before but it's really easy and the bees are not drowning in sugar syrup which is a blessing. Brushy Mountain has a feeder for baggies - it looks like a super cut in half which leaves less air space in the hive. I'll make do with what I have right now and see how it goes.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Mead Making

At our bee meeting this week, Ricky Barbour gave a great demonstration on mead making. He won the Blue Ribbon at the NC State Fair this year for his mead.
The recipe "Joe's Ancient Orange Cinnamon Clove Mead" was very simple and the whole process so easy everybody was ready to go home and make a batch.
Check out this website for more information and the recipe.
My Dad and Grandfather (the beekeeper) both made homemade wines and ciders. I think I need to give it a try too.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day - November 11

11 November 2008 will be the 90th anniversary of Armistice Day.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Hive #6

And on Thursday, I worked in Hive #6 . . . my biggest concern being they just don't have enough food to last thru the winter.

This looks like a mess but I left the bottom super where it was and added frames from the top super to make one good super.

The brood box was put on next and it has food but not completely full of honey.

The empty super is being used just to provide an inner cover for the baggies of sugar syrup. I've never fed my bees this way so we'll see how it works. Two gallon bags and you cut a couple of slits in the top and trickle a little syrup down so the bees will know it's there.

I'll check it and see how it's working.

Hive #6 all ready.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Hive #1

Hive #1 - the bees getting back in the house. It was 70+ degrees today and time to finish up with bee work.
I combined the top two supers on this hive into one - they should be fine for the winter or at least until mid-January.
I'll have to be sure and check all the hives this winter more closely - they are using their stores quicker than I've seen before.

This is Hive #1 after combining the supers. The entrance reducer is on and they're ready for winter.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Yep - I was #69 at the polls this morning. Stopped on my way in to work and no lines - walked right in and said hello to the Board of Election Ladies (my neighbors and friends) and voted!

I checked and back in May I was Voter #49 - some folks got ahead of me today.

It's rainy and messy outside and to hear the news, you'd think you had to stand in line for hours but not the case in my small town.

Please VOTE! Don't want to hear you complaining later if you couldn't get out there and make your voice heard.

Hive #6

Hive #6 is really low on food for the winter. I'm gonna have to start feeding them immediately. I switched around the supers - top to the bottom and brood box in the middle.

I'm surprised at how little honey is in the supers. The bees look fine but they'll never make it thru the winter without some help.

There were tons of ants in Hive #4 - didn't seem to matter to the bees but I'm surprised - I think I had made a note before to put some used motor oil around the bottom - need to take care of that asap.

So out of the three hives and two nucs - Hive #6 needs some help and Hive #1 needs some rearranging - and since the time change, I'll have to leave work early to get this done. Don't want to wait till the weekend and it'll be dark when I get home now - YUK!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Bee Check Up

I've missed a couple of really good weather days to check on the bees but today was just right. This is Nuc #2 which looks great and has plenty of honey for now - I think I'll have to start feeding the Nucs in late Jan - early Feb.

This is Hive #1 with duck tape on the back of the hive - it was a pretty big gap back there. I need to take the top super off this hive and combine the best frames in one super. They were a "little irritated" with me - I got a sting on my glove and the girls got upset pretty quickly. I don't know what it is about the gloves but I decided to wait and wash them before I combine those two supers.

All the hives have entrance reducers on the front - they're ready for cold weather. I do have screened bottom boards on all hives so there's ventilation and I feel this really helps with varroa mites.