Monday, October 27, 2014

Honey harvesting

I am always amazed at the difference between summer and fall honey. This is all we have left of our summer honey on the right and the darker, bolder fall honey is on the left. It was a slim harvest for us. The bees in one hive just didn't produce much at all this year while the other was nicely productive.
My husband loves to help with harvest even when that means he's on cleaning duty. Here he is cleaning out a box that will go into storage this winter. 

Our productive hive really liked making wax. Normally we keep enough frames in the hives for the bees to fill with honey, but apparently I left an open spot. It wasn't empty for that long. The bees made a frame to fill the space. These bees are quite dark and that is generally true of all the bees in this hive. Some of the daughter workers have virtually no yellow on them anywhere. This is in contrast with our other hive where this fall's new bees are very golden in color.

Typically beekeepers assume that darker bees are more temperamental. In this case my experience belies that notion. These bees are lovely to work yet they also produce good amounts of honey.

Monday, October 13, 2014

99 Bulbs in the ground

It has been a busy weekend here. I planted 99 bulbs in one afternoon. Why 99 and not 100?  I planted three packages of bulbs - 50 crocuses, 25 late tulips and 24 early tulips. The folks who work on the packaging really make me crazy with their inconsistent numbers of bulbs but I am sure I won't care in the spring when there is a riot of pastel colors in the front yard. Some of the bulbs were planted in beds next to the door. This is the first time we ever planted bulbs there. Let's hope the chipmunk doesn't notice!

Crocuses provide a fair amount of pollen for being such a small flower. Tulips always give me pause in the spring. Their pollen is often black or dark gray. So my first instinct is to think the bees have moldy honey before I remember that tulips are in bloom.

We also harvested the last of the tomatoes. The tomatoes cracked me up this year. My daughter brought home two tomato plants labeled yellow pear. These beauties are Early Girl - no yellow or pear about them.

The final fall preparations are underway. The bees are still bringing in pollen although the cooler days have brought fewer and fewer bees out every day.