Archive for April, 2010

We Are Beekeepers

The big day has finally arrived!!!! We got our bees on Saturday! Dad and I drove up to Spokane, went to a demonstration about installing package bees in a hive and then picked up our packages from Tate’s Honey Farm. We picked up 2 packages for ourselves and my cousin Kirby is keeping one hive at our house as well. We drove them home and installed them to wild cheers and applause from our admiring relatives.

The peanut gallery, watching from a safe distance.

There are about 10,000 bees in a 3-lb. package.

Look at these babies! Cute, ain't they?

We give the bees a 1:1 sugar and water syrup to eat.

That's my little cuz Sam supervising me.

Ok, time to open up the packages.

We open up the package with a hive tool and remove the can of sugar water that has fed the bees on their long ride from California.

The queen is in her own little cage, inside the package of bees. The worker bees have fed her through the cage for days to keep her alive while they travel.

Kirby is holding up the queen bee in her cage.

The queen can’t enter the hive just yet. The bees need to get to know her to ensure that she will be accepted into the hive. So now we commence the delicate operation of prying a tiny cork out of the end of the cage and replacing it with a mini marshmallow! The other bees will slowly eat their way through the marshmallow over the next day or two. When they reach the queen she can get out and join the hive.

You must be very careful not to let the queen escape and fly away during this operation. If she gets away, it's all over- you have to sheepishly go buy yourself a new queen.

Then we put the queen’s cage in between a couple of frames.

Next, we dump out the bees in the package!

This part is a bit eerie, but you basically just shake the box and they pour out in an avalanche of little buzzing bodies.

Then Mom got stung on her chin and ran like the dickens. She was in beeg trouble...

...and so the rest of the pictures are from very far away. 🙂

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Whey Lemonade

Here is a delicious recipe for lemonade made out of whey leftover from cheesemaking. Add 1/3 cup of honey and the juice of 2 lemons to 1 quart of whey. That’s it! I added a little boiling water to the honey and stirred it to make a syrup. Otherwise it can be impossible to get honey to dissolve in cold liquid. If your whey was still hot when you made it, you wouldn’t need to do that. You can also use sugar instead of honey if you like.

Anyway this stuff is really good and good for you because of the minerals and protein in the whey. I hear you can also add Tang or Kool-Aid but personally I would rather do the lemonade. There are so many things you can do with whey, including making awesome bread and pizza crust. You can also put it on your garden or give it to pigs and chickens but it almost seems like a waste because it’s so tasty for cooking and drinking.

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First Spinach of the Season

We harvested a bit of spinach today. This is from the bed we planted before we went on vacation a month ago. (If you missed our vacation photos they are over on my other blog, The Daily Eyestrain.) Anyway everything we planted grew and here we are having fresh spinach in April.

I invited Popeye to dinner.

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