Thankfully, I checked the web site of our bee supplier and found out that the bees were not arriving on May 7 as originally expected, so we spent two days scrambling around making things ready. Some of the scrambling included painting the feeders, moving, assembling and marking the hives, and thank goodness God blessed us with warm sunshine to work in.
We woke the cows extra early yesterday morning so that we could take off at 5:30 a.m. for the 3 1/2 hour drive North of Stillwater, MN to pick up 17 bee packages, one of which was for a friend. Only getting lost once, thank you GPS, we finally made it back home by 2:00 p.m. The gentleman beekeeper warned us to make sure we opened the trunk every time we stopped the car. Surprisingly, all the packages fit in the Park Avenue trunk. Marisa had to share the back seat with a ton of cheese we picked up at the Bongards Cheese Factory for Jessi, Frenchy and I, on the way! The kids who were left behind spent a good part of the day mixing the sugar-syrup to the tune of 22 some odd gallons.
It took another hour to load the truck, haul the pails of sugar-syrup, load feeders, bee suits, tin snips, flashlight, and a few miscellaneous items. The girls installed the first 4 hives and then decided to call it quits for evening chores and we never got started again until 7:00 p.m. Finally we finished everything at 9:30 p.m. and I was glad to have worn a very warm winter coat. The bees were plenty slow and cold by then and very easy to install, much easier than the packages of bees installed earlier.
We had one minor mishap that occurred during the installation of the first package. The kids were marking the queen with hands full and accidentally she fell out and flew away! Just like that, gone in an instant. They, of course, decided to heck with marking the queens. They will move to plan B on that particular hive and move some eggs in from another hive. They felt bad but quickly continued their work cheerfully which is the way it should be. All of the rest went smoothly and so we began another year of beekeeping.
Today we need to put out the pails of water for them and check things over, especially since it was so dark when we left. May God bless us with healthy bees and an abundance of liquid, gold honey.
Well, this never got posted, you can tell we are very busy. I will post more photos soon but spring is keeping us all very busy. Tomorrow I’m going to Watertown, SD to pick up a queen bee to replace the one that got away:) Plus I will be babysitting my grandchildren while my hard-working girls head to citywide garage sales with Luke and Jess. They need a break after all the work. Life is never boring and I praise God for that! Now for a Thursday night cook out!
Wow!!! What a job! Cant wait to buy some of that delicious honey!!!! Your family really inspires me, Sandra… good work, Mama!
I love this! My grandpa had a working honey farm all his adult life and I have some of his old honey jar labels framed in the living room. 🙂 We also kept bees when we were first married, but haven’t had any since. Our hope / plan is to start with some more next spring. Your family is inspiring!