About Me

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I’m a book-reading, craft-making newlywed living outside Chicago. I love my husband, cooking dinner and especially eating desserts! We love to ride bikes all over town and read books at coffee shops. I also enjoy shopping at JoAnns, drinking wine on the patio and playing with my bunny rabbit Penelope. Thanks for stopping by and visiting my blog. Please leave a comment- they really make my day! :)

Monday, April 29, 2013

Adventures in Beekeeping: Getting the Bees


After waiting weeks, we finally got the call that the bees had arrived! They were shipped from California to Wisconsin on a semi truck, and our bee teacher transported them from Wisconsin to the western suburbs.  ThatGuy and I were literally waiting outside our teacher's house when he drove up.  You could say were were a little excited. 

Here's a picture of the back of our teacher's truck.  That's a LOT of bees!


We requested a package without "hobos"- bees that are on the outside of the package. 



There are about 15,000 bees in this 3 pound package!   The silver circle is a can of sugar syrup that the bees feed on during their travels. 


ThatGuy with the bees!  He's a brave husband.


We put the bees in the backseat and buckled them in.  ThatGuy put his running shoe in-between the boxes to make sure there was adequate ventilation. 


Up next: installing the hive!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Adventures in Beekeeping: The Bee Yard


It's very important for the beekeeper to put their bees in a safe and optimal environment.  Since ThatGuy and I live in a condo on the second floor, we don't have any yard space of our own. So I called the condo association to see if we could put a hive up somewhere. 

Here's how the conversation went.
Me: Can I put a beehive on the property?
Them: No! We pay for bees to not be on the property.
Me: Humph!

Enter my friend Sia who happens to own a farm just a mile away from my suburban condo! 


She has barn cats!


And ponies!

Chickens galore!


Soooo many goats!!

 

And Penelope better watch out because there are really cute BABY BUNNIES!! 

 

 

We think our bees will be very happy on the farm!

Adventures in Beekeeping: The Gear


A very important package arrived on the doorstep- the bee gear!! A beekeeper has a few essential tools and we got ours from Dadant and Son's.


First up is the hive tool.  This will help in prying the supers apart after the bees have put propolis everywhere.

Hive tool from Dadant and Son's
 Next is a bee brush to brush away bees.

Bee Brush
 Then is the smoker.  Smoke calms the bees down- and I don't want rowdy bees when I'm around!
Smoker

And of course, the outfit.  Now I know you are expecting a full white suit- but if I'm going to spend $100 on an outfit, its not going to be on a boring (albeit protective) white suit!  ThatGuy and I are living on the edge and just bought gloves and a veil. Of course we will wear long pants and long sleeves with the bees.

The last time I wore elbow length gloves was senior prom!
 And not to be left out, Penelope got to play with the box.

  


Can you believe this pose?  I think she knows what a camera is.
 


Up next: The Bee Yard!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Adventures in Beekeeping: Painting the Hive


Last year at a gender reveal party (it was a boy!) a good friend told me about her latest hobby: beekeeping.  It was inspiring to hear her speak passionately about the bee crisis in America and the importance of preserving the honeybee population.  Did you know that bees have pollinated every third bite of your food?  Imagine if bees were wiped out?  Say good-bye to your apple, almonds, and blueberries- not to mention HONEY.   I immediately became obsessed with researching honeybees and becoming a beekeeper.  ThatGuy, in his infinate wisdom and budget-conscious ways, urged me to wait until next bee season to make sure this was something I really wanted to spend my time and money on.


It was and is.  In fact, I dragged ThatGuy into the whole thing!

ThatGuy is not sure how he ended up in Bee Class.
We took a class through the local park district and every week was FASCINATING.  We learned a lot about honeybees and beekeeping, but there is much more to learn.  When our teacher asked how many packages of bees we wanted in the spring, I wanted to shout "10!" but ThatGuy talked us down to 2.  We placed orders with a local carpenter and got 2 hives over spring break.

It's a good thing we didn't go with 10 hives... 2 is a lot!

We could have gotten them already painted... but I wanted to have some DIY fun!

A lovely light blue color
40 frames!  Soon to be full of honey.

Waiting for bees!
Up next: the Gear!