Well, lotion sticks are done! Same great ingredients as lip balm just slightly different formulation for texture and the addition of plant based vitamin E and glycerin. 15ml is the perfect take along size, I have been using as my only facial moisturizer for a few years now, also use on arms, legs, hands, lips!!! I love it, hope you do too!
And now we have a skin care line?
Another busy day!
Candles are time consuming but rewarding.
These are made from only my wax harvested and cleaned by me.
I never fragrance except this set, it wanted bourbon vanilla and blood orange. Very delicious and extremely delicate, I'm highly sensitive to scents and this ones not too much for me.
Lip Balm Tins are back!
This has been a busy year! We had a winter harvest, Spring harvest is happening... I am always amazed at the product, every hive is different, we harvested two boxes in Winter, one was dark espresso in color the other medium amber. Both were heavy in anise, complex, floral and incredible. Spring is light and sublime and SWEET! I know, it sounds silly to say honey tastes sweet but this really is sweet!
I have learned candle pouring, its fun and very messy.
Not quite as messy as making salves and lip balms...
While we still crush and strain, we also have some hives that we spin, what I have learned from this is I waste a whole lot less product. It is a much cleaner product, more honey is removed from comb, wax is easier to process, while I lean to liking foundation-less, there is much to be said for spinning which means I need to learn to be ok with foundations.
The Flow Hive.
We bought a Flow Hive first round, despite the fact we both have serious doubts strictly because it reminds us of Ross Rounds and well, Ross Rounds. Ours went up on a bustling hive a couple months back and only last weekend was there massive activity. Fingers crossed! Even if its as awesome as we hope, no, you will not catch me opening a valve to pour some honey on my pancakes.
THE BIRTHDAY BEE errrm... Boy
Marius was very lucky this year. Just before his birthday some spots opened in our Bee Guilds annual field trip to Zs Bees for a Queen Rearing Workshop. I cant even begin to tell you how lovely that family is, they were excellent teachers, gracious hosts and very kind people.
As for the queen rearing, that's more my my thing than his, I don't really see either of us doing much of it, but, you never know...
We spent two nights near Redding, explored the surroundings and had an overall super get away. Found a cute old town, some beautiful nature, amazing olive oil, the gardens by the Sundial Bridge were gorgeous! Stopped by a vet for directions and witnessed a goat giving birth, what more could you possibly ask for!
Glad we did this Marius, happy birthday!
constantine did take a stinger in the eyelid, he was tough though.
he opted to tell people it was the other guy and not him they should be worried about.
Thirds a Charm! Actually...
She's a Russian, I think.
Once again for the third day in a row we rescued a swarm, interestingly from he same site as Monday.
I was a big girl, donned Marius' jacket and grabbed the girls myself. It was a quick, easy-peasy job.
Now, we have 8 hives and are out of space! I was lucky and post shake into box saw the beautiful, large, red queen. Gorgeous!
God Save the Queen!
Today was my day to rescue a swarm. Just as we finished last nights rescue, we received a message about another swarm! It was a bit late to head out, so we waited until morning. After dropping little man at school and big man at work, I headed over to gather the girls. They were a beautiful bunch of ladies tightly clustered from a tree branch at my eyes level. For reasons I cannot explain (my dads genes?) I tend to think safety precautions are things for other people. I opted not to suit up, put on some gloves and brushed them with my hand into the bucket. Well, they didn't exactly like this. They went straight for my hair-which I had put up. The poor fellow who's yard this was had to swat them out of my hair for me. I then opted to suit up-ok, jacket up and finish the collection. Over 2/3 were in lidded bucket, and I finished the job taking just 1 sting to the knee, I will live. The girls were secured in bucket, with plenty of ventilation, placed gently in my trunk and taken home.
Once home, I set up a nuc-as we have no bottom boards and no covers at the moment, and placed a pot of chives in front of the opening-this is to help force orientation-overkill perhaps but, it looks cute for now. I suited up-fully and opened the bucket, they were so sweet! 1 shake and they were in. They are out and about already. All in all, I did it, have I learned my lesson on safety first? Not so sure...
Collecting a swarm
We got lucky today and one of our neighbors on 6th avenue was kind enough to alert us of a swarm hanging from a branch.
Only took us a couple of minutes to shake the girls into a slightly modified medium we keep around for this type of occasion. Ok it also serves as our swarm trap :). Hope the bees like their new home and bee yard.
I often get asked what you need to get started with Beekeeping. Here is what I would recommend.
The following suggestions are based on all medium hive boxes (6 5/8 honey supers), 10 frames foundationless beekeeping.
Why all mediums? I find it that it keeps things simple to have only one size box to worry about and the mediums are easier to move and work with. The answer on why go foundationless is more difficult. For me it was it just made sense to let the bees do what comes natural to them, versus forcing the build their home on plastic. More info on this subject read Michael Bushes website.
Where to buy?
I prefer to buy my beekeeping equipment at Mann Lake. They have a distribution location in California, which means most items arrive within a couple of days and they offer FREE shipping on orders above $100. I had never an issue with any order I placed and I'm happy with the quality of the equipment.
If you do want to go with a different vendor, more power to you, the below are simply suggestions.
The hive body and frames
One 10 Frame Bottom Board/Reducer - order
Five 6⅝ 10 Frame Unassembled Budget Grade Super Each - order
Five 6 1/4" Unassembled Select Frames - Groove Top & Groove Bottom - Case of 10 - order
One 10 Frame Assembled Telescoping Cover With Inner - order
One Pound 7D Nails (for hive body assembly) - order
One Pound 1 1/4 Nails (for frames assembly) - order
All other essentials
One BeeSuite - Start your search here, pick what you feel is best for you.
One pair of Gloves - Start your search here, pick what you feel is best for you.
One Hive tool - order
One Smoker - order
Buying the Girls
there are many places that sell bees. Here are just my suggestions for North California.
Olivarez Honey Bees
Hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any question in the comment section.
UC Davis Honey Flavor Wheel
For everybody interested in what flavors you are tasting in honey, here is a fun and useful tool get to the answers you seek. UC Davis just completed the Honey Flavor and Aroma Wheel. The website says that this is available at The Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science. If you happen to be in Napa, would you please pick one up for us? Thank you :).
This is blog is written by Marius and Shannon and maybe someday Constantine. More about NFO Bee Co in our About section.