Wacky February 2023

February 12, 2023

What a crazy busy month it has been so far! We started out very cold and seasonable. We attended a local chamber of commerce event in the nearby town of Geneva, Ohio for their Winterfest celebration. Amee and Abby were well dressed for the occasion. They got their manes and tails braided and all shined up to give wagon rides. The street looks lonely, but believe me it was bustling, just quiet at our loading zone.

They did an awesome job. People were very pleased to meet our girls. The traffic, the trains and the commotion from the celebration didn’t bother them one bit. They were included in many photos.

We are working on the last of our butchering for the year too. Pork has been the focus these last 2 weeks. Our family’s freezers are filling up. What a great thing!

These yummy hogs are now sausage, chops, ham and bacon. It’s good to have that work behind us!

Thanks to two very good friends, we got our 2022 honey all extracted. The bees gave us 26 pints of beautiful, mostly clover honey. It is good on everything. I like it in my morning tea.

Speaking of sticky jobs, the 2023 maple season is upon us. I am a bit behind, but plan to tap our trees this week. A few local guys are off to a great start and have made a little syrup already. This is a bit earlier than usual. That is part of the reason I am behind. I do have the sugarhouse partially set-up and a bit of my spring cleaning done. Hopefully we will have steam boiling soon! This wacky weather came out of nowhere, but as they say, “Time and the tides wait for no man”.

Trying Again
May 7, 2019, 4:32 pm
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May 7, 2019

After a season of not having honeybees, we are trying again. Nature and man is really working these creatures over. I feel it is only right to try and help them. We put bees into two hives and will nurture them to the best of our ability. They look good so far. Later this week I will open the hives and check them all over.

What you see is a row of bee packages waiting to be picked up by beekeepers like myself. The bee yard was full! Many folks were coming to get their bees. It is amazing to think that this is just one pick up site. I hope we all have successful hives.


In each screened box is a queen, a swarm weighing about 3 pounds and a can of sugar water to feed them.

The queen is in a little wooden screen box about 1 inch by 3 inches with a few “nurse” bees to care for her. The box has a cork in one in that when removed, has a candy plug inside. By the time the bees eat the candy plug (about 3-4 days), they are all bonded with the queen. Once she is released from the box, she sets up house keeping inside her new hive and starts laying brood

The box above gets opened, the can of sugar water is removed. The queen, in her box, is placed into the hive between a couple frames. The cork removed from her box, revealing the candy plug. The rest of the bees are carefully dumped into the hive. The hive gets closed up and we walk away for 3-4 days.

Upon opening the hive after the wait period, we will check to see that the queen is out, the bees have started making honeycomb and all is well. The vacant queen cage will be taken out and the hive closed again. The bees will be coming and going, in and out of the hive opening, gathering pollen and nectar and doing “bee things”.

Our hope is that both colonies get strong, pollinate our garden crops and make plenty of honey for us, and most importantly for themselves!

Feeling Trapped
April 18, 2017, 10:16 pm
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April 18, 2017

Whew, what a spring! New babies have been the “order of the day”. All of them, human, beef, pigs and sheep are all doing very well. Abby continues with her training. I am trying to balance work, great weather, early weeds and shifting priorities. Today, I spent part of the afternoon setting up a honey bee trap. I hope to convince the ladies that a hive is a much better place to live, than the wall of a house.

I have only tried this once. The last time I failed miserably. This time, I educated myself a little more. I also have the good fortune of the bees being closer to the ground. They are actually pretty tame and tolerated my interference very well.

I waited until midafternoon when many of the bees were flying. I pulled off the siding and found the bee entrance. I sealed up almost all of the opening. I used fiberglass insulation, torn into pieces and poked into place with a flat screwdriver. I left an opening that was about an inch and a half long. The bees flew in and out while I worked.

Next, I fashioned a funnel using a sanitary flange, a 4 to 2 reducer and hardware cloth covered with window screen. After assembly, I used duct tape to help keep everything in place. I screwed the flange right to the wall over the opening. I caulked around it with silicone and watched for a minute. Sure enough, the bees were soon coming out of the funnel opening, but they couldn’t find their way back in.

I placed a “nuc” hive on a stepladder and strapped it solid with a ratchet strap. I placed the hive body and ladder just a couple inches away from the end of the funnel.


After a couple of hours, the bees were confused, but starting to check out the new home I made for them. There are a few frames of drawn out comb. There are two frames of capped honey. Once the ladies start inspecting the new place, my hope is they will be convinced to stay. I will check on them in the morning. I believe this was a small swarm that invaded the house wall. I hope they will be convinced to stay in the hive before their numbers build up.

None of us like change, many of us feel trapped. I can see light at the end of my own tunnel. My hope is that the bees will see, not only their way out, but also their way in, as they leave one place for another. It is much better to relocate than to eradicate! My hat is off to the pest company that wouldn’t kill the honeybees!

I will keep you all informed of my progress. The worst thing that may happen, is that the bees will leave the house wall, swarm and fly off completely avoiding my hive body. That would be bad for me, but the homeowners still win as the bees leave their home. The bees will then hopefully find a great place to live, somewhere out of harm’s way. If they make the “nuc” their home, I will move them to my bee yard, watch over them and help them to survive….. in exchange for a little honey of course!

My View
November 7, 2016, 9:39 pm
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November 7, 2016

This is my view when driving my team. I never get tired of it. Knight and Hoss have been awesome partners these last several days. They are well broke, making working them a true pleasure. I snapped this photo as we were taking a quick hayride around the farm. My youngest son, his family and a few new friends, all accompanied me as we drove. My grandson held the end of the lines. It was a great time.

It is fun to mix a little family time in with the work. I was just going to move the wagon, when my son suggested a hayride. It was a great idea. I did get the wagon moved too! Tomorrow, my oldest son and his family will be here to help me finish re-baling a few large round bales into small squares. It will be lots of fun and just a little work. I need a few more bales up in the loft. He needs some for his goats for winter. It is a win-win for both of us.

Tonight, my wife and I are working up the fall honey. I took the last of it off a few days ago. I was very careful, taking just a little more for the year. I needed to make sure my bees have enough to get through the winter.


A little bit of “topbar” honeycomb. The bees do this all themselves. No foundation, no wire, no plastic, just pure bees wax, filled with honey and capped.


This is the mashed honeycomb in the top jar. It is gravity filtered into the bottom jar. Just pure, raw honey. The bees produce it from the blossoms all around the farm. It is tasty, wholesome and a sweet reward for taking care of them. Everywhere that I look around this farm, I enjoy the view…even the memories are sweet!

Tree work to Bee work
July 22, 2016, 3:07 pm
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July 22, 2016

The county bee inspector came the other day. We had just finished working on the big tree for the day. The inspector had an extra bee suit and gave it to our grandson to wear. He got to see and hear the inner workings of a bee hive.

I use “topbar” bee hives. I switched to them a few years ago and would never go back to the commercial style of hives. These are much easier to use and the bees seem to be very content. We mostly use the honey the bees make, but do sell a small quantity every year.

Our hives passed the inspection with “flying colors”. The bee inspector was complimentary. The bees were calm and not too bothered by our intrusion. I got a little honey from the hive. Our grandson got another “sweet” memory to take home. So, from tree work to bee work, I am expanding his outlook on life.