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January weekend in the barns

I spent a lot of this weekend in pig barns – ours a little bit and a friend of mine. It’s that time of year when the pigs for our county fairs are being born. I don’t do very much day to day work with them anymore, but when the momma’s have trouble my phone rings. The white and blue pigs below are a few days old – they grow extremely fast. I’m not sure how many momma’s we have left to farrow, there is already a few litters on the ground. I think dad said he has just under 40 bred, so there are gonna be a lot of babies!!

Pigs born 1/14

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Excited about queens next year!

We are expecting snow this weekend, but I’m gearing up for next year. Cleaning up old frames and equipment and re waxing. Not a fun job.

I’m about to move onto the queen boxes. Only did a few queens last year (intentionally), but gearing up for next year. I’m really excited to see the Saskatraz queens (google them if you have never hear of them) when the weather breaks and see how they handled the winter. When I’ve been able to look in so far, they have reasonable sized clusters and lots of honey left. So far, so good.

The feedback via package orders has also said others are interested in the Saskatraz queens. There have been a few people that have decided to skip the March packages and wait for the April packages with those queens. Selecting the breeders will be really important to get right.

I’m going to need a few more queen boxes. I can’t decide if I should build more mini nucs, or divide up medium boxes into thirds. There are positives and negatives to each.

If anyone has opinions on the most important traits to look for in the breeders, please comment below!

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Cold to the south, warm to the north

One of my best friends (Tim) lives in southern virginia. He is constantly bragging about how much better the weather is down there. This was my weekend, we have no snow in Mt. Airy, he has over a foot!

We spent time this weekend going through the massive pile of equipment, trying to get it organized and ready for next year. I swear that pile double in size when it rains, and triples in size when it’s sunny. Lots of frames to re wax, it will be a good cold weather job. Got it out of the road that it crept out on, so Dad will have to figure out something else to yell at me about! 

Had a couple yards where the insulation was not put back on after feeding, so that was added back on. It gave me a few seconds per hive to look in. Lots of the clusters where at the bottom of the deep, oriented toward the front. Almost all of them looked like they had a ton of capped honey, so I can rest easy and let them do their thing. Days start getting longer in Dec 22. That is when ‘they’ say the queens will start thinking about laying again. 

Everything has had Oxalic Acid for mites, except for 12 hives that I never got to. Will try and hit them this weekend. Other than that, it’s clean up and prep for 2019. 

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the non blog, blog

So I was advised (read-made fun of) that I was clearly not putting any entries in here.  That I wasn’t going to write even weekly – so take the page down.

So, there is the motivation, I have someone to prove wrong! Today will be an easy entry – happy thanksgiving! I’ll be making dinner for the kids later tonight.

Might go try and put oxalic on some bees today if it gets a little warmer, but if the cluster is too tight the vapor won’t penetrate and get to all the bees.

Winter is just starting, and I’m already feeling behind for next year…

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Spring 2019 Package Ordering is available!

Spring 2019 Package Ordering is available!

  • Reliable –
    • The March packages are some of the first in the country – get a jump start and be ready for the honey flow by May 1! They have been on time to the day for years, with one exception, and they were delayed 1 week.
  • High quality, well mated queens. Very few supercedures.
  • Prices are lower than almost everyone north of South Carolina!
  • Guaranteed live queen in all packages. (Please look at the queen before installing the package. If she is dead bring the whole package back for a total replacement). If you are driving a long way, let’s look at her before you go!
    • If the queen does have an issue in the first 30 days, replacement queens will be available at a 40% discount.
  • April packages are made from my bees, with locally raised and mated queens. My base genetics are Carnolian and Saskatraz. If you are unfamiliar with Saskatraz, here is a link with more information.
  • Packages have been selling out a little earlier every year. They were sold out by mid February last year, so don’t delay
  • Please place your order on the website and mail a check. I have opted not to do credit cards/pay pal this year. Where convenient, it is very expensive.
  • Packages can be picked up at the farm – 17403 Hardy Road, Mt. Airy, MD. 21771
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Closing up 2017 and Ramping up for 2018

Starting a little blog, will see how this goes.

Just finished talking to my supplier in Georgia, already set a pickup date for March 19th. I don’t have my bees up here ready for winter yet, and we are planning for spring.

Granted, my spring planning started months ago. Changing gears to better match what I have time for in 2018. Getting extra help full time didn’t work out so great. This year I’m only taking on what I know I can do myself, and any extra labor here and there will be a bonus. I’ll be selling early packages and raising some queens, but that’s it for bee sales. Going to focus on honey, and put back all the good comb I sent away in nucs last year. I’m not sure I’ll ever do nucs again, or very few. They take so many resources and are just not worth the aggravation.

Last weekend was a fun weekend with kids. Sports were rained out, so we had a rare weekend at home. Reagan has been bitten by the riding bug hard, and Andrew the hunting bug a little.