Monday, September 13, 2010

Honey Bees and Wild Ponies......

Saturday was a very wet day so not much in the way of horse time...we got 3 1/4" of rain Friday night!  Yikes!
Sunday was a great day.  I went out that morning and did some ground and pole work with Boom...I had fun, and I hope he did too. 

I gave my my mid afternoon time with Boom to go to Brian's bee keepers meeting.  They were going to talk about Fall care of the bees to prepare them for winter, and they were also going to extract honey out of the frames! 

I heard the man say that each small frame holds approx 5 lbs of honey.  This particular extractor holds 4 frames.  You put the frames in the container and spin the handle.  The honey zings out to the sides then flows to the bottom where there is a drain spout.  After spinning it a couple of minutes, you check the frames to see if most of the honey is out, and if it isn't, you turn them around or flip them over and do it again.

This is a good picture.  The frame that Bob is holding still has the wax caps over the honey.  Bob has a heated knife that he runs down the frame to cut off the wax caps, and it exposes the honey, which is what the other picture is of.  The frame with the exposed honey will go into the extractor.

Close up shot of the honey still in the frame.....and spinning the frames in the extractor.

Brian and I both got to spin the frames - oh my gosh, the aroma of the fresh honey was amazing! 

Brian is checking his frames - he turned them around and started spinning again.

This is the container that holds all the waxy caps that are cut off the frames.  The caps are caught in this container that has grates.....the excess honey from the caps drips to another container below it.  They usually let the container set for 2-3 days so the honey can drip.....then they take the caps to the hives and the bees clean the left over honey off the waxy stuff.  When they are done, the wax looks a lot like dry oatmeal.
The dried waxy stuff is then melted down for candles, crafts, etc.

This lady wanted to give it a try.....she did awesome!  This is how it should cut the caps off, and when the wax rolls down like this, you know you are doing good.  It was's own form of art.

After spinning 7 frames they ran the honey thru the filters.  There are two filters - one has smaller holes than the other and it filters out the 'stuff'.  After they filter the honey, they let it set a couple days again so the air bubbles rise to the surface.  You can either scrape off the foamy air bubbles that rise, or you can use a bucket with a spout, which will give you crystal clear honey.  They had a bottle they were showing everyone - it was bottled on Monday, and I could not find one air bubble in it!

Dennis is filling a honey bottle, and we all got to give it a try on warm biscuits.  I don't dislike honey, but I don't crave it, but I was a good sport and tried it anyways.  It was YUMMY!!!!!

Everyone is headed out to the hives.  Dennis has his smoker going and he grabbed some dried weeds from the pond bank, got them wet and added them to the smoker.  That way there is a cool smoke to calm the bees.

This is where I had to laugh....I felt like I was visiting Area 51 in New Mexico!  All the white suits....they made me laugh inside.  Those white suits look too hot - I get hot enough in my bug baffler....
Here Brian is lifting the hive so he has an idea of how heavy they should be.  If they are heavy, that is good - that means they have a lot of honey in them.  Most of these will be left alone for winter food for the bees.  One of the boxes that had been harvested in July was already over half full of honey.  They were busy little bees!  Hee hee!

This particular hive is full of bees that Dennis caught as a swarm.  If people notice lots of bees in buildings or in the woods, they might call someone to come get the 'swarm'.  He got this swarm in June and it is doing great!
This time of year is almost too late to gather a 'swarm' because they don't have enough time to gather food for the winter.  They can be fed, but the chances are not good that the hive will survive.

Hive hierarchy:
Queen - lays eggs.
Drone - the drones make up approx 10% of the hive and only 1 drone will breed the queen.  The rest hang out and do nothing.  The couch potatoes in the bee world. 
Worker Bee - they are females and they feed everyone, gather pollen, food, etc., and they even feed the deadbeat drones.  :-)
In this picture you can see the yellow caps that are taller than some of the others.  The taller ones are future drone babies - they are bigger.  The flat ones are future worker bee babies.

Inspecting the frames...

It is hard to see in the little picture, but there is a bent wire thing at the entrance to the hive.  It is used to keep mice out.  Mice are some of the many things that can destroy a hive.

This is one of the frames from either the July harvest, or the hive that has the new swarm put in from June.  Either way, as much stuff that is on here is impressive!  Again...busy as a bee!

Bee keeping is a family thing...

Okay, there is a queen in this picture.  She is on the top board, in the middle, and her thorax area looks black and shiny and her butt is longer without stripes. 
They kept saying "there she is!" and I kept missing her, so I tried to snap a picture hoping I would get to see her....and here she is....blurry, but real.  :-)

This is 'brood', which means all the capped ones are future babies, and you can see a bee butt sticking out of a hole - it is feeding the larvae.

There are 13 new ducklings here!  It is kind of late for a batch of them, but it is never too late for the cute factor! 

This batch is a little bit older, and I can't believe 4 of them are still alive. 

This is the view I would have if I rode a llama.....

This is Wyoming's food dish, and yes, the others have their own, but they like Wy's.  Batman has his face buried at this is like they all take turns.  Batman usually eats with Tandee, my older mare, but I have started kicking him out.  He looks like he is pregnant!  Not to mention Tandee needs her sustenance. 

While I was running around taking pictures of baby ducks, Ace goes up to meet Boom.  Ace really has filled out a lot this summer.  He is finally getting to be mature enough to start riding training, altho his back is so short, I don't know if I have  saddle that will fit.  He runs and play with a couple of the group and is a real sweetheart.  He will make someone a nice little horse someday.  Until then, he will stay like the others......loved.  :-) 

I have been riding Boom and I get more comfortable every time I am up there....

He can care less about the logs.....

He is pretty relaxed most of the time...

I had to run back to the house and I left Boom there to relax.  When I ran in, Brian said Boom closed his eyes and took a nap.  He stayed like that until I got back.

I am taking 1/2 days off until the EMM gets here.  I need the extra time with Boom.  My biggest problem right now is he doesn't want to go - oh, he will go if he is headed to his grassy part of the pen, but not the other way.  He just stops.  I am even popping him on the butt with the saddle strings now, which is huge for me because I was afraid to do anything with his rump because I did not want a blow up.  Not only am I 'asking' him with the strings to move, I am rubbing his rump from the saddle, and when I get on and off now I make a point of rubbing my feet on his rump.  The first time I did that he flew sideways and I slid to the ground.  I realized I did have a scared sick knot, but only a baby one, so I did it again....and again....until he stood there and took it. 

We are so close to the EMM and there are so many things to do, I am starting to get a little stressed.  It is okay tho - totally normal for me.  I really am very excited, and once I can get his feet moving I will be even better than excited!  Hee hee!

Have a great day everyone!
Until later.....Karen and Tripp who says he never got 'asked' with the saddle strings.....

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