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Monthly Archives: October 2015

Honey Harvest: Done.

sweatbands 10-2015

Prove we’re old/give a darn is busted = we post unflattering, sweaty pictures on the Internet.

Waaaaay back, September 6th, when it was approximately the same temperature as the surface of the sun, we pulled the honey supers out of the bee yard. The honey-filled supers then rested comfortably in the basement near the dehumidifier. We had frames with a good amount of uncapped honey so this is how we get our honey crop dried down to the appropriate moisture for storage.

beeyard post harvest 10-2015


We also pulled the final plug on Lili vonShtupp. We had treated for foulbrood earlier in the summer, but we couldn’t keep the colony queen right. The wax was very dark so we gave it all the heave-ho and will start anew next spring on new frames with new wax with fresh bees.



We had a unnamed nuc that went nuts earlier this summer. The queen crawled out, and took up residence UNDER the nuc in the middle of the pallet. [insert profanity here] We named it Dumba$$. Weeks ago I pulled us much comb out as I could and put in a hive body to see if they’d move over to the wax frames. They are an obstinate lot and refused all human intervention. They laid down even more brood and honey in the middle of the pallet. We gave that colony one more chance to move up into a hive body that we put on top of the pallet. It didn’t work. It was robbed out and dead by early October.

We had planned to spin out the honey the next weekend. But, the better half of our dynamic duo fell prey the ill effects of a double hernia, so it was delayed until October  Meanwhile, we’ll got mite treatment rolling, and started feeding because there is clearly not enough honey stored for winter.


aronia berry 10-2015 Check out the seven gallons of aronia berries in our freezer (shout out to Tom & Liz Kurt for the berries!). We are now combing the internets for a mead recipe for these beauties.




Iowa State Fair Ribbon!!

Iowa State Fair Ribbon!!


BY THE WAY, we entered two different meads in the Iowa State Fair earlier this summer. A couple weeks after the Fair a nondescript enveloped arrived at our house WITH A RIBBON (!). A bronze ribbon, which I think means ‘we feel super sorry that you have to drink this stuff so here is a ribbon the color of poo for almost-last place to make you feel slightly better‘. Actually, we didn’t finish dead last, but more of the middle of the pack. While the ribbon is cool, is is not as cool as the tasting notes from the judges. We are proud to say that the word skunky was not used, not even once, to describe our mead. But, we have a sulfur issue, probably due to the yeast issues we had the start of fermentation due to too-low temperatures. So, in short, the judges told us it looked really, really nice, but didn’t taste quite as nice. We can live with that. Also, we like our mead, so we have that going for us.

Hot knife


On October 11th we finally fired up the new-to-us 20-frame extractor and went to town. Up the upside, no one burned off a hand with the hot knives. It was a pleasant day. Rich Pope (shout out to The Pope!) stopped by and watched the insanity. And third, we harvested ~96 pounds of honey from three hives. It’s not the greatest yield in the world, but after our many queen issues this summer, we’ll take it. Also, we learned the honey extractor needs a new motor. Robin wants a motor that could fire the space shuttle to make harvest go faster. We’l have to see what is actually doable.

Sorry it’s taken so long to post this. Life is nuts.

Tall prairie. Short beekeeper.

Tall prairie. Short beekeeper.