Happy Holidays 2017!!!

by Jorge

Ebert Christmas was a happy event yesterday. We are lucky to have a good number of holidays together. The willingness of the Colorado and Oklahoma contingents to drive great distances allows that to happen in most years.

Andrew bought his Grandpa Phil a massive recycling truck this year. After Andrew creatively helped to open it with an excavator, they agreed that Andrew can borrow it for a while. Grandpa Phil will use a smaller recycling truck at his house. When Andrew starts dating I'll have to let him know that buying presents for other people with your own uses in mind doesn't always go over flawlessly :) It was still fun that he wanted to buy his grandpa a gift!

As usual, I got my "kicks" by other means. Andria took pity on me and my duct-taped boots. I considered buying new work boots for the last two years, but I guess the floppy toe over the last few months made it clear to everyone else that the time had arrived. The new and the old:

I have a few months to break them in around home before the 2018 bee season puts on many miles during the great bee journey!

A Cozy Bobcat and a Baby Goat

by Jorge

Today and yesterday I got to try out the "new" (to us) Bobcat skid steer to load up some round bales we sold. It got them loaded in great shape and made me appreciate the upgrade. I can't wait to get a special fork setup on it to handle some bees in the spring! It's admittedly plain Jane by today's industry standards but quite fine in my world.

As you may have noted in the image above, the loyal 825 Bobcat is still for sale. I thought snow might create some demand for the bucketed beast, but the clouds have offered the scantiest quantity of flurries thus far.

Andrew is especially happy about the new Bobcat because I will let him ride in it with me. The 825 does not have a safety bar but does have touchier controls, so he was banned from joining that party. I will miss it, but maintaining two machines doesn't make much sense at present.

He was also happy to go to a solstice party and hang out with a couple of baby goats. He found some furry love! There was an awkward moment when a lady goat started pushing against his tummy and lifted him up on her head (an interesting and slightly traumatizing sight), but that did not dissuade him from returning to the little ivy munchers:

Honey Crane, Patent Pending!

by Jorge

Alas for winter's chill (kind of) settling upon us and resulting in more indoor time for my little man. He is sad that there have been no opportunities to make snow angels yet. Luckily he has pretty good instincts for alternative pastimes. Behold the honey crane! Unfortunately I'm pretty sure Bruder might not go for the whole patent idea :)

For any of those folks who are interesting in starting beekeeping in 2018, I came across the archive for a farminar/webinar that I did with the Practical Farmers of Iowa a couple of years ago. I don't think I linked it previously in the blog. Click here to have a listen "To Bee- or Not to Bee-Keep." I might have said something useful in there somewhere.

Bees by the Truckload and an Affordable Bobcat For Sale!

by Jorge

We've begun organizing our system to be able to handle truckloads of bees as we maintain options for future growth, and Alex had the pleasure of setting up a new entry that can accommodate the in-and-out traffic from the big rigs. Here is the trusty Bobcat conquering its mission:

I've also got an 825 Bobcat that I've put up for sale as our need for lower hours and higher horsepower becomes clearer. It's a 42 hp unit that runs well. It took me a good while to find a low budget machine that was +35 hp, so hopefully it can serve someone else looking in that range well too. Here's a picture from earlier this year when I had the new tablesaw just off of a freight delivery. Click here for the Craiglist Ad.

"Bee Thankful" Pumpkins :)

by Jorge

It's the week of excellent dishes and baked goods boasting honey components--Happy Thanksgiving! There was a lovely array of bee pumpkins to celebrate the season at the conference mentioned in the last post. Feel the holiday season begin with ornamentation from the bee world!

The bees are almost perfectly nestled up for winter. If it blizzards tomorrow, I won't be too distraught. One mini project was beefing up the syrup hose after the old garden hose that I used for several years gave up the ghost. The new one is fancier but also has a lifetime warranty at the hardware store down the road and has better fittings to help it endure. By the time it dies I may forget that it has a lifetime warranty. The female fitting linked to the pump's plumbing is about two inches long:

And away we go! The cord trailing out of the tank is an immersion heater. Colder weather means some heat is needed for the pump to work properly (though not too much heat, or else the syrup will develop toxins that would defeat the purpose of winter feeding).

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