Fancy Hives and the Adventures of Little Man!

by Jorge

Earlier this year I sold a couple of nucs to a person with an intriguing hive system that I'd never loaded prior to this spring. This is the Apimaye system.

It's a pretty nifty setup that has a lot of logic worked into the equipment. The preceding pic is an image of the hives on the back of the truck and ready to go off and work for the summer. I live a simple life with wooden Langstroth-style boxes/frames, but I always get interested in the latest and greatest that people try out. The tops of these hives are convertible for accommodating solid or liquid food sources too, and that might be handy. Here's a further image from the website I linked:

Perhaps I'll hear some stories about how it worked out sometime in the future.

For now it's onward with the harvest and the mite treatments that will define our condition going into next year. Beekeeping is one of those activities where the "next year" really gets prefigured several months before the arrival of the spring period that gets the rest of the world excited. Grind grind away!

Andrew, on the other hand, is helping the little ones learn their first steps in the equestrian world :)

Honey Pallets, Pretty Jars, and New Pets

by Jorge

We are back in the season for chunk honey jars. They're always so pretty!

We had enough time to get some new honey pallets assembled and painted this week. I don't have a loading dock at my place, so these pallets are supposed to be forklift/pallet jack friendly. Building 4-ways would have been quicker and cheaper, but I just made them 2-way for ease of handling. They will soon be much less attractive, but the reason will be quite positive--stacks upon stacks of propolised honey boxes over the next several weeks! For those of you wondering about the pink paint selection: it's leftover from my cut comb box painting project a year or two past. They look sharp to me!

I'm sure the new pigs approve as well! Andrew loves them, though he wishes they would stand still for more petting! Chasing them with a stick on the first day probably didn't help :)

Marching Along with Fewer Flowers

by Jorge

Not a lot of time to post today, but I thought I'd put up a picture of our actual products since it's pretty rare that they show up in the blog. We switched to the barn label a good number of years ago. It's not really bee-oriented imagery, but it has won strong acceptance in our Iowa market--I presume the agricultural feel makes it a good match for where we are located. We also handle a lot of wax in both filtered and unfiltered forms. A few of the pretty filtered blocks of yellow wax appear in this image:

With regard to the honey report, the excitement tamed down in eastern Iowa when we got several heavy rains that were not widely spaced. Back in the Lynnville area it sounds like there wasn't as much rain or slowdown. My bees haven't totally stopped producing, and the weather has improved for the past few days. The bloom is really fading, however. A few of the later yellow flowers are coming on in the ditches, but the soybeans and clovers are much weaker than they were ten days ago. There is usually a lull of at least two-three weeks between the main summer flow and the potential (but often unrealized) flows of late summer/fall.

Nonetheless, I did capture further evidence of the red clover being friendly to us this year:

Used Cowen Uncapper for Sale (Sold! July 2017)

by Jorge

We have a used Cowen uncapper for sale down at the Lynnville location. It's a gravity slide model comparable to the "Silver Queen" style, though it predates the era of stainless steel as the standard construction material. I picked it up about a year ago when I bought a bunch of other things from someone going out of business. It needed substantial work, but luckily we have a mechanic in the family (my dad) who put in a bunch of new parts and got it looking great again--at least for something in the used realm at a fraction of new price.

Harvest season is upon us in the Midwest, so I figure there might be some takers. It has an auger tray on it right now. It wouldn't be difficult to switch it over to a different tray system.

Here are some photos I took on my last visit.

To talk price and arrange viewings (Lynnville, IA), contact Phil Ebert at or phone 641-521-6361.

Comb Carts and Bobcat Joy!

by Jorge

Several years ago I pulled a few bread carts from a grocery store dumpster pile. They're not real pretty since the angle iron is rarely well-painted, but the casters on those things are several cuts above what most people would buy for a similar purpose. Maybe some year I'll get motivated enough to polish them up and repaint them, but the past few years have seen them stacked on a pallet doing nothing useful as I've gotten the Mount Vernon place more organized. The comb crop looks pretty good this year, so it seemed like those carts needed to serve their purpose again.

In the past I had cut down a few little pallets to sit on top of them. It worked okay but didn't seem quite right. This year I realized I might make them pretty heavy duty with some of the random 2x material that has accumulated over the past few years. Most of it was inherited from the previous owner of my current home. It's amazing what people leave behind. Anyway, I chopped up some free boards and made some pretty respectable carts for the comb crop and any other uses that follow.

The 2x boards aren't fastened at all. They sit right down in the angle space, and there are little lips on each end to serve as retainers. I figure it will be easier to clean them or stow them away if the boards stay loose. We'll see how it goes. They will be able to haul a lot of comb and keep the pristine frames from smashing together like would occur on a normal hand truck that tips backward on two wheels. The point is to keep them pretty. Comb is too hard to produce to treat it poorly.

It was also a nice job for the miter saw and stand that I got at separate mega-sale opportunities in the past couple of months. They're not big or fancy enough for a real wood-shop warrior to be proud, but it was a low-dollar way to get a lot of functionality for the types of pieces I usually cut. The stand is a folding one that wheels around, and that is worth a lot for me since my shop space is small, and I often prefer to cut outside.

I am definitely the only one on the place likely to get excited about this cart thing. For more universal sources of happiness, Andrew found his inner joy with a solo moment in a Bobcat :)

The real task today was getting the extracting line in shape. I have (hopefully) just a tiny bit of plumbing to conclude before we can get rolling. I think I've solved a couple of important kinks from last harvest, but I won't go public on those until I find out if they worked. Here we go!

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