2016 and the Refurbished Woodman

Another year of beekeeping is upon us! I’ve been idle on the blogging front for several months, but as usual, that means things have actually been very busy in the past few months.

The overall 2015 honey crop was pretty mediocre again–nominally better than 2014. Still, we got a crop and continue to service a growing list of grocery stores and bulk customers.

Happily, the bees look very good as we conclude a mild 2015-16 winter. The winter loss in my bees is 6% at the moment. There have not been a lot of years when we’ve had back-to-back single digit percentage losses. The weather looks very favorable for the next ten days, so things would have to get very ugly in March and early April to reverse the positive signs in hive strength.

In the meanwhile, I’ve been working on 4-way pallets for the 2016 hive expansion, and we’ve completed a pretty awesome refurbish job on an old Woodman/Dadant 50 frame extractor. It has an old Woodman reel, a stainless steel barrel that was pretty awful before a thorough wet sanding, and a Dadant speed control that is not in the picture. I’m looking forward to running it this summer! It’s amazing what a lot of elbow grease, sandblasting, and a fresh powder coat can achieve! My dad is the mysterious man in the coveralls in the second picture. Several people put in some time to get this machine in good shape again. Despite all of that time, our expense was about 1/10th of the cost of a new extractor of similar size.

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