2014 - A Half-Year Review in the Beekeeper Life
I thought I'd share a few of the events that are keeping me occupied this year, along with the pictorial documentation that I'm fond of posting The story begins with a relocation that got underway in January. Yes, it was the bitterest winter in 30 years, and I spent weeks gradually moving the bee supplies to our new property and spending a lot of quality time with my chainsaw at the new place. Here is the new (1868) house just north of Mount Vernon on Hwy 1 (so please get directions if you're used to dropping in at the old Cedar Rapids location to pickup your queens and honey). It's an agriculturally-zoned property that will be very bee friendly for the future.
I've got a ton of work to do over the next year or two to get comfortably operational, but progress is definitely evident. Of course I'm carrying on with the usual bee season too. We're already through spring feeding, splitting, and orchard pollination. I'm still doing pollination the old-fashioned way as I build up in eastern Iowa. That's by picking up the hives and setting them in the back of the truck. Here is one of the loads I hauled out of Wilson's Orchard near Iowa City about a week ago. They are incredibly heavy to lift when they come out of pollinating during good weather. Hopefully I'll mechanize at some point over here and save my back:
Right now we're on the tail end of black locust pollination and post-dandelion bloom. The temperatures are in the 80s and the brood nests are getting a good influx of nectar. I haven't checked some of my stronger hives for over a week, so I'm not sure exactly how much surplus honey is in at the moment. I did discover my first box of surplus 2014 honey down in the Solon area a couple of days ago while out supering. It's only 2/3s full but remains a very welcome sight:
We can zoom in more and enjoy the moment
I'm still going around and supering this year's splits as they gain strength. Dutch clover is opening already, so there is potential for June to be a honey month as well. The big flow is usually in July, but we can never be certain when/if it will hit. Hopefully we'll be in harvest mode before too many weeks pass. Lastly, we also have a new potential beekeeper in the fold. Andrew joined the family just a couple of weeks ago, so here is the sweet little man in his handsome bee hat
In other words, it has been a rather extraordinarily busy first half of 2014. Apologies for having fewer blogs this year, but I am actually catching up somewhat. Teaching European history at Mount Mercy structures my life until the middle of May, so now I'm freer to pursue these other activities during the day. Nonetheless, I'm doing almost all of my correspondence with customers via email in the morning or late evening due to the very long list of things to do this year. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for the most reliable/timely responses. I generally have one or two weeks of queen inventory posted on the Ebert Queens page, and I'll plan to continue shipping them through early August as usual.