Sunday, July 29, 2012

Ghost Town in Maggie Valley


Look at that view!

I took this picture from the chairlift at Ghost Town amusement park in Maggie Valley, NC. The park has been closed for many years but was bought by a local millionaire a few months ago and partially reopened. Ghost Town isn’t completely restored, and the only rides available are a zipline and chairlift. The chairlift has always been the best ride at the park because the view is amazing. It cost $16 for the ride to the top of the mountain. There were a few games and a guided tour by actors who told us the future plans for the park. If you are in western North Carolina, it is definitely worth it to drive to Maggie Valley and ride the chairlift at Ghost Town.   


Monday, July 23, 2012

Best Tasting Honey in the World


I pulled a frame of honey out of one of my hives on Saturday. The frame was 100% capped honey, which means the water content was low enough to be able to pull that frame out and harvest the honey. The rule I have heard is that if the frame is 75% capped, it is ready to be packaged. Anything less than that and the honey will have too much water which will cause it to ferment. The bees had filled the second super completely and the frame was the one on the edge. I was so excited about it that I basically knocked the bees off by hitting the wood frame quickly on a cement block. The motion caused all of the bees to drop off at once. I put the top on and walked briskly back to the house. There were a few that died as a result of when I used the hive tool to pull the frame out, but there will always a few crushed bees whenever the hive is opened.

I wasn’t prepared to take honey today, so I had nothing set-up for extraction. Since this honey is only for my personal use, I didn’t bother to use a double strainer. I like little bits of wax and pollen in my honey because it gives it more flavor. When I sell honey to customers I will strain out much more of the wax and pollen because I think people like clear honey.

The top picture shows how the frame looks when it is completely capped. There is some honey dripping from where the hive tool broke open the wax caps. If I would have been more careful, then entire frame would be one sheet of capped honey without any of the sticky sweet substance dripping on the counter. To get the wax cappings off, I used something called a capping knife which looks like a large bread knife except for the fact that both sides are serrated and the end is slightly curved upward. Since the temperature was in the mid-80s, the honey flowed easily out of the cells, through a sieve and into a large mixing bowl. I had a yield of a little over one quart jar of liquid honey.

I’m not sure if it is only because I have put a lot of time and work into having honey bees or if this is really the best tasting honey in the world. I can only describe it as having a slightly minty flavor. There were several cells of capped pollen. I tried one and it had an intense honey flavor with a grainy texture. I have heard that people eat them for their health benefits. Looking at the capped pollen, each one of them has distinct layers from when an individual honey bee brought back full pollen sacks and deposited them in the cell. It is extraordinary how much work was done to produce just one of those cells of pollen or and the bees have capped tens of thousands of them already this year. 




Friday, July 20, 2012

June Food List

Here is my long awaited food list for June. I bought bee supplies on the 29th and visited with a friend, so we ate at a restaurant. Since starting this project, I have become so aware of factory farmed meat that I have little desire to eat it. Fish is a much healthier option than other meats, and I don't consider hatcheries to be factory farms.  


1st - didn't keep track
2nd - 1c strawberries, 3 eggfrtst, 1/3 bread, , 1/2tbs butter, 1tsp honey,1 pot coffee
3rd - 1c strawberries, 1c blueberries, 1c sugar snap peas, 2-1/2c potatoes, 1scallion,  1 eggom, 1/4 bread, 2tbs butter, 1/2tsp sugar, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee,
4th - 1-1/2c potatoes, 1/2c sugar snap peas, 2sm carrots, 2 scallions, 2 eggscr,  1/2tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
5th - 1c strawberries, 1-1/2c potatoes, 1 scallion, 3 eggscr, 1/2tbs butter, 1tbs sugar, 1 pot coffee
6th - 1/2c strawberry syrup, 1/4c blueberries, 4 raspberries,  1tbs garlic, 1c sugar snap peas, 3 eggfrtst, 1/2 bread, 2tbs butter, 2tsp honey, 2 pot coffee
7th - 1/2c blueberries, 1sm carrot, 3 eggscr, 1/3c rice, 1/4 bread, 1tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
8th - 6 raspberries, 1c blueberry syrup, 1c sugar snap pea, 3 eggfrtst, 1/4 bread, 1/4 pound cake, 1/2tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
9th - 1/8c green peppers, 1 scallion, 1/3c tomato, 3 eggomlt, 1tbs gccheese, 1/4 bread, 1tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
10th - 1c strawberries, 1c blueberries, 1/2c raspberries, 1/8c green peppers, 1 scallion, 1/3c tomato, 3 eggomlt, 1tbs gccheese, 1/4 bread, 1tbs butter, 1 tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
11th - 1/2c raspberries, 1/2c blueberries, 1-1/2c potatoes, 1sm carrot, 1/2 carrot top, 1/8c green peppers, 1 scallion, 1/3c tomato, 3 eggomlt, 1tbs gccheese, 2tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
12th - 1 blackberry, 1/2c raspberries, 1/2c blueberries, 1c sugar snap pea,  1/2c potatoes, 1/8c green peppers, 1 scallion, 1/3c tomato, 3 eggomlt, 1tbs gccheese, 1/3 spritz, 1/2tbs butter
13th - 1/2c raspberries, 1/2c sugar snap peas, 1/8c green peppers, 1/3c tomato, 3 eggscr, 1med tortilla, 1/2 spritz, 1/2tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
14th - 1/2c blueberries, 3 eggscr, 1med tortilla, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
15th - 3 blackberries, 1/2c blueberry syrup, 3 eggcr, 1/2 bread, 1/2tbs butter, (burned roof of mouth with blueberry syrup left a blister ordered 1sm chocolt blizzard and 1 med cherry berry)
16th - 2 blackberries, 1/2c raspberries, 1c sugar snap peas,  1/8c green peppers, 1 scallion, 1/3c tomato, 3 eggomlt, 1tbs gccheese, 1/2 bread, 1tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
18th - 1c blueberries, 2c potatoes, 3eggsscr, 1/4 bread, 1tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
19th - 1/2c raspberries, 1/2c blueberries, 1/2c strawberries, 1/8c green peppers, 1/3c tomato, 3eggomlt, 1tbs gccheese, 1/4 bread, 1/2tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
20th -  1/8c green peppers, 1/3c tomato, 3eggomlt, 1tbs gccheese, 1/4 bread, 1/2tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
21st - 1/2c blackberries, 1c strawberries, 1/2c raspberries, 1c blueberries, 1/2c blueberry syrup, 1c sugar snap peas, 1c potatoes, 3 eggfrtst, 1/4 bread, 2tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
22nd - cough drops, 1c blueberries, 1c raspberries, 1/8c green peppers, 1scallion, 1/2c potatoes, catnip tea, 3 eggscr, 1med tortilla, 1/4 bread, 1tbs butter, 4tbs honey
23rd - (bad sore throat) cough drops, lemon tea, 1c raspberries, 3 eggscr, 1med tortilla, 2tbs honey
24th - cough drops, 1/2c raspberries, 1/2c blueberries, 1/4c blueberry syrup, 1c sugar snap peas, 1sm carrot, 1c peanut beans, 2 eggfrtst, 2 eggscr, 1med tortilla, 1/4 bread, 2tbs honey, 1 pot coffee
25th - (no taste) 1/4c dried blueberries, 1c blueberries, 1c blackberries, 1/2tsp garlic, 1/8c green peppers, 1sm carrot, 1c peanut beans, 3 eggscr, 1/3c rice, 1/4 bread, 2tbs butter, 2tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
26th - (no taste) 1/2c sugar snap peas, 1/2tsp garlic, 2 eggscr, 1/4 bread, 2tbs butter, 1tsp honey, 1 pot coffee
27th - (no taste) 1c raspberries, 1/2c sugar snap peas, catnip tea, 2 eggscr, 1/3 bread, 1/2tbs butter, 1tbs honey, 1 pot coffee
28th - (no taste) 3/4c raspberries, 2sm carrots (.75x3in), 1/2 c sugar snap peas, 2eggscr, 1/4 bread, 1/2tbs butter
29th - pear, hashbrowns, 1 biscuit, gravy (powder-water based), chocolate ice cream bar, salmon, rice, baked potato, butter, avacado, tomato, corn
30th - 1c raspberries, 2c potatoes, 1/8c green peppers, 1c peanut beans, 3 eggscr, 1/3c rice, 1/5 bread, 1/4 spritz, 2tbs butter, 1tsp honey

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Mono

Sorry I haven't posted anything in a while. According to a blood test I took on Monday, it appears that I have mono. I have been so tired and I have a sore throat. Hopefully, I will be back to writing again soon.

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Tale of Two Hives


Last Sunday I got another hive of bees. The hive on the right is my new hive. Since this picture was taken, it now has a medium super on it painted lavender-quartz. I’m going to paint all of my brood boxes and supers in pastels.

I now have two races of bees. The Carniolans are on the left and the Italians are on the right. I find it interesting that the first honeybees brought over in the 1630 were German black bees. It wasn’t until 1859 when Italian queens were imported to America. Nowadays, the Italians are the most common race of bees kept by beekeepers. Carniolans were imported in 1870 from Yugoslavia and Austria. The two races look a little different with the Italians being more golden in color.  

Sometimes it is necessary to combine hives when one hive is weak and another is strong. The best way to do that is to place several frames of bees on top of another hive and separate the bees using newspaper sprayed with sugar water. In a few days, the bees from the other hive will chew through the newspaper and by that time the pheromones from the queen will be in control of them. It doesn’t matter if the worker bees are from different races because a worker bee is a worker bee regardless if it is an Italian or Carniolan.  

The following list was given out when I attended beekeeping classes:

Italian Honeybees Advantages:
Compact brood
Excellent foragers
Easy to obtain
Most of the time gentle and calm
Light in color making the Queen easier to locate
Disadvantages:
Slightly smaller cell size
Short distance foragers
Susceptible to many diseases and pests
Bees may enter the winter with too much brood, not enough honey

Carniolan Honeybees Advantages:
Rapid population buildup in early spring
Exceptionally gentle and less prone to sting
Few brood diseases
Disadvantages:
Tend to swarm
Broodnest depends on pollen supply
Dark queen is difficult to locate