Award Winning Honey Bees

So, we interrupt the shorebirding I was about to blog about to do a beekeeping update. I think when I last wrote about our humble beekeeping operation, we had combined the queenless Olga hive with the strong Kitty hive using the newspaper method. We took the remaining brood box with bees from Olga and placed it in Kitty, separating the box with a thin layer of newspaper. The bees would chew through the newspaper, giving the Olga bees a chance to absorb the pheromones of Queen Kitty and not start any fights.

When we check on them a week later, the newspaper on the bottom was completely eaten away.

They were still working their way through the top, but all seems to be going well and we are now a three hive operation. Not bad for our second year, not bad at all.

Meanwhile, the Bickman Bees have really set the tone for this summer--their honey won the blue ribbon at the county fair! It started as a wacky idea, I told Mr. Neil, Lorraine, and Non Birding Bill that we should enter our honey in the local fair. Having scoped out the rules and figuring we could afford the fifty cent entry fee, we gave it a go. I must say, Lorraine did the bulk of the work (apart from the bees): she extracted the honey and dealt with the slumgum, read up on what makes for an award winning entry, and walked it to the fair.

I was going to try and go out, but I was too swamped after my tv segment today--I still have not unpacked from last week! I got a phone call this afternoon Mr. Neil and Lorraine reported that the honey from our bees got the blue ribbon. Above is Lorraine posing with the entries.

It's beautiful too--a very pale color. I've had a couple of bites of feral comb from the hive, but have not tasted the official entry. Apparently, it tastes much different than Olga's honey last year.

I can't believe the overwhelming sense of pride I have in my hard workin' girls right now. This has been a pretty good year--I've got steady work that I enjoy, my second book came out, I've traveled to some fabulous places, but...I think seeing our bees take the blue ribbon has to top it. Not only because beekeeping is one of the most awesome things a person can do in life (aside from birding and living with a pet rabbit) but it's been a team effort with my husband and two really good friends.

...and now I have the A-Team Theme running through my head. Great.