Archive | February, 2012

Found a Kenyan Top Bar Hive builder in Boston (ish)!

29 Feb

Just found an AWESOME guy in central MA who will build for such reasonable prices – he does carpentry and he keeps bees, so it seems logical that he’s building hives now.

He sent me pics, they’re great!

Plain Hive – love the hexagon up top!

Plain Hive

Observation Window

Window Open

Window open, hinged lid.

Top bars in place.

Sweeeeeet comb guides.

The plain hive, pine unpainted is $150, the window adds $50 and the hinged lid adds $20. Adding a bee friendly coating adds $20.  Obviously, he could change his prices at any point, so take this with a grain of salt.

Mine is going to have a window, but no hinges on the lid.

He lives in Boylston but also will deliver “for a fee” not sure what fee, I’m picking mine up. His name is Scott and he’s nationalginger@gmail – he’s super quick with email and really friendly and accommodating. If you email him, tell him Kelly sent you. 🙂


Urban Maple Sugaring

21 Feb

Every time I tell someone that we’re tapping the trees in our back yard and hoping to make a little syrup, people tell me (again) that it takes so much sap to make so little syrup (I know the stat / 40:1).  They’re not getting the point – I don’t care.  I also feel like people should know me well enough to know that I’ve done the research and am well aware of that fact.

For me it’s not about the quantity – for the record, I don’t think I’ve eaten maple syrup in years.  It’s about the experience, and the skillset, and doing it ourselves, and if we’re lucky having some to share with our friends…and making it myself, even a little, means that I might eat it – so there’s that too.

We’re having a test-run next week and then doing a big batch for my birthday party on the 10th. And maybe, sugaring brunch will become a birthday tradition at our house…if we’re lucky.


There’s me drilling (under the watchful guidance of Marla – this is a lot more in her wheel-house than mine).

One of two taps that went in on Sunday.  A third went in today and a fourth will go in tomorrow.

Two taps on a so/so flow day (and a half) produced this much – well, a little more – I spilled some on my first attempt at filtering.  Oops.

More bee-feeder-in-action shots.

21 Feb

We had a warm day and the two bees who were at the feeder must have told their friends about it, because there were 20 or so at a time on the feeder the other day.


I tried to see where they might be living – I got a general direction but then lost them.  It’s supposed to be warm for the next few days, so I’m hoping to see more of them and maybe get a better idea of where they’re coming from.  I have this secret hope that I’ll keep feeding them and help their hive strengthen and grow and that they’ll swarm and come live in my yard.  I care so much about them.

Marla is building me a warre style hive for my birthday, but I’ve been snooping around online to see if anyone will build be a Kenyan Top Bar as well.  I’m going to put the bees I bought in the warre, but in my secret plan – I’ll put the KTBH in the garden and bees will take up residence…and then I’ll have my purchased queen in a refined hive and name her Beatrice and I’ll have my feral queen in a little more rustic hive and name her Hippolyte….and I’ll keep their honey separated and see if there’s a difference.  This is crazy right?

Working on scope.

21 Feb

I’m trying to decide if I want this only to be for bee stuff or to be mostly bee stuff but also include some of our other home-stead-y activities.  I have a garden blog, but it’s two gardens out of date – and I like the wordpress format better than the blogspot format it’s on.  I guess, I’ll just see what happens.  My bee stuff is super new and novel to me, but at the same time – segregating this all out is sort of false – everything is connected.

Some Bee Stuff

14 Feb

I have been slowly gearing up this month in anticipation of the arrival of my bees on April 2nd.  So far I have a bunch of little things:

I don’t intend for the smoker to be a regular part of my practice, but I wanted to have one – especially at first, I know I’ll be nervous a lot and want the back up.  I’m going to try to light it and play with it in a day or so.  I’m also modeling a $150 bee suit I found on eBay for $50 because it has “blemishes” – I’ll take blemishes.  I also already had a spray bottle and a pocket knife – which will go in my kit.

In that same batch of ordering, I got a pair of baby chick watering bases so that I could make water stations for my bees.  Then when I was out in the yard the other day, I saw bees flying around looking for things and so I put it together and voila – drinking bees!

Which made me so happy that I’ve been stalking the weather since then, hoping for a 45 degree day that I’d be home during the day for.  Tomorrow might fit that bill – but it looks like Wednesday definitely will.

I need another blog like I need a hole in the head, but here goes!

13 Feb

I’m taking Cambridge Center for Adult Ed’s “What’s the Buzz?” beekeeping class, and I’d like to keep a journal about my foray into beekeeping….and may generally expand it to involve my other homestead-y activities, although you can spy on them in my other blogs.

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