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Let Us Tell You About Honey Bee Resources

As beekeepers and bee lovers, we love to share about the riches that come from bee hive resources.   As a business, BEEpothecary creates artisan batches of  health, skin and hair care products made with beehive resources – propolis, honey, pollen and beeswax. We have a particular passion for propolis and have pent several years pouring over scientific research on the use of propolis for health and illness. We have several presentations that we do for beekeeping conferences, honey festivals, individual beekeeper clubs and homesteading/natural living festivals.  We offer Power Point programs with demonstrations and sampling of various products and raw materials. We also buy raw propolis (and other hive resources) from other beekeepers by the pound and can provide instructions for how to clean it to prepare for sale.

Our presentations include:

  • The health benefits of hive resources;
  • How to collect clean and prepare hive products for use in value added products;
  • Different forms of hive products that can be marketed;
  • How to make many different products using bee resources;
  • The categorizing, production and labeling laws that must be followed to market value added hive products other than honey;
  • Honey Bees and Beekeeping, for non-beekeepers
  • Combinations of two or more of these topics in one presentation.

Our speaking charge is $100 for a 45 – 90 min presentation,  plus travel costs.  (We are willing to negotiate, in some cases, for smaller groups with a limited budget.)  We love sharing about the amazing health benefits of hive resources with others! If your club, conference or event is in need of a speaker on any of these topics, please contact us at beepothecary@gmail.com  or call 1-450-2339.

 

HEALTH ~ POWERED BY BEES!

Summer of Swarms

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Psalms from the Hive, by Jeannie Saum

Bees get crowded in summer days

And send out foragers looking for ways

To direct the colony to a new home.

They load their bodies with pollen  and honey

Queen and half the bees make a run for the money

Swarming off into the sky.

 

Clover, Bee, and Revery

Reverie (revery) –(n.) state of dreamy meditation or fanciful musing; a fantastic, visionary, or impractical

We’re not sure why the bees seem to be swarming more this summer, but it is really keeping us busy.  We get one to three calls a week from people who need help with a bee swarm in their

yard, or a sudden infestation of bees in some part of their house.  My husband Steve, and his side-kick, our son Nate, have become the BEEpothecary BEE Wranglers of Groveport and SE Columbus!

Steve

Nate

Why do they do it? Free bees!  When they go out to capture swarms or clear out bees from someone’s wall or garage or eaves, they bring back the bees and add them to a hive body in our bee apiary, and we have a new hive!  When a package of bees from the south costs $95, and a small starter nucleus hive costs $125, catching swarms is a great cost saving way to increase our hive numbers!  More bees means more honey, propolis, pollen and beeswax!

Steve getting behind a gutter to find the hive.

Swarm high up in our tree. We got this one!

Why do bee hives swarm?  It is a natural tendency of bee colonies. In a natural hive in a tree or log, the bee colony will swarm whenever it runs out of room.  This is the way bees increase their numbers and their colonies in nature.  The queen bee has been kept alive all winter by her worker females creating heat by shivering their bodies in a cluster around her.  In the spring when the weather warms up, the queen starts laying eggs again and the worker bees begin collecting pollen and nectar.  As the bee population in the hive increases, and more pollen and nectar are brought in, they start running out of room in the hive.  If a beekeeper isn’t inspecting their managed hives soon enough, and adding boxes with more space, the hive will do what it is ingrained to do – swarm.

Pheromones given off by the bees direct the colony to start making swarm cells for new queens. These chemical

This swarm flew right out of the nuc box and disappeared! Bummer!

signals cause the scout bees to go out to find a new home and the forager bees to load up their bodies with pollen and honey.  Then, one day the queen and half the bees, loaded down with food, leave the hive, create a big tornado like swirl of bees in the air, and eventually land in a tree or bush, usually fairly close at first.  They rest there, until the scout bees show them where to go next.  This is not good for the beekeeper because it means you have lost half the bees in that hive.  Fewer bees mean less honey, pollen and propolis!

If you’re lucky, you see the swarm resting on a tree or busy in your yard, and can go out and capture your own swarm and put them in a new hive set up. But often, they fly away and end up in someone else’s yard, tree or house!

Nate cutting a limb with a swarm

When Steve and Nate go out swarm catching this is how they do it.  If the swarm is in a tree or bush, it’s easy – as long as it is not too high up!  All they have to do is cut the limb and shake, or just bump the limb and shake it over a “nuc box”.  This is a small cardboard box that holds 5 frames of beeswax comb for a nucleus hiv

Sometimes, the queen somehow hangs onto the limb, while the other bees fall off and into the box.  When this happens, the bees in the box won’t stay.  They fly right back up to the queen on the  limb!  So sometimes the bumping of the limb as to be done a few times, or a bee brush used gently to try to get all  the bees and the queen off the limb and into the box.  Once they get the queen in the box, all the other bees will follow her in.  They look like a miniature army marching off to war, right into the box.

 

 

If the bees have found a little tiny hole to go through to get into the eaves or the wall of someones house, it becomes a more difficult job and usually there is a charge involved for doing the

Loose bricks in historic home – an invitation for bees to build a nest!

extraction.  This usually requires a ladder, tools and the removal of part of the house – fascia board,

Bee hive in the wall behind the bricks.

gutter, soffit or sometimes even cutting out wallboard inside the house.  And if the bees are inside the house, they have already started building beeswax comb and bringing in pollen and nectar. The queen is already laying eggs. So all this must be cut out.  A lot of work, but good for us, because Steve and Nate bring home not just the queen and the bees, but also the new comb and larvae already laid.  This goes into a new hive set up in our apiary.  We rubber band the  oddly shaped beeswax comb into the wooden frames in the hive box.

Most exterminators these days don’t want to mess with extracting bees.  First of all, they know the bees are important and need to be saved, not exterminated.  But secondly, killing the bees is only part of the job.  If you don’t remove the wax comb full of nectar and pollen and larvae, it will decay, and smell and eventually

Bee hive behind fascia board and gutter.

seep through the wall board into the house!  Exterminators don’t want to

Nate getting a bee hive way up high behind gutter.

deal with that!

So, if you see a swarm, or you end up with an infestation in your home, don’t hesitate to call the BEEpothecary BEE Wranglers! 614-450-2339.

 

 

 

 

 

Steve digging out another fascia board infestation.

Getting the bees in the nuc box.

Making sure he’s got them all.

 

 

Psalm 104:

27 All creatures look to you to give them their food at the proper time.
28 When you give it to them, they gather it up;
when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things.
29 When you hide your face, they are terrified;
when you take away their breath, they die and return to the dust.
30 When you send your Spirit, they are created,
    and you renew the face of the ground.

31 May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works—

32 he who looks at the earth, and it trembles, who touches the mountains, and they smoke.

Fall in the BEE Yard

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Psalms from the Hive, by Jeannie Saum

 

Cooler nights and shorter days, 

Bring out jeans and sweaters

And change our ways.

The honey bees,

Make changes too.

Bringing in nectar,

Making lots of goo!

 

Clover, Bee, and Revery

Reverie (revery) –(n.) state of dreamy meditation or fanciful musing; a fantastic, visionary, or impractical idea

Fall is officially here and the nights are getting cooler but the daytime temperatures are unpredictable! The temperature can range from high 80’s to somewhere in the 50’s. We never know what to expect! But the bees’ activities this time of year, are always the same. It is time for them to get ready for the coming winter. In the fall, the bees work hard to get a last load of flower nectar into their hive, to make their honey-food for winter. The nectar comes mainly from goldenrod and asters this time of year, giving the fall honey a darker color and bolder taste, For some of us, it is the favorite of all!

20150531_144157If there is an abundance of nectar flowing and not too much rain, the bees will be able to fill up lots of frames of nectar, which they will fan with their tiny wings, to evaporate it down to sweet, dark, flavorful honey. And if they make more than what they need for winter (typically about 100 pounds), they we get to pull some honey frames off for us!! We can’t wait! The bees also collect lots of resin from the trees and use it to make extra propolis in the fall. They will use this sticky goo to seal the hive for winter, filling all the cracks and crevices with globs of propolis and covering all the surfaces with a thin layer. Propolis also kills bacteria, viruses and molds that might be present in the hive, keeping it sanitary and healthy as they hsteve-at-toyead into winter.

We made a trip out to our bee yards this week, to check on our bees and see if there was any fall honey for us.  We found some hives thriving and some sort of struggling along.  We took notes and made plans to check again in a few weeks whenjeannie-scraping the goldenrod and aster nectar flow is over.  Then, we might need to feed some of the smaller hives, to help them build up their stores for winter.  We noted some smaller hives  that may have difficulty making it through the winter.  We are thinking about trying the 2 queen method where you  place a weaker hive atop a stronger hive with 2 queen excluders and a box of honey between them.  Combining them this way allows the worker bees  from both hives to pass through the excluders to get around both hives to move take care of larvae, move honey stores around and help take care of both queens.  We will get out into our apiaries at the beginning of November to decide this, and to prepare our hives for winter.

We also found about 5 boxes of honey we can pull in a few weeks, once it is capped. We are excited about having sweet dark fall honey!   The boxes we pull off are in addition to the honey we will leave for the bees. They will need between 80 and 100 pound to eat during th
e winter so they have energy to shiver their flight muscles, generating heat to keep the queen at 93 degrees all winter!

And our best discovery working in our bee yards was finding several hives that are making tons of propolis. On one hive it was dripping down the sides!   7-oz-propolis-one-hiveWe got 7 ounces  – mostly from one hive – that was in our way and had to be removed.  Most beekeepers would be cursing it and tossing
it over their shoulder into the grass after scraping it off.  But we celebrate because we know how precious it is as a natural health substance.  It’s like gold, to us.  Our gift from the bees.  We have read propolis-isnlidscores and scores of research on propolis and know it has shown to be antibiotic, antiviral, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant.  We will use our propolis to make dietary supplements, skin care, shaving products, soaps, and lip balms, all fortified with propolis, because we want everyone to know about propolis and be able to have access to it.

Powered by BEES!

 

TO ALL BEEKEEPERS:

What are you doing with your propolis?  Don’t throw it away!  

Since you have to clean your hives anyway, why not make some money doing it!

We buy propolis by the pound. Save it in baggies as you clean up your equipment.  

Store it in the freezer and call us when you have a pound or more.

We will email you the instructions on how to clean it and give you a price.

We also buy: Beeswax, Honey and Pollen!

Email us:BEEpothecary@gmail.com

1 Peter 1:6-8

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.

These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,

Honey and all it’s goodness

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The Land of Milk and Honey

Cooking with Honey

by Laurie Dotson 

Superpowers? Honey, who knew?

It was brought to my attention last week that September is in fact National Honey Month. Honey gets an entire month all to itself?  Why yes, it certainly does.  We celebrate it at the Lithopolis Honeyfest, in Lithopolis Ohio!

BEEpothecary will have a booth with all our fabulous products!

!!!!!Planning ahead!!!!!

Mark your calendar  September 11-12, 2015

LithopThe Lithopolis Honeyfest will be going on the FRIDAY & SATURDAY AFTER LABOR DAY
FREE ADMISSION, FREE SHUTTLE & FREE PARKING CALL FOR DETAILS 614-837-2013

Lithopolis HoneyFest

Turns out that Americans consume 1.5 pounds of honey per person annually, and there are more than 300 types of honey in the United States alone. That’s impressive, and we figured that if honey gets to be honored all month long, the least we could do is give you 20 different uses for it. Enjoy!

1. Put it on your lipshoney on lips

Did you know that making your own lip balm is as easy as tracking down some almond oil, beeswax and honey? Sure is. Makes you feel a little guilty about that $10 version you picked up at the health food store yesterday, doesn’t it?  Lip Honey made by BEEpothecary

2. Make your own honey moisturizer

If you’ve got a handful of sweet smelling herbs — think lavender — laying around and ready to be used, why not use them for your own homemade honey lotion? Warm honey over a saucepan until it gets to a liquid consistency. Pour honey over herbs and cap tightly; the ratio you want to use is 1 tablespoon of herbs per 8 ounces of honey. Let sit for a week and then mix 1 teaspoon of liquid into an 8 ounce bottle of unscented lotion.

3. Eat it with goat cheesehoney and goats cheese

In need of a classy hors d’oeuvre but lacking in the time department? Try this: put a round of goat cheese in a ramekin, sprinkle honey and chopped walnuts on top and place in oven at 350F until honey and cheese are both soft. Serve with baguette or crackers and you’ll be the life of the party.

4. Prepare for the end of the world

Screen Shot 2015-07-10 at 1.49.11 PM

You never know what’s going to happen, so stock it. Now.

5. Drink it

We all know a drop of honey in tea is good for a sore throat, but you can add it to most drinks for an extra energy boost. And simply because it’s a whole lot better than tossing in a few Sweet ‘N Lows.

6. Make a saladScreen Shot 2015-07-10 at 1.52.35 PM

One of my favorite and easiest fruit salads uses just a touch of honey to enhance the sugars in the fruit, and it’s a perfect late summer dessert.
1 cantaloupe, chopped
3 nectarines, chopped
4 tablespoons chopped basil
2 tablespoons honey
Mix together and enjoy!

7. Give yourself a facialScreen Shot 2015-07-10 at 1.56.06 PM

Honey is a natural humectant with antimicrobial properties, which means your skin will be happy when you give it some sweet honey love. Try a basic honey wash by mixing a dollop of honey and two tablespoons of warm water and massaging the mixture into your skin. Or you can go all out and try the Cucumber Honey Facial.

8. Go the extra milebeebread no bakes

Forget energy bars and shots, just pop a tablespoon of honey before your next workout. Seriously, it has been proven to boost athletic performance.

9. Remove parasites20141024_114058

Got a post-Southeast Asia backpacking trip bug that just won’t leave you alone? Mix up a good blend of honey, water and vinegar and you’ll quickly be on your way to being parasite free.

10. Clean your cuts and scrapesScreen Shot 2015-07-10 at 2.01.32 PM

Honey can actually be used as an antiseptic, like a natural Neosporin. Because of its many antimicrobial properties, it can be used to treat wounds and even burns.

11. Get rid of your hangoverScreen Shot 2015-07-10 at 2.02.53 PM

Forget a morning of popping ibuprofen, spread some honey on your toast or add some to your tea. Because honey is loaded with fructose, it will help speed up the metabolism of alcohol.

12. Clear up your dry elbowsBEEpothecary Wildflower Honey

Nothing’s worse than scratchy elbows (no really) so next time, after you’ve washed and scrubbed, rub some honey on to soften the skin. Leave on for 30 minutes then wash off.

13. Soften your skin

Honey is an excellent exfoliant. You can pair it with ground almonds or bee pollen and lemon juice for a killer homemade facial scrub.

14. Mix a drinkScreen Shot 2015-07-10 at 2.05.45 PM

After you’ve been busy reaping all the health benefits that honey has to offer, it’s time to celebrate, and what better way than with a good ole cocktail. Honey Gin Cocktail? Bring it.

15. Eat the honeycomb. No really, just do it.

Yes, it can be done! One of our fave food bloggers Clotilde Dusoulier, of Chocolate & Zucchini, put the ingredient to her readers and got some fun responses. The best sounding one? Mix it with crunchy peanut butter on toast.

16. Get an energy boostScreen Shot 2015-07-10 at 2.10.00 PM

Feeling a tad lethargic? Skip the coffee and go for the honey instead. Mix a tablespoon into a cup of tea and you’ll be feeling better in no time.

17. Beautify your hairScreen Shot 2015-07-10 at 2.15.37 PM

In the shower, after you wash your, coat the ends with a bit of honey. Let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing out and you’ll find that your hair is less frizzy and extra conditioned. Or make your hair shiny and bright by adding one teaspoon honey to one quart of water, and after washing your hair, pouring the mixture over your head. Let dry and enjoy your new-found shiny do.

18. Preserve fruitScreen Shot 2015-07-10 at 2.17.36 PM

Jam is so five years ago; show you’re truly cutting edge by preserving your fruits in a honey sauce. All it takes is one part honey to ten parts water and then covering your berries. Pretty much the closest you’re ever going to get to bottling up a little bit of summer.

19. Relax in the tubScreen Shot 2015-07-10 at 2.19.12 PM

Add a few tablespoons of honey to your bath, for sweeter smelling, softer feeling water. Pure bliss.

20. Lose weightScreen Shot 2015-07-10 at 2.20.55 PM

Well, what were you expecting? With a list this long it had to be pretty apparent that honey is in fact a wonder food, and as it turns out, you can even make it part of your next weight loss plan. Honey is an excellent substitute for sugar and it also helps speed up metabolism. Just remember: all things in moderation.

https://squareup.com/market/beepothecary

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/anna-brones/20-unusual-uses-for-honey_b_949475.html

1 Thessalonians 3:11 Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, 12 and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, 13 so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.

Our Hives are Hoppin’!

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Psalms from the HiveIMG_5023

by Jeannie Saum

How many hives can the  honey bees make

If the bees make it through the winter?

Five hives?   Ten hives?  Fifteen? Twenty?

We’re up to twenty-one!

Swarms caught, splits made, nuc boxes full

And five boxes of honey to pull!

 

Clover, Bee, and Revery

It’s been IMG_3311quite a spring with our bees, and we feel like we are finally  getting the hang of things after 5 years of beginning beekeeping and many conferences and beekeeper meetings  where we get tons of helpful information.

 

~  ~  ~  ~

 

 

 

At the Dotson Apiary, they had four  hives make it through the winter an20150522_104446d these were thriving and multiplying in early spring.  In the Saum Apiary, we had three make it, but they started the spring out kind of small and weak.  We were happy with the survival rate, compared to last year.

 

~  ~  ~  ~

1413393049315

At the Saum Apiary, we had  a small disaster in the last snow and wind storm in February.  Our tarp wind break broke loose at one end and whipped around in the wind, knocking off the covers of three hives.  We didn’t find this out for several hours, so those bees probably succumbed to the cold and lack of protection.

 

~  ~  ~  ~

swarm

 

We’ve been out in our hives every two weeks, installed four new nuc (5 frame starter hives from an experienced beekeeper with overwintered bees and queens), caught a swarm from one of our hives, captured a swarm after a call from a neighbor, and made five hive splits from the Dotson’s booming hives and started 3 nucs with queen cells we found.

 

~  ~  ~  ~

beeframes DR

 

beeframesbuilding

We’ve also been building massive amounts of  extra equipment – boxes and frames – so we have extra boxes to put on our hives as they grow and make honey during the summer and fall.  Our daughter said our dining room looks like a bee supply company threw up in it!

 

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

 

And next week, we will have five boxes of spring honey to harvest!  We’ll keep you posted as to when that is ready!

 

IMG_3905

 

And remember, BEEpothecary is back open for business, with a 15% off coupon code  reopen15.  Get to our online market with the tab at the top of the page “Our Products”

Jeremiah 31

10“Hear the word of the Lord, you nations; proclaim it in distant coastlands: ‘He who scattered Israel will gather them and will watch over his flock like a shepherd.’
11 For the Lord will deliver Jacob and redeem them from the hand of those stronger than they.
12 They will come and shout for joy on the heights of Zion; they will rejoice in the bounty of the Lord
the grain, the new wine and the olive oil, the young of the flocks and herds. They will be like a well-watered garden, and they will sorrow no more.
13 Then young women will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.
14 I will satisfy the priests with abundance, and my people will be filled with my bounty,” declares the Lord.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Faithfulness – a Blessing to BEEpothecary

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Psalms from the Hive

by Jeannie Saum

Faithfulness, a quality sought

In  family, customers, friends.

They stick around during the hard times

Encouragement, they send.Delawaremay14

They keep us going

When we want to give up

Standing by, holding us up.

 

Clover, Bee, and Revery

Faithful Customers, family and friends , you kept us going!  All during the few months we have received DAILY calls from you, our faithful customers, believers in all things BEE!  While we hated telling you that we did not have products for you at that time, we have to tell you that it is your phone calls that have kept us encouraged and pursuing getting up and running quickly!

Your calls and stories of health successes with bee propolis, continued to remind us of why we were doing this.  More than creating a small business that might provide us with a little extra income for retirement, our number-one desire is to passionately promote these incredible bee resources to help others discover and experience the many health benefits from hive products.

It is so exciting to hear your stories and build relationships with you all.  We thank you for support and encouragement over the last

Jeannie and Steve Saum, Peter and Laurie Dotson

Jeannie and Steve Saum, Peter and Laurie Dotson

few months!  We look forward to serving you with these incredible products, getting to know you better, and hearing your stories of

success – keep them coming!

Bless you,

Jeannie, Steve, Laurie, and Peter

 

P. S. My daughter turned me on to this suggestion that is going around on Facebook.  If you want to know what a true and faithful friend is, try putting a friend’s name in this verse, in the place of the word LOVE and its pronouns.  See if it rings true for that person in your life.

 When we consider you all, it does!

1 Corinthians 13

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.

Grand Re-Opening – BEEpothecary is Back!

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ANNOUNCING THE GRAND RE-OPENING OF

BEEpothecarybeepothecary products

Health, Skin and HairCare Products

with the amazing BEE PROPOLIS

and other hive resources, are available at

     www.mkt.com/beepothecary – online – mail order

or at BEEppothecary’s home office

 3320 Toy Road, Groveport, Ohio

call ahead for appointment – 1-614-450-2339


Coming Soon!

BEEpothecary will be available at our partner Store Fronts within the next few weeks! Stay tuned for the announcement!

 

State and Third Boutiques – Shoppes at Capitol Square

Urban Emporium – Main St.,  Bexley

Simply Vague – Polaris & Tuttle Malls

River’s Edge Cutlery – Hilliard

Garden Herb Shop – Canal Winchester

Blystone Farm Market – Oregon Rd., Canal Winchester

The Well, Lancaster

Joshua 6

Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men.

March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days.

Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets.

When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout;then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.”

15 On the seventh day, they got up at daybreak and marched around the city seven times in the same manner, except that on that day they circled the city seven times.

16 The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the army, “Shout! For the Lord has given you the city!

17 The city and all that is in it are to be devoted[a] to the Lord.

20 When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city. 21 They devoted the city to the Lord.

Tucking in our Bees for Winter

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Psalms from the Hive

by Jeannie Saum

Should we or should we notmuskoka trip day3 374

Insulate the hive and top?

Feed them syrup?

Block the wind?

What’s the best way 

For us to tend?

Clover, Bee, and Revery

Reverie (revery) –(n.) state of dreamy meditation or fanciful musing; a fantastic, visionary, or impractical idea

Last year ago in the fall, we argued back and forth about what to do to our bees to prepare for winter.  Just as every beekeeper you talk to has different ideas about how to prepare hives for winter, so, too, Steve and I had differing opinions.  We had lost 2 out of 4 the previous winter, and I thought we should do something proactive to the hives.  Steve, on the other hand, felt that if bees can survive in nature, in a tree, through the winter, that the less done to them the better.  Round and round we went over this.  Our county bee inspector came in the fall, and he felt the hives looked good, and that even the small hive might make it, since they would need less honey stores.  He made a few recommendations about how many boxes to reduce down to and how many frames of honey they would need.  In the end, Steve’s way won out.  We did nothing except leave honey in the hives and feed them some sugar syrup in the fall.

Winter came with a vengeance last winter, as you all may remember.  We had long periods of time with temperatures well below freezing, many days of below zero weather, lots of wind and snow.  Then suddenly, for a day or two, it would warm up to the 50’s and then – Wham! – back to below zero.  This weather played havoc on trees, shrubs, perennials and the bees.  

Bees stay warm in the winter by forming a tightly packed cluster around the queen.  By quivering their flight muscles to generate heat, they keep their cluster and the queen in the middle at close to a toasty 90º!  The bees in the outer layer stay between 48º to 57º.  The bees on the outer layer eat honey from the frames for energy, then move toward the center to get warmer, while the bees in the core move toward the outside to get honey.  But if the body temperature grows colder than 48º, they can’t move their flight muscles, and fall off the cluster and die.

Last winter, with the wildly fluctuating temperatures and the periods of bitter cold, our bees did not fair well.  When the weather warms up to 50º, the bees break cluster and go out for a cleansing flight (they do not defecate in the hive).  Then when the temperature drops rapidly to below freezing, as it did last winter, the bees often can not get the cluster formed and warmed quickly enough.  We lost all but one hive at both the Saum’s  and the Dotson’s apiaries.  We were bummed!  At $95 for a package of bees, beekeeping is an expensive endeavor, especially when they die every winter.

So, this year, Jeannie will get her way.  Doing nothing last winter resulted in a 92% loss, so th20140615_135218is year, we’re doing it my way!!  I wanted to try several things we have heard about at beekeeping conference we’ve been to this past year.  Steve and I made hive blankets on day on my lovely dining room table!  These are shallow boxes with a screen bottom and filled with wood chips.  They go on the top of the hive to catch condensation dripping from the lid.  This condensation  forms in the winter when the heated air from the cluster rises and hits the cold lid of the hive.  If this moisture drips on the bees, they die.  So we are hoping this blanket of wood chips will absorb the moisture and keep the bees dry.

One day in early November, Laurie and I went out and wrapped hives in black roofing tar paper, while Steve cooked more  sugar syrup for the bees.  The black paper helps the hive stay warm through solar gain from the sun on the black paper.  We had intended to staple the tar paper on with our pneumatic stapler, but found it went right through the paper.  So we ended up tying it on with string around the hive.   We added buckets of more syrup to feed until the temperature dropped below freezing, and then moved on to Laurie and Pete’s apiary to do the same.

A few weeks later, we added Styrofoam sheets inside the lids, to further insulate, and drilled a top entrance hole in each hive to help with ventilation – to further control the moisture.  Steve and I also added a T-post and tarp wind break about 3 feet behind the hives, on the west side.

I’ve heard a beekeeper say that the bees are dying  a “death by a thousand cuts” – meaning that there are so many factors that hurt the bees from pollution to pesticides to weather, to lack of forage to viruses and mites, ,.   Hopefully, we have reduced the “cuts” a bit by preparing our hives with these winterizing tactics and are giving our bees a little better chance.

And now we wait…

 

 Deuteronomy 30

15 See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction.

16 For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.

17 But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them,

18 I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.

19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live

20 and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Summer of Swarms, Sales, Sweat, Snares, and Bee Wrangling

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Psalms from the Hive

by Jeannie Saum

Active heathy, hive box

Active heathy, hive box

Bees swarm

When we fail to brave the heat

To check on them

Chickens swoon to thieving raccoons

when doors don’t close in the dark

Cook and sell, travel and prosthelytize

Snare those bees, raccoons and possums

Wrangle some bees in the trees

All too soon, summer’s over.

Clover, Bee, and Revery

Reverie (revery) –(n.) state of dreamy meditation or fanciful musing; a fantastic, visionary, or impractical idea

 

BEEpothecary kept us so busy all spring and summer, that I haven’t written about our ventures and adventures in months.  It was a juggling act to keep up with the growing business and still take care of our bees and chickens!  With BEEpothecary, we did festivals and conferences in Delaware, Gahanna,  Oxford, Delaware Arts Festival Lithopolis, and Findlay, Ohio, and East Lansing and Frankenmuth, Michigan.  We spent a whirlwind three days in the Bee Pavilion at the Ohio State Fair and participated in Gay Street’s Moonlig20140905_113157ht Market several times. We also added products to three new stores and have had a wonderful increase  in online sales.  It is exciting and gratifying when people write or come back to see us and say, “Your products do exactly what you said they would do!” More important to us than anything else is that people can benefit from the amazing things made by bees, and that these products might help someone when nothing else has worked.

 

~   ~   ~   ~   ~

 

Since we lost allIMG_1450 our hives but one, between our two apiaries,  we needed to replace and rebuild this past spring.  Keeping the bees is integral to our business and mission.  We got 2 nucs in early spring for each family, that were bursting at the seams.  We had to take a last trip outIMG_1448 to Kansas right at this time, for the final clean out of my mom’s home, so Laurie and Pete had to install our nucs into full-sized hives, as well as their own.  Everything went fine until the last hive install at our house.  This nuc was full to the brim and hot!  Laurie got chased down the driveway, ripping her hat, veil and clothes off!  She ended up with several stings!

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~   ~   ~   ~   ~   2014phone 540

We also ordered two bee packages and Ohio queens for both families.  Pete and Laurie got some Russian bees to try another strain.  When we picked them up, we found that the Ohio queens had not been available.  Disappointing.

Pete and Laurie installed some of their bees in two top bar hives that took off well.  Pete had built them with viewing windows and it was neat to watch the bees  build and develop the hives.  But  in less than one  week after putting in our package bees, one of the Dotson’s hives just absconded!  They actually were outside and saw it happen.  Then didn’t swarm, they just flew into the air, swirled around for a bit and then took off into the beyond.  They were so disappointed.  It’s hard to see over $100 in bees fly off into Neverland!

~ ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~

The rest of our hives grew quickly, though, and we had a great spring and early summer.  And then the swarming started, en masse!  I think we had about 3 swarms a week for about 3 weeks in a row, between the Saums, Dotsons and our friends down the street.  Fortunately, the swarms landed nearby – mostly in our little trees out front, or in our son’s yard, next door to some beekeeping friends!

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Steve and I were able to capture most of our swarms, since they landed in our little fruit trees.  Pete and Laurie had a few swarms, too, so we’d trade the swarms we caught and put them into hive boxes in the other apiary.  And for the swarms of our friends, that ended up in son, Nate’s, tall tree, so we had to call on him several times, to climb a ladder and capture a swarm!  Young adult sons are very handy.  We are so glad we let him live past 12 years old!!

Taking care of bees a hot sweaty job in the summer!  We aren’t brave enough to handle the bees without our gear on.  The extra layer – jacket, pants, helmet veil and gloves – makes quite a sweat box!  You can’t wipe your brow, your glasses slip down your nose, and you can’t take a drink of water without taking off your hat and veil!  We found we could only work on two or three hives at a time, and then take a break.  I don’t know how these beekeepers with 200+ hive, do it!

~   ~   ~   ~1414247547910   ~

Steve and Nate were even called upon twice, to come “wrangle” some bees in cut down trees.  They brought home two big logs full of bees, by screwing boards over each end to cover up the holes, loading them into the truck with a farmer’s front loader, or by brute strength, and bringing them home.  The ne20141015_131628xt step was to suck them out with a modified shop vac – a baffle to cut down on the suction so the bees didn’t end up – SPLAT! – on the inside of the shop vac.  But then an experienced beekeeper suggested just putting a hive box with a few honey frames in it on top of each log.  This would entice the bees and the queen to move up into the box and start laying there.  Much easier!  So that’s what we did.  We’re overwintering them this way!

Half way through the summer, one of the Dotson’s top bar colony’s just disappeared and shortly afterward, the other one was overcome by hive moths.  This was a disappointing loss to an interesting project.   It seems like we had swarms of swarms as the summer progressed!  When people asked us how many hives we had, we couldn’t remember, the number had changed so many times!  We got to  harvest honey mid summer and then again in early fall.  All in all, I think we ended up with over 400 pounds of honey!

And then there were the chicken adventures.  Laurie wanted more chickens and got pullets to raise in a box in the garage, 2 different times, two different ages. .  But once they got full-grown every time she tried to put the new ones in the coop with the old ones, all hell broke loose!  They pecked one poor little 2014phone 632hen to death, and Laurie called the combining effort quits.  This meant, she had to make a second coop for the younger birds, quick, since they had outgrown the box in the garage!  She made a stationary one out of pallets, that was really quite nice, but lacked a door.  In order to get eggs, or add water, she had to climb in and out of it each day!  Eventually she decided to get rid of the older birds to a good home and put the younger ones in the movable coop!

We, on the other hand, had a different kind of problem – predators.  Since we had 25 birds, we really didn’t notice for a few weeks that our flock was shrinking.  We saw no evidence of critters at first.  But then, one day, we found a

They always expect a treat and love popcorn!

They always expect a treat and love popcorn!

half-eaten chicken, in the coop, and realized that the automatic door was not closing at night and a critter was getting in.  By the time we realized this, we had lost 8 birds!  And of course this happened at a time we were scrambling to prepare product and running to shows. So I fixed the auto closer, while Steve got the live trap  ready!  It took only one night to snare a big, fat, well-fed raccoon!  We  read in the paper that week, that it was the season for all the young adult critters to leave their parents and head out on their own.  Evidently raccoons and possums were becoming a problem in town, too.  Interestingly, we read that it was against the law to relocate the critters!  Guess you are not allowed to pass your problem on to someone else!!  So, Steve dispatched that nasty, chicken-eating raccoon!

Since Pete and Laurie have a dog, they don’t have to worry much about critters getting to their chickens.  Rowdy usually takes care of wild critters who wander into his territory, and often brings his snared prize to the back door steps as a gift!  One day, he laid a big possum on the back steps and then lay inside  at the door, in the cool air conditioning “guarding: his catch outside!  And just before “Daddy” Pete came home, he moved his prize possum into Pete’s parking space in the driveway!  A proud hunter!  Thought sometimes, not too smart.  More than once, Rowdy unwisely tangled with a skunk and had to have many tomato juice and peroxide baths for his error! Never did see a prized skunk body on the back steps at the Dotsons’!IMG_1875

Somehow, we made it through the summer of swarms, sales, sweat, snares, and bee wrangling – with 12 hives (I think),  23 chickens, a growing business and a dear friendship still intact! Praise God for his blessings and strength!

2 Samuel 22

31“As for God, his way is perfect:  the e Lord’s word is flawless;  he shields all who take refuge in him.

32 For who is God besides the Lord?    And who is the Rock except our God?

33 It is God who arms me with strength  and keeps my way secure.

34 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;  he causes me to stand on the heights.

35 He trains my hands for battle;  my arms can bend a bow of bronze.

36 You make your saving help my shield;  your help has made[i] me great.

37 You provide a broad path for my feet,  so that my ankles do not give way

 

 

What I know about the Creator of the BEES

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Psalms from the Hive

by Jeannie Saum, with apologies to King David

by Rebekah Saum

“Let me tell you ’bout the birds and the bees

And the flowers and the trees

And the moon, up above,

And a thing called love…”

What I’m gonna tell you,

Is not from a song,

But from a Book of Love

Penned long ago.

Something I know in my heart to be true,

About the birds and the bees

And me and you.

348sCorny, I, know, but it says what I want it to say, as an introduction to what I am about to share.  I am sitting at my computer at 7:00 AM on a Tuesday morning. So, what’s the big deal?  I AM RETIRED!  I don’t need to be up at 7:00 AM!  I had forgotten that 7:00 AM even existed!  But here I sit, fortifications of coffee and hot cream of wheat beside me, feeling convicted to write something I know was placed on my heart to share.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

by Rebekah Saum

This entry is going to be different from most I write.  While it is marginally about the bees, I am writing for a different purpose  than usual, and about a subject, a truth that makes some uncomfortable.  I am giving you permission right here, to stop reading this entry, now or at any time through it. I promise, I will still love you, if I know you and if I don’t know you, I won’t hold it against you!  Now I am a first-born, left brained,  bossy princess daughter, who often thinks she knows everything, can figure out or  fix anything and is (almost) always right.  ( And just realized, raised by not one, but TWO oldest child, bossy parents who alternately were  know-it-all, information junky , analyze everything, fix anything, brilliant people .  – Double Whammy!)   So not cramming this down your throat might seem unusual.  But I am also an insecure, people-pleasing, family fixer, child of an alcoholic, who doesn’t really want to offend anyone and desperately wants you to like me!  So I am going out on a limb, here, by sharing this and by giving you permission to reject, dismiss or disagree, up front.  I don’t really want to share what I believe has been revealed to me, but I am compelled.  And I know that the Creator of the birds and the bees, the universe – my God – who has created me in his image;  gives me, and all of his creation, that free will to accept and know; or disagree, dismiss and reject the truth.  So I am just  passing that  permission on to you.  But I am getting ahead of myself, a bit.

tumblr_m8lht0IpGp1ro78jvo1_500-6603.pngI was wakened from a sound sleep at 6:15 this morning by a dream, and (yes, I confess) a night-sweat, and the un-ignorable urge to go to the bathroom!  🙂 ). TMI?  Sorry, I tend to be a little casual and overly transparent about my reality!   As usual, I can’t remember most of what my dream was about, but I do remember that I was in some kind of life or death crisis and sharing with another person, what was on my heart about life and death.  Once I got back in bed, I lay there, in that half in-half-out state of dreaming; sort of analyzing my dream, thinking about what I was thinking, going over it and over it in my head.  Our incredible brain can be very strange…

After laying there for about 30 minutes in this state of rambling and confusion, I had a sudden moment of clarity: I KNEW I had been given an answer to a prayer I had been praying for years.  It didn’t come from my intellectual study, or my brilliance, or my work, or my efforts.  I JUST KNEW!  It was a gift.   And needed to get up and write it down, right away, before it slipped away.  So here I sit…praying for my God’s wisdom, clarity, and truth and praying I don’t offend those I love.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

I am a God believer, a Christ’s-sacrifice-saved believer, an imperfect sinner, seeking Holy Spirit- giving- me- daily-strength believer.  I wasn’t always so.  I was raised in the 60’s, on evolution, agnosticism, war strategy( (military brat) and war protests, rock and roll, and flower power.  I thought Jesus Freaks were over-the-top weird.  Yet I had an urge to go to church as a child, dragged my mother there sub_page52_picture0and asked to be baptized, not really knowing or understanding why. As a teen, I viewed my Christian “saved” friends as opinionated and pushy and brushed their sharings aside.  Oddly, it was years later, in an Al-Anon meeting, with its God-inspired, collective wisdom, that I first really believed and understood.  (What God has planted by one, will be watered by others) Sitting in a room of others trying to make meaning out of the struggles of life, my mind and heart were suddenly filled with the KNOWING that there was a “higher power”, GOD, who was in control of my life, who created me, who loved me, who was watching over me, who had a purpose for me and all the things that had and would happen to me.   He was infinitely bigger, wiser, more powerful than this little me.  And He was infinitely more  capable of taking care of me and those that I loved, than I was.  An indescribable sense of peace, relief and trust washed over me, and I KNEW, THAT I KNEW,  THAT I KNEW  that this was true.  This KNOWING didn’t come from my own strength or brilliance or any thing I did.  It was a gift – from a holy, just, all-powerful, all-wise GOD of the universe.

I latched on to Romans 8:28 as my “life verse” from that moment and struggle daily, in the ups and downs of life, to practice and believe that “All things work for good to them that love the Lord and are called according to his purpose.”  I don’t do it perfectly or even well, most days.  But I pray each day, that God will teach me what I need to know and use the good things and bad things that life sends my way, to teach me his truths and mold me more into his image through them.  I have come to know that his ways are not our ways and the mind of God cannot be understood, he is so far above us.  But he loves us,  wants good for us, and can bring blessings out of tragedies to 6a0133f0b2fdc2970b014e8805c542970dmake us more holy like he is – just like he gives us the blessing of spending eternal life with him, through the tragic sacrifice of his only son, Jesus.  We get out of jail free, relieved of our sin-sentence, because Jesus took our punishment, paid our fine, did our time and suffered our death penalty!  A just and holy God, made a way that was previously impossible, for us to be free of our sin-debt, pure and righteous enough  to stand in his presence, and to live eternally basking in his holiness and peace.  You may not understand this, but I hope someday you will.   In fact you will probably think that I am nuts, and stop here. I hope someday But that is a chance I am compelled to take.

Through the years in my walking with Jesus, I have prayed for a way to comfortably share my faith, my KNOWING with  others – those I know and love, and those I don’t know.  I’ve never been comfortable doing this – fearing judgment, rejection and offending someone.  Always feeling like I have to see others’ sides to the faith issue, accept that others’ believe there are other ways to God, and do what is politically correct!  I have been reluctant and uncomfortable sharing  my faith and always marveled at people who could strike up this kind of conversation with a stranger on a plane, without offending.  Yet all the while, I knew God asks all of us to spread the Good News about Jesus – the embodiment of his love for us.  Early this morning, I think I got my answer.

Through my dream, I realized that what God was asking of me, what just what he had done with me.  He didn’t hit me over the head with hediedforyouhis truth.  He didn’t get mad when I dismissed or disagreed.  He just kept putting the truth out there, sending it through; books, and speakers, and churches, and videos and events  good and bad, and strangers and his Holy Bible and friends (whom I call the “rescuing Eskimos of life” – but that’s a whole ‘nother story). From this dream, I realized that it is his model of sharing the truth that I need to use.  Just put it out there, with the message that this is what I KNOW TO BE TRUE.   But knowing  that you are free to accept or reject, take or leave, agree or disagree, ponder or dismiss.  I will still like and love you, no matter what, just like all those years God loved me while I wandered in the wilderness of confusion and tried to figure it out on my own.  God loved me enough to pursue me and risk rejection.  I must love God enough to do what he has asked of me.  And love you, family, friends and even strangers,  enough to risk your rejection. Love you enough to tell you the TRUTH I KNOW because I want you to have the gift I have, the eternal life promised, the purpose of living this life and the peace in your heart that can not be explained.

~  ~  ~  ~

20141015_131129I can’t look into a bee hive with all its intricacies and perfection and not believe in a creator GOD. Only an intelligent-beyond-all-we-can-imagine GOD could have created these incredible creatures with their amazing abilities:

 

 

 

to build tiny hexagonal cells all exactly the same;

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to make nutritional and healing honey;

BEEpothecary Wildflower Honey

to mix up the antimicrobial, healing propolis out of tree resin;

propolis2

 

 

 

 

to navigate their environment to find food and resources for their fellow bees;

hive

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and to live in a highly organized community where each member has a job to do and works together for the prosperity of all. 20141015_131149

 

 

 

 

 

Sydney_Opera_House_2-

~  ~  ~  ~

A beautiful, complex building, an architectural wonder, didn’t just design and build it self.  It didn’t happen by accident. It was designed by an architect with vision, expertise and brilliance and built by those with intelligence, skill and tenacity.

~  ~  ~  ~

by Rebekah Saum

by Rebekah Saum

 

I KNOW that my bees, in all their perfection,complexity and ingenuity were created by GOD, not by happenstance.

So watching and working with the bees validates and confirms what I KNOW to be true:

that GOD created the birds and the bees,

and me and you.

There, I said it and shared it.

And you are free to believe or not.

But I KNOW he is right here waiting for you…

jesus-christ-victim-stolen-identity.jpg.crop_display

Psalm 139:13

15 For you created my inmost being;  you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;  your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Jeremiah 1

The word of the Lord came to me, saying,

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,   before you were born I set you apart;
    I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

“Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.”

But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you.

Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.

 

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