Work Progress!

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So Travis decided to surprise us a day early and he showed up Wednesday night instead of Thursday night. So when the kids woke Thursday morning to come get me out of bed, they had that priceless look on their face when they saw that Dad was there too! Sheldon keeps asking Travis when are we going to California? I think he is ready for our trip down!

Thankfully the guys found enough bees to fulfill the orders for the almonds this year. It was looking pretty scary at first, with so many of our bees that didn’t survive the winter months. Travis said it was due to Noxzema the bees had got. When that goes untreated the bees die. So now while the bees are pollinating the almonds, we work here in WA. Then in a few weeks we head down to CA to start pulling the bees out of the orchards and shipping them back home for the apricots, apples, and cherries. It’s getting into the busy season for us! Late nights and early mornings of bee moving! It seems the month of April is the month that is crazy busy with orders going in. I guess it’s a good thing that my due date is May 8th and not in April at all. Although Corbin was 2 weeks early…I guess we will see!!

Busy, Busy, Busy!

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This past week or more I’ve taken on building a website from scratch! I’m trying to learn the new “Cpanel” option and it was challenging at first, but I think I have gotten the hang of it so far! My ultimate goal is to combine this blog with my webstore under one domain to make it easier for myself and all others! I cannot wait to show it off! I am really hoping I can be finished with it and publish it in a week or so! In the meantime Sheldon loves to snuggle next to his Ivy. I can’t wait to see how he loves on her when she’s here!

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The other night the boys asked me if they could sleep under their bed in the hideout, and of course the nice Mom I am said yes. Told them they had to stay quiet or they would have to return to their beds, and they listened!! I couldn’t resist taking a photo of them, it’s the one time of day they look peaceful :-)

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Today at school the boys had fun playing with the foam toy. They even posed for me!!

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We are all very excited that Travis will be coming home tomorrow! We are hoping he leaves, as Sheldon would say, “super moocha” early!

Fun with friends!

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I was asked to babysit my friends 4 children, 2 boys and 2 girls. I of course said yes because my boys and I love the company! We had some fun crafting times, making bracelets, clay projects & making paper airplanes out of scrapbook paper. The kids also played school. I love how my kids always behave and be a good student for the “teacher!” I think I need to start playing that game with them in real life and possibly I’ll have the best behaved children ever!

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Pizza was served! Of course we had a movie with popcorn to settle down at the end of the night. Aftermath: I’m sitting here with three couches and a floor full of sleeping children! Oh and I forgot to mention I asked to “puppy sit” also! So there is one tired puppy!20130209-202621.jpg

One of the highlights of the evening was when the cats weren’t too fond of a new animal! The one, Papa Allen, couldn’t seem to make it any higher up the screen! All 6 children and I just giggled! First Corbin was a bit worried about Papa Allen, until I told him he was OK! 20130209-223606.jpg

While we are having fun Travis is working setting the bees in and around the almond trees in sunny CA. We are hoping that this next week all the work will be done so he can make a quick trip home for a few weeks! He’s been gone since January 24th. But we admire him for the hard work he does which allows me to be the stay at home mom! I always thought that I wouldn’t want to be the stay at home mom but when you have kids everything changes! My family is a blessing and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

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No longer hibernating!

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The first day out of hibernation! Kids can only play so much in the house before they just go nuts!! The weather was gorgeous, enough you had to squint your eyes in certain directions! The sand wasn’t hard anymore, ditches were dug, and roads were built. Spring is near! In the meantime down in California Travis got his truck in a slippery situation!

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Notice the chains on the truck tires! While working in an orchard the dirt roads are never the greatest, and this one just happened to have muddy edges! This is one of the better roads I have seen yet!

We can’t wait to go down and visit him in California! Not only are we looking forward to the warmer weather but we also cannot wait to see everyone down there! Especially looking forward to meeting my brother and getting to know his family down there, gotta love how Facebook makes it easy to find and reconnect with people :-) One great thing about Facebook!

Introduction!

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meWorking DadWorking Dad2Bee Toys

(Pictures Above: Top Left is myself, Brandy; Top Right is Travis (Dad) with Corbin helping operate and Sheldon sleeping! Middle: Travis on a business call with boys patiently waiting in CA- pic is 1 year old; Bottom: Custom built bee trucks & pallets, complements Travis)

I guess I should start out this blog with a little “About Me” information! I am a stay at home mom of two wonderful boys, and a little girl on the way! I am very blessed with a wonderful husband who works hard for us! We are living the dream, that is a beekeeping life! Let me explain :-) Since it is a family ran business we get to participate in it! We get to take vacations to two other states whenever our bees are in that area pollinating! Along with the vacations, we get to visit friends and family while we are there! The boys, Corbin (5) and Sheldon (3) love to go to work with their dad. Their favorite thing to do is ride/drive the forklifts with him. Sometimes it is a bit overwhelming for him to have a boy on each knee riding on the forklift, thankfully #3 is a girl, I don’t think Travis could juggle three boys on two knees!

I started this blog because the last three years I’ve been selling honey at Farmers Market I’ve had lots of questions/interest about bees, and what we do! So “The Beekeeping Life” is how everyone can get to know us and our niche! This is such a fun topic that I’m thrilled to be sharing it with you!

Guard Cat

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The kids and I survived another day in the house! We have been inside since last Thursday due to head colds :-( Today was nice enough I let the boys go outside for a few minutes here and there. Of course the first thing they choose to take with them are their bee boxes and trucks. This picture was taken by Corbin, he wanted to show Sheldon’s cat guarding the bee boxes, soon to be spread out into a bee yard! Sheldon personally named his cat after one of his papas! So when calling kitty over you’ll hear “come on Papa Allen.”

Their dad made all the fancy boxes for them; even converted a dump truck into a flatbed just like his. They also have mini forklifts, I think this is their “training” while they still enjoy working bees! They still need a little help getting the “science” down when loading the bees a certain way!

Personalized Honey Flavors

Some may wonder how you get individual honey flavors, for example “Alfalfa” honey. Or how you determine what kind of honey you have because you don’t know where the bees have flown to. Well this is what we are going to let you know!

Bees are such a great mystery to any one person! They are so interesting. Bees can fly long distances. How you determine your honey type is all about hive placement. For example if you want to make Alfalfa honey you’re going to want to place the hive where within so many miles (up to 5) there is nothing but Alfalfa fields blooming. The more bloom closer to the hive the less traveling the bees have to do! Makes sense right? If you have food next to you, why would you work harder to get the food farther away?

Did you know the bees gathering the necter are called “worker bees?” Worker bees are also female bees.

My companys personalized flavors of honey consist of:

Alfalfa, Basin (Local Honey Blend), Berry, & Buckwheat.

Below you will see in the pictures what each bloom looks like!

Alfalfa Bloom:

Berry Bloom

(consists of Blueberry -pictured first, Raspberry- pictured second, & some Blackberry-pictured last):

 

Buckwheat Bloom:

Re-Queening

The reason why we re-Queen our hives every year is to keep them alive and to make sure the Queen is always laying good looking brood. What we do to re-Queen is to take and place a new Queen cell in an existing hive. The goal here is to get her to hatch and kill the old Queen. Sometimes she does and other times we’ve found two Queens in one hive. Usually when there are two Queens the hive might quit feeding and taking care of the older one, and eventually she will die.

(This picture above shows Man’s way of making a new Queen for a hive)

     Nature’s way of re-Queening happens several ways. There is one way where the hive can tell that the Queen needs to retire so they start making a few Queen cells that way one of those Queens will hatch and overtake the hive. Another way is that if the hive becomes too strong they may start to swarm and half the hive will leave with the old Queen and find a new home and the other half stays in the existing hive and produces a new Queen.

(This picture above shows natures way of making a new Queen in the hive)

     You can tell by just looking at the bees which one is the Queen bee. Some beekeepers mark the Queen bee with a dot on her back so they can instantly find her, like in the picture. Can you tell the difference between the Queen and her workers?

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