Welcome - Explore my Blog

I've been keeping this blog for all of my beekeeping years and I am beginning my 17th year of beekeeping in April 2022. Now there are more than 1300 posts on this blog. Please use the search bar below to search the blog for other posts on a subject in which you are interested. You can also click on the "label" at the end of a post and all posts with that label will show up. At the very bottom of this page is a list of all the labels I've used.

Even if you find one post on the subject, I've posted a lot on basic beekeeping skills like installing bees, harvesting honey, inspecting the hive, etc. so be sure to search for more once you've found a topic of interest to you. And watch the useful videos and slide shows on the sidebar. All of them have captions. Please share posts of interest via Facebook, Pinterest, etc.

I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here. Along the way, I've passed a number of certification levels and am now a
Master Beekeeper Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.

Need help with an Atlanta area swarm? Visit Found a Swarm? Call a Beekeeper. (678) 597-8443

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Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Short Course Metro Atlanta Beekeepers January 28, 2023

 Most beekeepers, if they are lucky, get to participate in a short course. Many bee clubs offer short courses. Metro Atlanta's is one of the best. If you are interested, want to learn to keep bees, and live within driving distance of Atlanta, we offer a great course. It's a one day course in all that you need to know to get started keeping bees. Location of the course: Peachtree Road United Methodist Church in the heart of Buckhead, Atlanta.

Julia Mahood, Claressa Lucas and I are the co-chairs and organizers of the course. We would love to have you! We all teach in the course. Julia is a master craftsman beekeeper, Claressa is a journeyman and I am a master beekeeper. Our instructors are all well-trained and very experienced. You can get hands-on experience at our in-person hive inspections after the course is complete for the whole of 2023's bee season. Also you automatically become a member of the Metro Atlanta Beekeepers. If you come from another area, we will pay for your dues at the club of your choice.

Here's a link to the registration for the course.

For 2020 and 2021, the course was held online. This year it is in person. The photos below are from 2019, the last year we had a face-to-face course.

Ed Hoehn demonstrates to some of our 2019 attendees how to light a smoker.

The course includes a vendor to help you in ordering supplies. And you can spend the lunch hour in a small eight person group, eating with an experienced beekeeper. You can ask all the questions that might have not been answered during the morning's talk.

Join us if you are in the area! If not, find a local beekeeping short course and take it. You won't regret it and will surely add to any knowledge you already have about keeping bees.

Saturday, November 05, 2022

Tomorrow is the last day for bidding at BIP


Tuesday, November 01, 2022

Bee Informed Partnership Auction

 I am excited to support the Bee Informed Partnership where we all get so much good information about our bees. I have two quilted items in the auction this year. The auction runs from now until November 7. 

Here's a link to the auction...there are wonderful items up for bid, all of which benefit this organization which is so helpful to bees and beekeepers.

Below are photos of my two quilted items in the auction: a bag, suitable as a knitting bag or a purse and a bee-themed table runner.

It has a lined pocket on the outside and inner pockets as well. The closure is a bee button.

The table runner has bee fabrics from those I have collected for years and is about 32 inches long:

In addition to my items, there are tons of bee items on which you can bid. Go and support this great organization.

Friday, October 14, 2022

October Crossword: Fun and Facts about Wax

As we begin the fall season, many beekeepers use this time to deal with products of the hive. The October crossword that I made is about wax - a very important hive product and one that most beekeepers have access to. Enjoy!


Monday, September 19, 2022

Best in Show at MABA Annual Honey Show

 Honey shows are a challenge for me because my essential tremor makes it difficult to get a honey jar perfectly ready for presentation. So I rarely enter honey in honey shows any more, except for black jar contests. But most honey contests have other aspects - wax, crafts, baked goods, photography, etc. 

This year for my home club (Metro Atlanta Beekeepers) a friend of mine and I were in charge of the food for the potluck and honey show on Sunday the 18th. It's a busy job and requires organization, getting the plates, silverware, drinks, etc and the main dish - usually barbecue or fried chicken - for the event. With all of that, I had decided not to enter anything this year.

But then Saturday rolled around and I had nothing to do so I decided to spend the day baking. I baked honey whole wheat bread twice because I didn't like the taste of the first recipe which was a steel cut oat honey bread. I switched to a rolled oatmeal bread which I liked better from Beth Hensperger. I also baked honey wheat germ cookies (a Dorie Greenspan recipe) that are delicious. And finally I baked a David Tanis recipe for an apple honey cake

The honey oatmeal whole wheat bread won a blue ribbon (and $100). The judge suggested that it needed a stronger honey taste. I had used a mild honey and will use a stronger tasting honey the next time.

The cookies, which were competing with a gorgeous honey tart with kiwi slices decorating it that had been cut into honeycomb shapes and bees made of thinly sliced grapes - an amazing creation, didn't have a chance at a first place ribbon but came in second ($50). I was pleased because I didn't expect them to win. They are delicious as any Dorie Greenspan recipe. I'll make them again and video it for my YouTube recipe collection.

The apple honey cake wasn't gorgeous. I didn't put the apples in the center of the cake because I didn't think there was room. Then in the middle of the night on Saturday, I woke up and thought I could make a bee skep from the apples I didn't use and put them in the center of the cake. So I sliced the apples like skeps and cooked the apples in a skillet to soften them like the ones baked in the cake. Then on Sunday morning I put them in the center of the cake, arranged like three little skeps and added some cloves to look like bees. I then glazed the new apples with a honey/sugar/lemon glaze. Not a work of art, but I crossed my fingers and hoped it would taste good to offset it's clumsy appearance as Paul Hollywood might say:

This cake won first place ($100) and then Best in Show ($250)! The judge wrote "OMG! Praise only praise! Exceptional" on the comment card. I was bowled over. I've entered honey contests pretty much annually since 2007 and have never won Best in Show. The judge left before I could speak to him - Brutz English - he has judged all over, including in Ireland. I texted him to say how much it meant to me to get best in show. He called me this morning to say that of all the many cakes he has judged over the years, this one was absolutely one of the very best.

You should try the recipe. It has candied ginger as well as fresh ginger and apples in it along with the honey and the flavors permeate the cake. I baked it in a 10 inch springform pan since the baking seemed to be uneven and to take longer in the recommended 9 inch pan (from the comments). Mine was done in exactly 45 minutes.

I hadn't even tasted it, so I ate a piece for breakfast and it is DELICIOUS! If you want to truly feature honey as an ingredient, you should try baking this.

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Telling the Queen's Bees

My friend, Mike, just sent me this link 

The world knows the Queen of England has died and now, in the old tradition, so do her bees.

Here is a photo of just a small part of the article - be sure to read the whole thing.

Screenshot from the DailyMail.uk

Friday, September 09, 2022

September Crossword Buzzle: Preparing for a Honey Show

 In the fall, many bee clubs and organizations hold honey and wax shows. This month I did a crossword on getting ready to enter a honey and wax show. Here it is, if you'd like to try:

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Using a Jig to build Frames

 Last year I moved to a house with a yard big enough for my bees and my dog. This year I got CHICKENS! 

Every afternoon toward the end of the day, I let the chickens out of their coop to free range for a few hours until their bedtime. They truly go to bed with the chickens at about 7 PM. 

But I'm so scared one will be snatched up by a hawk, so I stay outside with them as a foil to keep the hawk away. My neighborhood is territory for red-shouldered and red tailed hawks. I've heard both. 

To keep me busy, I have been building bee boxes, frames, and nuc boxes. All of these are in boxes that I ordered years ago (from Brushy Mountain when it was still in business) and have never put together. So I thought I'd show you how to use a jig to put together frames. You can build ten at once. I probably ordered the jig from Brushy Mountain as well, but other bee companies carry it. 

Mann Lake has them. So does Betterbee. They are not as common as they used to be. I think many people buy their frames pre-assembled. My jig is for medium frames.

Basically the jig holds the end bars in place and allows the beekeeper to glue and nail the top bars to the end bars. 

Then you flip the whole contraption over and glue and nail the bottom bars. Then if you put the assembly together right side up, the new completed frames just slide right out.

I am a hammer and nail woman, and I can do ten frames in about 20 minutes. If I were nail/brad gun kind of woman, I could do them in ten. It's very fast. I made 100 frames over two afternoons of mostly playing with the chickens and intermittently building frames.

Next afternoon with the chickens, I'm building nuc boxes. I have about six wooden ones unassembled in my shed. One order is so old an order that it actually came with nails, like they used to!

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