Welcome - Explore my Blog

There are over 1170 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.

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Monday, December 19, 2011

On a Warmish December Day....

the bees are all over this plant in my neighbor's yard. It's a shrub with palmate leaves about 1 foot in diameter each and with nine "fingers" on each leaf.

The bees are busy collecting something from this plant when it's warm enough to fly as it was this afternoon.  From looking around the Internet, it may be a Japanese shrub named Fatsia japonica.....or maybe not.

Anyone have an idea of what this is? Put your answer in a comment below.






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Friday, December 16, 2011

Making Hand Cream

Another beekeeper's winter thing-to-do:  make hand cream.  I still don't have the process down but here's currently what I am doing.

The recipe I used (always in revision):

1 3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup sweet almond oil
1/4 cup + 1 T cocoa butter
7 oz coconut oil
4 oz beeswax
2 T lanolin oil
2 T honey
1/2 cup or so of water

Melt the first seven ingredients together.  Pour into a blender container.  Blend until it starts to thicken.  Gradually blend in 1/2 cup water.  Blend for 20 minute increments and stop blender and cool mixture for about 5 minutes.  Continue until the lotion is thick enough to put into containers.  (This takes 4 to 4 1/2 hours).

If you simply pour the mix into the containers, it will be hard as a rock.  The blending is necessary, but I haven't figured out how to simplify this process.  Let me know what you try and what works for you.

The finished product can't be slathered onto your hands or they will remain rather greasy.  As in Brylcream, a "little dab'll do ya."  I use a fingertip's worth to lotion my two hands.

Meanwhile, here's the slide show (click to see it full sized and read the captions):

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Making Lotion Bars - A Winter Beekeeper's Joy

Lotion bars are quick to make and a holiday gift that the recipients love to get.  The ingredients are only three:

1/3 oil (avocado or sweet almond oil are best)
1/3 butter (shea butter, cocoa butter - I like a half and half combination)
1/3 melted beeswax.

Equipment needed:

A boiling water bath
A large measuring cup
Chopsticks to use for stirring
Molds for the bars (commercial ones can be purchased or you can use ice cube trays)

One caution:  These smell great because of the cocoa butter.  Once I gave one to someone and she took a bite out of it!  Important that your recipient knows they are lotion (although nothing in the bar would be bad for eating!)

These take a short time and are fun to do.  Here's a slideshow of the process:




Sunday, December 04, 2011

Newest Grandba-bee

Born Dec 2, 2011 and weighed in at 7 lbs even.  My third grandchild and second grandson.

Think he's ready for a beesuit yet?

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