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51  HOME SWEET HOME / Exterior Decorating / Yard Art / Gardening: Completed Projects / Re: Getting Started With Bees on: April 07, 2015 03:27:13 PM
Thanks you both and good question, thisbird!  California has a different climate than mountainous Virginia where we live, which explains the difference.  The only flowers we have around here right now are violets and a few early spring flowering trees.  My tulips haven't even come up yet.  The bees will get in full pollination/honey swing around here in June, when the tulip poplar trees bloom.  With any luck, we'll have a second harvest late summer of sourwood honey.  Those trees bloom in July, but only in abundance when the climate cooperates. 
52  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / Re: Scalloped Ocean Quilt with Quilted Accent Pillows (pic giant) on: April 07, 2015 03:17:43 PM
SO pretty!
53  HOME SWEET HOME / Exterior Decorating / Yard Art / Gardening: Completed Projects / Re: Getting Started With Bees on: April 07, 2015 01:42:35 PM
Thanks everyone! 

Bees, too?! That's it, tell Lizzie to scooch over because I'm moving in.
Come on.  You can sleep in our pottery studio/mobile home.   Cheesy

First off, I have to admit that I thought the sign said "Beer Pickup Here" in the thumbnail. Bees are much more interesting!
Yeah, there were a bunch of young guys on the loading dock.  Not very focused on the asthetic of their sign. 
54  HOME SWEET HOME / Exterior Decorating / Yard Art / Gardening: Completed Projects / Re: Getting Started With Bees on: April 07, 2015 12:27:30 PM
Thanks so much!  I was worried about my photos.  It's hard to see through a beekeeping veil.  Cheesy
55  HOME SWEET HOME / Exterior Decorating / Yard Art / Gardening: Completed Projects / Getting Started With Bees on: April 07, 2015 12:01:56 PM
We picked up two packages of bees and installed them into hives this morning.  The process can be quite mysterious and daunting so I thought I'd share how it's done.  Smiley  We ordered our bees in December and selected the first pick-up date (April 7th).  The bee supplier is about a 90 minute drive from here.  We arrived two hours into pick-up and they had already gone through almost a thousand packages(!)  Sorry for the huge number of photos, but I wish I'd had this step by step the first time we did this.

(These guys could have used some Craftster help with their signage...)

The packaging comes in three parts; the screened transport cage, a can of sugar water with three small holes punched in the bottom so they have food for their journey, and a little queen cage hanging inside.  Each package has about 12,000 bees inside it.

We (very carefully) drove home with them on the backseat floorboards of our car. 

Today was overcast and 65 degrees.  The perfect weather for this process.  The first thing we did when we got home was spray them with a good dose of homemade sugar water.  Simple syrup for those of you who enjoy the occasional fancy cocktail. Cheesy  This helps keep them docile during the process. 

There is a thin veneer of wood stapled to the opening, it just gets pried off with a hive tool. 

The sugar water can gets lifted out so you can reach inside and pull out that little queen cage.  As soon as it's out, we just lay the veneer back over the opening so the bees can't escape.

Here's a look at the queen cage.  She's in there with a few worker bees, that's her on the left.  The white stuff on the end is a sugary solid known as candy, and is blocked by a cork plug. 

The cork gets removed, exposing the candy to the hive bees.  It will take the hive 1-2 days to eat away the candy and release the queen and her attendants.  This gives them a little time to get used to each other.

The entire uncorked queen cage gets hung between two frames.  Now we're ready for bees!

Just gather your nerve and dump em in!

Use a soft hive brush to coax them down between the frames.

If you look really carefully, you can see they are congregated around the hanging queen cage.

The feeder box goes on top of the frames.  There is a pollen patty on one side, the other side gets a half gallon of homemade sugar water, plus everything left in the can they arrived with.  We go through about 5 pounds of sugar every week for 4-5 months out of the year. 

The lid goes on, with a rock to hold it down.  We'll remove the screened cages tomorrow.  There are always a few bees who stubbornly don't want to leave their transportation.  They'll find their way into the hive eventually.  I had every intention of repainting the hives this winter.  Oh well.

Our hives live in our front yard, about 25 feet from the pond's edge in full sun.  It's a great location for bees! 

If you're interested in learning about harvesting honey, check out my A Sweet Harvest post from a while back. 

56  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / The Swap Gallery / Re: Altered Spool Swap Gallery on: April 07, 2015 10:34:09 AM
Thanks so much, and much love to my awesome co-organizer HSG!  We need to figure out another stupendous swap to run this year.   Smiley
57  SEWING IN GENERAL / Machine Embroidery: Discussion and Questions / Re: Does anyone know how they did this embroidery technique? on: April 07, 2015 04:56:45 AM
It sounds as though they might have made their own iron on patch on an embroidery machine (if it's homemade).  I've never done this so can't offer any specific advice.  If you do a google search for 'make your own machine embroidery iron on patches', you'll probably find some instructions.  I checked our tutorial portal and didn't find anything specific to this.  Good luck!
58  CRAFTSTER CRAFT CHALLENGES / Craftster Craft Challenges / Re: Craft Challenge #108 - Live Events - Entries Due May 1 - May 10 on: April 07, 2015 02:50:22 AM
Wow, those are some great prizes!  I wonder if I can find my Prince/Sheila E. tickets from Madison Square Garden back in the mid 80's..... 
59  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Re: Quilted beach-sea-mermaid journal cover on: April 06, 2015 03:50:01 PM
Just gorgeous!
60  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Re: Harry Potter 'Silver Doe' Shrine Ornaments on: April 06, 2015 12:10:25 PM
Congratulations on being featured in 2014's Best of!!!  I'm so glad one of these made it to my house!   Smiley
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