Last weekend, Carolyn and I went to Athens, Ga to pick up bees (NUCS) from Jennifer Berry, for the bee farm as well as some for Jess. She is starting her own Bee Yard in Athens. These were some of the nicest bees I've seen; really, they were very NICE. They hardly got upset or irritated at all. They were very gentle. We were very pleased with them. I don't know what Jess will call her bee yard, maybe something like "Dudes Bee Ranch".
We rushed home early to make it easy on our cargo (we left before dawn. This is not unusual for us, but we had a reason this time). We arrived home safe and sound after taking the bees out for breakfast at McDonald's around Chattanooga. James and I installed the bees without a hitch; we've done that a few times now.
It's so much different than the first time some thirty years ago. I didn't know what or how to install the bees, but I was dumb enough to try and lucky enough to pull it off. Jess will be apprehensive in the beginning as well. My advice to any "new-bee" is do your homework first, than do what you think is best for the bees. Don't worry-- the bees have existed for thirty million years, despite well meaning beekeepers.
The first part of the week was spent catching up around the farm. Bees had to be fed, checked for swarm cells, and supers installed. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday the Tennessee Masters program class was held in Livingston. John A. Skinner was the professor. He is one of the best bee men anywhere; we were lucky to have had him. Twenty hours would of instruction would be a long time with someone not so prepared as he. The weather was stormy all three days, which made staying inside not so bad. We were fortunate not to have damage as other places did. It was almost a year ago that bad weather brought terrible flooding to our area. Read this article to learn more about that.
This is for sure the most exciting time of year in the bee yard; there is so much to do and so little time to do it. The bees are extra excited as well. Spring is wonderful and I feel blessed to part of it. I did my first queen graft for the year this week; only one took, but it was beautiful cell. Sorry, I don't have time to go into details. I will save that for another post.
In blog news, there was some discussion here at the apiary of looking for a new editor for the blog. We want someone who will do as good of a job as Jess, but who expects as little pay and as little thanks as she gets. We want some one to do the same job without the same "I'm the boss" attitude. If you know anyone interested in the job, please pass their name along.
(Editors Note: I felt free to share this job opening, as I feel confident no one else will want my post. I did want to issue a warning to a certain beekeeper- It is not a good idea to get on the wrong side of your publicist...)
Here are some more pics from Jessie's installation.