Thursday, December 10, 2009

Bee Log #7: December 10, 2009

The picture shows a healthy frame of bees. I included it to encourage us all that spring will follow winter. Today it is really cold for Seattle. I think it got down to about 20 degrees F last night. It has been cold like this for about a week or 10 days. We start to fidget in Seattle when the cold lasts like this. My washing machine is on an unheated porch in the back of the house. I have an electric blanket on it to (hopefully) keep it from freezing. However, the sun has been shining and that has been nice. When it is raining, as it usually is this time of year, it is a lot darker and gloomier.

The bees are occasionally seen flying out to relieve themselves. There are lots of dead bees covering the front entrances of the hives. If we were going to put mouse guards on the hives, we should have done that about the end of November. I think it is too late now. Last year we scraped about an inch of dead bees off of the floor of the hives (and no mouse nests) when spring came. The hives survived so I am not too worried.

We need to start planning for any expansion that we might make next spring. We will need new hive bodies and new supers if we get any more hives. We also need new yards to keep the bees in since we have the maximum the law allows in our yard now (four). I would love to have bees in three different locations in the Wallingford/Greenlake areas of Seattle. We would maintain the hives and the property owners would get all the free honey that they could eat and the pollination services of the bees.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Bee Log #6: December 2, 2009

So, what have I done with the ivy honey that smells funny? (Funny honey?) What does it smell like? It smells like old leaves and like fall and like sneezes. I use it to bake bread. Really good bread. I put the ingredients in my breadmaker set on dough. (The teflon is wearing off of the mixer and I can't get the baked loaf out of the pan in the breadmaker if I bake it there.) The recipe is as follows:

Mix together and let bubble to prove the yeast is good:
1 1/4 cups warm water (liquid measure)
1tsp. sugar
4 tsp. dry yeast

Put the yeast mixture in the breadmaker and add:
1 1/2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/3 cup honey
1 1/4 tsp. salt
4 cups whole wheat flour

Mid way through the breadmaker cycle add:
1/2 cup pumkin seeds
1/2 cup millet
1/2 cup sunflower seeds

Grease a bread pan with crisco and then dust the greased surface with corn meal. Form the dough into a loaf shape and pat into the bread pan. Let the loaf rise. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes at 400 degrees until the house is filled with bread smells and the loaf sounds hollow when thumped. Remove from the pan immediately and cool on a rack.

I hope that you enjoy this hearty loaf. You don't need ivy honey in order to make it!

The bees have had some flying time in the last week as the temperature climbed above 52 degrees. Otherwise, I don't see them much except for the few that come out to potty. They are on there own until the weather starts to turn in February. Then, I need to see if they need to be fed to get them through the rest of the winter.