Friday, May 27, 2011

Adventure Farm is Going Public

Well, it looks like we are taking the leap with our first truly public event. If you're in the St Louis area mark your calendars for the 1st Annual St Louis Sustainable Backyard Tour on June 26th. Go to Home Eco's site  for more information and to register to take the tour or join Adventure Farm and be IN the tour.

This was the end of  last June. Lets hope the yard looks like this this year. 

Another exciting St. Louis event is coming up in July.  Brick City Gardens and the Center for Sustainability at Saint Louis University are co-sponsoring an Essential Permaculture Weekend Training July 9th and 10th. Go to for more information on this great two day workshop featuring my permaculture teacher, Bill Wilson.  It's not confirmed yet, but Adventure Farm may be involved with this too.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Bees are buzzing at Adventure Farm

The bees have arrived!  Karen, my good friend, came along for support, and Saturday morning we picked up the bees at around 7:30.  Boy, was I nervous. The bees were in what is called a nuc. A nuc, or nucleus, is a small hive of five frames that includes a colony of bees with their queen. 
As you can see there were stacks of nucs with bees flying everywhere. You can see in the foreground one of the helpers actually vacuuming the bees off the boxes. I’m not sure what happened to those bees. It appeared that the bees went into a box inside the vacuum. I wonder if you could start a hive from mixed up bees from all different nucs? 
Each of the boxes were a nuc

Luckily, I had thought to take the truck so we could secure them in the back. The trip home went well since most of the bees were riding in the bed of the truck. We did have one bee ride home on Karen’s jacket and two that managed to cling to the windshield of the truck.  I guess those hitchhikers were completely lost, as I seriously doubt they were from my hive. I feel a little bad for the bees that were trapped outside the nucs.

After arriving home I had to get this box of unsettled bees transfered to their new home.
The nuc next to the new home.  The goal was to get them transferred from one box to the other...Yikes!
I gathered everything I thought I would need:

  • Hammer to get the top off
  • Smoker to calm the bees
  • Protective gear for Karen and me
  • Sugar syrup that I made the night before for the feeder
Karen ready to release some bees

Once we were geared up, we started what turned out to be the hardest part, prying off the top.  There were only two nails, but between my nerves, not wanting to jostle the hive and having a hard time getting the hammer in a place to get some leverage, it took a little doing. I would suggest screws to make this a little easier.

Finally I got the lid off, puffed a little smoke on the bees with my brand new smoker and rather smoothly, I thought, transferred the frames full of bees to their new home. 

Adding the sugar syrup to the feeder to help the girls get a start without having to work too hard. 
Karen and I then left to do some scavenging for bargains at yard sales and let the bees get settled. They were still rather franticly buzzing about when I got back in the early afternoon, but by Sunday morning they seemed settled, and I even saw some coming in with bright yellow pollen on their legs.  It was hard to stay away form the hive and I found myself just squatting near the entrance to watch the comings and goings and not getting a lot done in the garden.

They sure are a nice addition to Adventure Farm.

Welcome Home Bees!