Originally, we began looking at getting honeybees to increase the yields in our berry and fruit orchards as well as in the loofa patch and vegetable gardens. It just seemed to be a logical fit to the farm and we always are looking for productive farm hands. In the fall of 2011 we obtained our first hive, a top bar hive and began learning about the Bee Guardian Program. In the spring of 2012 we obtained package bees for the top bar hive as well as several established standard hives and so we were on our way. We have heard many a beekeeper talk about catching the bug, and as it turns out we are no different. Watching the bees come and go from the hives, seeing them working hard in the gardens, one can't help but be amazed at these little wonders. The top-bar hive has an observation window in its side that allows for a wonderful glimpse into the bees world without disturbing them. Our four children often are found staring into the hive just watching all the activity within. Later that same year we expanded with four more "traditional" hives and were able to harvest our first honey in mid 2012.
Again, this was a learning experience from the removal of the frames to the uncapping of the comb. After spinning down several frames we were rewarded with our own fresh honey. How sweet a reward! The entire family is now using honey to flavor everything from toast to ice cream.
We are currently expanding the number of hives as the fruit production was well above last years and the honey, well let's just say our priorities have changed a little with honey not just being a side effect of the pollination. It is now a wonderful "treat."
The capping wax, comb wax as well as the honey itself is also being used in our homemade soaps, lip balms and salves.