How I Got Started

I started Butterfly gardening many years ago. My yard has been a progression over the years, and has made many transformations. Twenty years ago I experienced Hurricane Andrew. My yard and house were destroyed. We decided not to replace the pool screening and open up the backyard and put in some landscaping. That was the official beginning of my love for gardening in South Florida. I added a beautiful water garden years ago, and have been adding host and larvae plants for pollinators, mostly for the butterfly, for as many years as I can remember. I had my yard certified as a Natural Habitat, through the National Wildlife Foundation. To have a natural habitat you need to provide and meet certain requirements: 1. Provide a food source, 2. Provide a water source, 3. Cover, 4. A place to raise young. I try not to use any pesticides in my yard. I vermicompost and recycle as many of my food scraps as possible. If I had more land I would have a huge compost bin to recycle all my yard cuttings. Basically, I try to lessen my carbon footprint on this earth. In my own little world or backyard I try to provide an ecosystem in my water garden, provide birdbaths, birdfeeders, hummingbird nectar sources, feeders, puddling areas, host plants and nectar plants for butterflies and other pollinators. I am hoping to raise everyone’s awareness of the importance of saving our Butterflies, Blooms & Bees. Without them our world and food source will be in trouble. I hope you all enjoy my journey. I am not a Master Gardener, or Master Beekeeper, an Entomologist, or Journalists. I am simply a Backyard Gardener who is trying to lessen her Carbon Footprint of this Earth.

I hope you enjoy my blogs.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Have Bees Become Canaries In the Coal Mine?

Have Bees Become Canaries In the Coal Mine? Why Massive Bee Dieoffs May Be a Warning About Our Own Health

http://www.alternet.org/food/154039

What scientists are beginning to understand about the cause of colony collapse could be a message for all of us.

Monday, December 26, 2011

First Honey Harvest!

So excited, this was my first time harvesting honey.  It was kind of by accident.  One of the difficulties of managing TBH is manipulating the bars and making sure the comb stays straight.  It is called cross combing.  I am not really having a problem with cross combing but with very wide and heavy honey combs towards the back of the hive.  As I was moving one of the bars it was so heavy that I heard it drop.  It was definitely a little intimidating to have to reach in the hive and take out the comb with all the bees, but everything went fine.  I did receive one little sting through the glove, as there was a bee hiding on the cushion where I had the container with the honeycomb.  I didn’t see her and put my hand right on her.  The only way to harvest honey in a TBH is to crush and strain it.  It is a very easy procedure.  I simply put it in the colander and crushed it with a fork.  I got three beautiful jars of amber colored honey.  It tasted so delicious!


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Honey Bee Mystery




 

Why are bee colonies worldwide suffering mysterious deaths? A unique study describes a single bee protein that can promote bee health and solve a major economic challenge.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

My TBH are one month old!


My TBH are one month old.  They are doing well.  The population is growing.  My biggest issue is that I have a really hard time finding the eggs.  My eyes cannot always see them.  It depends on the sunlight and the color of the comb.  Sometimes it is very easy to find them and other times I cannot at all.  So what I do is look for are open larvae, and capped brood. I look to see how well the queen is laying by the brood pattern.   Usually I find the queen so I know she is there.  Finding the eggs, larvae, and capped brood is to make sure that you have a laying queen in your hive.   As a new beekeeper these are important skills, but not always easy.  I am sure I will look back on these basic skills in six months to a year and laugh and realize how much I have grown as a beekeeper.  (I hope!)

Here's a video of my TBH from when I got started:

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=2639806878594

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Second Part of Beekeeping Class


This is the second class in my beekeeping series.  When I arrived at the class there was a swarm occurring.  There has been an old hive in the house at Fairchild Farm.  The hive decided
to swarm as we arrived.  It was really cool because bees were flying all around us.  None of us were in our bee suits and I learned that when bees swarm, they are actually very gentle because they have nothing to defend.  They actually swarm for different reasons.  When they swarm they take the queen and some of the honey.  The rest of the hive and honey stays behind.   The second class was very informative but I still have so much to learn. 

Video of the swarm:

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10100234628793815

Friday, October 21, 2011

Bees Arrive Tonight


 I am excited and nervous all at the same time.  My bees are arriving this evening.  I’m getting my bees through Sam Comfort from Anarchy Apiaries http://anarchyapiaries.org/.  Sam is an amazing person, a non-conformist, as you can tell by his website name. If you want to learn more about Sam and his beekeeping just Google his name.  You will find many YouTube videos with Sam talking about his journey with keeping bees.  Sam has been keeping bees for many years and has seen the progression and destruction of our honeybees through all the pesticides, not only are the pesticides being used to treat the parasites that are affecting our bees, but the pesticides that are being used on our food source that our bees pollinate.  He has been involved with migratory beekeeping, and after having many hives die, decided to raise his bee’s treatment free.   He has been raising his own queens and keeping those bees that have survived.  He has specifically raised his bees with genetic qualities for survival.  Sam is known for his Top Bar Hive Beekeeping (TBH).  I am glad that I found Sam because I feel that I am getting the type of bees that I have been looking for.  They are Small Cell (SC), no chemicals in his hives, etc.  I have spent most of the day trying to decide where in my yard is the sunniest place for the bees.  I think I have found the perfect place.  It is also a little hidden so my kids don’t freak out when they come home.  I am feeling a little intimidated and unsure of my skills as a beekeeper, but I am sure I will learn in time.  

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Beekeeping Class Fairchild Botanical Gardens


 I am so excited because today is my first Beekeeping class.  This course is given by Fairchild Botanical Gardens.  I have been looking forward to this class for months.  I have been interested in beekeeping for a while, mostly as a natural progression in my quest to improve the pollination in my yard, and to help the pollinators who are in trouble.  It wasn’t until I started reading and studying that I started to realize the degree to which our honeybees were in trouble.  When I think about honey, I think about it being very pure.  Honey has to be one of the purest foods humans ingest; “food for the gods.”  I had no idea how many pesticides, antibiotics, fungicides; mitacides are being used to kill many of the parasites that are affecting our bees.  All of these chemicals are affecting our honey that we ingest and our pollinators that depend upon it as their food.  





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