Starting Langstroth Beehives

Part One: Preparing for Install

Having done this the right and wrong way a few times before, I feel pretty safe in saying that bees are really smart and you can’t really mess this up for them too much.  However, you can mess it up for yourself and that can be your bigger concern, if you don’t feel like buying new hives every Spring! 

You can choose from different types of hives – Langstroth, Top-Bar, Warre, Flow.
There are advantages and disadvantages to each (which you can find many resources for with a simple internet search) and you will get varying opinions, depending on a beekeeper’s objective. For instance, if you want hands-off honey harvesting, you might not go with the same hive as someone who was simply looking to support/increase the bee population.

Our beekeeping ambitions are: foster honey production (because we love all things honey!), support bee population, and pollination of our garden and farm.

This instructional is for the installation of Langstroth beehives and packaged bees.

Our three Langstroth hives – May, 2018.
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Springtime!

Honey Bell Farm is a buzz…

As our world laid bleak and barren these last few months, it can feel like winter is a never ending endeavor.  Mother Nature in Ohio fights like I do.  She’ll give you the cold, brutal truth of winter and once she’s said her piece, you think, “Okay, that wasn’t so bad.”  Inevitably, she comes back in with AT LEAST one more “Oh, and another thing!” 
Growing older, and hopefully wiser, I learn to fight fair and make my lectures shorter and my “winters” shorter… Mother Nature must not be aging as I am, for just when we think the fight is over, she comes back in with another round of snow in late March!

Having a few lovely Spring days under our belts, I’m beginning to think this might be it… the long winter might finally be over.  

With that, here are our plans for Spring! 

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Farm Renovations Non-Negotiables

I love the history and stories of an old farm house. The character and value that only the passing of time can bring to something. When hunting for a farm, we toured numerous old farm houses, trying to find the perfect one to meet our needs.

My favorite parts of these old houses? The best rooms that hold the deepest character and boldest display of history are those that are tucked away. The rooms that are overlooked or limited in their renovation potential to the previous owners… the attics and basements!

As you climb the stairs and peer into the poorly lit rooms, you are momentarily transported. I catch myself daydreaming of the people whose hard work built this home, the children who sought these rooms during their games of hide and seek, the once precious possessions that were placed there for temporary safe keeping… Oh, to revel in the stories an old home could tell.

With all of the charm an old home provides, sometimes the simplicity of times gone by means that current needs aren’t fully met. As we are gearing up for renovations, we want to be mindful of making changes that will make our lives a little easier. Meanwhile, we strive to maintain the charms of the old home and somehow stay in budget – always a challenge!

Although we didn’t have solid direction when starting the planning process, we did know there were a few “non-negotiable,” must-have items for our farm home.

Here they are… Our Farm Renovation “Non-Negotiables”

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New Year’s Resolutions

Can you believe 2018 is coming to an end?
It can be jolting to realize how fast time flies – regardless of the “having fun” aspect… it just flies!

If you asked us this time last year of our goals for 2018, we would have said:
1. Start a family.
2. Buy a farm.
3. Stay healthy, happy, and in love.
4. Listen for God’s voice and trust His plan.

As I am now blogging about my happy little family and our new farm, I am thrilled to say we accomplished these goals. Although staying healthy, happy, and in love is a daily choice and sometimes a challenge, more days are successes than failures. Trusting God’s plan and listening for God’s voice takes a humble heart and continued investment in the relationship.

Looking forward, we are so excited for what the new year will hold for us.

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Where to Begin?

You know that feeling of seeing a potential project and immediately envisioning the end results?  Yeah, me neither.

Sometimes inspiration is something that slowly comes to you… like starting a journey not really knowing where to begin or where you will end up, simply knowing you have to take the first step.  Then, as you dig in and let the project speak to you, inspiration somehow finds you along the way. 

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Monica’s New Mommy Must-Haves

As a mother, I feel like there are constant pulls in opposite directions.  My inner dialogue is something like this: “I haven’t showered in a few days, maybe I should do that… but look at that sweet baby boy wanting lovin’ and there’s all that laundry to fold!”  Or this common one: “You do know you’re going back to work in a month and have no sitter lined up… but how can I possibly find someone to care for my precious love in my place?!”

Before Deacon came along, I would have said my “must-haves” were much simpler and inward looking… with chapstick probably topping the list.  Now that I’m a new mommy, my go-to items have shifted from self indulgence to self preservation and providing for my family. 

These are not listed in order of importance, just the order that my brain processed them because I don’t have the time or energy for perfection anymore.  That’s a new mom skill I’m working on… Leading us to my first new mom must-have… 

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6 Reasons You Should Start Beekeeping!

When Matt came to me and said, “we should start beekeeping,” it was almost in passing.  We knew as close to nothing about beekeeping as possible and had done zero prep work (nor did we know the work it might entail to get started).  It was early Spring and as we began reading we realized that if we were starting it was now or never!  

Our research told us that starting colonies is done in the Spring; so, if we didn’t get going on it soon, we would be better off just waiting a year until the following Spring.  I basically told Matt either we do it or we don’t, but we had to decide! We took the leap and haven’t looked back.  The pictures below are from the day we picked up our bees to start our first two hives!  

As we drove home, it was exciting… and a little stressful! We did not yet realize how docile honeybees are for the most part – especially without a hive and brood (eggs) to protect.  I think we were both almost on edge, awaiting the bees to revolt against us! 

When I think back to that decision, I am not positive what it was that motivated us, but here are some reasons you should consider starting beekeeping of your own!

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