Thursday, December 30, 2010

Materials for winterizing my hives.

Winterizing my beehives.

There are many ways to do this, this is just one perspective.

Far left: Homosote. It is basically papier mache. I put this on the top of the inner cover to absorb some of the moisture in the hive. Moisture can kill bees.

Second from left: is insulation. A layer I put on top of the homosote to just help the hive stay warm-ish.

Black roll: is tar paper. I wrap my hives in this tar paper to help the hive absorb heat during the day.

Far right: I can't remember why I put this in this is a deep body.

Hope this helps. Would love to hear what you do. A few more thoughts

Bee by Rose-Lynn Fisher

Picture of BeesKnee by Rose-Lynn Fisher, Video here.

I was giving this book for my birthday yesterday. It is really cool, check it out.

"Of the ten million or so different species of insects on our planet, none is more fascinating than the honeybee. One of the oldest forms of animal life still in existence from the Neolithic Age, bees have been worshipped and mythologized since the beginning of human history. Known popularly for their industriousness ("as busy as a bee") and highly valued for their role in agricultural pollination (every third bite we take depends on them), bees are now kept by a quarter-million beekeepers in the United States alone, and millions more around the world."

Why do my hens stop laying eggs in winter?

Many people ask me what they can do to help keep their hens laying eggs during the winter. Here are a few things to consider:

1. Make sure your hens have plenty of fresh clean water all day long. Don't let it freeze over night then replace in the morning. I use heated dog bowls.

2. I use lights (on timers) in my coop so that my hens have 14-16 hours of light a day.

3. Add a bit more protein to their feed. I add a bit of gamebird crumble to the regular feed. Also consider adding cracked corn and ground flaxseed to their feed.

4. Try and add some greens to your hens feed. I go to our local farm and get the leftover lettuce and carrot tops. It is also great entertainment for hens.

5. Keep the coop draft free.

6. I also try to add something to the coop so that they are entertained. Scratch is a great thing! They love digging about for it.

More winterizing tips.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Makes no sense.

Wik-Bee Leaks: EPA Document Shows It Knowingly Allowed Pesticide That Kills Honey Bees
BY Ariel SchwartzFri Dec 10, 2010

The world honey bee population has plunged in recent years, worrying beekeepers and farmers who know how critical bee pollination is for many crops. A number of theories have popped up as to why the North American honey bee population has declined--electromagnetic radiation, malnutrition, and climate change have all been pinpointed. Now a leaked EPA document reveals that the agency allowed the widespread use of a bee-toxic pesticide, despite warnings from EPA scientists.

The document, which was leaked to a Colorado beekeeper, shows that the EPA has ignored warnings about the use of clothianidin, a pesticide produced by Bayer that mainly is used to pre-treat corn seeds. The pesticide scooped up $262 million in sales in 2009 by farmers, who also use the substance on canola, soy, sugar beets, sunflowers, and wheat, according to Grist.

The leaked document (PDF) was put out in response to Bayer's request to approve use of the pesticide on cotton and mustard. The document invalidates a prior Bayer study that justified the registration of clothianidin on the basis of its safety to honeybees:

Clothianidin’s major risk concern is to nontarget insects (that is, honey bees). Clothianidin is a neonicotinoid insecticide that is both persistent and systemic. Acute toxicity studies to honey bees show that clothianidin is highly toxic on both a contact and an oral basis. Although EFED does not conduct RQ based risk assessments on non-target insects, information from standard tests and field studies, as well as incident reports involving other neonicotinoids insecticides (e.g., imidacloprid) suggest the potential for long-term toxic risk to honey bees and other beneficial insects.

The entire 101-page memo is damning (and worth a read). But the opinion of EPA scientists apparently isn't enough for the agency, which is allowing clothianidin to keep its registration.

Suspicions about clothianidin aren't new; the EPA's Environmental Fate and Effects Division (EFAD) first expressed concern when the pesticide was introduced, in 2003, about the "possibility of toxic exposure to nontarget pollinators [e.g., honeybees] through the translocation of clothianidin residues that result from seed treatment." Clothianidin was still allowed on the market while Bayer worked on a botched toxicity study [PDF], in which test and control fields were planted as close as 968 feet apart.

Clothianidin has already been banned by Germany, France, Italy, and Slovenia for its toxic effects. So why won't the EPA follow? The answer probably has something to do with the American affinity for corn products. But without honey bees, our entire food supply is in trouble.

READ ENTIRE article here

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I put this in my hens water

They love it, I think it taste like cider.
My chicken mentor Jan Brett says it helps with worms.

I just put a little dash into a gallon bucket, about a tablespoon, it isn't very scientific

Monday, December 13, 2010

The BeeKeeper Next Door - NYTimes

Deborah Augustine

Mike Barrett keeps his bees in a hive that sits on the rooftop of his two-story row house in Astoria.

Published: December 8, 2010

"The number of bees has been falling since the end of World War II, when farmers stopped rotating crops with clover, a good pollen source for bees, and started using fertilizers. Pesticides and herbicides became common as well. In cities, native plants were ripped out in favor of exotic ones that were not good for bees.Then, four years ago, honey bee colonies mysteriously started to die around the country. This drop-off, called colony collapse disorder, added to the mounting health problems, like mites and diseases, that bees are facing. About 30 percent of the country’s managed colonies have died; around a third of the deaths are related to colony collapse disorder, according to the Agriculture Department.“We don’t know the primary cause, but we know the combination of poor nutrition, heavy pesticide use and bee diseases have put bees into a tailspin,” said Marla Spivak, an entomology professor at the University of Minnesota and a recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant for her work on honey-bee health."


Food Magazine for Kids.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Guest Blog Post from - Michelle Stern from What’s Cooking

I have a confession to make.

I have wanted backyard chickens for quite some time. The appeal of rich and flavorful eggs with bright orange yolks was too much to resist. And when my 8 year old daughter joined our local 4-H club, my heart leapt when she told me that she was interested in joining the poultry project. My husband wasn’t likely to cave to my chicken cravings. But how could he resist the doe-eyes of our daughter, who was actually learning about chickens?

It has been a win-win. Our whole family has enjoyed the chickens. Amelia and I love watching their silly antics and how they recycle our food scraps into breakfast. Our husband adores watching Amelia learn and puts up with our giggles as we share funny chicken stories. And our son tries to like them. But at the very least, he is proud when his friends come over and he can show them off.

Needless to say, we have been eating a lot of eggs. Egg production has slowed down recently, since our girls are molting and the daylight hours are shorter. (The coop looks a little bit like a feather pillow has exploded…) This recipe is one of my favorites, and will appear in the pages of my new cookbook, due out in April, 2011. The Whole Family Cookbook encourages families to cook together, but also has a big green focus. I can’t seem to quiet my inner environmental science teacher, so the pages contain lots of eco-tips, along with banter about the benefits of eating happy, pastured animals rather than their institutionalized cousins.

Breakfast Burrito
By Michelle Stern, Author of The Whole Family Cookbook (April, 2011) and Owner of What’s Cooking, a certified green cooking school for kids (

1 russet potato
2 teaspoons canola oil
2 chicken apple sausages, (You can also use spicy sausage or chorizo)
1/4 teaspoon cumin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 eggs
1 cup black beans
1/3 cup cheddar, feta or queso fresco cheese
4 10-inch whole wheat tortillas
1/4 cup sour cream, optional
1/4 cup salsa, optional
1 handful cilantro or parsley leaves, optional
1 small avocado, optional
2 slices bacon or turkey bacon, crumbled, optional

1. Scrub the potato under running water.
2. Prick it all over with a fork and cook it in the microwave for 5-6 minutes, or until tender.
3. Allow it to cool while you prepare the other ingredients.
4. Heat the canola oil in a skillet over a medium-high heat.
5. Meanwhile, slice the sausages into 1/4 inch thick rounds. If you are using uncooked sausages, you will need to squeeze it from its casing.
6. Cook the sausage until it is browned.
7. Crack the eggs into a medium-sized bowl. Beat with a fork or whisk.
8. Measure the cumin and add it to the eggs.
9. Reduce the heat to medium-low and pour in the eggs. Stir them occasionally and break up any large clumps.
10. Cut the potato into 1 inch cubes and add it to the skillet.
11. Drain and rinse the black beans.
12. Measure them and and add them to the skillet so that they can warm through.
13. Season the egg mixture with salt and pepper, to taste and remove the skillet from the heat.
14. Grate or crumble the cheese into a small dish.
15. Spread each tortilla with sour cream and salsa, if desired.
16. Put 1/4 of the potato cubes onto center of the tortilla.
17. Top the potato with 1/4 of the egg, sausage and bean mixture.
18. Sprinkle with cheese.
19. Top with any additional toppings, such as cilantro, diced avocado, crumbled bacon or hot sauce.
20. Fold one side towards the middle. Then fold up the bottom, then the other side, followed by the top.
21. Eat whole or cut the burrito in half, for little hands.

Our broody bantam cochin hatched some orpington chicks – all of which turned out to be roosters. We were very sad…but they all got a great new home and didn’t end up in a soup pot.

One of the babies…

Michelle Stern is the owner of What’s Cooking, a certified green cooking school for kids in the San Francisco. Her new book, The Whole Family Cookbook, is coming out in April, 2011. For family friendly recipes, tips on cooking with kids, and environmentally friendly suggestions for eating well, go to:

@whatscooking and on Facebook

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Photo taken by my friend Tamara Staples

Have you seen her awesome book Fairest Fowl? It was the book I kept going back to when I was first choosing chickens. It is great. Get it.

Then this spring look for her new book called The Fancy!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010

Homemade suet recipe from Megan Paska

My buff brahma as a pullet

"Bantam brahmas are gentle sweeties with feathered legs and feet and profuse, fluffy feathering. Originally from India, these birds were bred for meat production, though the hens lay relatively decently and are great setters and mothers. This fancy breed of chicken makes a great pet for its quiet and tame nature, tolerance to the cold, huggability and sheer chic-ness!"

My friends at Food, Inc.

From my friends at Food, Inc.
Watch it.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Listening to sound of b

August 23, 2010 Warm Humid 6:12 pm

“Close your eyes. Listen to the sound of the bees”, I said to my mom.

If anyone had seen us I think they would have thought that we had been attacked by a swarm of mad bees. Instead it was just me and my mom, in our full bee suits, just stretched out in the grass. I thought it would be cool to lie down right in front of the front door of the hive and watch them. In a way become part of their colony for a few minutes. It was hard at first to be still and to just listen to the sound of the hives. Every now and then a guard bee would bump up against my veil just making sure I wasn’t an intruder.

The sound of the hive was so soothing. I have heard that the note that bees “hum” or “buzz” is b. Of course it’s b. Today it was a calm soothing b. Not an angry b, or an impatient b, just a comfortable soothing b. The hive also smelled so good. It smelled of a combination of honey, wax and propolis (which is basically sap). I actually would love to be able to bottle that smell and have it in my room.

“Oh, cr*p”, said my mom

It was the first thing either of us had said for several minutes so I was totally surprised to hear my mom yell out “cr*p”( she doesn't usually say that)

“I have a bee in my suit. She is in my armpit!”

“Just be calm and try to gently let her out” I said to my mom calmly, hoping that if I were totally calm she would be too. Bees can tell when you are alarmed, and they react to it with a sting.

Luckily my mom was pretty chill and didn’t freak out. She just rolled over, unzipped her suit and scooped the little bee on out. Nice job mom.

After about 10 minutes neither of us wanted to get up. We weren’t talking we were just listening, smelling and watching the bees. The bees are really active at this time of day because they are returning from their foraging flights and heading home for the day. It was a traffic jam as they entered the hive. We just stayed there and watched the whole thing and after a while the bees didn't mind us anymore. We weren't a threat, we were just part of their ecosystem.

Imagine walking along and coming across two people in full white bee suits (they kind of look like HazMat suits) lying down in the grass, not talking to each other, right next to three beehives. I guess our family definition of normal is a little different than others. Thank goodness.

Sunlight in the winter

Chickens need a lot of sunlight. I think that the steady supply of light in the coop contributes to good wintertime egg production and Happy Chickens!

I do two things to help with light for my hens:

1. See above. My dad and I enclosed the outdoor run in clear corrugated plastic, so it is both warm and sunny all day. I have seen coops where the outdoor run is closed in during the winter with wood, so the coop is dark all day. I try to get as much light to them as possible. The indoor coop is well lit because the roof of the barn has some clear panels as well.

2. I set up a crazy light / timer system for the indoor coop.
- Set a plug-in timer to come on at 4pm and off at 8pm.
- Then I clip these industrial lights on the overhead beams of the coop and the light comes on when it gets dark outside. Hens need anywhere from 14-16 hours of light a day.


Photo by my friend Tamara Staples

The Wyandotte is an American breed. Silver Laced Wyandottes were developed in New York State in the early 1870s and were admitted into the standard in 1883. The other varieties accepted in the American Standard of Perfection are the Golden Laced, White, Black, Buff, Columbian, Partridge and Silver Penciled. Layers of good-sized brown eggs and reaching a weight in the males of 8 1/2 pounds, Wyandottes are good dual purpose birds, especially the White and Silver Laced varieties which have been bred for utility, as well as for show.

Dried Mealworms

I like to feed my hens a special handful of mealworms.
We usually buy 2 11pound bags! The birds just love them.

Even more nutritious for your birds are live mealworms.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Winterizing the hives

I've been asked what I do to overwinter my hives, honestly this is my first year so I'm not sure I'd listen to what I have to say, but here goes. Everyone has their way to do it and they are probably all right. Here's one way..

1. Feed the bees. For the last few weeks I have been feeding the bees a simple syrup (2:1 ratio sugar to water) to help them prep for the winter.

2. Stop feeding the bees. My bee mentors recommended I stop feeding them this week (11/7/10 - I'm North of Boston) to make sure whatever they have taken they can convert to food. Too much syrup is dangerous because of all the water in it. It needs time to convert. The water can create a risky environment in the hive. Too humid. Too moist. Frozen. Not good

3. I don't medicate. Ask any beekeeper and you will get a different answer. I may be making a mistake, but I think they hives are strong and I guess I just don't love the idea of medicating something that is healthy. I will let you know how it goes. Some give a dose of Fumadil B to avoid winter dysentery.

4. Put the entrance reducer in. Now is when visitors arrive. Mice! It is warm and cozy in the hive so mice often try and sneek their way into this little warm box. You want to keep them out.

5. Put a layer of homosote and insulation above your inner cover. Bees generate humidity. This moisture can be dangerous for the bees and needs to have an easy way to vent out the top of the hive. I put a homosote layer on top of the inner cover to absorb the moisture, then I put styrofoam insulation on top. Some people take a large super and fill it with hay as an insulation layer. I might try that on one hive to see how it goes.

6. Make sure your honey stores are right above the brood.

7. Leave 100 pounds of honey per hive. I should have put this first. Leave it for them, don't take it. Each frame is about 7 pounds of honey, so each super is about 70 pounds.

8. Wrap your hives in black tar paper. I wrap my hives in simple black tar paper, then tie it with string or a bungie cord. Duct tape doesn't really work in this environment. It keeps the hive dry and on sunny days it helps warm the hive so the bees can move to the honey stores. It makes the bees happy!

Everyone seems to have a different view on how to do it. This is just one way. I'd love to hear your suggestions.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Winterizing the coop

I've been asked what I do to winterize my flock and coop. Here are a few of the things I do:

1. Add Cracked Corn to their feed. They LOVE it! and it is helps keep their body temperature up.

2. I use heated dog bowls for their water, I find them much easier to use than the heated bases and metal watering towers.

3. I wrap my the outdoor part of my coop in heavy plastic so that they can still go outside. They need as much sunlight as possible during the day. By wrapping the coop it turns into a little cozy, sunny greenhouse.

4. I add more mealworms to what I give them each day. It makes them really happy.

5. I obviously go out to the coop every day, but during the freezing times I may go more often and I inspect each bird to make sure their combs and feet are ok. Sometimes I will put vaseline on their combs to protect them from frostbite (i even add some euclyptus oil to it)

6. Check for drafts and fill them.

7. I also use deep bedding
for the indoor coop. I think of it like a big blanket for them!

I think that is about it, if I remember anything else I will add it. Oh, don't worry your eggs shouldn't freeze.

Please let me know if you do something else that would be helpful to list.


Ruling the Roost - funny

The Daily News of Newburyport Fri Oct 22, 2010, 03:58 AM EDT NEWBURYPORT —

Orren Fox is a guy who knows chickens. With more than eight prizes for his birds that include best standard in show and grand champion, this 13-year-old boy is becoming a local expert. This year at the Topsfield Fair, the young Orren took home three prizes in the youth category with the best bird in show, the grand champion and the best bantam. READ HERE

Sunday, October 17, 2010

ChopChop Magazine in The Atlantic

To try the recipe for a Green Eggs (and No Ham) Sandwich, adapted from ChopChop magazine, click here.

Secret Weapon Against Childhood Obesity: A Magazine
..."I asked writer Susan Orlean to interview 12-year-old Orren Fox, who shares her, um, obsession and love for chickens." - Sally Sampson


Several of my birds are begining to molt. I consider this the time when I need to add more "light" to the coop.

Molting is the shedding and renewal of feathers and occurs about once a year. The order in which the different sections of the bird lose their feathers is fairly defined: head, neck, body, wings and tail. Molting is a difficult time for birds, since it involves hormonal fluctuations and increased energy requirements. Eliminate stress during this time: keep temperature in a narrow range (70-80o F), provide a high quality diet, and each day mist the birds with a fine spray or provide a pan for bathing. It takes about seven weeks for new feathers to complete their growth cycle. Domesticated chickens bred for high egg production have a definite molting pattern. A natural molt does not normally occur until the end of an extended, intensive laying period. Chickens that have been laying heavily for one year or longer molt easily in the fall since this is the natural molting season. If they finish their intensive year in the spring, they do not molt easily and may wait until the fall. A chicken loses feathers from various sections of its body in a definite pattern. The order is: head; neck; feather tracks of the breast, thighs and back; wing and tail feathers. Some birds molt more slowly than others; some molt earlier. A good high producing flock tends to molt late and rapidly. Decreasing day-length is the normal trigger for molting. Therefore, lighting programs for egg production flocks should provide either constant or increasing day-length. Stresses caused by temporary feed or water shortage, disease, cold temperatures, or sudden changes in the lighting program can cause a partial or premature molt. - from

Fall Maintenance From NYTimes Bee Section

October 7, 2010, 2:35 pm

Despite the recent tropical rainfall events and microcells that have uprooted 100-year-old oaks in the Northeast, the early fall weather has generally been friendly to local beehives. The weather has been hot, and fall flowers, like goldenrod, have thrived. As I strolled through the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens the other day, scouting with a colleague to prepare for a coming school field trip, I was jealous that local Brooklyn beekeepers had it so good, as hundreds, if not thousands, of honeybees mingled with native pollinators on lush native flora in the park.

Although a healthy crop of honey is a tempting harvest for the fall, beekeepers know they need to leave enough for the hive to overwinter on. Generally, bees will store an arc of honey around the comb where the queen has laid eggs. Frames on the far ends of the brood chamber box are often fully stored with honey. A healthy hive will usually involve two brood boxes, and numerous frames will have full stores of honey.

Unfortunately, that was not the case with my hives. The summer proved challenging to them. Neither of my queens ever managed to lay enough eggs to get into the upper brood chamber; they were partly hampered by the lack of comb to lay eggs in – the wax production of both my hives was severely limited.

The lingering stretch of warm weather is the perfect time to get your hives ready for the inevitable winter chill. I follow three simple rules: 1) reduce and consolidate, 2) clean and store (a rule that I have underperformed on in the past), and 3) feed, feed, feed.

By reduce and consolidate, I mean to open up your hives boxes for a full inspection, consolidate the frames where the queen is laying into the center of the brood boxes, move the full frames of honey to the ends of the boxes, and generally create a space where the bees can cluster during the cold winter months. In my case, I was able to reduce two brood boxes down to one and put full frames of honey in the smaller super into the center of the box to give the hive easier access to their stores of food. Don’t forget to put mouse guards in!


Thursday, October 14, 2010


Look at the cool the cool poster Michael Schwab gave me to celebrate Best in Show!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Early fall hive report

I spent some time with my hives on Saturday, there is a lot going on there. The hive that was strong at the begining of the season is now quiet: healthy but quiet. The dark green Celtics hive (go Shaq) is really fierce and busy. Oddly this is the hive I was really worried about in the middle of the season. Now they seem to be the strongest. Lesson one. Be patient.

Outside hive number there was a little mouse. Really cute, but I don't want him in the hive, so I put the entrance reducers in the hive, that way he can't fit into the "front door". I have heard about mice that have crawled into the hive, looking for honey (smart) and then are attacked and entombed! The bees essentially coat the mouse in wax and propolis. The mouse is "mummified". Amazing. I actually wouldn't mind seeing this, however, I imagine it takes lots of effort for the bees to do this. I'd rather have them working on something else.

I have begun feeding them the syrup with the ratio of 2:1 sugar to water. It is time for them to begin to prepare the hive for the winter months. I am sure they have plenty of honey stores to make it through. I am not going to medicate. I may lose some hives because of this, but it just doesn't make sense in my mind to put medication into the hive...doesn't it then get into the honey? I'll risk it.

I am also thinking of building a bee "lean to" to keep the heavy snows off the hives.

Here are some good winter tips from

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Trouble in the Hive - NYT

Published: October 9, 2010

HUMAN beings and honeybees go way back, probably to some unrecorded, fateful day thousands of years ago when a forager stumbled upon some golden goo in the woods, stuck a finger in to taste, and realized that the bears were on to something good.

These days, the relationship is also big business. Agriculture, especially for crops like almonds, depends heavily on industrial-strength pollination services — itinerant bees and beekeepers for hire, roving from farm to farm, blossom to blossom.

So the stakes and the anxiety were enormous when bees started dying by the millions about four years ago, a phenomenon given the name “colony collapse.” Last week, a team of scientists from academia and the United States Army’s chemical and biological research group announced that they had identified a possible culprit: a combination fungus and virus.

But the naming of a suspect still leaves a swarm of questions about where bees, and people, go from here.

Are colonies still collapsing?

Unfortunately, yes. Dead colonies were reported in Florida in January and California in February, and some bee experts fear that the rate of decline could be as severe as in the initial days of the outbreak, in late 2006.

How badly has the bee population been damaged?

The numbers are rough estimates, but huge by any measure. About 20 percent to 40 percent of the bee colonies in the United States have been destroyed, which adds up to perhaps 50 billion individual bees. Colonies that survive can bounce back in as little as a month or two, but a dark cloud is hiding there too: researchers and beekeepers fear that surviving bees could be disease carriers, leading to further outbreaks.


Cool facts about honey bees

The honey bee's wings stroke incredibly fast, about 200 beats per second. That's the buzzz you hear.

A honey bee can fly for up to six miles, and as fast as 15 miles per hour.

The average worker bee produces about 1/12th teaspoon of honey in her lifetime.

A hive of bees will fly 90,000 miles, the equivalent of three orbits around the earth to collect 2 pounds of honey.

The bee's brain is oval in shape and only about the size of a sesame seed, yet it has remarkable capacity to learn and remember things and is able to make complex calculations on distance travelled and foraging efficiency.

A colony of bees consists of about 60,000 honeybees and one queen. Worker honey bees are female, live for about 6 weeks and do all the work.

The queen bee can live up to 5 years and is the only bee that lays eggs. She is the busiest in the summer months, when the hive needs to be at its maximum strength, and lays up to 2500 eggs per day.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Entemologist, studying bees

From MacArthur Foundation 2010

Marla Spivak is an entomologist who is developing practical applications to protect honey bee populations from decimation by disease while making fundamental contributions to our understanding of bee biology. Essential to healthy ecosystems and to the agricultural industry as pollinators of a third of the United States’ food supply, honey bees have been disappearing at alarming rates in recent years due to the accumulated effects of parasitic mites, viral and bacterial diseases, and exposure to pesticides.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Checking the frames

My friend William Huber took this cool picture.

Congratulations my Silver Laced Hamburg!

Congratulations to my hen the Grand Champion of the Topsfield Fair.
The Fair is the oldest Agricultural Fair in the country! This is the 192 Fair.
I am so excited I won't be able to sleep.

The Happy Chickens YouTube Channel

Not much there yet..

Monday, September 27, 2010

Bee Mentors.

I broke the frame as I was pulling it out to inspect. I was so disappointed in myself, luckily the bees were really happy about it.

These are my bee mentors. They are awesome. Jane Wild and her husband. What is really helpful is they watch me do it, they don't do it for me. I learn more that way.

Thank you for helping me out.
I have decided not to take any honey this season. I want to leave it for the bees, to help them through the winter. All three hives seem to be thriving now. I don't want to disturb them.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

New Chick.

A White Crested Black Polish, named Stella. She really is a star. I am so excited I can barely breath. She is gorgeous. I was lucky enough to get her from my very good friend Jan Brett (author of my favorite kids book The Mitten). I have been hoping hoping I might be able to raise one of her amazing birds. Now it has happened. Wow. Thank you Jan!

Fall Feeding. 2:1 Sugar to water.

Shout out to my boys in MGH NICU.

My MGH NICU posse Andy and John hope they spring you soon. Preemies rock.

Google has beehives!

From the Google Blog

Show me the honey
9/20/2010 03:15:00 PM

Since we installed four beehives on campus this spring, the area around the hives has been, well, a hive of activity. Many Googlers took the beekeeping plunge, donning bee suits and diving into regular beekeeping activities such as regular checks for diseases and parasites. Today, we have more than 80 employees signed up to care for the bees. We’re happy to report that the bees have prospered at Google (must be all the free food) and the hives have grown from their original one-story “campus,” the Hiveplex, to five stories.

Over the past few weeks, there’s been a ton of anticipation on campus as the hives filled with honey and harvest time drew closer. Each beekeeping team is assigned to one of the four colored hives, and some teams were spotted peeking into other hives to see which was ahead in terms of honey production.


Tending my bees, with a broken arm..

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What an Urban Farmer Looks Like - NY Magazine

YEAH ANNIE AND BEE (My friends in Brooklyn)

Photographs by Andreas Laszlo Konrath

Until the mid-nineteenth century, most of New York City was farmland. Now, thanks to the constant drumbeat of locavorism, some of it is going back to seed. Urban horticulture has long been practiced at hundreds of community gardens around the city. But a new class of growers is more concerned with bolstering a sustainable food system and, if possible, turning a profit than with cultivating a peaceful vegetable plot. In studiously trendy neighborhoods like Red Hook, Greenpoint, and Long Island City, the farming is done on rooftops and old basketball courts, mostly by the young, idealistic, and educated. Some still follow the old church-pantry model, but others are more entrepreneurial, relying on restaurant sales and CSA (community-supported agriculture) subscriptions to turn farming into a viable business. Here, a portfolio of the city’s most prolific food producers, and a map of where to find them.

Read more: A Guide to the City's Urban Farmers -- New York Magazine

Friday, September 17, 2010

Happy Chickens on FB

I'm not really sure what to put on FB. Any suggestions?