Thursday, July 9, 2009

Bee Country

No, they aren't bees, their bison but our bee hives are on the Durham Ranch (they raise buffalo or the more correct term is bison) and I wanted to check to see if they needed any more boxes to store honey in. We wouldn't want to slow production down would we? Since my mother is visiting us this week, she came along. I gave her a brief tour of the area and thought you might like a peek at where we live.

The cows and calves are a couple pastures over from where our hives are and presently the calves are lighter in color than their parents. The cows start calving in May and remnants of their winter coats are still hanging in tatters off their backs. Some of the buffalo's winter hair can be collected by wandering the fields searching the ground for clumps that have fallen. One year, I had a little sack of it and spun it into yarn. I haven't done that in years but I keep saying one of these days, I'm going to ask again to collect some for spinning. Some of the clumps of fallen hair are too felted to spin, but I've toyed with the idea of piecing them together into a vest.

Please pardon the fence in the picture. My husband asked why I didn't get closer to the fence and stick my camera lens through but I couldn't without causing the bison to stir since they were so close and cow's with calves are protectively skittish. One of these days, I'm going to ask John, the owner, if I can move out amongst the herd so that I can photograph them up close. I haven't yet as my 35 millimeter camera is now a dinosaur and the cheap digital lens camera I'm presently using is frustrating me to no end with its limitations. Some day, I'll save and buy one that has interchangeable lenses but right now, I'm saving for a new spinning wheel.

Below is a picture taken in the large field where the bees are nestled against a hay stack.The yellow blossomed sweet clover is a beautiful contrast to the purple flowers on the alfalfa.
Honey made from alfalfa and sweet clover is very light yellow in color. The flavor is delicate.

The purpose of the trip of course is to check the bees and as I open the boxes I always become so fascinated by the inner workings of a colony that I forget the bees buzzing about my head. Today, I did not where my bee suit just a denim shirt, gloves, and a bee veil.

This honey super is nearly full of honey as the bees have started to cap the cells . That is the white waxy covering you see in the upper right hand corner. The cells with the yellowy brown seal are brood or a bee at the pupa stage.

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