February 09, 2009

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One (Mostly) Complete Warre and Nine To Go

Last night I completed the roof to the first Bee Thinking Warre hive, and I'm quite pleased with the results. They use approximately 30 board feet versus approximately 20 for the top bar hives, but I think the reduced maintenance and increased free time gained with the Warres will be invaluable. All that remains is to complete the quilt and top bars and then I will move on to the 9 other Warres necessary for the far reaches of our apiary.

From Warre
X
February 08, 2009

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Spring is Nigh and the Preparations are Well Under Way

By the beginning of April I expect to have a combination of Warré and top bar hives totaling 20 placed throughout the city of Portland and wine country (Dundee). Building hives, of course, isn't the only task I have to complete before spring. Two nights ago I completed two raised flower beds that will be placed almost directly in front of the hives along what will soon be a fence at the North side of our yard. This will provide maximum sun exposure given the massive willow tree to the south and the fence to the east.

Raised beds:

From Shop 2-7-09

Shop view:

From Shop 2-7-09

Yesterday, while Jill was at work, I finished the foundation of three top bar hives, bringing our total (if the pine hives are included) to 8. One or two more top bar hives and then I plan to focus almost entirely upon Warrés that will be placed at the distant locations such as Dundee. I suppose I need to make another run to Treecycle Northwest for cedar before construction is over!

Wood cut to size:

From Shop 2-7-09

Fruit of labor:

From Shop 2-7-09

In addition to building in the wonderful shop, I have spent many hours this past week working on Bee Thinking. Some notable additions have been the first multi-language support and a photo/video gallery. I must translate every article written for Bee Thinking at least to German, French and Italian. If you would like content translated to your own language, please contact me and I'll do my best to accommodate you.

I apologize for the delay in the monthly focus topic and new give away item. You should expect to see both early this week.

February 02, 2009

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The First of Many Hives

On Saturday evening, in preparation for our house warming, I worked diligently to create the first cedar top bar hive of 20 that will be placed throughout the city in April. I wanted to have one (mostly) completed for family and friends to see, as some of them will have them in their yards in a few months! The new wood worked splendidly - just wet enough to be manipulated easily. In addition, the political signs I received from the City of Gresham worked relatively well for the roof.  I am quite pleased with the result, and look forward to finishing the rest.

Hive:

From Shop

 

From Shop

I am trying to build all 20 as efficiently as possible. Therefore I'm building them in mini-assembly line fashion: 10 legs at a time, 8 follower boards, then 6 sets of end boards. This way I can quickly put them together from the store of parts I've already finished. In addition, I'm standardizing the sizing of every piece so that parts are interchangeable. Should I end up with more than 20 hives, I think this added work will pay off tremendously.

Follower board assembly table:

From Shop

Over the past couple weeks I've been mapping out my preliminary hive locations and tallying up the miles if I visit them each weekend from April-September. Due to this evaluation, I am rethinking a couple of my sites and attempting to find more that are close by, or close to other sites. This way I can spend more time beekeeping and less time driving through the season.

For the remote locations that I do not want to give up, such as the wineries in Dundee, I am seriously considering the use of Warré hives for their reduced maintenance needs. This way I will still be using foundationless hives with top bars, but won't have the need to drive 80 miles to Dundee each weekend, thus giving me more time to build, prepare, etc. In the next couple weeks I intend to begin creating a Warré, with the possibility of creating 8 before the end of April.

I expect to have the top bar hives finished by the end of February, this giving me ample time for the rest of the preparations. Stay tuned!

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