I have a hard time liking pictures of myself. I have a few that are ok, but I think most women are behind the camera and don't get many good pictures of themselves. This is a good picture. Of course, I am not the only one in it! Duke was my little buddy on a trip to visit a dear friend in Virginia. Such a little sweetie! I am happy here and it shows!
The reason for a happy picture today? I weighed in this morning again! A little background before the "reveal". After losing 2 lbs last week without any effort (I give full credit to the nightly honey), I decided if I could do that good with no effort, what could I accomplish with a little help? This last week I have started watching how I eat (not what I eat so much). No big diet. For example, yesterday at Bible Study instead of having a blueberry muffin AND warm chocolate chip cookies, I picked just one. Warm chocolate chip cookies won! I didn't deny myself anything...I just made a choice. That being said, are you ready (because I am still in shock). I LOST 6 lbs THIS LAST WEEK. Woo Hoo! Still no heartburn at night and I am sleeping much better. After a month I have lost 8 lbs on the nightly honey!!! I am no scientist, but if this natural help works...AWESOME! I weighed July 4th and since then I have lost 10 lbs total! I might be able to actually carry my weight and walk next year. Ok...let's not get ahead of ourselves. It is the adrenaline talking right now. I have been heavy almost all my life. For now...10 lbs is a Godsend!
The other day I promised to go over some of the problems with raising bees. You really have to be vigilant about disease. Last year Tim treated in the spring and then checked again in the fall. Things were acceptable, so instead of treating again he let them alone. BIG mistake! It only takes about a week once some of these health issues start to ruin a hive! By the time he realized we had a problem, it was too late. We had a few hives with enough bees to try to winter, but they were gone before a few weeks in winter storage. Just too weak to survive. We treat all naturally. Varroamites are a huge problem. Relate it to a flea on a dog. These varroamites get in a hive and spread like a wild fire! They can even get into the bees trachea and hinder their harvest and eating. Treatment? The mites hate mint! Tim uses beeswax, melts it and adds a few drops of Spearmint. Then he rolls it into long tubes (look like thin straws) and sticks them to the entrance at the hive. The bees go in and out, and the mites do not! This also helps keep away beetles and ants. This year he has been checking the hives every week. Since we are building our apiary and he has grafted queens and we have been able to split hives and build, it is a never ending process of building new hives, grafting/checking queens, and watching for hive health. We are having a really good year people, all thanks to Tim's vigilance. Seriously, God Bless Him!
This is just one example of the many problems that hives can develop. I think last year we had 5 different diseases. The bees get weakened by one problem and others then swoop in. Live and learn! Here is a condensed list of some of the things he watches for: Varroamites, tracheal mites, deformed wing disease, bee louse, foul-brood, nosema, chalk-brood, hive beetles, wax moths & sac-brood. Besides all of those, we have other natural predators to worry about: spiders, ants, earwigs, roaches, mice, bears, and skunks. To name a few! As far as the animals go, Bert is our best protection. He "marks" his territory and most animals stay away. He is ever on guard though and has the best hearing! He keeps us alerted to any problems. Last year we also had hives out to several friends and neighbors. This year we kept all but 2 hives here at home. It is just too hard and too much travel to protect and check bees all the time. Proof is in the honey this year! Best year yet!
Tim is busy with extracting honey this week. Anything from this point on will stay in the hives for the bees to feed over the winter. It will be exciting with the strong hives this year to see our survival rate in the spring. I pray for every little bee!
Thanks for staying with me on all of this. I could get more technical, but unless you keep bees, I am just trying to cover the surface. Just an overview of some of the work involved. As always...more to come!
Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, Stay Sane!