Sunday, September 20, 2009

Tending the buzz

Job, patron saint of beekeepers, thank god.

While traveling in Slovenia (referred to as a nation of beekeepers) we went to the Beekeeping Museum in Radovlijca. Originating in the 16th century, beekeeping is highly celebrated in Slovenia. The indigenous Gray Carniolan known as the grizzly, thrives among the country's open fields of buckwheat and forests of pine, fir and linden (lime). Todays beekeepers, about 7000, produce enough honey to satisfy domestic demand, about 2000 metric tonnes. The wooden panel above is the front of a traditional hive box, which were usually stacked and could be placed on carts for transporting. Paintings depicted a range of subjects, from biblical and historical motifs in early years to moral, satirical, and plain local gossip motifs in later years. Reportedly, the bright colors helped bees locate their hives and enabled keepers to differentiate between particular hives.

Our adventures in Europe got us all jazzed about beekeeping. It really started in Ireland with a man named Tim. We wrote about him in our Ireland blog. After his amazing talk about the plight of bees and the need for more beekeepers, we were hooked on the bee. Slovenia was just one stellar example. When we returned to the states and I moved to Blue Dog Farm, I was pleasantly surprised to find there was a hive of bees on the farm and my new employers were more than happy to allow me full access! A local beekeeper was gracious enough to come by and give me a detailed run through of the hive and all its parts. Investigating the interior of a working bee hive just might be the most fascinating thing I have ever done. I totally want to be a beekeeper. You should be one too.

PS. if you want to know more about the fascinating bee check out "The Backyard Beekeeper" or "The World Without Bees".

Borage flowers

A picture from the Slovenia museum. The queen is the longer, more slender bee in the top left. The slightly plump bee in the bottom center is a drone, the lazy male bee, whose sole purpose is procreation. And the rest are the hard-working females.

The nasty varroa mite, one of the ascendant predators of the honey bee.

Not sure but I think this is an old school queen excluder. As seen at the museum.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

On Blue Dog Farm

Panorama of the Blue Dog Farm in the Snoqualmie Valley. Jen worked here for four months and Bob was there a lot too. The farm is owned by Scott and Amy Turner and their two sons, Emmett and Xavier. It is an old dairy farm that has since become a diverse berry farm with cows, poultry and vegetables. This is a view from my cabin/converted chicken coop.

The first ripe bluecrops.

Evening in the coop.

Beer-tasting with the calves. This is Cinnamon, half Scottish Highland and half Galloway.

The old Dairy barn. Built in 1918.

Inde relaxing in front of the coop with a view of the main farmhouse.

The business of canning.


Collecting eggs from one of two egg trailers.

Jill and Justin come for a visit. There is laughter and awkwardness about Bob's taking pictures while I try and maintain my professionalism during the tour.

Always waiting.

When opening the floodgates in the morning, WATCH OUT. These ladies are ready to get out and get to the business of eating.

The Soderlund family and our lovely apple tree.


Drying statice.

Egg fridge. We sold our eggs to the Duvall Farmers Market.

From the cow pasture.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Above the Mass

A bachelor party-mountain climb. Nick, with the split palm, and his buddies successfully got to the top, thinned blood and tunes o'blasting the entire way. It was a typical bachelor party, just on the mountain, on a glacier. Q: How do you mix a fiesta with an alpine climb? A: Athletic certitude. Plainly - Nick's friends are impressive. A couple were professional high altitude runners who run 100 miles in a day for fun. Mountain and urban bicyclist lawyers, program designers, and scientists, and yet a motley bunch on the outcrop. Other climbers beware!~ The chilled beers at the car that were.