Wednesday, February 27, 2013

History, genealogy, and beekeeping

My wife has done some genealogy and has a lot of books. She got a new book yesterday and we were looking through it and discovered a lot of people were beekeepers around the turn of the 20th century. None of them seemed to wear veils or gloves either. It must have been nice to raise bees without mites and beetles and Africanized bees. I think it's neat to see old-time hives and setups.

My Grandfather on my Father's side of the family came out of Cades Cove, which is now a part of the Smoky Mountains National Park on the TN-NC border. Most of the residents left the park in the 1930s.

Here are some neat pictures of folks and their beekeeping from before the 1930s. I'm not sure of exact dates. One of the folks, Daniel "Uncle Dan" Myers had a lot of bees. The best I can determine is that he was my Grandfather's first or second cousin. He even made hives out of old sweetgum tree stumps.

Here's some other folk's bees:

I don't think Bess Myers is directly related to Dan Myers

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Things are really starting to happen around here!

Yesterday was the Short Course for the Cherokee Beekeepers Association in Athens, TN.  We had 137 people attend! We ran out of chairs and had to get more brought in. There were three lucky people that got hive starter kits today thanks to a grant program from the state and the state beekeeper's association and the local association (there were 35 people apply for the grants!). We had speakers talk about bee biology, hive equipment, getting bees, installing packages, and a Master Gardener talked about nectar and pollen plants.


I went out in the yard today and the bees are approaching a frenzy.  They are really working the henbit and some little blue flowers called speedwell.  I put some syrup out just to see if they'd take it (the temperature is only 60°F today).  They are all over it.  I'm glad to see them flying in and out of both hives.  That's a really positive sign.  I thought about going into the hives today, but it's supposed to get cold again next weekend, and I don't want to tear comb apart and risk damaging the hive or the queen.  But hopefully great times are just around the corner!

Lamium amplexicaule (common names:  Henbit Deadnettle, Greater Henbit)

Veronica persica (common names:  Persian speedwell, large field speedwell, bird's-eye, or winter speedwell )

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Blooms are Beginning!

The daffodils are starting to bloom.  That means it'll probably snow again.  But it's a hopeful beginning to the year.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Rare White Stuff

Yesterday, 2/2/13 (Groundhog Day) and today, 2/3/13 we had a dusting of snow.  It didn't last long either day, but it was nice to look at.

OK, we've had some snow.  Now I'm ready for Spring!

I wanted to get some white and yellow tall clover sewed before it snowed, but I got home too late from work each evening, and it was already too dark to broadcast the seed.  I got home early enough today to get it sewed.  I just put all the seeds in a bucket and stirred it up and spread the seeds by hand.  Hopefully at least some of it will sprout and grow.  When I get back by the Co-op, I'll pick up some more seed and spread some more.  I hope the bees like it.  I've heard they do.