Posts Tagged ‘wood carving’

Standing tall, Bee Beard Log hive is doing well since it was revived in August 2014. It swarmed at least once on May 11, but that swarmed moved on without us capturing it.

Standing tall, Bee Beard Log hive is doing well since it was revived in August 2014. It swarmed at least once on May 11 of this year, but that swarm moved on without us getting it.

Sept. 23...Lots of good orange pollen being carried into this hive. This hive will go into winter without me intervening in any way.

Sept. 23…Lots of good orange pollen being carried into this hive. This hive will go into winter without me intervening in any way.

Sept. 17...These birdhouse bees are doing so well, I'm starting to think that small bee hives are the way to go. This hive has no other openings other than the entrance. I don't understand how they can survive without much ventilation, but they are doing well, which is a good way to head into the winter shadow.

Sept. 17…These birdhouse bees are doing so well, I’m starting to think that small bee hives are the way to go. This hive has no other openings other than the entrance. I don’t understand how they can survive without much ventilation, but they are doing well, which is a good way to head into their second winter shadow.

Here's a closer look at the entrance showing how crowded they are.

Here’s a closer look at the entrance showing how crowded they are.

The video shows the amount of pollen flying in. This is at 125x (digital zoom) and not as sharp.

The video shows the amount of pollen flying in.

May 14...The day after the big swarm moved into the Grandkids Log hive, Bee-atrice went into swarm mode.

May 14…The day after the big swarm moved into the Grandkids Log hive, Bee-atrice log hive went into swarm mode.

May 14...Ron got this one. He lives just up the road. I'm happy to report that Ron says they are doing well. They are active and bringing lots of pollen. They can be seen flying well here... https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Byp0gCTqCQ6rZjBJVmZOa0FJZzQ/view?usp=sharing

May 14…Ron got this one. He lives just up the road. I’m happy to report that Ron says they are doing well. They are active and bringing in lots of pollen.
They can be seen flying well here…

Sept. 23...I'm down to only one Warre hive now. It's doing well with lots of pollen coming in. You can see Bee-atrice Log hive 'shuttered' in the background. When the wasps were running rampant inside, I had to wrap it up. I'll clean it out (scorch it) come spring and try to attract another swarm.

Sept. 23…I’m down to only one Warre hive now. It’s doing well with lots of pollen coming in. You can see Bee-atrice Log hive ‘shuttered’ in the background. When the wasps were running rampant inside, I had to wrap it up. I’ll clean it out (scorch it) come spring and try to attract another swarm.

Bees head into the Warre loads of pollen. This hive is heavy. I haven't taken any honey from it. I think they will make it through the winter without me feeding.

Bees head into the Warre loaded with pollen. This hive is heavy. I haven’t taken any honey from it. I think they will make it through the winter without me feeding.

Sept. 23, 2015...Sad to say, this hive is not going to make it. The temperature started falling in mid July, and now I see wasps nosing around and drones flying out.

Sept. 23, 2015…Sad to say, the Grand Kids Log hive is not going to make it. The temperature started falling in mid July, and now I see wasps nosing around and drones flying out.  The Grand Kids are back.

Sept. 3...Temperature is down to 87F (30C)

Sept. 3…Temperature is down to 87F (30C)

Sept. 21...Looking up into the empty combs, this hive is clearly NOT going to make it. When the wasps start attacking, I'll plug up the entrances and wait until spring. Maybe I'll get lucky with another swarm...

Sept. 21…Looking up into the empty combs, I see a lack of bees.  Clearly the queen isn’t laying and I’ve seen a few drones exiting.   Footnote:  This hive must have superceded a queen, because there are not only new bees, but also new comb.  This is the only hive I can see from the house…from where I eat actually, and I gotta say, I’m so happy to see the bees flying to and from this hive when I sit down to eat!!!

Steve says his swarm 'is hanging in there,' but he's starting to feed again because they haven't built up enough comb to get them through the winter.

Steve says his swarm ‘is hanging in there,’ but he’s starting to feed again because they haven’t built up enough comb to get them through the winter.

We are headed into autumn with four hives, which is all I ever really wanted, but I had really hoped that Grand Kids Log hive would be among the survivors.  It begs the question…are smaller hives better?  I’m beginning to think so.  I’ve thought about partitioning off the big log hive, but then there might be air flow issues.  The birdhouse bees seem to deal with lack of air flow, so maybe it won’t be an issue.  Right now I’ll let nature take it’s course and hope I can attract another swarm in spring.

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March 17th...Since it was my birthday, I skipped work to see how Brian was progressing on the faces. The 'quilt box' has been added on top and Brian is figuring out what kind of carving he will add to the very top to shed rainwater and add another uniqueness to my already very unique hive.

March 17th…Since it was my birthday, I skipped work to see how Brian was progressing on the faces.
The ‘quilt box’ has been added on top and Brian is figuring out what kind of carving he will add to the very top for the purpose of shedding rainwater and to add another uniqueness to my already different looking hive.

Here he describes what he has done and what is remaining to be done.  He plans to be done in a week and that means I better get prepared for it…SOON!

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March 10, 2015...Here's the roughing out of the faces for the Grand Kid Log hive.

March 10, 2015…Here’s the roughing out of the faces for the Grand Kid Log hive.

Images of grand kids for Brian Vorwaller to compare when carving the faces.

Images of grand kids for Brian Vorwaller, the wood carver.

March 16...The sun came out so I was able to get some time outside.  The pencil lines line up with the top bars on the top of the log hive.

March 16…The sun came out so I was able to get some time outside. The pencil lines line up with the top bars on the top of the log hive.

March 16...The sun came out so I was able to get some time outside.  This shows the first few cuts in the quilt box.  I'm using an electric chain saw plugged into my solar system with canola oil to lubricate the chain.  (I don't want any hydrocarbons in my hive)

This shows the first few cuts in the quilt box. I’m using an electric chain saw plugged into my solar system with canola oil to lubricate the chain. (I don’t want any hydrocarbons in my hive)

This was so easy I made a bunch of cuts...

This was so easy I made a bunch of cuts…

...and then pushed them out.

…and then pushed them out.

Then I enlarged it outwards towards the pencil line.

Then I enlarged it outwards towards the pencil line.

I cleaned up the sides with the "Sa-burr" wheel on the handheld grinder.

I cleaned up the insides with the “Sa-burr” wheel on a handheld grinder.

The #8 screen will hold the quilt and the sawdust at the top of the hive.  This will enable the bees to regulate the temperature and ventilation of the hive by plugging up or eating through sections of the cloth.

The #8 screen will hold the quilt and the sawdust at the top of the hive. This will enable the bees to regulate the temperature and ventilation of the hive by plugging up or eating through sections of the cloth.

I took a photo of this old 'quilt' taken from a Warré hive.  You can see where the bees have chewed spaces (I assume) for ventilation into the box above that's full of sawdust.  The upper box has another 'quilt' to keep the sawdust from falling into the interior of the hive.   When you let the bees build their own comb (I don't use any wax foundation or heaven forbid any plastic foundation) they are free to decide where to put holes in the comb for whatever purpose they want, be it ventilation or for just passing through  the comb.

I took a photo of this old ‘quilt’ taken from a Warré hive. You can see where the bees have chewed spaces (I assume) for ventilation into the box above that’s full of sawdust to hold the hive scent. The upper box has another ‘quilt’ to keep the sawdust from falling into the interior of the hive.

I’ll take the quilt box to the wood carver so he can shape up the structure on top of it.  I think he’s going to carve a type of birdhouse top that will shed water.

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Jan. 3...Progress so far on log

Jan. 3…Progress so far on log

Jan. 3...See the big rotten spot in the middle?  All that is rotten.  I believe it might have been started by nails driven into the tree many years ago.  See the next photo.

Jan. 3…See the big rotten spot in the middle? All that brown wood is rotten.  I removed a huge section of rot already and there’s still some left.  I believe it might have been started by nails driven into the tree many years ago. See the next photo.

Three brown streaks from three old nails.  The next time you're tempted to drive a nail into a tree, think about this photo.  I believe these nails started the rot in the tree which resulted in a big rotten spot in the trunk...not visible on the outside of the tree.

Three brown streaks are from three old nails. The next time you’re tempted to drive a nail into a tree, think about this photo. I believe these nails started the rot in the tree which resulted in a big rotten spot in the trunk…not visible on the outside of the tree.

The start of the 'bowl.'  I want to have a little cavity on the bottom of the hive.  I'll place a pile of sawdust and maybe some leaves to create habitat for sow bugs, earwigs, pseudoscorpions, and whatever else should be living in a tree.  When mites fall down, they can get devoured.

Jan. 13…The start of the ‘bowl.’ I want to have a little cavity on the bottom of the hive. I’ll place a pile of sawdust and maybe some leaves to create habitat for sow bugs, earwigs, pseudoscorpions, and whatever else should be living in a tree. When mites fall down, they can get devoured.

Drilling more holes for the 'bowl.'

Drilling more holes for the ‘bowl.’

Let's grind them down

Let’s grind it down

Not deep enough yet.

Not deep enough yet.

Hope this is deep enough

Hope this is deep enough

We're going to call it good.  I've got to get the observation window built.

We’re going to call it good. I’ve got to get the observation window built.

Hal said to drill the corners, then saw up to them.  I'm starting my first corners, but I changed my mind after I saw where they broke through.

Hal said to drill the corners, then saw up to them. I’m starting my first corners, but I changed my mind after I saw where they broke through didn’t leave much ‘observing’ space.

Jan. 15...After changing my mind several times, I finally jelled on where the observation window should go.  This is it!!!

Jan. 15…After waffling several times over the window, I finally jelled on where it should go. This is it!!!

I've been thinking about getting one of these saws for years, finally I have an excuse.  Using it, I cut out a place for the glass.

I’ve been thinking about getting one of these saws for years, finally I have an excuse. Using it, I cut out a place for the glass.

I cut the plexiglass, pushed it down into a curve, and broke it.  Hmmm, I guess I pushed too hard.

I cut the plexiglass, pushed it down into a curve, and promptly broke it.

I cut a new piece, carved some wooden 'wedges' to make the glass lay flat, and drilled it in place.

I cut a new piece, carved some wooden ‘wedges’ to make the glass lay flat, and fastened it in place.

February 4...The log is almost ready for Brian Vorwaller, but I've still got to get the top bars fitted.

February 4…The log is almost ready for Brian Vorwaller, but I’ve still got to get the top bars fitted.

Using my new orbital saw, I cut a rabbet for the bars to sit on.

Using my new multi-tool saw, I cut a rabbet for the bars to sit on.

My neighbor wanted to get some scrap cedar out of the way, which he donated to me.  I cut my top bars.

My neighbor donated some cedar he didn’t need.  I cut my top bars.

Check out this custom top bar. :)

Check out this custom-cut top bar. 🙂

Custom fitted top bars in place.  Zada just called to say Brian is coming to pick up the log tomorrow.  I'm glad I'm ready.

Custom fitted top bars in place. Zada just called to say they are coming tomorrow to pick up the log.   I’m glad I’m ready.

Well, almost ready.  I've still got to hollow out the top slab to use as a quilt box.  I'm thinking about adding this old birdhouse on the very top.  My wife is not 100% on board with that idea, so it's still up in the air.

Well, almost ready. I’ve still got to hollow out this top slab to use as a quilt box. I’m thinking about adding this old birdhouse on the very top. My wife is not 100% on board with that idea, so it’s iffy.  As it turns out, Brian Vorwaller didn’t like idea either.  He didn’t say it, but I knew it when he says, “Give me another chunk of wood to work with.”

February 14...Brian works the winch while his valentine makes sure he's observing safety measures.

February 14…Brian works the hoist while his Valentine makes sure he’s observing proper safety protocols.

Making sure it's good and secure before driving to the wood shop.

Brian will need about a month or so to carve the three grand kids’ faces onto the log.  Zada will videotape the progress.  So while I bid adiós to my log for awhile, I know it’s in good hands.

Grand Kids Log Hive:  The beginning

Hollowing out the log

Getting the faces carved in

Grand Opening

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Side view of the totem shows how tall it is.

Side view of the totem shows how tall it is.

As I'm standing directly in front, it looks like the panther is staring right at me.

As I’m standing directly in front, it looks like the panther is staring right at me.

The panther was created by sawing wood from the tree, something that's really hard to grasp for non artist people like me.  You create something by taking something away.

The panther was created by sawing wood from the tree, something that’s really hard to grasp for a non artist person like myself. You create something by taking something away.

Peacock carving

Peacock carving

Brian Vorwaller poses with the finished totem

Brian Vorwaller poses with the finished totem

I should have been hollowing out my next log hive because Brian is going to carve the faces of my three grand kids on it next, but I just wanted to show you how talented he is.

Beginning of the 3 Kid Log Hive

Some progress has been made

Following a Dream-Brian and Zada

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The beginning of the project

Grand Kids’ Log Hive Status Report, as of February 15, 2015

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Bee-atrice log hive is on the left.  The inner tube is a draft reducer, not what it looks like, so no snide remarks!

Bee-atrice log hive is on the left. The inner tube is a draft reducer, not what it looks like, so no snide remarks!

Here's a better shot of Bee-atrice.  The blue tarp in the background is protecting my Tower of Jewels echium plants and artichokes.  I'm hoping they will bloom this time around.

Here’s a better shot of Bee-atrice log hive. The blue tarp in the background is protecting my Tower of Jewels echium plants and artichokes. I’m hoping they will bloom this year because the nectar is so good for the bees and they’ll bloom all summer.

The outside temperature is a frosty 34˙F.  Barely above freezing.  It's no wonder the bees aren't flying today.

The outside temperature is a frosty 34˙F. Barely above freezing. It’s no wonder the bees aren’t flying today.

While the outside temperature is 35˙F (1.67˙C), the inside is 50˙F (10˙C).  Someone should have cleaned off the cob webs. :)

While the outside temperature is 34˙F (1˙C), the inside is 50˙F (10˙C), which means there is something warm inside.  Someone should have cleaned off the cob webs before he shot the photo. 🙂

Looking through the observation window of Bee-atrice Log Hive reveals lots of honey.  It's such an improvement over last year's status of 'no bees.'

Looking through the observation window of Bee-atrice Log Hive reveals lots of honey. It’s such an improvement over last year’s status of ‘no bees.’

Bee Beard Log hive is doing well with the August 9th swarm that chose to move in.

Bee Beard Log hive is doing well with the August 9th swarm that chose to move in.

This hive in the tree swarmed three times during summer.  Two went to Bob and one we transferred into Del's hive.

This hive in the tree swarmed three times during summer. Two went to Bob and one we transferred into Del’s Warre hive below.

Del's hive...the bees came from the green hive in the tree.  After hanging on the pine tree for about three days, I tried to get them to crawl into an inverted swarm catcher scented with lemon grass oil.  No luck.  They finally disappeared.  I thought, "Good, I've got enough hives," only to find them on a branch of this spruce tree.  After they had hung out for at least 6 days, I dropped them into this hive that I had planned to donate to the bee club.

Del’s Warre hive…the bees came from the green hive in the tree. After hanging on the pine tree for about three days, I tried to get them to crawl into an inverted swarm catcher scented with lemon grass oil. No luck. They finally disappeared. I thought, “Good, I’ve got enough hives,” only to find them on a branch of this spruce tree. After they had hung out for a total of 6 days, I dropped them into this hive that I had planned to donate to the bee club.  Lost it…see below.

This hive catches the afternoon sun.  Some bees responded to the warmth.

Del’s hive catches the afternoon sun. Some bees responded to the warmth and gathered outside.

12-31-14...Birdhouse bees.  These bees came from Mary's backyard birdhouse swarm.  When I couldn't get them to move into my new Warre, I 'posted' them here.  Today they are not flying.  Too cold.  You can see frost on the ground in front.

12-31-14…Birdhouse bees. These bees came from Mayor Mary’s backyard birdhouse swarm. When I couldn’t get them to move into my new Warre, I ‘posted’ them here. Today they are not flying. Too cold. You can see frost on the ground in front.  They are in the shade possibly until March.

A closer look at the birdhouse bees shows no bee activity.

A closer look at the birdhouse bees still shows no bee activity.  Guess I’ll have to wait til it warms up.  This hive is in the coldest part of the property.  If they make it, it’ll be because they are strong bees, not because I treated them.

Warre 3...The bees came from Warre 2, around May 10, 2014.  They built up fast but only in the top box.  This 'shelter' leaves something to be desired because every time we get a stiff wind, the sheets of fiberglass blow off.  Thus the reason for the tie down.

Warre 3…These bees came from Warre 2, May 10, 2014. They built up fast but only in the top box. This ‘shelter’ leaves something to be desired because every time we get a stiff wind, the sheets of fiberglass blow off, thus the reason for the tie down.  Lost it…see below.

 

So there it is…from three hives a year ago to eight hives this year.  As a third year natural beekeeper, I believe in letting my bees swarm.  I like the article written by British beekeeper John Haverson that “Swarming Bees are Healthy Bees,” so I don’t destroy the queen cells or otherwise try to thwart their natural tendency to swarm.

I go against the recommendations of my local bee association which advises to kill the varroa mites.   I know there are beneficial mites in the hive.  According to long time beekeeper Michael Bush, who wrote “The Practical Beekeeper,” there are over 30 kinds of mites in a typical hive.  If you are killing varroa mites, you are upsetting the ecology of the hive.  I think we should let the bees adapt to living with mites.  Conversely, if we poison the mites, they will eventually build up a resistance at the expense of the bees.

Since we have just started winter, I know that it’s possible that some hives won’t make it, especially if I choose not to feed them.  Those would be the weak hives.  As a fairly new beekeeper I’m constantly questioning whether I’m doing the right thing.  Right now, I am of the mindset that we should not be propping up weak hives because we will be passing on weak genetics.   In my humble opinion when you capture a swarm, you should not kill that queen,  but keep her with the swarm.  She has survived the winter and proven herself.  All my bees have come from swarms.

If my bees can make it to early February, the pussy willows will bloom and weather permitting, nectar and pollen will be available in a critical stage of winter.

Yesterday I noticed honeybees on the gorse blossoms down the road from me.  This was a happy surprise because I don’t usually see bees on gorse blossoms possibly because gorse is harder to work (or so I’m told), but if there’s nothing else available, the bees will be able to get nourishment.  Some individuals around here hate the gorse.  It’s spiny thorns make it impossible to walk near, it grows prolifically, and it’s blamed for burning the town in the big 1936 fire.

March 4th note…  We lost Del’s hive.  It’s not a surprise because it never really built up any ‘honey weight’  pre-winter.  I haven’t taken it apart yet, but when I do, I’ll clean it out, put in observation windows, and donate it back to the bee club.

We lost #3 Warré too.  I took it down last week after I saw robber bees visiting it.  There was still some capped honey in the combs.  About 125 bees were dead on the bottom.  Some of the combs were moldy, so I’m guessing it’s been dead for awhile.  Both hives were weak hives.  While I’m upset at having lost them, I’m thinking that maybe it’s for the best because if the bees can’t survive in our relatively mild winter, maybe they shouldn’t be in the gene pool.  I’m down to six hives now, but the willow tree has been blooming for about three weeks and I can see the bees bringing in orange pollen and that means nectar too!

 

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