Honeychick Homestead

Homestead, Health, and Happiness


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Zinnia is here!

My newest colony of bees arrived a few weeks ago and so far everything is going great! I had my handy, dandy assistant (husband), take some pictures of me installing this package and I’ll share them later in this post.

This year, I got my bee package from Mountain Feed because I’ve been very happy with the nuc I got from them last spring. This package of bees are the carnelion breed and I chose them because they are known for their disease resistance and gentleness. This breed is more likely to swarm if the run out of room but I’m not worried because I plan on giving them plenty of space to grow! You can read more about the different bee breeds and their qualities here.

The month of May has been unseasonable cool and it seems we’ve had more rain than in January…which honestly is great! Thankfully, the weekend I got these sweet bees, it was warm and not too windy.

This year, I picked put the package all by myself, which is kind of big deal because last year I was SO NERVOUS picking up my bees. I was very calm as I drove home with a box of 12,000 bees in my car!

Another thing I did alone was release the queen. I was still VERY nervous because I didn’t want her to fly away. Probably the most difficult thing was getting the bees surrounding her cage off so I could get her out. They were not happy that I was messing with their queen!  I had several bees buzzing angrily around my head as I focused on carefully getting her out!

Thankfully, I was more prepared with all the tools and things went really smooth. She jumped right into the hive box once I got her out of her cage. I didn’t get pictures of the process this year, but if you want to see me releasing “Lorde” the queen from Verbena hive, click here.

Now onto the cool part, pictures of me shaking 12,000 or so bees into their new home. Enjoy!! Continue reading


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So Busy in Spring!

I am finding springtime around out little homestead to be very exciting but I’ve decided it’s the most challenging time of year because everything seems to happen ALL. AT. ONCE!

Fruit trees bloom and it feels like only a couple days pass before the fruit is set and ready to be thinned. The winter garden has to be tilled then get the spring starts and seeds planted. Spring is also the time of year for new bees. This year, I added nutrition school into the mix and I’m trying to maintain this blog 🙂 all of this is helping me keep my multi-tasking skills polished!

Besides spending a lot of time listening to lectures and doing homework, these past couple weeks I’ve kept up with people who recently returned from Infusio, shared with several others information about Lyme ND, I introduced my new bees to their home, finished thinning our peach tree, and got some of my garden planted!

Here’s a before and after picture of a spot I thinned on my peach tree. Continue reading


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What’s up with “Bee-yonce?”

Yes, I’m still beekeeping! There has been activity outside both colonies everyday since I returned from Germany, and that is a good sign! I haven’t checked inside the colonies since I got home. I plan on taking one last peek this Sunday. After that it will be too cold to check on them again until spring.

Here are some pictures of what’s been happening with the Cosmo hive and their queen, Bee-yonce over the summer. This colony was started late in the season because the beekeeper providing these bees had an issue with the queens. We finally got a picture of Beeyonce during the August hive check 🙂

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Thankful Thursday #3 – Tour De Coop

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Is it Thursday already?!? This week has gone by fast! This week I’m so, so thankful I’m slowly starting to feel better after a few rough months!

It’s been such a blessing to feel good. I think the yucky antibiotic “left overs” from my most previous treatment plan are clearing out, and I’ve been feeling about 80% most days during the past week. I’m hopeful things will stay stable for good.

Feeling good allowed me to attend a fun event that I heard about last year called the Silicon Valley Tour De Coop. This FREE, family friendly event is a bike ride throughout various Bay Area neighborhoods. Urban homesteaders open their back yards for the entire day, and share gardening, chicken keeping, beekeeping and other homesteading tips.

My husband and I enjoyed the last weekend of summer biking through the Rose Garden neighborhood near downtown San Jose. He went to high school in this neighborhood, so it was fun to tour his old “stomping grounds.”

I’m thankful for all the volunteers who organized this cool event, the wonderful homesteaders who warmly invited us into their yards, and all the friendly attendees we met on the tour.  Take a look at a few pictures from the ride! View the pictures →

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New Bees, More Fun!

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Busy, busy busy, summer and it’s outdoor and social busyness has arrived! The fruit is ripening and preserving will soon be in full swing. I’d like to get some late summer veggies planted for my garden. Cute baby chicks are still on the to do list, but they likely won’t arrive until fall. My awesome husband has the coop built, so they have a home when I’m ready. I have more recipes to share, and I hope get them written soon. Oh, and I have those beautiful bees to keep an eye on 🙂

For now, you’re just going to have to “bee” happy with this post about my bees! I’ve decided to name my hives to help keep track of everything. The name for the first hive from the bee package will be Verbena, and the queen, “Lorde” lives there. The name for the second hive from the nuc will be Cosmos, and the queen “Beeyonce” lives there.

Here’s pictures of what happened the last couple weeks.

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New Hive Start Up Cost

Recently, a blog subscriber asked me how much it cost to get started beekeeping. Thank you Anita for asking, and inspiring a blog post! Overall, the most expensive thing has been the equipment. The bees are relatively inexpensive.  Here’s a breakdown of what I spent to get my first hive started.

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Hive Check with Pictures of Lorde!

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Last Sunday I finally got the chance check my hive! This was my first time opening it since I removed the top feeder, and I really didn’t check much that time. I’ve been reading more about beekeeping, and one book recommended not disturbing the hive for more than ten minutes. Umm, that’s not much time for this newbee!

My goal for this hive check was to look for Lorde, make sure there weren’t any ants in the hive, check the brood, look for eggs, see how much comb they’d built, and feed them. Over all, things went well. My skills working with the hive are improving…I only killed two bees this time! Injuring, and killing bees is part of being a new beekeeper, at least that what the book said! I have to move much slower than I realized when removing, and replacing the hive boxes. Those boxes are already heavy, and they aren’t even full of honey!

There was lots going on in the hive, and thankfully there were no ants, or mites! I was surprised that very few bees had moved up to the top box, it was almost empty. I saw some eggs, and some capped brood. Capped brood have larvae in them, and soon new bees will hatch. There was also a little bit of honey, and possibly the start of a queen cell. I’m not really sure if that’s what it was. Next time I check the hive I’ll see if it’s still there.

Here’s pictures of the process, enjoy!

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