Beekeeping year in review: 2014

As a beekeeper, December is a slower time of year, which gives me an opportunity to reflect on my farming during 2014. Sometimes I think, “Gosh, I went crazy this year.” Then other times, I think, “That was a really fun time.” So in no particular order, here is my beekeeping year of 2014 in a short list.

  1. I began to think of beekeeping as farming. Honey is crop after all.

    deep box of frames
    Hive in place. Now the garden is complete.
  2. I took a crazy amount of swarm calls.

    bill paper wasp nest small (2014_12_04 14_04_15 UTC)
    Folks, this is not a honey bee nest
  3. With the harsh late winter die-out, I bought three packages.

    van with bee equip small
    You can see two of the packages on the left side of my van. 2014 was the year of van farming.
  4. I expanded my off-site operations from one to three properties. I also expanded from three to seven (now six) bee hives.

    zimmerman hives crop
    More space! I am blessed. So is this garden blessed in turn.
  5. I was able to get a very memorable colony from the old Younkers building.
    blog 2
    I can see the comb hanging down in the third floor window!

    blog 5.5
    Cold, but not dead
  6. We had some crazy storm damaged bee trees.

     bee tree
    I am always appreciative of home owners who want to save the bees.
  7. I became editor of the Central Iowa Beekeepers Association newsletter.
  8. I had observers with me for the first time — a friend from church helped me install packages, and Marji Guyler-Alaniz of FarmHer and Amy Mayer of Harvest Public Media spent an evening tending bees with me.
    It's August, but we wear long sleeves because...bees.
    It’s August, but we wear long sleeves because…bees.

    I think this is super funny to look at. Army crawl. August. Bee veils.
    I think this is super funny to look at. Army crawl. August. Boots and bee veils.
  9. Networking with non-bee farmers is fun! I attended the Women, Food, and Agriculture Network conference, learned heaps and met a ton of wonderful, like-minded people.
    Local ingredients, local chef, photo by a fellow #WFAN2014 attendee. Yes, that is me on the right. Weird to do an internet search and find yourself, eh?

    I pray that my hives survive the upcoming winter. We’ve had a few warm days to break up the cold this year, and I hope that pattern continues.

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