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Buzz Words - July 2009

Table of Contents
1. Announcements
2. From the President
3. Say What
4. Barnstable County Fair
5. Claire's Corner
6. Glassware Saturdays
7. The Final Beekeeping Adventures of Paul ’n Patty
12. Classifieds

There is no meeting this month.

Don’t forget to periodically check out member Julie Lipkin’s blog, AND add your comments to let her know that your are in fact reading her efforts.

From the President
This month our meeting will be the “Clean-up Day” on Sunday, July 12th during which we prepare our bee building for the fair, which starts on July 17th.  The fair is a great fundraiser for our club.   But is more than just that.  It is an important public relations event during which we can show what beekeeping is all about.  It gives the public (and believe me, people from all walks show up) the opportunity to get information about what we do and the importance of our “girls” in agriculture and with that in our daily lives.  I know, many of you think that (especially as a newbee): “I do not know enough to answer questions.”  Believe me you will feel great when you realize that you know much more than you thought you did.  So, please sign up for a shift to “man” our bee booth.  There are still a number of open spots on the volunteer list.  Please contact Marthe Ayers at or 508-539-1774 (home) or 508-274-8754 (cell).

During the long cool rainy period, the workers in many hives got “bored” and started making queen cells.  Now, with the warmer weather, the swarming season has started.  I have mentioned many times, in the bee school and in regular meetings, how docile swarming bees are.  They are homeless and do not have a hive to protect.  That was based on many years of personal experience. I did not recall that I ever got stung while catching swarms.  Well, I just was taught a lesson.  Two days ago, I was called to catch a rather large swarm and I did not see any reason why I should change my normal routine and wear additional protection other than the veil.  As soon as I had dropped the swarm into my bucket, I had at least 12 stings in my left arm and hand and five to ten in my right arm.  After that experience, the beekeeper told me: ”Yeah, this hive has a bit of an attitude.”  When I hived the swarm it weighed in at over 8 lbs. From now on, my arms and hands in addition to my head will be protected while catching swarms.

Say What
Personal hygiene left much room for improvement in the 17 & 18th centuries. As a result, many women and men had developed acne scars by adulthood. The women would spread bee's wax over their facial skin to smooth out their complexions. When they were speaking to each other, if a woman began to stare at another woman's face she was told, 'mind your own bee's wax.' Should the woman smile, the wax would crack, hence the term 'crack a smile'. In addition, when they sat too close to the fire, the wax would melt . . . Therefore, the expression 'losing face.'

Cinnamon Basil Honey
1 cup honey
2 inch cinnamon stick, broken into several pieces
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1 tablespoon brandy
3 sprigs fresh cinnamon basil

Slowly heat together honey, spices & brandy. Put the basil into a sterilized jar & pour the hot honey mixture over it.
Cover & let mellow for about a week.

The above items contributed by Leslie Lichtenstein

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Barnstable County Fair
July 17th to 25th
It is almost upon us.  Sunday July 12th, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. is CLEAN UP DAY and potluck lunch. Many hands make light work of cleaning up the building for the new display. Then we all join in for a wonderful lunch (your contributions). There are so many good things there you will want to try them all. The club will provide the drinks, water, and all paper goods. And, wait til you see our new windows. Thanks to Aaron Lovell for the installation.    Tools for weeding and cleaning are always welcome.

The fair runs from Friday July 17th through Saturday, July 25th.  There are still openings in many shifts. As George says, you will be surprised at how many questions you can easily answer. All Newbees will be paired with veteran beekeepers. Peruse the attached schedule and call or email Marte now to reserve your slot.

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Claire's Corner
Tips for summer – keep the entrances mowed, use your sticky boards to monitor the varroa mite drop, continue to feed if foundation still undrawn and work frames towards the center to encourage comb construction, add honey supers as needed, extracting and returning empty shallows on hive to be cleaned or refilled. Consider a summer split or nucleus colony to help offset winter losses.

Attached is the 2009 Queen Survey that we would like returned as soon as possible. The tally of information will help the board plan next year’s package program and possible queen banking efforts.
» 2009 Package Bee Queen Survey (doc)

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Glassware Saturdays
George will once again man the Glassware Store on the first and third Saturday mornings of the month.
Call or email George with your needs in order for him to have enough on hand.

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The Final Beekeeping Adventures of Paul ’n Patty
by Andy Morris

It turned out to be a potluck, cookout, extracting party. Thinking it might be fun to share the experience, Paul ’n Patty invited several NewBees for a festive afternoon. Of course they invited Augusta Wind for they already had a good relationship. There were other people and their spouses. Harry Bacque and Bill Fold arrived together and brought a tasty fruit salad and a chocolate mousse that was so good Patty thought she might faint. Kitty Litter had her infant daughter, and added several bottles of merlot and shrimp stir-fried rice to the menu. Rosetta and Conner Stone were a little late because of a babysitter issue, but, when they arrived, their contribution of a meatball dish (secret recipe: in a crock-pot, add enough meatballs (your design or frozen) to an even amount of medium salsa and grape jelly. Serve good and hot.) took everybody by surprise. The last beekeeper to arrive was Ann Thumb. She brought her guitar to make the evening even more festive. 

After dinner and a few glasses of wine, but before dessert, they all retired to the garage, where they saw something quite interesting. Paul had draped sheets of plastic over, under and around everything. The ceiling and walls had that milky white, yet glossy look. The car in the other bay looked spectral. He even put a double layer on the floor.

“They warned us in Bee School that the honey will get everywhere and cover everything. I’m just trying to eliminate our having to do a huge clean up later,” was his excuse.

Suddenly, the side door to the garage swung open, pulling down several sheets of plastic, which became draped over the person responsible. Amid the moaning and screeching, and arms waving ghost-like, came a few choice words. When the plastic was removed and people settled down, from shock and giggling, Patty introduced Sarah Bellum, her neighbor, to everyone.  “What’s with all the cars? Did I smell a cookout? What’s with all this plastic stuff everywhere? I came to return that sugar I borrowed,” puffed Sarah.
Paul tilted his head and calmly said, “Sarah, if you remember, we didn’t have any sugar for you to borrow because we had switched over to using honey. To answer your questions, the cars belong to our friends, fellow beekeepers. Yes, you did smell a cookout, and you are welcome to have some food and wine (With that Sarah’s eyes brightened and a bit of a smile began to develop on her lips). And, all this plastic stuff is here because we are about to extract our honey. You are more than welcome to stay and help.”
The mess was still substantial. Even though the equipment was introduced during Bee School, no one was familiar with actually using it. Some people brought in the honey shallows from the vehicles and stacked them on the floor. Others began taking out the frames and sorted them according to the amount of honey they contained. There was much discussion about the proper technique for the uncapping knife. No matter what they tried, the honey still flowed down the blade to the handle, to their forearms, and ultimately, to the floor.

They had borrowed from the club a hand-crank 9-frame radial extractor. The group quickly learned about balancing the load. It was fortunate that the frames had been sorted. This saved lots of time.

After several hours, many sore arms and shoulders, and a case and a half of wine, the honey was all extracted. It was agreed that all the honey would be extracted together and shared equally. Those NewBees with more honey felt it fair to work cooperatively with those whose crop was less. As it turned out they all went home with more honey than they had ever seen outside the grocery store.
Sarah, having eaten, enjoyed some wine, and also shared in the labors, cleverly observed that everyone in the garage reminded her of bees in a hive. They each had some function, worked and meshed together, accomplished the task at hand and produced honey.
Sarah went home with a jar of honey and a different opinion of her neighbors. No longer were they so strange. She now understood their passion wasn’t something unique to just them, that there were others who shared it. She also expressed an interest in seeing what goes on inside a hive. It seems a little communication and involvement can change the opinions of others. A jar of honey can sweeten even the most severe curmudgeon.

As everyone departed that evening, they agreed that they would continue to assist each other, realizing that some times it is good to share the load, that another point of view might help in solving a problem, and it can be more fun to work on a task with someone else.
To the pleasant surprise of all the veteran beekeepers, everyone of the NewBees who extracted their honey at Paul ‘n Patty’s place that evening volunteered to hold offices in the Bee Club. A page had been turned, and many new and excited people were very involved in the club. The old workers and drones could now stand back and relax while the young beekeepers took on the workload. 

.  We will miss this ongoing saga, and hope that you have all enjoyed Andy’s endeavors with Paul ‘n Patty

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The Ashcroft’s are well and said to say “Hi!” to all. They have 2 Bee Jackets for sale. Over the hip, with zip in veil, one Medium, one Large. Gently worn. Each $20.   Call 508-888-4453

 Honey B Healthy is available $20/pint at meetings and at 186 Old County Rd, East Sandwich.

back to top Last updated 07/06/09