THE BEEYARD REPORT
It has been a summer that paralleled 1993. There was a lot of rain and great bloom but no heat. Potential was unrealized. The thought of potential reminded me of my dad. He didn't think potential was worth anything. He always told me you couldn't take it to the bank. He didn't think much of potential in individuals either. His feeling was that you either did it or you didn't. It wasn't always the people with the most ability who got things done. We didn't agree on much but he was right on that one.
The mite drop indicated that we had to get the supers off some of our yards early and get mite treatments in. Adam pulled the first one on August 10th. Half of our treatments were in by Sept 10. The bees look good but they can disappear in a couple of weeks if there are too many mites. I have been back through some of the yards two weeks after treatment. Most of them look really good---even the colonies that were dropping over 100 mites/day. The first yard we pulled has several colonies that crashed. They were pretty much toast before we pulled the supers.
As we approach the latter part of Sept, we are finally getting some nice weather. The bees are working goldenrod and the other yellow flowers. I still have ragweed blooming my yard. It's covered with bumble bees, honeybees and a multitude of other insects. The Spanish needles are on the verge and the little white asters are starting to show. There is quite a bit of smartweed also. I don't know how long it has been since I mowed the yard at home but I'm thinking several weeks. Things look a little ragged. The horses haven't done a very neat job of keeping things trimmed up.
We have 32 barrels extracted. The crop estimate looks slightly better than it did last month--about 45 barrels or 55#/colony. We did get a record quantity of comb honey but if you add it to the average, we only gain about 4#/colony. We have over 30 cut comb boxes that the bees never touched. Adam brought a few finished boxes home in mid Sept. Amazingly, they still had white caps. I would have expected them to be yellow.
Our queen yard has evolved into 39 full sized colonies. We gave them a second deep underneath this year so we can force them down with syrup.
Last year we left them as singles. The bees clustered in the middle of the frames. There was food all around them but they can only access what is on top. We had a 98% death loss in that group.
There is a downside to having a number of colonies close to home. They try to invade our building when extracting starts and the wet boxes accumulate. We had 10# or 12# of bees hanging inside the warehouse. Alex came in the middle of the night and moved the boxes out. There are still a few bees that persist in hanging around but they aren't a problem.
We are approaching the anniversary of the tornado that hit our place last fall. We are still in the recovery mode. I can't imagine what it must be like in Parkersburg.
Adam has a blog on our website. Check it out if you wonder what he is doing. There are usually some pictures also. www.eberthoney.com Let's get ready for winter.
Submitted by Phil Ebert
Quick and Easy Honey Peanut Butter Popcorn Balls
Makes 6 (three inch) popcorn balls
1/2 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup peanut butter (any type)
6 cups freshly popped corn (regular or hot air popped- about 1/4 cup un-popped kernels)
Optional: 1 tablespoons sunflower seeds or 1/4 cup raisins
Heat honey and salt in a small sauce pan. Whisk in peanut butter. Mixture should be smooth. Bring to a boil - uncovered. Boil 1 minute. Immediately pour mixture over popped corn (and sunflower seeds or raisins). Toss to coat. (A rubber scraper works well.)
Lightly mist your hands with cooking spray and, while mixture is still warm, form popcorn mixture into balls. Pack balls well so popcorn sticks together but not so much that you crush the kernels.
Put popcorn balls on a dish or rack to cool completely - at least an hour. Wrap balls individually in plastic wrap or store in a plastic container. I like to keep them in the refrigerator but storing them at room temperature is OK.
Cook's tip: We used natural (unsweetened) peanut butter to test this recipe but any peanut butter will yield good results. Just be sure the peanut butter is thick.
Some brands of natural peanut butter are soft and runny at room temperature which will prevent the popcorn balls from holding their shape. If this happens, keeping them in the refrigerator will help them stay firm.
Another cook's tip: After you've popped the corn, pick through it very carefully to remove any un-popped or partially popped kernels and discard them. You don't want your little goblins breaking their teeth.