Monthly Archives: September 2013

These are tough harvests to manage through

IMG_0128These are tough harvests to manage through.  This harvest is turning out to be late, wet and long.  We began drying the crop right from the start (being a September harvest) anticipating the possibility of wet weather settling in.  As feared continual showery weather has dramatically slowed harvest leaving us to chip away at our crop acres combining tough grain over the last few weeks.  All of our air bins are full and our grain dryer has been running 24 hours.  The new drying facility runs itself, automatically cycling the grain through allowing us to work elsewhere and not having to babysit it.  This has allowed us to push the bushels through and keep the momentum of harvest going forward.  October is upon us, its time to be done harvest.

I went and done something foolish.... 2012 Forest River Cherokee travel trailer

I went and did something foolish….

Painting the common room

Painting the common room of the new honey house.  Its a good fill in job this time of year.  Im struggling with the decision whether to paint the rooms white, or white... I think Ill have it painted white!

Painting the common room of the new honey house. Its a good fill in job this time of year. I’m struggling with the decision whether to paint the rooms white, or white… I think I’ll have it painted white!  After the rooms are painted, I’ll be able to start moving things in.  All the piles of bee stuff that is now everywhere will be organized neatly and put away on shelving.  All the beekeeping clothing in my house will be hung on hangers in the honey house.  My employees will have a place to start the day in a place that I can centralize my operation.  It’s all coming together!

All the extraction machinery has been moved into the new facility.
All the extraction machinery has been moved into the new facility.  That little bit of extra space around the equipment will make all the difference.  I’m going to spend a part of the winter fastening the equipment into place and developing the facility just as I please.  I love this kind of work!

 

The old barrel wax spinner

The old barrel wax spinner is out, it served me well

The old barrel wax spinner is out, it served me well.  Now to upgrade, time to start shopping around…

IMG_0159Today I slipped into Winnipeg to buy a couple hundred liters of syrup to finish off the second round of feeding. The tanker load is now done so to finish off my feeding for the season I will pull a few loads from BeeMaid as I need it. The weather this fall has been favourable for feeding and the forecast suggests it will continue for at least another week. We are going to start the third round on Monday topping up the light hives and shifting pails.

I ran short on feeder pails this fall so I bought a couple of yards worth.  They came black ....  I am not sold on black pails yet.  They have not caused me any trouble during the first round of feeding but Im worried about syrup dripage with the pail warming druing the day and cooling at night.

I ran short on feeder pails this fall so I bought a couple of yards worth of pails to finish up. The pails came black ….
I am not sold on black pails yet. They have not caused me any trouble during the first round of feeding as the bees have taken the syrup extremely fast but Im concerned about syrup dripage as the suns warms the black pail during the day and with the cooling at night.  Time will tell.

Working late nights combining canola
Running the night shift combining canola, good crop coming in

 

Harvest crew working on the canola

Harvest crew working on the canola, three combines going.  Our farm is located along side the Pembina escarpment, "in the hills" which gives us quite a nice view as we work

Harvest crew working on the canola, three combines strong. Our farm is located along side the Pembina escarpment, “in the hills” which gives us quite a nice view as we work

Our newly set up grain drying facility, part of the newly established grain farm yard.  We are separating the grain, cattle and honey facilities into separate yards which will allow for easier growth and expansion. So far we have run 30000 bushels of our harvested crop through the drying facility which helped keep the harvest going as rain falls slowed harvest progress

Our newly set up grain drying facility, part of the newly established grain farm yard. We are separating the grain, cattle and honey facilities into separate yards which will allow for easier growth and expansion.
So far we have run 30000 bushels of our harvested crop through the drying facility which helped keep the harvest going as rain slowed harvest progress

 

Weaning calves, last pasture to come in!  The sound of distant bawling calves reinforces that awesome feeling of fall

Weaning calves, last pasture to come in! The sound of distant bawling calves reinforces that awesome feeling of fall

 

 

Last honey frame of 2013!

Last honey frame of 2013! We run approximately 60-70000 frames through this year. Glad to be done.

Last honey frame of 2013! We run approximately 60-70,000 frames through this year. Glad to be done.

Today we finished extracting, the honey production season finally comes to an end.  The tally is final now and kind of unbelievable coming off a near disaster of a spring.  280 barrels, 185, 000 lbs coming from 900 colonies yielding over 200 lbs per hive.  Quite amazing as 200 of those hives were two lbs NZ packages made up on the 17th of May and 150 of those hives were two frame nucs managed in a single brood chamber.  Also amazing as I fully drew out 900 boxes of foundation!  The production I experienced in August was such that I have never seen before.  July 25th, honey production was slow, Aug 1st we started collecting honey, by Aug. 5th we were behind with space.  The nectar flow was so strong mid to near the end of August that the frames were being filled instantly as I placed them back out including the two frames of foundation I inserted PER box.  Never have I seen foundation filled out so fast.  I left honey in the field this season, my production numbers would of been a lot higher if I had another 1000 boxes of drawn comb and did not have any foundation to draw out.  Makes my head spin to think about it!  All in all the production season was a success and the bees are in good shape going into the fall.

Tuesday we finished with our 1st round of feeding and not a moment too soon.   The hives are packed full of bees sporting large brood nests leaving very little room for food reserves.  I could have been a little quicker on the feed, but my sucrose delivery got tied up with shipping delays.  We will start our second feeding round on Monday and try to get these hive filled up before October rolls around.

But for now we take a breath, and look forward to this weekend off.

A pallet of 30 supers is lifted by our lift truck onto our table lift.  As the operator works through the boxes, the pallet can be lifted to any desired highth eliminating any unnecessary bending over.  The nine frame grabber inserts inbetween each frame, locks and lifts an entire box of frames at a time.  The uncapper load chain conveyor has extensions allowing two boxes of frame space.  One worker easily keeps the uncapper full at all times running the extractor at maximum capacity all day.

A pallet of 30 supers is lifted by our lift truck onto our table lift. As the operator works through the boxes, the pallet can be lifted to any desired height eliminating any unnecessary bending over. The nine frame grabber inserts in between each frame, locks and lifts an entire box of frames at a time. The uncapper load chain conveyor has extensions allowing two boxes of frame space. One worker easily keeps the uncapper full at all times running the extractor at maximum capacity all day.

One last extraction day in the old facility.  Tomorrow we start disassembling the machinery to move into the new facility so that this old facility can be prepared and used as box storage.
One last extraction day in the old facility. Tomorrow we start disassembling the machinery to move into the new facility so that this old facility can be prepared and used as box storage.