Gone baby gone  

Posted by Smoke in ,

Ah, Beekeeping. Relaxing, therapeutic, not to mention the money you can make.

Only, you need bees. So on Saturday we got more equipment, hives, stands,etc. The catchers we put up produced no bees as the swarm we targeted upped and left. Not surprising as it is the worst month for beekeeping. So we place some catcher hives on the shed roof, and placed one hive next to the yard. But Monday was a whole different story.
At about nine o'clock we were greeted by this..


Unfortunately, the camera I used couldn't capture what the eye was seeing. Because the hives was standing outside, seven of them, bees came streaming in. And it seemed like about five hives were being occupied. I was super stoked, and didn't want to go back to work (as I had quickly slipped home to see what was happening). They were all over the place and it looked promising.

I got on the phone and started calling around and organizing some spots to place our soon to be filled hives. Little did I know...
By the time I got home at four, the bees were gone. Only a few remained in one hive and they didn't look very busy. By this morning, there were none.


Well, it is just one of those things. But at least we will get there. Till next time, a few more pics.


Honey is the BUZZ word  

Posted by Smoke in ,

I fear I don't have enough life to live. Meaning, I have so many ambitions, that I don't think I can ever get to them all.

One of these ambitions was to be a bee keeper and honey farmer, just one of many "it would be nice to do" things, not really having any way of getting started, until last year.
My Mother-in-law left her job to be a full time baby minder for my wife and my son. So she thought of ways to have an income while being at home, and one of these were honey. So earlier this year, my Father-in-law lost his job due to unforeseen reasons, and the need for an income intensified.

So with the help of my Father, I found an old beekeeper, and not only did he offer to sell us an all you need, beekeeping "stater kit" but was also willing to share his fifty odd years of beekeeping knowledge and experience,only, the price tag was way more than all of us had to spend.So with the help of my wife's accountant uncle, we managed to get financing from my M-I-L's brother and F-I-L's cousin, who both saw the golden opportunity. Golden opportunity you ask? Well, The greatest part of honey in South Africa, is imported, as there are only a few large scale honey producers in the country, therefor it is a viable market.

This all took a few months to work out as there were traveling up and down and meetings with our would be supplier and then finally, about a month ago, payments were made. And today, some of the equipment was fetched. In fact, we now have eleven catcher hives, two protective veils, two smokers, a hive brush, and a hive tool. The rest is on its way. We also have the location of two bee colonies, and will be placing a catcher hive tomorrow to get our first colony.



We are getting our hives soon and we have all ready scouted a few locations to place them, but are still looking for more. Specifically areas with Eucalyptus trees, as this is an all year round supplier, and Aloes, as it is also a recurring food source for bees, and also Aloe honey can be marketed for medicinal use.


Making honey is an all year procedure, except for June, as this is the worst month for honey in South Africa. The rest of the year is broken up into short seasons which will require moving hives around for different food sources according to different plants' flowering period.

We will be starting out with 12 hives to get the feeling for it, and then, hopefully, by the end of the year expand to twenty hive, which will incrementally rise in hive number. And soon, who knows? you might one day find some of our honey on the shelves of your local store. But let me not get ahead of myself.

Until then, I will keep you updated



Posted by Smoke in ,

IF this was a perfect world, and I was the writer I dream to be, you all would be jumping up, screaming and giving all round high fives. Yes The saga of mister Monroe continues...

Another Wordzzle (HERE are the rules) and these are the words.

(5 word): gone gravity, variable, swinging on a star, gardening, trombone

(10 word challenge): carpenter ants, freak, good as new, jelly beans, olive oil, scamper, champion, goose egg, pizza, ceiling fan

...This is the story so far... Mr Monroe, An avid salesman, though he hates it, has been stranded on a deserted island for a few months, after being chucked off a cruise ship by his rival, over a certain seven figure contract. The story continues, with our hapless hero starting to enjoy the island life.... a bit to much.

"gone gravity, gone" he yells out as he dives off the cliff. Care free and unrestrained, Monroe plummets to the surface of the rock pool he found a couple of days after landing on the island. It was by accident, as a few hours earlier he found a shrub with fruit, about the size of a goose egg. After tasting it, he swore that it had the same flavor and texture as jelly beans. Little did he know that these particular berries, contain hallucinogens and before Monroe knew it, he was swinging on a star, floating across the island, when he went over the cliff, and ended up in the pond. From then on, it became his bathtub.

He entered the water like a brick at the Olympics, and still scored himself a 9,6. "I am still the diving champion on this island" he cried out. The sun was steadily rising through the trees as he had to scamper out onto the small beach, he grabbed his, by now, sleeveless shirt and ran off through the jungle to Landing beach. He had started building a raft one day, with no help from the Jelly bean fruit. He would later on in life have sworn that he did it with the help from a platoon of carpenter ants and various pieces of wood. He later discovered to his dismay, that the ants was only good for feasting on his home-made gardening tools and that none of the materials used for the raft actually floated as the steel-like wood was to heavy.

He did how ever find that the raft made quite a good signal fire when one day he dropped a bottle of olive oil, that he had made himself ("well it looks like olives, and it tastes like olives. hey!! is that a trombone I hear playing 'Smoke on the water? Dammit, Jelly beans all over again') on the raft. At that very moment, by some freak accident, lightning struck some where in the middle of the island.

The next day though, he went down to the raft and lit it with a torch from his home fire he had made on day two. Now Monroe was heading there to place more green foliage on it to get his daily smoke signal. He nearly attracted a ship once, or should I say, he once, attracted nearly a ship. It was in fact a flotilla of debris, doing its world tour.

But not today, for some reason Monroe felt lucky today. Firstly, he found some berries that actually didn't have a mind altering affect. Secondly, his new home made tools actually survived the ants for once, and thirdly, there was no rain last night, so fixing the signal fire only required adding a few pieces of the flotilla, (which he swam out to and retrieved) and new greenery, and light it. He had to feel lucky because he just used the last of his "olive oil" which actually burned like jet fuel. ("heck, if I had wheels and variable speed gearbox, I could set up a world Island speed record") And it would take at least two more weeks before his new batch was ready.

When the fire stack was as good as new, he lit the "fuel" and the fire roared into life. A few minutes later, white smoke was billowing up as if a new Pope was elected, And Monroe felt strangely at ease. To no one in particular he said, " today, I am getting of this Island. And the first thing I will do, Is have a Pepperoni Pizza, with extra cheese, thank you." Monroe then lay back, and stared off into the distance. He enjoyed this part of the day most. Watching pods of dolphins galloping by, or to see the occasional Humpback, breach on the horizon, which was exactly what he was now looking at. From the distance, he saw an unknown seabird, fly from the direction of the whale and he could almost imagine it to have taken off from the whale. itself.

He did this for a couple more minutes, then got up and walked off into the forest to look for something to eat. He picked what was probably totally harmless berries and plopped a handful into his mouth. And then the sound struck him. It sounded as if an over sized ceiling fan got loose and was now hunting for dust bunnies. Monroe frantically started scurrying for the berry bush. "Did I just eat the orange berries with the blue flowers again?" He panicked, as he was sure it was an early onset of the 'Full Metal Jacket' trip again. "WHOP WHOP WHOP WHOP" sounded the military choppers, at least no gun fire, yet. "MONROE!" "Oh crap, Charly is onto me" Monroe headed to the beach, " How did they find out my name?" "Monroe, Are you in there? We saw the smoke. Come out".

As Monroe stepped out, of the jungle path, he first saw the red and green Helicopter, and on it something resembling the company Logo. And walking towards him, dressed in a garish avocado green safari suit, was the Boss himself. He held onto his wide brim straw hat, as the blades ripped at it. "Thank god we Found you Monroe, come on, the boat is waiting out there" he was pointing towards the whale. "Is this real sir, only, I have been having bad luck with the local cuisine." At that moment, Mr Kent was heading towards him from the Bell 407, sporting his usual cheap cut gray suite. " Thank heavens your alive, why didn't you get the contract?" " I guess I am not hallucinating, but just to be sure", Monroe punched Mr Kent in the nose. "Whad da fug wad dat for?Did dew thee dat Bob?" "just a reality check Kent, lets get you out of here Monroe". "Just a moment sir, just want to get my bag".

Monroe headed up to the edge of the jungle where his make shift shelter was and grabbed his bag, which contained about a pound of "olives" and three jars of fermented "olive oil" ( the jars were in the bottom of the crate that landed on the island with Monroe) "just a few items to remind me of the home I had here sir" (and a nice pension plan, if I hand it over to my R & D buddy at that fuel company, along with the co-ordinates of the island) " You don't happen to have the position of this here Island sir?" well of course Monroe, but I don't think any of us has reason ever to return here?" "No sir, this place is as barren as a mule sir".

The spreading of the gospel