Yup It's Fall!

"All the leaves are brown.....and the sky is grey....." (Mamas & the Papas)

September......Fall....the end of summer, but the start of the most beatific and colorful season is Manitoba.
The nights are cooler, it's easier to sleep, and the beekeepers season is winding up in a slower more leisurely fashion.
( No more smothering bee suits in 30 degree afternoons....waking up before dawn and getting home late and picking stingers out of hair......yay! )
Right now all the surplus honey the bees made all summer has been removed. Anything they collect is kept for winter stores.
We hold back frames of honey to top up the slow pokes or for emergency feeding in the spring. Mite levels are checked and the bees are given oxalic acid treatments every 10 days or so until we put them to bed for the winter.
(Oxalic acid is an organic "soft" acid found in rhubarb. It doesn't bother the bees but it can make short work of those pesky varroa mites.)
We also "Balance" our colonies. We'll boost the smaller ones with bees from the really big ones to even out the population in a yard site. It makes it easier to detect problems before the snow falls and if they die out over winter it eliminates the variable of low population.

I'm looking forward to spending more time in the shop and working on some new soaps and honey blends, and making pickles and salsa. The garden did well, and I'm hoping for a good crop of potatoes later this month.

Wasps were bad this year....still are actually but they are winding up. They bother the bees something fierce and they had a banner year for population. I was given a neat little tool.....ok. It's a toy...called an A-Salt gun. Its a plastic little rifle that shoots table salt at a velocity that kills flies and wasps. I made a point to exact revenge every time those little buggers tagged me. I don't mind confessing a fed more than a few to an orb spider that was glad for the free lunch. Renew-Reuse-Recycle after all.....

We also had a nice crop of spring bloom honey, so that's back in our inventory, along with fresh honey comb! We have a few of the Manitoba honeysuckle berries in creamed honey left! This is our newest offering and we'll see if makes it to our permanent lists. Next up will be Manitoba sour cherry and after that, Pineapple.
Yes, you read that right. Pineapple. Why? Well.....why not? Worst case scenario I'll end up with a bunch of pineapple mead, and a bad headache.
If you have any suggestions or feedback on the craziness I'm churning out, please don't be shy. Always looking to try new things, and discovering some crowd pleasers!

I want to thank our Student worker Mathew for a great summer of hard work well done! This was his first season with us and he really was a huge help and a hard worker. Looking forward to coaxing him back next June!

Coming Soon! The John Russell Curio Cabinet.
End batches, weird/spooky jars, one-offs, experiments with flavors gone....well not wrong but definitely unique. Candle and wax prototypes and other strange wonders from the wax works.

These limited or single unit productions need a home, and you will be the first in line to snap up these discounted and possibly never to be made again treasures. Stay subscribed to the Buzz Club to be notified before everyone else!

Well that's enough typing. I need to get back outside and enjoy the remaining afternoons. Seeds to collect from the pollinator garden, and fighting off the ferocious squirrels to protect the remaining tomatoes.

Take care, good people!

John Russell