Monday, April 21, 2014

Monty Monday

He was curious about the make-up process. Obviously, mascara is boring to him.  

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Beekeeping: Frame Wiring How To

Remember a few weeks ago when I talked about the equipment you need to start your beehive? Well let's refresh a bit on the frames and the foundation that goes inside of them:  

Frames: These are wooden frames that go inside the hive bodies and supers. My boxes will each contain ten frames. So if you do the math, I have 4 hive bodies (2 per hive). I also have 2 supers (1 per hive). Six boxes mean I need 60 frames. That's a lot of work. Did I mention, each of those frames need a beeswax foundation? [Note: Not everyone is a beekeeper for the honey. I am, which means I want to give my bees a foundation to start building out their comb immediately. If I don't give them a foundation, I will have to wait for them to build it themselves. They would, if I let them, but I would rather not lose time when I could give them something to start. The time it would take them to build out their foundation, is precious time the queen could be laying eggs, nurturing more worker bees to life, and sending them out to collect pollen and nectar.]

When you purchase your equipment you have three options when it comes to foundation.
  • You choose to go foundation-less
    • Allowing the bees to build their own. If your main priority is to harvest honey you probably do not want to choose this option. It takes the bees longer to build their own, than it would be if you gave them a base foundation to start.
  • You choose wax and wire (W&W) foundation
    • A great option if your priority is to harvest honey. It's essentially plain beeswax that has been formed into thin layers of foundation with embedded wire to hold them in the frame. The beekeeper is required to add an additional horizontal wire to give the foundation strength. Otherwise, the summer heat can cause the wax foundation to collapse and fall out of the frame.
  • You choose a plastic foundation (Plasticell, Duragilt, Ritecell, etc)
    • Another great option if your priority is to harvest honey. It is similar to wax and wire foundation, only it's the plastic version. It snaps into the frames and does not require a lot of preparation by the beekeeper. 

Most of our instructors in class informed us that the W&W foundation is more natural than the plastic version and they felt the bees drew out their comb faster with W&W. Their advice convinced me to choose wax and wire foundation for my two hives. However, we did have one instructor who has tested both W&W and Plasticell and didn't notice a difference. He has converted fully to Plasticell for convenience purposes. If I had 60 hives to prep and care for, I would probably choose the most convenient option as well. #seriousbusiness 

This tutorial is to teach you how to wire your frames in preparation for your wax foundation. 


1. Gather your supplies and frames.

2. Hammer eyelets into the pre-drilled holes on each side of your frames. For the deep frames there will be 4 on each side; totaling 8 eyelets per frame. For the shallow frames, there will be 2 on each side; totaling 4 eyelets per frame.

3. Remove the wedge top from the frame with a utility knife. The frames should already have a groove, pre-cut, which makes the removal process very simple. Save the wedge top, you will need it again after you insert the wax foundation.

4. Hammer two nails (half way) on the right side of each frame. The first one near the top eyelet and the second one near the bottom eyelet (refer to supplies photo for area of nail placement). Since the nails are small, it helps to hold the nail steady with the needle nose pliers. It prevents bruised fingers too.

5. Continuously string the wire (like a shoelace), beginning from the top left eyelet and ending at the bottom left eyelet. The wire should be strung tight. At our workshop our instructor suggested it should be a "G Flat" - I don't play guitar so it didn't mean much to me. I just strung as tightly as I could.

6. Pull 5 inches of excess wire through the bottom left eyelet, snip the wire with your wire cutters, and wrap the excess wire three times around the nail you "half-way" hammered. Trim the excess wire and hammer the nail the rest of the way.

7. Take your spool of wire at the top left eyelet and give it a good tug to pull the wire extra tight. Then take the spool of wire and also wrap it three times around the other "half-way" nail. Trim the excess wire and hammer the nail the rest of the way.

Turn on some music, grab a case of beer, and repeat process for each of your frames. This took me about six hours to complete all 60 frames. They weren't kidding when they said it was time consuming, so I hope my bees appreciate it. If not, next year I will be converting to plastic. #lazybeekeeper

I will be returning soon with the how-to on adding the wax foundation. Unfortunately, it's not much easier than the wiring process.

PS. Be sure to keep a tight grip on your spool of wire. If you let it go, it has a mind of it's own and will become a tangled mess. Believe me, I speak from experience!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014



I love the Windy City. It's one of the few cities that I always say, "I'd spend money to go back there!" And that's mostly because I want to explore it with my husband. Unfortunately, there are a few other cities and vacations that take priority over Chicago. Cough, Europe. Cough, Seattle. But one day, we'll go together and play tourist strolling around Navy Pier, taking selfies at The Bean, having a beverage at the top of The Hancock Building, and eating our weight in Chicago Style Pizza. Oh wait, I've already done that. Well most of it.

Exploring it with one of my greatest friends and colleagues, Melissa, was just as fun. We didn't have a lot of free time since we were there for a work trip, but this was our third time in Chicago together and we didn't let a minute pass without making the most of it.

Breakfast at Yolk if you are craving your entire meal served in a pineapple. Even their website will make you smile.

A stroll through Millennium Park and taking a few selfies at The Bean.

Eating the best Chicago Style Pizza at Lou Malnati's. Get a local beer while your there too!

And of course getting a rush from hailing a cab. I don't get to do that often and can't remember if I've ever hailed a cab in my lifetime. So there I was, asking Melissa to take a photo of me, so I could officially check "Hailing a cab" off my bucket list. I knew the cab driver thought I was nuts, so I jokingly told him I lived on a farm and didn't get out much. They have to hate tourists. Then again, scratch that thought. That's how they make most of their money - not watching tourists take photos, but driving their clueless asses butts around the city - so I guess I shouldn't have apologized.

If you haven't been to Chicago yet, add it to your list! To see the city, not the stars. The cabby driving me to my hotel was one of the kindest drivers I have ever had. He was from Ethiopia and asked me if I could see the stars in Colorado. "Of course we can." I replied, "Is it too light to see them here?" Unfortunately, like most major cities, the city of Chicago has too much light pollution, which alters the view of the twinkly night skies. My driver said it was the one thing most people take for granted and I agreed. So the next time you are sitting around a campfire looking for the Big Dipper or a shooting star, remember those in the heart of New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago have to travel far beyond the city nightlife to see what you can see.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Monty Monday

I couldn't decide on just one photo this week, so I picked two. The first one I like to call, "Please let me in the kitchen!" Since we had a good run at counter surfing a few weeks ago, we are trying our best to keep Monty out of the kitchen when we are cooking. Most days it doesn't work well, because we can't seem to break the habit of calling for him when we drop food on the floor. You know dogs are the best vacuums when it comes to kitchens. And we wonder why he takes any opportunity he can to eat human food. #ShameOnUs
The second photo I like to call, "Lazy!" When Monty isn't laying at the top of the stairs just outside my office, that's usually a sure sign he can be found in our bed. So when I took a break from work today, this is where I discovered him. I can't decide if he is giving me the "Do you need something?" look or the "Come snuggle, Mom!" look.
Please ignore my messy bed. I read a fact once that said making your bed in the morning is a good way to make you feel organized before work. Well today is Monday...Monty Monday actually and if I had made my bed, then Monty would have messed it up while taking his afternoon nap. I knew I left it messy for a reason. #SpoiledPup
Why don't I look that cute when I sleep? I never was a pretty sleeper. Sorry Mr. B.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Monty Monday


Monty's Grandma spoiled him while she was in town visiting. By spoiled I mean, two walks a day, handfuls of treats, a tug of war partner, constant snuggles, and the chance to lick a dinner plate.

We all miss you around here. Come back soon Mama, Grandma.

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