Sunday, February 27, 2011

EatWellDC Natural Farm - LaPlata, Maryland.

Today I met David Winer, managing partner of EatWellDC restaurant group, and his partners at their new farm in LaPlata, Maryland. 

Friday, February 25, 2011

Smoker Fuel Cartridges (Homemade!)

I cannot take credit for this idea as I saw something similar on YouTube, but want to try it out with my smoker.  To be able to just pop a cartridge into a lit (and hot!) smoker rather than fumbling for more fuel/leaves/cardboard with a gloved hand seems on the surface to be a step in the right direction.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Prince Georges County Community College Course

It is now official…I’m teaching a course at the Community College!   We have installed a couple of hives out there today to be populated with bees in April.  The location in Upper Marlboro is a combination of woods and farmland with some suburban developments so there is a healthy variety of
bee foraging flora.  The colonies will be at full strength by the time we are teaching the course in September.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Spring Bee Food

As the weather has improved I have switched from solid food (sucrose and fondant) to syrup and made a large batch that included some bee tea.

Here is how we did it:

In a 5 gallon bucket (the Home Depot Homer Bucket) mix:
  • 1.5 gallons hot water
  • 20 lbs of sugar
  • A medium onion macerated in a blender with a few cups of water;
  • A gallon of bee tea
Mix all together until the sugar dissolves.  makes about 4+ gallons.

I make the bee tea by bringing a gallon of water to a boil, adding a couple of chamomile tea bags, a

Friday, February 18, 2011

Join Us Tomorrow at ROOTING DC

We will be at the Rooting DC event at Calvin Coolidge High School in Takoma Park.  This event highlights urban gardening in our local area and is free to attend.  From their website:

DC’s Field to Fork Network announces the 4th annual Rooting DC Forum to be held on February 19th, 2011 at Coolidge High School. The forum, which is free and open to the public, will attract an anticipated audience of 500 community members, who will come together to learn about food production and access in DC.
Keynote speaker will be Gordon Clark, founder of Montgomery Victory Gardens. Other guest speakers include Michael Twitty (historian of African American food and folk culture), and Paul Blundell (owner of Southern Exposure Seed Exchange), who will join local leaders of the local food justice and urban agriculture movement. The day-long program will include interactive workshops, cooking and food preservation demonstrations, an information fair, and panel discussions focusing on school and youth gardening, nutrition, sustainable growing techniques, and healthy food access.
“Concerns about access to healthy food, limiting our environmental impact, and supporting local economies are coming together to create a powerful new interest in growing your own food here in the District,” says event organizer, Bea Trickett of the Neighborhood Farm Initiative.

We will be set up with a few hives, and lots to share with anyone who wants to have a bee adventure.  I look forward to meeting you.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My Humble Mission

For those of you who have been generous enough to follow us since our inception this past summer, you know that we started out with a modest goal:  let's get five new beehives in the urban environment of Washington, DC and let's have DC Honeybees be the folks who help these new Beeks.

Our focus did change slightly as the urban environment out of the box was sluggish.  But some good, and old-fashioned outreach to new friends (such as Arcadia, Church of the Pilgrims, Patowmack Farm) and some dumb luck (thank you Craigslist) have bloomed into some real traction.  There is genuine concern and interest in the honeybee and as a little education has shown, that interest has been converted to new Beeks.  And while honey and pollination are of interest, the survival of the honeybee is the true draw.

As some of you know, this little avocation of mine is secondary to my real life role as a real estate development professional.  So the following stats, more exciting than daunting, are daunting:
  • We currently have over 40 installations of bees now scheduled for April 2011;
  • Of those installations, about 25 percent are in the District in community gardens, rooftop spaces, and backyards;
  • Prince Georges County Community College is installing two hives and has asked me to teach a beekeeping business class;
  • Our outreach to micro-farms such as Arcadia has been almost universally warmly received;
  • I will be driving 500,000 bees from Baltimore to DC in April in my wife's Explorer.
I think I need to reassess my goals for the balance of the year as we have knocked the cover off the ball thanks to all of you and your interest in our mission.  Thank you.

Please tell your friends about us.


Monday, February 14, 2011

Bees Flying Today, One Hive Dies

With the temperature outside reaching 60 degrees, I was energized by the activity outside the hives.  Alas, we did have one death, one of the nucs bred with a Bee Weaver queen.  Looking at the cluster I am guessing that they just did not have enough bees there to overcome some of the blustery cold we have recently had.  I'll have to be more careful with my populations going into winter.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Installation at Patowmack Farm

We got out to Lovettsville, Virginia today to install some hives for the farm at the excellent restaurant and grower Patowmack Farm.  Not only are they regarded as one of the best restaurants in the Leesburg area,

their expansive farm grows many of the vegetables, herbs, and berries served on their menu.  I walked the blueberry section of the farm today and was amazed at description of the yields the farm expects. 

Our bees will certainly help!  We installed one brand new hive and repaired two older hives we found in the woods.  They had been healthy hives at one time, but we found the cluster starved in the middle of the deeps.  We cleaned out those boxes and introduced new frames....I think the patina on those hives is charming.  We did upgrade the two hives with screened bottom boards, notched inner covers, and hive top feeders for each.

April 17th is the date for bee introduction.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Church of the Pilgrim Installation

Today we installed a hive in the garden of a church right in the center of the Dupont Circle area. It is the Church of the Pilgrim Presbyterian Church, a beautiful, Gothic styled church.

Here is Minister Ashley Goff posing with the hive into which we will install bees in April. It was hard to think of April with the cold and snow today and a huge ice storm predicted.

She is very enthusistic about getting bees in their garden.  They are expanding their veggie gardens this spring with the produce going to their feeding the homeless program.

Can't wait to get them their bees!