Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Queen Alessandra

Dear Mom,
I spent my Saturday morning at Wildflower Ridge Honey Farm.  This enchanted farm is owned by the Barrickman family in Anderson.  I felt like I was in Heaven on Earth! 

I parked in a field with the animals!  There were sheep, a llama, and a Great Pyrenees dog to watch over them. 
The farm had its own character!  Look at this barn!

Here is the outhouse and the flower "beds".

There was a candle burning inside the outhouse!  (I actually thought of Kim while I was inside the outhouse taking pictures...I imagined that she would have been taking pictures too!)

Nearly 100 people came from near and far to pick up their bees!  The American Honey Queen, Lisa Schluttenhofer, spoke to the group.  Lisa is from Indiana and attends Purdue University.  The group was told that the bees have contracted nosema, a digestive disease.  There are chemicals available for treatment, but I will try to combat this disease by making certain the bees have plenty of syrup and pollen supplements to eat.

Finally, the group dispersed for some interaction with the bee hives.  I was sooooo excited! I finally got to put on my veil!   Mr. Barrickman took a hive apart and showed us a healthy colony of bees.

A hundred boxes of bees were waiting in a horse trailer to be taken home. Our names were called in sequence according to the date our orders were received. 

The rest of the day is a blur.  A total blur.  I was a nervous wreck.  I have been attending seminars, reading books, and talking to complete strangers about beekeeping for over a year, and yet I was scared  and on my own.  I drove the bees home in the trunk of the car.  I took the bees to the back and loaded them into the hive.  I can't even remember how I did it.  I think I made some mistakes.  Was the queen there?  I was afraid it would rain any second.  And my smoker went out. But....I did it!  I didn't get stung.  I did it

I wish I could do it again and remember what I did, so I wouldn't make any mistakes. I think I might have switched some frames around and I wish I would have looked for the queen. It started to sprinkle. But I sat and watched with fascination. The bees were flying in, out and around the hive.   I made some sugar syrup and inserted the feeder into the front. 
I met some nice people, like Tom and Melissa.  Melissa might stop by this week to help me find Queen Alessandra.  "Alessandra" is an Italian name which means "the defender or helper of mankind".  I look forward to Melissa's visit.  I feel she will be a valuable new friend. 
I have so much to learn. I wonder if the bees will recover from nosema.  I hope Queen Alessandra is strong and hearty. One thing I know for sure:  I am falling in love with beekeeping.
Love, Bonnie Jo