Author Archives: coffeeadmin

April and May is swarming season for honeybees

Hi All,

It has been a while since my last post. Over the last month and a half my wife Jody and I have contracted COVID-19. We have obviously serviced. It is 7-10 days of a serious bad nasty head/chest cold with fever and fatigue! Anyway, we now have the antibodies in our system. And just in time for honeybee swarm season!

I have set a dozen of my honeybee swarm trap in hopes of catching several wild honeybee swarms. This time of year the queen bee is laying about 1500 eggs per day. In no time the hive in a hollow tree or and old barn wall becomes overpopulated with bees. So the queen instructs 1/2 the hive to gorge themselves with honey and find a new home for her new colony of bees. Once they fine that new place (hopefully one of my traps) they will quickly draw new wax comb with the honey they have eaten so the queen can start laying eggs to populate her new colony! My success rate catching swarms in my traps is about 50%. Once they establish the new colony in one of my traps, I will bring it to my bee yard and put them in a proper hive box.

I also am starting to build several long hives out of 2-1/4” thick red cedar slabs. The reason for these new types of hive? Is once built and placed in their permanent location the heaviest thing you need to pick up is a single frame of bees or honey. No more lifting 100 pound brood boxes full of bees and comb. Also no more picking up 60-80 pound honey supers. I will be 68 years old this year, picking up these heavy bee boxes is getting harder and harder on my back.

My hope is to have a dozen or so of these long hives built and placed in the next few weeks! ?

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Snow Storm Week

The last three weeks have been interesting to say the least. Three weeks ago the Pacific Northwest was hit with a major cold front. Lots of snow and ice. About a quarter million folks were without power in the Portland metro area. This is not counting areas further north and south. I’ve attached a short video I took before sunrise one of those snowy mornings! Then just like that the first signs of spring! Here are a couple of videos of a couple of honeybee hives that have survived the winter. These two hives are from a wild swarm I caught three years ago in the woods on the lower Columbia river. I will split those two have around the first of second week of April, so we will have four strong hives from that single wild swarm of honeybees. The thing about wild honeybees, they are resilient!! They have learned to commingle with hive pest like the Varro Destructor mite and hive beetles. These pests can only survive in a honeybee colony. The two pests kill domesticated honeybees. These domesticated honeybees are to be treated with chemicals. These chemicals are used to kill these hive pest but at the same time they weaken the colony bigtime!! So most of the time these colonies can not survive the winter. But wild honeybees not only survive they thrive!! Hence, natural wonderful honey and hearty pollinators! Most folks don’t relies there are thousands of living organisms in a single honeybee colony and when chemicals are introduced to the hive those very chemicals do not only weaken the honeybee population but they also kill many of those beneficial organisms. Honeybees are a true wonderment!! I could go on forever talking about them!!
I also attached a few wildlife photos. Plus one of the sunrise out our back porch. Enjoy!

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Anti-foul Bottom Paint Complete

This last weekend I finished all the winter maintenance on our Cape Henry 21. The masking and bottom painting is now finished. That’s it for her yearly maintenance. She’s now ready for summer sailing!

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Topside Maintenance is Now Complete!

This last weekend I finished the brightwork, varnished the bowsprit and companionway. Then painted the topside Jade Green on her transom and rudder. Next weekend I fire up the wood stove and tackle the red bottom anti-foul paint.

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This last weekend I fired up the old Jotel wood stove. I hand sanded all the brightwork with 220 grit then cut in a single coat of TotalBoat “Wood Finish” varnish. There are just a few more details before she’s ready for her Spring launch.

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Beginning Her Yearly Maintenance

This last weekend I started “Slough Coots” (our Dudley Dix designed Cape Henry 21) yearly maintenance. I prepped her hull by giving it a light sanding with 220 grit and an orbit sander. Then washed and dried it. The fallowing day I rolled and tipped a coat of Pettit EZPoxy Jade Green topcoat paint. Also attached is a photo of Saturday mornings sunrise! There’s nothing like a fine cup of Longbottom coffee as you’re watching the come up!! Cold winter sunrises are the best along with a nice warm fire popping and cracking in the wood stove!

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Mid January and They’re Bringing in Pollen??

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Moving the Staysail Sheets, Fairleads and Cam-Cleats

This last weekend I moved the port and starboard fairleads and cam-cleats for the staysail sheets.
I’ve posted 4 photos. The first is a full photo of the starboard side of our Dudley Dix design Cape Henry 21. You can see the cam-cleat mounted to the deck in front of the horn-cleat. This location has had its challenges.

1) When taking in the sheet your hand hits the pointy end of the horn-cleat. 2) It’s not a good location if you need to move quickly.

As you can see on the bottom three photos I moved the fairleads from forward of the port lights to the aft end of the port lights. I then moved the cam-cleat from the deck to the upper aft end of the cabin superstructure. This new location will make it easier to make quick adjustments while tacking or reefing the staysail.

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The Day After Christmas!

This weekend I removed the hatch cover for the companion way on my sailboat, a Cape Henry 21. I sanded it fair and added a coat of brightwork. I then tore apart my free standing sander and repaired the main belt pulley.
The two weekends prior I removed my burned out stove and replaced it with little potbelly type cast iron wood burner!! It heats up my shop nicely!!

Dec. 26th

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Rendering This Season Beeswax Cappings!!

Oct. 9th-10th

This last weekend I went through the painstaking process of rendering this seasons bees wax cappings. The process involves a large canning kettle 2/3 full of water, brought up to 190 degrees, and submerging a fine cloth bag full of wax cappings. This is repeated 3 times into the same capping to make a single block of pure organic bees wax. It smells heavenly!! I will then break apart, melt, and pour the pure, clean, wax into ingots. Some ingots will be used in making wonderful products such as lip balm, lotions, and even leather treatments.

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