Monday, September 12, 2011

The Elusive Western Artichoke

I have lived in the Western United States for over seven years and this is the first season that I have gotten both artichokes and eggplant. It's so dry here, and the nights are cool. Is it the floating row covers? Or some other miracle? Amazing.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Honey Harvest Time

It is September, and that means the days are feeling obviously shorter in Montana. The sun seems lower in the sky, and the nights are definitely colder (even if the days have still been pretty darn hot!). To beekeepers, all of that together means that it is time to harvest honey before it is too cold for the bees and too cold for the honey to flow easily.

We always had top-bar hives, so I can appreciate the sentiments of this blogger on the crush and strain method. Sometimes it is laborious, and I always find myself wondering if switching to traditional Langstorth hives make more sense just for the extraction ease. I still don't think so, but many others do. For those considering what kind of hives to use in the future, compare the crush and strain method with this basic "traditional" explanation, eHow Guide to Honey Extraction.

Any thoughts from other keepers? Extraction methods that work well for you? I am still waiting for the library to call and tell me the new edition of The Beekeeper's Handbook (4th Edition, 2011) is there for me. It is getting excellent reviews, so I eagerly anticipate great improvements over the now pretty outdated 3rd Edition (1998). In particular, the absence of colony collapse in the 3rd edition makes it clear that it is missing some info.