Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Why I wear my Bee Suit NOW

I was told from before we started keeping bees you don't need to wear a suit...they aren't aggressive, you just need to a natural beekeeper, they will be gentle, no worries, if you get stung its doesn't never swells...….you build up tolerances to it......need I say more!???? 
So for the longest time I DIDN'T wear a suit because I was going to be a "real" live beekeeper..... with no suit and very little smoke. 
Bruce on the other hand was always in his suit and gloves and lots of smoke. I would get stung every now and then but mostly no. It was him that actually would get stung more than me...he could be just standing there and they would sting him. He would swell up and I was forever putting lavender essential oil on his sting areas. Sometimes some of them would be so swollen he would have to use ice packs and take diphenhydramine products. I would say "I just don't get it why when you get stung why they swell so much?" The area would be so red and inflamed and extremely swollen. This went on for several years. Then one day in October right after the boys and Skylar carved their pumpkins in the fall of 2016 I was feeding the bees and as always taking pictures and yes I get some of best bee pics while working with the Bruce popped off the inner cover and I was wearing NO SUIT....
Yep you heard me right in hand and one of more irritated (if that's what you would say) they are just much much more protective and a large colony. Out flies this super fast bee and you guessed it right for lip.....she got my upper lip and within minuets it was SWOLLEN.    
Skylar was here at the time while mommy was in Germany and she remined me every morning "grandma your lip is still BIG" it lasted for approximately four-fives days and was actually quite painful as the swelling was in an area that is highly sensitive with many nerve endings and serve as a tactile area. Of course I know some people like to let bees sting them for apitherapy, which is why I was never concerned about it if I got stung...and I never swelled anyway.....well before this day. 

There for awhile I still didn't wear my suit.....I know hard headed and actually I really hate my suit....I know strong is EXTEMELY HOT, heavy and very awkward. It was the suit that we got in a combo type deal when we first began......and yes it is in dire straights at this moment.....but as anyone knows running a farm you have to put out "fires" as they happen.  Otherwise known as the squeaky wheel gets the oil. Bruce calls them "fires" because they take first place in what has to be done....and as long they suit is still in working condition and has no holes.....but I tell you I have come so close to just buying that beautiful pink cool (in temperature) who wants to feel like bag of potatoes as my suit is defiantly the wrong size. Then in the late fall and early winter its all good as it is warmer. Maybe one day I can get that pretty pink bee suit.

I used to think again it was funny how I could work with the bees and not wear the suit. SO I would take pictures of this nuc and Colten is wearing the suit. 

Here we are sometime back when we were working and I am like "no SUit" hello WAS I BRAVE. 
Well that has now since changed the more colonies we have the more chances have increased and as I said before I didn't swell....well now I do. 

 This bee sting was on the neck and when I would lay down to sleep I would have to prop myself up as my throat swelled slightly and I felt as if I had trouble may have all been phycological….but none the same it hurt and did cause swelling.

This one I got last summer and it was my first hand swelling. 

This was recent and this is a whole other story...….I am getting ready to share with you. 

The shoe is one of my size nine Birkys so as you can see this one got me right after the bear attack. Which was one of the most adrenaline filled days I have had in quite sometime. Well it was more like a panic zone.....

So let me tell you this story...…
I was working in the kitchen making jam and was just finishing up the room smelled like blackberries and still had wafts of honey depending on where you were in the kitchen. I had kept looking outside most of the day....and it being a super hot sunny day....the goats grazing the chickens clucking around fussing at the other hens and the fresh summer air I would feel on my skin as I would open the door to the kitchen to take things outside or go switch over the laundry next door. 
I stopped and said I want to go to the high tunnel before it gets it was roughly 6:30 ish and Bruce never wants to stop working he goes and goes and goes...….I always say I have other stuff to do.  Eventually I just have to quit or walk away....we work everyday from 5am to midnight and yes somedays less but majority of the days it is non stop from 5am to midnight. THIS IS WHY the things I want to do don't happen....unless I walk away of just quit to go do what else needs to be done. 
So he said yes that's a great idea I will go with you...which yes is more work but we are outside. So we had just got the greenhouse checked everything out then moved on to the high tunnel and as we were getting ready to proceed in the door Bruce spots a bear.....which mind you the day before as we were taking the two little boys to art camp we saw one hive tore up...I told Bruce it was bear....he said no. Probably a deer ran into a night. Or even a skunk they can tear up a hive too. No I said a bear. He still was not convinced. SO now momma was right again...….here in broad day light was this bear at one of the huge hive bodies knocking it over. That huge bear took one little tiny push and toppled over that entire colony like it was a feather.  Bruce ran back to the house and I stayed and as the black bear ran into the woods. This huge cloud of  swarming  extremely mad bees came flying my way as I was standing at the edge of the tunnel. I had on an apron as I had just left the kitchen and I threw it over my face. These bees where looking for anyone to attack as the bear ran off into the woods and their skin is so thick and just about impossible to penetrate. I'm sure bees went after the black bear too. I ran as fast as I could to the greenhouse pulled down the storm door opening and closed the door. The bees were dive bombing the greenhouse coming up through the floor....I had on a skirt and yes some had got me on the legs and the hand. Colten threw my suit in the door and hoped back on the four wheeler and Bruce was back in his suit trying to put the hive together. 
What an evening...….
The bear did come back around 11pm and Bruce had to fix the hive bodies yet again....not happy bees!!!

So this is what we found the morning on the way to take the boys to art camp. 

You can see this bear was looking for brood...which yes and honey but mostly they look for brood and this hive was struggling so we added more brood to the hive just the day before. 

 Yep Bear footprint 

This is the colony that was attacked by the bear two times as you can see lots of bees......

I was in my car taking this pic Bruce had just set them back up. 

So I got it in the eye.....and this is yet another reason you need to wear the suit. 


Bruce and planted entire field of wildflowers and sunflowers plus all the other stuff …….the bees have been loving the wildflowers this year along with lots other pollinators. 
So as you can see I REALLY DO LOVE THE BEES...….
I enjoy everything about it, I love what they do for everyone on the planet and want to keep them happy and safe...…

I even went as far as getting a honey bee tattoo 

I love my honeybee Tattoo. Done
 by Davy Sheets at Primal Tattoo in Carrolton Virginia. 
I hope you see why now I will continue to wear my bee suit and continue to be mindful of safety first. 

As of today it is raining and on but very gloomy outside. I hope we have a market on Saturday but they just keep saying more rain. Bruce and I getting ready to finish up some pickles and go pick more butternut squash, we have a half of an acre to pick of nothing but butternut squash. YAY! 
Enjoy the rest of the week and HAPPY HUMP DAY!!!!!
No bee stings...……….LOL!!! 

Friday, July 6, 2018

Tomorrow on July 07, 2018 We will be at the Smithfield Farmers Market from 9-12

Hello everyone soo much to share so little time.  Seriously I get fussed at all the time since I don't post MUCH BUT HONESTLY I run out of time. I am getting there please understand. These are the sweet and spicy pickles I make.  

Look at those yummy pickles

John gave me some cucumbers and Bruce picked a bunch of ours too between them I had two more five gallon buckets of cucumbers soaking in lime. Plus I did a batch of watermelon rind pickles.  

TOMORROW we will be at the Smithfield Farmers Market behind the BSV Bank in Smithfield Virginia. 

The market is from 9-12

Tomorrow I will have the usual stuff plus we have a $5.00 special on the goat cheese for my 50th Birthday so come by to see us if ya can. 

Friday, April 27, 2018

Saturday April 28, 2018 We will be at Smithfield Farmers Market in Smithfield Virginia

Hello everyone well its been another one of those wild and crazy weeks ......sometimes I ask myself when will the roller coaster ride at least slow down for a wee bit so I can catch my breath?? I am in no means complaining I just want a second to finish reading one of my books and maybe even watercolor for an hour. 
With the greenhouse loaded and everything in full swing growing season....not to mention still bottle feeding kid goats and making cheese and you now all the stuff we do. I had even considered taking tomorrow off at the market......I know but really I couldn't I borrowed a tent for my show last weekend because one of my tents is broke and I was worried about the winds....and I need to get that tent back to the man I borrowed it from. We did four shows last weekend and one on Wednesday. The Wednesday market was at the Historic Garden Week in Hampton for their 85th year. All morning it was so slow and by the afternoon it turned into an awesome show. I was bored in the morning but I was able to read my book and enjoy talking with other vendors, some I knew from other events...its always nice to see someone you know. After the show Wednesday we picked up 14 more bee packages in Moyock which meant after the show driving separate cars as Bruce and I are also working on a construction job where we are doing a roof and replacing old windows. So Bruce went to the job and I to the show. When we got home we milked goats and then drove to Moyock. So as you can see as always a wild and crazy ride, but a good one! 
I have so much to share with you all but I honestly don't have the time to work on the blog right now....I know sounds ridiculous , right!!??? Well I will be planting all week too and I may not get to share all my ideas and post I want to share with you all. Next week also Colby will be 14 and we have a show at Virginia Beach General plus a Wednesday show with the children at a Catholic School for them to shop for their Mother's Day gifts, I just take soap there. 
Have a great weekend!!! 
This is for the show at Virginia Beach General from 9-4 next Thursday and Friday 

Friday, April 20, 2018

Good Morning and Let me tell you where this weekend is going? #BUSY

This is where I will be Saturday and Sunday with my beautiful amazing plants I have grown for our farm and tons extra. I will also have  a few of my goodies and such.  
This is where Bruce will be.....I know I applied to be in here and got into both shows sometimes you don't get into all the shows you apply for so when you do its a good thing. 
Sunday Bruce will be here the Norfolk Zoo is having an amazing Earth Day Event so I don't want to miss that either......I should have more plants too. 
I hope you can make it out to some of these this weekend. 

I finished that book Flat Broke and Two Goats which is AMAZING!! 
I have much more to tell but I am out of time......I still have lots of stuff to do today for the shows....packing and go set up tonight at the Fred Heutte Center......#BUSY 
Enjoy your weekend and HAPPY EARTH DAY!!!!! 

Friday, April 13, 2018

Goats, Coats, Bees and Cheese ..........Smithfield Farmers Market on Saturday April 14, 2018

 Good Morning everyone........this is going to be sweet and to the point. Tomorrow we will be at Smithfield Farmers Market in Smithfield Virginia from 9-12noon behind the BSV Bank on Main Street. There is also other great things to do in the town on Saturday so if you can stop by. The above pic is of Violet and Milly.......Milly was one of my goats I sold several weeks ago....and is living the "BIG Goat Life" these two are so spoiled they live in baby onesies and diapers and of course drink from baby bottles. They are in the house until they are six months old as the lady told me. WTG Milly....we miss you!
See how sweet and precious Milly and Violet have it. Adorable precious goats! #GoatLove 
Remember this Saturday from 9-12 noon April 14, 2018 #SmithfieldFarmersMarket 

 I made several jams this week and let me tell you once again as if you haven't heard it enough.....another busy busy busy week......I want a less busy week to enjoy painting or reading....but that will come later....after planting season. This jam is the Strawberry Fig Vanilla Bean Jam which is very much asked for and goes very fast. Vanilla beans have went sky high on price and it has been hard to come by to be able to afford them. Also I do have two bottles of the aged vanilla extract that aged for more than a year.....soooo if you want that better get it fast.
The strawberry fig vanilla bean jam, also here lately I have the worst time getting jars...well this size as I haven't been able to buy the pallets like before but going to Walmart, Food Lion, and Kroger the jars on the shelf will only be like two cases....I just hope that soon there will be more jars in the stores. 
I got lots of stuff done this week, deodorants, rose waters, beard oil, soaps (of course the soaps I did this week will need to cure) I also got several more salves made, we labeled a lot of soap that was already on the shelves. I continued to transplant in the greenhouse you can see the video on YouTube below I also made lots of cheese, lots of fermented foods and cooked dinners and ran errands as needed. I hate having to leave as there is sooo much here to do. My title of the post this week is Goats, Coats, Bees and Cheese....well as always we are milking goats (story of our lives) and Sunday I was at Riverview Farmers Market in Norfolk Virginia which was fantastic! I post a lot of pic on Instagram as stampmom9 so if you would like to see them go to Instagram and look for stampmom9 
I am always cold so I am always wearing a coat but on Sunday the wind blew and I tell you I FROZE! It literally took me till Thursday of this week to not feel tired and wore out from Sunday as basically I was in the wind and cold from 8 am to 5 pm that evening, yes its a much longer market but when its warm it will be wonderful. Lots of zoo goes, and park fun!
Well and as far as cheese and already know that story. 

This is a video on YouTube of my plants in the greenhouse please take a look everything I have planted from seeds

Our bees, I took I small video of one of the hives and you can also here the rooster crow and the bees buzzing and hauling lots of pollen hauling work work!! It is just beautiful watching the bees....They are truly AMAZING!  

This coming week is my cheese class at Wine and Cake Hobbies  you can view and make purchases for my classes 
at this link
You still have time to sign up for Tuesdays class I will be having cheese to sample and show you how to make it. 
Next Saturday 
Next Saturday 

Well it looks like its going to be a beautiful Saturday and I hope you get out enjoy your day the weather is going to be outstanding. 
I have been reading a new book now its called 
I am loving this book and it is sooo true! 

Also Jane Davenport has two new books coming out real soon check them out here...

I can't wait to get these copies. 

Until next time have a FAULOUS WEEKEND 
Dawn Gallop

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