The Living Without Series

This is a series of posts that I wrote back in 2006 on living with less stuff. Check them out: liv011Living #2liv031liv04

Coal Creek Farm on Facebook

The Chicken Doctor


The Architect


Bees Revisited

It’s seems like a million years ago when our bees swarmed.  This video makes me laugh every time I watch it.   When I run across the drive way and do a little scream thing.  You can hear my boots clomping and the stride that I was taking was either really long or I was running really slow.  I think we all know it was the really slow one, but I felt like I was running fast.  That part of the video has kept Clay and I entertained for months.

Fast Tube by Casper

I subscribe to a great little magazine called Living the Country Life. The editor called and interviewed me after I posted our bee folly and I’m just getting around to sharing it with you.  Through the magic of editing they were able to take out the nine-hundred times I cleared my throat.  Thanks to my friend Mrs Mama I have the link to the interview otherwise I wouldn’t have known it ever aired since we don’t get the radio show in our area.

Bees on Coal Creek Farm

If you love country stuff you’ll enjoy Living the Country Life.

Un Bee Lievable


This year we added two bee hives to Coal Creek Farm.  Six years ago when we started getting serious about moving to the country I was talking about cows and chickens and Clay chimed in with Bee keeping.  What the?  Bees?  Really?  They sting!!  For some reason I wanted the bigger animals that took up space and required daily maintenance and fences and structures and hay and 50 pound bags of feed and a trailer to haul them to the butcher.  But, Clay?  He wanted a little wooden box that can sit in the sun and be watched and messed with occasionally.  Who’s the smart farmer here?  Huh?  Who?

So, we did what any good married couple would do.  We got what the wife wanted.

Or, I could tell you we got chickens first because Clay, being the architect, had too much fun designing our first chicken coop.  But, that would make it sound like I didn’t win, so never mind.

We did well with the chickens and we enjoyed the pigs more than we ever thought we would.  The opportunity came to buy the hives and we dived into a new world of farming.

How are the bees?

How much honey have we harvested?

The big question, why am I saying we?  Because this little project has pretty much been Clay’s and I’m happy to see him have a little hobby.

Let’s ask the man who wanted to get those bugs in the first place.

How’s it going with the bees Clay?


Dur, not so good.

No honey for my honey this year.

Capturing a Swarm


Yesterday, our bees swarmed!  Which means…uh…that they left the hive to find a new place to live because their hive was too crowded and they hatched a new queen and blah, blah, blah…they swarmed!!  I can’t tell you how relieved I was that the official beekeeper was home, because if he had been at work when the swarm started I would have called him and said, “Your bees…gone.  See ya at dinner.”

If you don’t keep an eye on your bees you can miss a swarm.  Clay just happened to be outside working when he heard a lot of buzzing and saw thousands of bees swirling around a pear tree.

He quickly ran into the house and consulted his bee manual to make sure he knew what to do.  A swarm doesn’t last very long so you need to move quickly if you want to capture it and get them moved into a hive.  Fortunately, we had the dead bee hive that was stored in the barn because all the bees had died over the winter.  Clay rushed to get it set up.


This is an empty frame that the bees will build wax comb on and the queen will lay eggs.


This is an old frame that is full of wax.  He put two of these in the hive so the bees would smell the comb and be drawn into the entrance to start doing their thing.  He also set a jar of sugar water near the hive body and sprayed sugar water around the entrance.


Then it was time to capture the swarm.  Dear God…..










Seth and I stood back to watch.


This is the cluster of bees that formed in the pear tree.


Clay took a cardboard box and a soft bristled paint brush to catch the bees.


And now I think you should see for yourself how the rest of it went.

Fast Tube by Casper

After three trips up in the tree Clay was able to get them into the hive.  He’ll open the hive in a couple days and make sure that the queen is actually in there.