It’s Summers Time – January, Travel and Chickens

By : Kathy Summers

As I write this it is mid-January and we have just returned from both big meetings. Kim went to the American Honey Producers meeting in Phoenix and Jean, our advertising coordinator, and I went to the American Beekeeping Federation Conference in Myrtle Beach, SC. This was different for us – we usually all go to the same location – but it worked pretty well. It gave Bee Culture a presence at both locations.

The ABF meeting seemed well attended. I wasn’t able to get an actual number, but it was crowded and the vendor area was always busy. They had about 80+ vendors and Jean was able to talk with almost all of them over the three days we were there.

The hotel was a couple of blocks from the ocean and so we had a nice view to wake up to every morning. On Friday afternoon we were able to get away and take a nice long walk, finally making it to the beach.

I sat in on more talks than I probably ever have at a meeting like this. Often we have a vendor table or other duties keeping us away. I have to say I really enjoyed the sessions. There is a lot of really good research going on with folks that are trying to make our lives as beekeepers better.

The BIP people are gathering great data and if you’re not involved in their survey yet, you probably should check it out. Dennis van Engelsdorp has about 15 people working with him in Maryland and the more data they can gather from beekeepers, the more important things they can discover. Check them out.

Because of the government shut down the USDA people that were scheduled to speak could not attend. Others did a good job of stepping up though and giving extra talks.

ABF does a good job of organizing things. Registration was flawless, the venue was convenient and easy to get around. One major problem was the sound system – it was terrible and as the week went on each speaker that got up to talk made some sort of comment about it. Most trying to be funny, but it was very frustrating to both speakers and attendees.

Of course these January meetings always contribute to the craziness of an already busy time for us here at Bee Culture. And we know and appreciate that this causes you frustration when you don’t get that January issue and calendar as soon as you’d like. We do our best, but this year in particular we had extra hazards get in our way. Some were minor health things we had to deal with and some were just annoying happenings that we couldn’t control. So we apologize for the delay, but hopefully you all have your calendars now and we promise to try and do better next year.

We had great photos, as always, for the calendar contest. I hope that you enjoy the pictures and the information. I made one mistake – well so far that’s all I’ve found – and I need to apologize for that and give you the correct information. In the month of July the Western Apicultural Meeting is being held in Ashland, OR (not Bowling Green, KY). In my haste to get done I messed up their location. The dates are correct and you can google them and find out more about the upcoming conference. July is a busy month this Summer.

We do our very best here at Bee Culture, but we’re not perfect.

We got hit with a nice dose of Winter this week. It made for an interesting drive home from the airport. We had gotten spoiled because we were well below the snowfall average during all of December and the first part of January. But now it’s bitter cold – we’ll hit some single digits this week for lows – and snow. Not a lot of snow yet, but we’ve got a long way to go.

I think it was the day after Christmas that we got our first seed catalog and they’ve been arriving almost daily ever since. We got the tree list from our Soil and Water people. So we are thinking Spring now. I also got my chick catalog.

We’re at 17 chickens right now. One just disappeared shortly before the holidays. Just gone. She could be living next door for all we know. That neighbor has chickens and never really seems sure which ones are hers and which ones are not. Or she could have been snatched. She was one of the middle group, so about four years old. We still have four that are almost seven years old, several of the four-year-olds and eight that will be two years old.

This Spring we’re going to partially raise a dozen Rhode Island Reds for a friend of ours. She is elderly and doesn’t like doing the baby chick part of the journey. So we’ll keep them until the weather is nice and they are a little more sturdy. We’ll probably get a few more to add to our flock and we’re going to try ducks again.

There is a young local family that breeds the Call ducks that we like and we’ll be talking to them soon. We had six before and lost all of them to some sort of predators. So hopefully we’ll be better prepared and more careful this time. These little ducks are so cute. They are miniature in size and just adorable. We all felt horrible when we kept losing them.

Now is the time we start really getting anxious for Spring, at least here in Northeast Ohio. Spring is a busy time in every respect for us. We have a lot of Spring meetings and we try and make it to as many as we can, the monthly deadline and the quarterly deadline. And then there’s the beekeeping and the garden and the chickens. We’ll see some of you in St. Louis very soon, some at the Tri-County meeting here in Wooster, OH. Kim is going to Georgia. Both of us are going to North Carolina in March, California in April and possibly May and it just goes on and on. And we’re really excited about our October event this year. Watch for the details. It’s the 150th anniversary of the A.I. Root Company and we have some very special guests coming to our event to celebrate.

Hope to see you on some of our travels. I wish you all a safe and easy rest of the Winter.