Everyone I need to sadly report that our maple season lasted 6 days. The long winter and the quick shift to 70 deg weather followed by no nights below freezing led us to shut down the sugarhouse. The sap we got this past week was bad, so we couldn’t use it for production.
Needless to say we have no syrup to sell. The wee bit of syrup we did produce was super dark, some of the darkest syrup I’ve ever seen.
Let’s hope Mother Nature is kinder to us next year so we can fully utilize the improvements we have made for the 2019 season.
Right now we are preparing the hives for more bee’s. The old hives are getting touched up with new paint & art and the electric fence was tested today.
Hi Everyone. I know it’s been a while since we have provided an update. Needless to say it’s been a long cold winter and the sap just started flowing this past week. Right now we are about 3.5 weeks behind last year and we just started boiling the sap this weekend.
To give you an idea of how much snow we had this winter as of this morning we still have 2’+ in the front yard and there is still some snow left on the sugar home roof. We spent most of the weekends this winter up at Smugglers Notch skiing and as of last check they received 371″+ of snow. Yes that is over 30 feet of snow this winter.
For 2019 we are attempting to be more efficient with at the addition of a reverse osmosis machine. This allows us to increase the sugar content of the sap before boiling. Thru this process we extract excess water from the sap and create more concentrated sap to boil. This saves us both time and wood for the evaporator.
We will be updating the site more often as boiling and production continues. Thanks for your patience. 😁
Twin Bears Maple Works is going to be doing a limited run of holiday ‘Vermont Breakfast’ gift baskets. The basket will include: 1 pint of our 2018 Maple Syrup (medium amber), 14oz of our freshly roasted whole bean Holiday Blend coffee (medium roast) and the ever-awesome organic pancake mix from Rogers Farmstead. Add some bacon and you have a perfect Vermont Breakfast.
We will be taking orders and shipping based on requested delivery dates. Please allow us a few days lead time from the date you place your order till the date it ships. We are roasting the beans as orders are placed and just finishing the last of syrup bottling.
Gift baskets will be $30 and the USPS Flat rate shipping is $12. Baskets will come in holiday packing and the shipping quote applies for CONUS addresses. We will include holiday cards with your personal message for those folks sending this as a gift. Please message us with any questions.
Hey all! Sorry it’s been so long since we have posted. It’s been quite rainy in Vermont and lots of obscure sickness at the homestead. Thankfully we are on the up and up!
We started preparing for winterizing last month. We built quilt boards and candy shims. On Saturday October 6th we started by reversing the bottom boxes on the hives; you want the heavier box on the bottom so the bees work their way up in the winter. Once they go up they do not go back down to the cold for any honey left. We also placed heaters our friend Scott sent to us to help with winters sub zero temperatures. Below are some pictures of that day. I also included a photo of the most epic bee-sting we affectionally call BEEtox. That bee stung me right though my veil. It made for one entertaining evening at the house!
The beginning of the quilt boards. I’ll explain them more soon but the candy shims look a lot like this as well. We won’t use them until the end of January/early February to feed the bees some more.
I promised back in July to talk about mites and why we treat for them. We treated in July, late August and while winterizing. When honey bees are infested with mites its like walking around with a rabbit on your back. Now imagine if you had to carry around more than one rabbit on your back all day? This YouTube video explains why we treat for mites, diseases that come with them and the worst case scenario; entire comply collapse. The great news about treating for mites is there are organic options available that won’t harm us, the bees or the honey.
For winterizing we tried a new method of treating for mites using a shop towel, glycerin and oxalic acid. We followed instructions from The Honey Bee Suite blog: https://honeybeesuite.com/oxalic-acid-and-glycerin-for-varroa-mites/
These shop towels were placed on top of the the second from the bottom large deep hive.
The next step in winterizing was to make sure the bees have enough to eat. We mixed B-Pro (a pollen substitute) in the center of the plastic frames. Then filled the rest with a thick sugar and water mixture.
Each hive got two of these plastic frames in the medium size deep which we placed them on the outer edges.
Next was the quilt boards. Bees biggest threat in the winter is not the cold but moisture that builds up in the hive. They have 1/2 inch metal screening on the bottom (Sorry I didn’t get a photo). The boxes were then filled with cedar shavings to absorb moisture. In the center is a small piece of pvc to create a chimney for moisture to escape the sides. On top of the chimney piece is foam insulation. The insulation has a hole to hold the pvc piece and some of the center carved out for ventilation.
Finally we stapled on tar paper to help with blocking the winter winds and put a piece of wood on top to block snow build up. We then secured it down with a strap and put a cinder block on top.
Here’s to hoping we make it though our first winter ❄️ 🐝 Bee well!
It was another busy weekend and finished painting the medium supers & assembled the rest of the deep hive frames.
The hives were also very busy this weekend.
Today when I removed the entrance reducers (if you look where all the bees are toward the bottom there is a piece of wood with a small cut out. Those are entrance reducers. ) I could actually see the pollen baskets some bees were carrying in. It was so neat. I tried to get a photo later in the day but didn’t have any luck. Luckily we have google and below is a snap shot from a quick photo search of what they looked like.
We added the second deep hive body and got some video of what’s going on in he hives. Busy busy bees 🐝
The NUC installs went extremely smooth! In the video below the sound you hear is what happy bees sound like.
I am so relieved we didn’t have any Mariah caBEE moments this afternoon!! We were able to spot BEEonce the Queen bee in the right hive. She was about 2.5 times the size of all of the other bees. We didn’t spot It’s Britany BEEch but we know she is there since the bees are working. There is no standard NUC bee count size but everything on the internet estimates there are approx 9k-10.4k bees in a NUC. In roughly one month time they should each increase to over 18k bees. That’s a lot of bees friends!
The bees started building comb in the open spaces of the NUCS. How cool is that?🐝
Have a safe and happy Memorial Day Weekend!
***5:20pm update*** They are slowly still filtering into their hives and happy.