"HomesteadingChallenge" #7 Entry - Share a homestead resolution for 2018!

in homesteading •  2 years ago 

PicsArt_1361970938384.jpg image:permies.com

Our 2018 Homesteading Resolution is:

To build an apiary and become a bee-keeper using the Slovenian Hive

This year establishing an apiary is our top priority. I couldn't be more excited. As an avid gardener with organic pastures, fields, food & flowers its a perfect fit for our homestead. It also feels good to help increase the bee population: they need all the help they can get these days. I've been dreaming of an apiary for as long as I can remember. Our plan isn't conventional though and it's going to be a challenge!

Unconventional Methods

In preparing to become a bee keeper I have read books, joined forums and talked to bee keepers. The more I learn, the more I want to know. I find them fascinating. When taking on any big project, my husband and I take time to research and plan. This often leads us down less conventional or old fashioned paths. Often the methods that appeal to us are not mainstream and our plans for the apiary are no different.

Our first round of research lead us down the path of almost buying a Warre Bee Hive business. I was at the point of choosing between building our own Warre hive or buying one. The company that made the design I wanted went up for sale. Unfortunately, tools bought, contracts drawn and two days before the hand over, he changed his mind. It was really disappointing but it turned out to be a blessing.

I continued reading about bees and became interested in the different methods that other countries use. Finally I had that ah-ha moment when it all came together in my head and I knew what we should do. I had discovered the Slovenian AZ Hive.

The Slovenian Hive

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image: permies.com

The Slovenian hives can be stacked together like blocks, and they are accessed from the back. This makes it easy to encase them in a special shelter or building. The enclosed bee building often has a work station on the back side and a bee entrance on the front. With the most elaborate designs, you can tend to the bees, keep your equipment and extract the honey all in one location. If you want you can design it so the work space is indoors, meaning you can work on the hives regardless of the weather.

The Slovenian hive prevents the need for heavy lifting because the hive is worked on from the rear. Working on the hives is less intrusive to the bees and the building can be large and elaborate or simply built on a trailer to make it mobile. The Slovenian Hive offers more insulation, protection and flexibility when compared to standard hive designs.

Here is a PDF from the Scottish Beekeeper Association that walks you through the design.

The Plan

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We have a lot of things to work on in order to achieve this goal. The Slovenian hives aren't something that I can just "go and buy" and even the bees can be tricky to get around here. Here is the general outline of steps to be taken to achieve our goals:

Creating a Budget

We have no budget. One must be built.

Sourcing bees

Sourcing bees in New Brunswick can be a challenge. There is a lot of regulation and limited supply each year for new bee keepers. We have learned of an Amish family near us that keeps bees. They are also organic/all natural in their food production so that matches our own lifestyle and desires. We are going to write them a letter and try to set up a meeting! I would really appreciate having some open minded local "support" as we get started. We need someone who isn't set in the "standard way" of keeping bees.

Drawing up the design, sourcing materials and building the structure that the hives will be stored in

There are plenty of different versions of the Slovenian "bee house" or the housing that the hives are place inside of. Some are large buildings and others are simple structures that can sit on a trailer for easy relocation. I would like to connect with Brian Drebbers of "AZ Bee House" located in Georgia, USA. His video really inspired me to pursue this idea further. You can find his video here

Sourcing material and building the Slovenian Beehives

I've seen pricing on-line for the Drebbieville hive for $450 USD each. DIY Plans can also be found on-line but I've read that finding the metal parts needed to make it all work can be difficult. I have found an on-line group that's really focused on building the hives. They seem to be collaborating really well and some have had those metal spacers fabricated. We aren't 'fine' carpenters by even the most generous stretch of the imagination, so we are going to dig deeply into our options for buying these, partnering with someone to fabricate them or maybe we'll just get the tool belts on and figure it out ourselves.

Time-line

Planning

  • Immediately

Pricing / Materials list / Ordering

  • February/ March

Construction

  • April/May (once the snow is gone)

Bee Delivery

  • May/June

Keith's Honey Shack

My great Uncle Keith is a big source of encouragement for this project. We'll be naming the building "Keith's Honey Shack" to thank him.

Happy 2018 Homestead Planning Everyone!

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Congrats on winning the challenge! I really enjoyed your article and all the great information in it....saving it to reference later!

Thank you!

Slovenia is a beautiful country and apparently they have beautiful bee hives although I didn't see any there. I especially like the bee trucks!

Have you looked into the top bar hives? They are easy to build and will give you great experience in "unconventional" bee keeping. Just google "top bar hive." I like this site He's a gentleman after my own heart. Anyway, it's easy to get started at a minimum cost that will get you close to the bees and their needs. Good luck.

Thank you @yulem I would love to see Slovenia some day!

I have looked into top bar hives and they do have a lot going for them! The reason this design is so compelling is that we get long, cold winters, big storms and a lot of snow. I think the Slovenian design could be really beneficial in this type of climate. I am middle aged now 42 (just around the corner) and I am a planner by nature. It's a long way away but I do like to plan our projects with old age in mind when possible. I want to keep homesteading for as long as possible.

The Slovenian solution is like a luxury condo for bees! A one stop honey factory. For sure you could heat it and feed them easily. I'm assuming you have wild bees that succeed in over-wintering wherever you are Canada. Have you thought about a feral hive capture? At least you know they're tough! ;-) The feral hive I had in NC lost their queen and died so it's not a guarantee.
Good luck,

You know, I have thought about feral hives but I just wouldn't know where to begin or how to find them. I look around but never see any hives. I think it's a bit beyond my talents maybe .... There's a lot to learn! Do you still keep bees? I am following you now, look forward to reading your posts.

Sorry for the delay. I was at a property with no internet!
No bees right now. They require a commitment I can't give them at this point.

Apiary goals! My mother gave me a book on beekeeping this yule for manifesting some bees. I think it is becoming more + more important for organic farmers and rural folk alike to keep bees alive and healthy.
I am eager to follow along with your beekeeping adventures!

Thank you @coyoteom. I couldn't agree more with you. We have a really healthy ecosystem with plenty of wild bees, butterflies and critters. I think honeybees will thrive here. I am admittedly a little bit nervous but I know in my heart that with my stubborn determination this is going to be great!

It's healthy to be nervous about taking care of that many creatures! I believe y'all will be successful, especially with that radical beehome design :)

Awesome! You've been entered into the challenge, thank you!

Thank you! I am enjoying reading all the submissions. There are some great ideas being shared that are on my endless bucket list too :)

Thank you for participating in the most recent #homesteadingchallenge! This comment is to inform you that the winner and a few honorable mentions have just been announced! I hope to see you in future contests!

@kiaraantonoviche thank you so much! I am delighted! Thank you for running the challenge. The process of writing out our goals really motivated me to start actively moving forward with the project. I'll be sure to update you. Thank you.

I've learned so much about bees from the Homesteading Community and your post just added to that. Thanks for bringing it to our attention and I hope you have great success with it!

Thanks so much @aunt-deb I am really excited to have found such a positive community! I'll share updates as we move forward. Right now we are buried under snow so it's so hard to imagine spring.

You're welcome and, agreed, there are lots of really great folks here. It's so nice to see new people getting comfortable so quickly!

Ditto on the snow. I'm just southeast of Chicago, in NW Indiana. Crazy weather patterns are 'normal' here. Lol!

very interested. I've always been interested in bees. It seems as though there is much to know to be successful. Best wishes to you in this endeavour.

Thank you!

Learning so much here! What a great vision, I love the name!! Thank you for this post, adding it to my "bee dreams" for later...I have never seen these types of hives! Checking out the link now. Congrats on winning the contest:)