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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    15

    Smile Greetings from Portland, OR

    Hello, all. I'm new to these parts, and kinda-sorta-not-really-new back to beekeeping.

    I grew up in California and we always had bees (which means I stepped on more than my fair share when I was barefoot and running around in the summers). I never had a lot to do with the hives, proper, but as I got older I did a fair bit with the honey and wax -- and I always liked the bees themselves (they're such pretty little girls). And then I grew up and there were apartments and lots of moving and big cities and no bees for years and years.

    So, when I moved to a house (with a yard!) in Portland, one of the first things I noticed last summer was... there weren't any honeybees at *all* up in my neighborhood. A few bumbles, and some wasps... but none of the honeybees I was expecting (hoping) to see. So I started looking into getting my own hive... and promptly realized how much I'd forgotten or had never known about keeping bees. I can tell you, it's a bit overwhelming to vaguely remember some of the basics, but then there's hundreds of people and sites arguing about the "best" hives and breeds and equipment and all the rest. I figured my best bet was to do a lot of research, and then steel myself for murdering at least three colonies while I limped along the learning curve...

    Which didn't sound like a very good plan at all, but it was about the best I could think of...!

    (It's okay -- this story has a MUCH happier ending than that. I think. So far.)

    As luck would have it, at the first local Farmer's Market of this season, I got to talking to a local honey seller whose husband does swarm retrieval and beekeeping. She mentioned that her husband was always on the lookout for folks that were willing to host hives in their yards. The working plan is the the hosts can be as much or as little involved in caring for the hives as they like, with a bit of honey for rent. And that, of course, sounded BRILLIANT to me. There was the safety-net of a seasoned beekeeper I'd been looking for, with the opportunity for me to hands-on with a hive and learn and re-learn what I'll need to have my own hives, eventually, when I'm no longer a hazard waiting to happen.

    So a last month, we got a call about a swarm, and those were put into a nuc and set up in a morning-sun spot in the back yard. And then a week later we moved a second, established hive into a super next door to the nuc. And, hooray, my backyard is buzzing with bees! I don't care too much about honey (I take a spoonful a day as I've always done, like vitamins, and I use it in lotions and salves), but I *love* working with beeswax, so I talked them out of some few-years-old comb (and some reaaaally ugly old burr, haha) and have been rendering some gorgeous dark wax the past couple of weeks.

    And now I've talked WAY too much for any sort of introduction (I can get VERY chatty ), so I'm just going to say hello again, and I'm looking forward to meeting and talking with and learning from you all!

    --Ariana

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
    Posts
    6,851

    Default Re: Greetings from Portland, OR

    Welcome Ariana!
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Wilbur, Washington
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: Greetings from Portland, OR

    Welcome aboard Ariana.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Greetings from Portland, OR

    Thank you, both! Nice to internet-meet you.

    I tried to log into chat yesterday and... long story short, it wasn't until this morning that I got the right sort of java working with some other browser. Sometimes. Haha. So we'll see if that's something I can do very often...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Noxon, Mt.
    Posts
    41

    Default Re: Greetings from Portland, OR

    welcome! I am very new to bees also. We live in Montana, 50 miles East of Sandpoint Idaho. What are you going to use the wax for? This is so interesting to me...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    15

    Post Re: Greetings from Portland, OR

    Quote Originally Posted by kellymt View Post
    What are you going to use the wax for?
    Hi Kelly!

    There's never as much wax as you think there is, once you've melted it down and filtered it out...! I've always preferred the yellow wax (more comb) to the white (more cap, and sometimes sun bleaching), because it has that rich honey and summer smell when you burn it. I got four 64-oz yogurt tubs full of old comb to render down this time, and I got enough wax out of that to make... oh, say about 60 of those little tea lights. I'll probably make a couple little jars of lip balm for me for the winter, a new beeswax plug for my sewing box, and the rest I'll make into candles for myself and friends (including the folks that gave me the wax in the first place).

    My favorite beeswax candles to make are votive sized, but with rounded tops (like a bee skep!) instead of the flat-top votives that I think always waste a bit of wax. I thread little bee charms through the wick at the point where you should trim it before lighting, because I know people sometimes don't know where you should trim a beeswax candle to get the best first light!

    I'll tell you a secret, though -- I mostly just love the smell of the house when I've been rendering wax or making candles! The whole house smells like a beehive for days afterwards.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Greetings from Portland, OR

    (For years I've been thinking about getting tiny little batches of old comb from small beekeepers all over the States, and making little batches of candles labeled with where the wax came from. Just like honey tastes different depending on where it's sourced or the season or even different years, wax has a different color/texture/smell, too. I think it would be neat to pull out a new beeswax candle and say "oh, this one's from Ohio Summer 2010" or whatever...!)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Gordonsville,VA USA
    Posts
    114

    Default Re: Greetings from Portland, OR

    Welcome Ariana, you just down the way a bit, only a few thousand miles, pull up a chair coffee is on

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Noxon, Mt.
    Posts
    41

    Default Re: Greetings from Portland, OR

    Thanks for sharing...gives me much food for thought. My creative mind is humming!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Clackamas Oregon
    Posts
    725

    Default Re: Greetings from Portland, OR

    Welcome, I am just east of you in Boring. Wanted to just let you know that Zenger farms just off of (foster ave) is having a ‘tour de hives’ on a bunch of different bee keepers in Portland Saturday. I have to go to a wedding otherwise I would go see what they have done in the big city. I think it is a self guided tour like they did with the chicken coops (that became such a big hit). I seen they were looking for help doing the demo on extracting at the farm in the afternoon.
    Welcome to the site!
    “Why do we fall, sir? So that we might learn to pick ourselves up” Alfred Pennyworth Batman Begins (2005)

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Tigard, OR
    Posts
    119

    Default Re: Greetings from Portland, OR

    Wow, talk about deja vu; I grew up in CA (Redding), I live in Tigard now, my parents just built a house in Estacada although they'd been over on the far side of Boring before that... and I have my one and only hive in the backyard. It has definately been a learning experience. I just re-queened this week (ok, actually I have to go look tomorow morning and see if the released her yet) and honestly I'm amazed the bees have survived me!
    As for me, all I know is that I know nothing...
    - Socrates

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    portland, dorset, UK
    Posts
    128

    Default Re: Greetings from Portland, OR

    Hi Ariana, Hello from one of the other Portlands.... hope you enjoy your bees over the coming years.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Greetings from Portland, OR

    Quote Originally Posted by minz View Post
    Zenger farms [...] is having a ‘tour de hives’ on a bunch of different bee keepers in Portland Saturday.
    I thought you meant today until I checked the website to see this is next Saturday, the 18th. Thanks for letting me know about that! It sounds pretty neat.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Greetings from Portland, OR

    Quote Originally Posted by Cris View Post
    I grew up in CA (Redding)
    Out here, a lot of folks have at least taken a drive through the Sacto valley (or, like you and me, they're transplants from CA), but when I was living back east it used to crack me up how many people couldn't imagine how growing up in California (Hollywood! Movie Stars! Apple Computers!) could be growing up in farmland. I'm originally from one of the hundreds of incorporated cowtowns around Sacto proper, and moving to Portland has been like coming home... but without the heat stroke in the summer...!

    Cris and Minz both -- did you have to feed your girls this summer? We got such a late, cloudy start to the year (even the swarms apparently came really late, and not many of them), I've been worried about how much rain and cold we were getting when they should have been foraging, up until these past couple of record-breaking-heat weeks.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Tigard, OR
    Posts
    119

    Default Re: Greetings from Portland, OR

    I'm feeding right now actually; my hive threw about three swarms and left me with such a small workforce (and then I had really a suboptimal queen) so I just re-queened and they've been guzzling the sugar water.
    As for me, all I know is that I know nothing...
    - Socrates

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Battle Ground , Washington, USA
    Posts
    747

    Default Re: Greetings from Portland, OR

    Welcome to the Site, There are several great bee clubs in the Portland Area...
    I'm not tense, Just terribly, terribly alert!

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Clackamas Oregon
    Posts
    725

    Default Re: Greetings from Portland, OR

    I thought the tour de hives was yesterday! I may be able to make it after all!
    “Why do we fall, sir? So that we might learn to pick ourselves up” Alfred Pennyworth Batman Begins (2005)

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