I am the new guy to the forum. I am from Coon Valley, Wisconsin and this is my first year of beekeeping on my own. I grew up helping my father since I was knee-high to a grasshopper, and although it has been quite awhile since I helped Dad out due to my Navy and professional obligations, I do not come by this completely inexperienced. Since taking over my father's operation, I have had a lot of support from the local beekeeping association. They have been very helpful to me.
I have 18 hives of bees in 4 small yards, and this years harvest looks to be plentiful. I have all of the extracting done and most of the honey processed and stored in bulk containers (one 55 gallon drum and a bunch of 5 gallon buckets). I still have wax cappings that I am straining honey out of and about 25 or 30 gallons in the dispensing tank waiting for me to put in 5 gallon buckets (I ran out of buckets and am picking up more this afternoon after work). Then I have to melt down the wax and clean everything up and store away for winter. Overall I will have harvested better than 100 lbs of honey per hive, so that makes me pretty proud. And the honey is the most beautiful, light golden color that I truly believe that Dad is telling the bees to take care of me.
I have a lot of excellent equipment, including a 30-frame extractor and a motorized uncapper with oscillating knife blades, among many other items that really make this a top notch operation for a hobbyist.
Probably the most apprehensive time for me was last weekend when I set up the honey house for the first time without being the one to help Dad out. But, being fairly mechanically inclined and by doing a little "thinking like Dad thought" I got the equipment and space all set up with no problems. I have even looked at things with a critical eye, trying to find ways to improve the process, make it more efficient and ultimately provide a superior product in a smarter fashion.
I have a lot of interests that raising bees will help me accomplish and I enjoy promoting bees, beekeeping and the products of the hive. I look forward to some interesting online conversations in here. Hopefully I can contribute for the better in this forum.