1. Finally meeting the famous Dr. Clarence Collison (photo 1) and Harry Fulton, whose knowledge and passion for beekeeping first inspired Mark at the 2-day class he attended.
2. Taking the "basic" workshops on overwintering and spring management. I learned a lot and have some concerns about a couple of our hives and the amount of food stores they have, but we'll just have to keep an eye on them and if we have to feed them during the winter, we can.
3. Learning that the reason Hives 1, 5, & 6 are so strong may simply be a matter of "drift." When hives are all the same color, bees can get confused. Usually when they return to the wrong hive, the guard bees won't let them in; however, bees who return to a hive loaded with nectar or pollen are allowed it as they are considered contributors. Thus, those hives on the ends of rows tend to have higher populations due to bees drifting in due to confusion. Note to self: paint hives different colors before spring.
4. Going to a workshop on candle and soap-making, which began poorly (the person they'd asked to teach had little experience with candles and none with soap!) but took off with a bang when one of the attendees turned out to be a "master candle maker" and gave us all kinds of tips and tricks. He may not look like a candle maker, but he buys jars in bulk from
5. Meeting an experienced lotion and beauty product maker from Arkansas, who gave me some tips on finding a niche for products. I told her she needs to teach a class next year, and she said she would be interested!
6. Seeing Joan Thompson (who taught me how to cream corn properly this summer when we went to buy nucs). She said, "One day when I returned home from my work with the Farm Bureau, I discovered a 21-frame extractor in my kitchen." It's like seeing my future before it happens . . . though I've already told Mark this story and warned him 21 frames is a bit too much for us right now!
7. Seeing the wide variety of honey entered in the honey contest. The range from light (spring) to dark (fall) is stunning, and in the first photo you can see Dr. Collison tasting some chunk honey with a toothpick.Maybe next year Prairie Blossom Bee Farm will have some honey for the competition!