First year beekeepers pre-spring task list

Getting ready for your bees? Here is a real quick task list of some things you need to lock down before your bees arrive

  • Secure a large stockpile of sugar for making sugar syrup
  • Be sure to assemble all of your hive bodies and frames. Or have your Top bar hive completely 100% ready
  • An empty spray bottle, to be filled with sugar water (If you plan to install a package)
  • Decide what type of feeder you will be using and understand how it will work. I have the last feeder shown in the video and I have a quail feeder for my top bar hive. Make some sugar syrup to understand the process.
  • Make sure you know when your bees will arrive and if you are getting them in the mail make sure you call the post office and have them notify you the instant they arrive
  • Make sure you have tried on all of your gear and ensure that it fits
  • Try out your smoker before the bees arrive and make sure you understand how to use it efficiently. Practice with it
  • Determine hive placement and location
  • Talk to your neighbors and make sure everyone is on the same page. Bring your mentor along with you to explain and answer any questions, calm any anxieties. Bring a jar of local honey as a peace offering with promises of more to come
  • Make sure you have licensed your apiary if it is required in your area. In Pennsylvania you pay $20 and for that fee you get inspections from the local bee inspector, which I consider to be a benefit.

Did I miss anything?

News & Updates

Hey gang, I’m going to be pretty light on posts for the next few weeks, however I have a lot of cool guests lined up for the podcast to fill the void, but the daily text based posts won’t be as frequent unless you send me something to post.

I’ve got a few exciting web projects lined up for the community and need to focus my attention on them so I can get them completed in a timely manner.

I’ve made a commitment to the SOS blog and podcast, however I envision, and always have envisioned, that SOS would eventually be a place where the community could share resources in order to preserve our knowledge. One of my favorite things about running this blog is trying to promote the other people making a difference out there.

Upcoming Projects:

  • : a website and mobile application to stream all of your favorite podcasts, blog content, and youtube videos from the community
  • I’m also planning to install a “digg” type of software into SOS which will allow the community to share and comment on all of our favorite web resources. This is the first step towards achieving my vision
  • I’m working on a website/iPhone application where you can set an alert on a craigslist search and receive an email notification when their are new results

I’ve been working on my top bar hive so that my girls have a home when they arrive on March 28th and also dutifully assembling honey super frames and brood frames for my commercial style hives.

I also received a soil cube and I spent last night putting together my grow light system. I’m going to try to get my garden plan knocked out this weekend. I’ve already completed my seed selection process. Then, of course, if this snow ever decides to melt I need to prepare my garden beds.

With the spring thaw coming I’m also planning to step up my physical fitness back to acceptable levels by training for some sort of race, most likely a trail run or mountain bike race.

I’ve been slowly collecting pallets which I hope to start breaking down to build my chicken coup. I am currently deciding on my management strategy for the chickens. I will either do a chicken tractor or do rotational paddock system if I can figure out what is involved with that exactly. There is also a chance I may not keep chickens this year, I’ll have to see where I am at when the time comes to get chicks.

Then of course there are all the tasks associated with the birth of my son in June that are too vast to list here, but I’ve signed on for several wood working projects in an attempt to discourage my wife from buying expensive furniture, including several built-in book cases.

It’s proving to be a busy and exciting 2011 at the LaDieu (transitioning to) homestead.

Episode 16: Why globally sourced organic food isn’t good enough for me and other musings about our food supply

I did get the Soil cube this Friday! It looks pretty awesome! Just an FYI!

Free book on building a top-bar hive
The $20 top bar via Jason Akers

GMO Database:


One of the many happy cows confined and overmilked at horizon organic dairy

Bad organic stuff:
Horizon “Organic” milk

““We allow our cows to make milk according to their natural cycle and keep them in good health by giving them certified organic feed, fresh air and access to pasture.”

The key word here is ‘access.’ Right now at work I have access to the executive squash courts, but I am rarely allowed to use them, if at all. I’m too busy and I’m not an exec. Well, the cows at Horizon may have access to pasture but it’s a known industry fact that milk cows don’t spend their days grazing on green grass. They just get to look at it, cooped up in the usual factory-farming warehouses. Occasionally, when the press drops in, the cows may be allowed out for 20 minutes to make a good showing, but this is a rarity. For Horizon Milk to remain productive and profitable, they must keep their cows hooked up to the milking machines.

Horizon cows are hard-workers. The average Horizon organic cow produces almost double the amount of milk of the national average. Which makes it even more difficult for these poor cows to step outside.

Then there are the slaughter rates. They’re higher than the national average because, as no antibiotics are involved, they simply ship the cow off to slaughter if it gets sick. And as the factory-farming conditions are rife with disease and infection, this happens a lot. “
Check out the manure bogs!

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Fake chinese organics

Organic “greenwashing”

Cage free eggs scam

terms meant to confuse – “no hormones”

“Some of her findings will surprise you. For instance, an egg package may make the claim “no hormones.” Sounds good right?
“The Food and Drug Administration has not approved any hormone products for egg production, so this term is meaningless,” she explains.

And what about “cage free” — that sounds like a pretty happy bird to me. As it turns out, a cage-free chicken is kept out of the cage, but it doesn’t necessarily go outside. And a “free range” egg-layer isn’t necessarily roaming the range either. So what’s the term to look for if you want eggs from a happy, free-living bird? ” Look for “animal welfare approved,” a new label by the Animal Welfare Institute that is given only to independent family farmers.” from 2007

“The hazard here is that unscrupulous food suppliers soon find that by simply slapping on the words “organic” on a food product they can up their income 30% or better. That is a temptation, pretty hard to pass up, when there is practically no chance of getting caught and no penalty if they are.”

“Recent headlines out of London were that it had been discovered that over several years over 200 million eggs had been imported from Europe and fake labeled as “range raised” and sold at the higher price when in fact they were from cage raised chickens. “

Counterfeit salmon

fake olive oil

“Most of the olive oil sold in the United States is imported from Italy or Spain. While some Italian and Spanish olive oils are of very high quality, many products sold in the United States as “extra-virgin” may be a lesser grade of olive oil and some may be primarily canola or hazelnut oil to which a small amount of olive oil has been added for color and taste. Some olive oil we get here may come from pomace, the olive pulp left after pressing out the oil. Additional oil can be extracted from pomace by treating it with hexane, a chemical solvent – not a good practice. Even when the bottle contains genuine olive oil, it may not be from Italy or Spain as the labels suggest – both countries import huge quantities of cheaper olive oils from Tunisia, Turkey, Morocco or Libya, bottle them and label them “imported from” Italy or Spain. This is deceptive marketing.”

“Look for imported oils certified by the International Olive Oil Council (IOOC) or by olive oil certifying bodies in Italy (DOP), Spain (DO) or Greece (HEPO).
* Look for California olive oils certified by the California Olive Oil Council (COOC).”

An insane amount of free e-books

First of all a reader emailed me this resource. I’ve not had a chance to go through all of these links. It appears to me that this is an open page that anybody who visits can upload files to. This obviously raises concerns with security. Please be careful when opening anything you download from this website. I would only open a file that had a .pdf extension.

Now with that being said, here is the link:

A refreshing “traditional” look at diet and nutrition

Awesome free cookbook / nutrition guide I found via Darcy over at the Stumbling Homestead blog.

This is getting back to a traditional diet where it was acceptable to eat animal fats and butter instead of processed hydrogenated vegetable oils which we are falsely told are healthier options.

Well, I’ll let Dr. Price do the convincing:

Healthy 4 Life 2011

Also check out the Weston Price Foundation website.