Langstroth Hive Setup

My winter project? Make a bunch of short videos answering the basic beekeeping questions we get all of the time. Here's a preview:


So, you bought all of the parts to put together your new hive, and now it's time to actually put it together. And that's where it can get tricky!

What part goes where? It all makes a lot of sense when you see it set up in the store, but can get pretty confusing when you have to do it again at home. Here's  a quick video that we think should help.

Do you have an idea for a video you'd like to see? Let me know! erin@mastersons.net

Honey Harvest Festival Contest Winners

THANK YOU!

Wow! What a weekend! We want to extend a huge thank you to everyone who came out this weekend to celebrate the Fifth Annual Honey Harvest Festival with us! The festival is bigger and better every year, and we had a great time meeting new people and chatting about bees all weekend.

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The Amazing Volunteers

A huge thank you to all of our volunteers who spent their time helping out with the event. Beekeepers are pretty great people, we've found, and we have an amazing network of folks in our area. 

Steve mastered the uncapping process with a smile.

Steve mastered the uncapping process with a smile.

Kim got a workout as she extracted honey with the hand-crank.

Kim got a workout as she extracted honey with the hand-crank.

Local Vendors

We are so grateful to the local vendors who joined us this year. Without them, the event wouldn't be nearly as much fun. This year awe had such a wonderful variety of folks here and we hope that you'll continue to support these local businesses.

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Honey Taste Contest

And finally...the results from everyone's favorite part of the event!

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and the winner is

Maria Weber of Orchard Park

Maria submitted sample #10, which received 21% of the votes cast throughout the weekend. 

Wondering about the other honeys? Here's the breakdown of where they came from and the percentage of votes each won.

  1. 14% - Orchard Park
  2. 13% - Angola
  3. 4% - Alden
  4. 7% - Hamburg
  5. 9% - West Valley
  6. 9% - Newfane
  7. 10% - Lockport
  8. 5% - West Seneca
  9. 7% - Holland
  10. 21% - Orchard Park

As you can see, every single honey in the contest had some fans, so what this means to us is that ALL honey is awesome. Thank you to all who participated by submitting samples and voting! We'll do it again next year...

Cell Count Guessing Game

In our kids area, we placed a single medium frame out with the instructions to guess how many honeycomb cells the bees could build on it. We had lots of guesses (some great, some not so close!) and the winner with the closest guess was:

Mika Walten

The actual cell count for that frame was 2,772, so Mika's guess of 2,750 was the closest! Congrats!

 

Plant Hardy Mums for Fall Color

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Ever since I was a little kid working here at the garden center, the arrival of the mums meant fall was really here. The smell of the mums as they come off the truck is still one of my favorites, and the bright pops of color throughout the greenhouses are welcome after all of the annuals have faded away.

Three reasons to love hardy mums

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  • Mums do well in containers. Whether you need to spruce up some tired annual planters on your front porch or need some pops of color for fall entertaining, mums are a great choice. 
  • Mums bloom when most other stuff is done. While some annuals are still looking good at this point in the season, many have passed their peak bloom times and there's not a whole lot of color left in the garden. A border of hardy mums adds fall interest.
  • Hardy mums are perennials. Yep, that's right! Those beauties you buy in the fall can be planted in the ground and will reward you with fall color for years to come. Some simple routine maintenance is all that is required to keep them looking great from year to year. You can even divide them.

Planting and care tips

Hardy mums are perennials, meaning that they will come back year after year. In order to keep them looking their best, follow these simple steps:

  • Plant in a sunny location, receiving at least six hours of direct sunlight per day.
  • Water regularly until established, making sure leaves do not wilt. Avoid wetting the foliage, as this can promote disease.
  • Pinch back growth by about one half every three to four weeks until the Fourth of July. This promotes branching of the stems, which results in more blooms and a more appealing overall shape.
  • Divide mums in the spring, just as new green grown begins to emerge.

Beeswax Soap Recipe

When you're a beekeeper, you find yourself with lots of beeswax laying around and you find ways to use it. One of my favorite uses for beeswax is in soap making. We'll host a soap making class a little later in the season, but here's the recipe I've been using for a few years now and it's my favorite.

Ingredients:

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  • 360 g olive oil

  • 225 g coconut oil

  • 175 g palm oil

  • 32 2 castor oil

  • 7 g beeswax

  • 264 g distilled water

  • 114 g sodium hydroxide

  • about 1 tablespoon honey

  • 1 – 2 tablespoons fragrance or essential oils, as desired

This recipe has worked well for me, creating a creamy colored bar that does not turn to mush in the shower while still providing good lather. 

Not into making your own soap? We sell it here in the store.

Explore Our Wildlife Habitat

Last year, we updated our nursery yard to create a wildlife-friendly environment. Almost immediately, we saw toads move into the stream bed, bees and butterflies visiting the pollinator gardens, and so many species of birds visiting the feeders. It is such a peaceful place to visit!

We want to encourage little explorers to wander through the yard and see what wildlife they can spot, so we've created a scavenger hunt checklist. The lists will be available in our Kids Garden area, and anyone who completes the scavenger hunt can return the list for a Wildlife Explorer Badge. (Ok, it's a sticker, but who doesn't like stickers?)

Bring your little ones in and go on a wildlife scavenger hunt together. Hopefully you'll feel inspired to invite nature back into your backyard!

Getting our Website Back

A few weeks ago, our website was hacked, flagged, and then shut down by our server. We've been, inconveniently, offline since then.

Rather than remaining angry about this disruption during what is a very busy time for us, we decided to look at the bright side and take this an opportunity to re-design our site and bring even better content to you.

Please bear with us as we add more information back to the site, and don't hesitate to give us a call at the store if you have any questions at all.

Also, a HUGE THANKS to everyone that came out to see us at the Plantasia show this weekend! We had a great time, and we're feeling excited for spring!