The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Double deep, double weight

Deep frames of honeyThe double deep system netted us an amazing harvest of 4.5 gallons of honey this year, but there is one small problem with the design --- weight.  One deep frame of honey weighs 7 pounds, so if your bees fill up the top brood box, it's going to weight 70 pounds.  The most macho of my readers may be able to shift that, but I know I can't (at least without breaking my back.)

Only the hive that was double deep from the get-go this year managed to fill its top brood box to the point where I couldn't lift it, so I've just skipped checking that hive's lower brood box for the last couple of months.  I needed a good tally of honey stores, though, to make sure each hive has the 50 to 60 pounds required to get them through the winter in Virginia.  So I took out half of the frames, then heaved the still-quite-heavy brood box to the side.

Down below, our busy bees had socked away an entire other brood box full of honey and pollen!  I estimate that the total honey stores in that hive easily top 80 pounds (and all of the other hives also clocked in well above the bare minimum.)  Most beekeepers would have extracted nearly half of that honey, but I like the idea of restricting our harvests to the spring so that my bees have no shortage through the cold weather.  The excess honey will be just as sweet come spring, and my hive will be prepared in case of an extremely cold winter.

Our homemade chicken waterer never spills or fills with poop.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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I like your philosphy of not taking everything there is to be taken, just because it's there.
Comment by J Sun Oct 31 11:55:14 2010
Thanks! I always figure the health of our livestock is our first priority, with what we can get out of them coming in behind.
Comment by anna Sun Oct 31 17:23:12 2010

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