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I met with Jon and Lisa Zweber in person today for the first time since getting their approval for placing my hives. Zweber farms has a Facebook page (or here) is a fourth-generation dairy farm in the rolling hills of southern Scott County, just northwest a few miles of Northfield, Minnesota (St Olaf, Carleton Colleges, and where my kids grew up), 12 miles south of me (Prior Lake, MN), 30 miles south of downtown Minneapolis, and far enough off Interstate 35 so you don’t hear the hum. They’re less than two miles north of Elko Speedway, so they do get the rumble from the Saturday night NASCAR races during the summer. Might be more than a rumble, I suppose…but at least it’s only one night a week for part of the year.

Jon and his son, Tim are farming 249 acres in Elko, MN…organic dairy, and a sideline, selling frozen pork, chicken and beef. I’ve been working with Lisa for the past 5 years when she’s had computer problems up until recently when she installed Windows 7 on her main computer, and her PC trouble pretty much cleared up. She has been a good referral, though and I’ve picked up more than a couple of new customers in the last few years from her referrals (thanks Lisa. And Emily?  your blog rocks 🙂

Lisa, Jon and I walked out to the back 40 (literally) where they showed me a spot that they would let me use for the hives. We’ve (we=me and the girls) got a spot near a tree-line, and the hives can face south…the earlier the sun hits the front of the hive, the earlier the girls can get out for nectar. (The trees will help keep a little shade for the beekeeper. Me. I hope.)  My access is off the main north-south county road, with a gate, and some level ground so I can drive  200 ft over to the hives. Remember. 250 acres, cows, gate…Keep the gate closed. check. (Tim, you too 🙂

This looks to be about as perfect a spot as I could have asked for, for the first year with the honeybees. Thank you. Smelled pretty nice out there, too. They’ve been hauling and spreading manure, so the whole area had a rich, organic aroma. My wife can’t figure it out, but I love the smell of cow manure on the field.

I’ll be setting up the hives on Thursday to be ready for the girls to arrive sometime Sunday or Monday. I’ll post a few pictures after I get the boxes set up.

Been getting ready for this for a few months, studying, planning, reading…but now that I’m within a week or so of actually installing the bees…I’m actually a little nervous!

 

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Chad de Boer April 11, 2011, 9:03 pm

    Awesome Rick!

  • Tim Zweber April 11, 2011, 9:58 pm

    Great to hear you found a good spot to put your bees. We had bee hives by our property in the past and I missed seeing those busy insects out working in recent years. We will have to give you some of the apples from our trees that are bound to benefit from the busy pollinators along with our gardens. Can’t wait to see how you tend the hives and maybe taste a little fresh honey.

  • rickvv April 11, 2011, 10:14 pm

    Hey Tim-I forgot about the apple trees! But now I seem to remember seeing them through the kitchen window, between the house and the barn?
    The honeybees go out and forage in a radius of about 2 miles from the hive, which means a 4-mile diameter. So…they’ll definitely hit the apple trees!
    You’ll see me when I’m out with the girls…I’ll be the one with the white suit and veil and puffing white smoke into the hive to keep the bees docile. (remember, these are not like wasps/hornets/yellowJackets…those bees are meat-eaters and aggressive.) Honeybees are vegetarians, and usually only sting when they get pissed-off. I’ll be working in slow-motion when I’m out there with them.

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