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2018 was a year to remember--
Charlie got married (in 2017) and he is acting like a 19 year old kid again--all smiles and no gray hair!! Lovely wife--Susan is helping Charlie a great deal--bees like her too! John keeps getting older and grumpier!
Two years of dry weather in Maine was not good for production of honey---it tasted good though. Mortality of bees keeps us frustrated. Mite and health issues are all across America affecting the health of bees--what a struggle.
Cheaper honey imports from China and Viet-Nam, (which is diluted with corn syrup,) creates cheap prices at the store and shoppers think they are getting raw unadulterated honey, and they are not--30% corn syrup and they can still advertise it "pure".
A few words about 2015:
Quantity: For the season, honey was down about 30% due to cold and rainy weather in Northern Main in May and June.
Quality: Was up. The honey was as sweet and good tasting as we could only hope for.
Our hive building: We did not meet our own expectations as in (quantity) as pressing matters kept us focused on the health of the bees in over-wintering. Hopefully 2016 will allow us to gain ground on building new hives.
We introduced: Creamed Honey this year and customers bought most of our inventory.
We did a small test amount: Of Cut-Comb honey and our customers tore our clothes off to get some. We like our clothes off, so we have commited to dedicating 10% of our hives for this great tasting treat for 2016. Charlie is not so happy about this as the bees have to work harder at producing wax and don't concentrate on honey alone. We have another beekeeper in Fort, named Dick that will help us, I hope, as he is very experienced in Cut-Comb.
Highlights of 2016 and the start of 2017
2016 was a year of adjustment. We started off with great hope and expectations of building up our hives by purchasing hives from another beekeeper, but unfortunately, they died. We concentrated on the health of our existing bees so we did not grow in hive numbers, but the bees that we had, met all of our expectations for quality honey and quantity, while other beekeepers in Maine had issues because of drought conditions early on in the spring and summer. Of course this was compounded by truck/diesel issues. A new-used truck, got us back on track again.
Our honey for 2016 was great tasting, so this made up for some of our problem days.
Our customer base seems to be growing with supermarkets happy to stock and sell our raw-honey We now serve Northern Aroostook to Bangor Maine, with one distributor selling state wide.
2017--Charlie and the bees are in Ludowici, Georgia since last fall. The bees are at R&R-- (rest and relaxation)--and making babies-- and Charlie is "midwifing". In late April they will be heading back to Maine to start the process all over again. Special thanks to all of our new customers that love our Maine Honey. We promise to keep up the quality that you have become accustomed to and for which we are commited to providing you.
We are happy to make a special note here that we are partnering with Holly Hardwick of Eagle Lake Maine, which she and her husband, Steve produces Pure Maine Maple Syrup from their property in Eagle Lake. Holy is designing our packaging, involved in Marketing and paints our glass jars that are flying off our customers shelves. Holly is "Director of good things to come" for MaineBees! She can be found here.
Charlie, Henry and the Bees are doing fine at the wintering grounds in Ludowici, Georgia. We lease 12,000 acres of forest land for winter warmth, protection of bees, rebuilding healthy stock, which includes re-queening when necessary and we build and repair hives.
Here is a collage of recent photo's.
March 20th, 2015--Ludowici, Ga:
Our Georgia stay is going very well. Repairing and building new boxes is going foward, even though it is a slow process. We have had engine issues with our Ford truck and a re-build engine is going in next week--second one this year.
Re building of hives is going a little slower than expected. In our effort to increase the hives, we are about half way finished.
Charlie has been spliting hives and organizing new queens. We expect to be in Maine mid May this year.
October, 2014--Fort Fairfield, Maine
Charlie and Henry Loading up for Georgia.
August, 2014--Fort Fairfield, Maine
Building a road for Charlie's new Honey House and summer residence. Rocks came from "pickings", from Potato Fields nearby.