What a busy time! I had hoped to update how the conference went after we got home, but we were (not surprisingly) wiped out. I’ve also been busy travelling the internet in search of more ideas and research to understand more about the new ideas we heard during the meeting.
Our day started by buying a strip of raffle tickets as long as I am tall. Grace held onto the tickets all day in anticipation of the closing raffle. Good news! The Russell luck held. We won a small pewter pin and set of honey bee earrings. The earrings ended up being the present Grace brought home for her little sister, Faith. The top two prizes in the raffle were a langstroth hive and a copper topped top bar hive. Grace was thrilled with winning anything in the raffle, but I was a little disappointed we used up our luck before the big ticket items!
The conference was structured so that we attended two breakout sessions, lunch, and two more sessions. There was so much information presented in each class that I feel that the topics deserve their own blog post, so those will be coming in the future. We attened a Soaps and Lotions, How To? presentation by Shana and Jim Hoffman. Making these kinds of items hasn’t been very high on my interest list, but we do have a lot of beeswax and Faith loves to play chemist. We will probably give it a try. The next presentation was regarding the Hoosier Roadside Heritage Program by Bill Fielding. I can honestly say that this was the first time I’ve listened to a government official and liked what he had to say. I will definitely be posting more info about this program.
Lunch at the Clifty Falls Inn was delicious. In fact, the entire Inn is something to see. I can’t speak for the trails since we didn’t get outside much, but the Inn was beautiful. We saw a stuffed wolf, bobcat, bald eagle, and several other animals throughout the conference area, and the view of the Ohio River from the back balcony was very relaxing. I imagine it would be quite stunning in the early fall when the fall colors are at their height.
After lunch, we listened to Tim Tucker teach about how he uses six frame nucs in his operation. I don’t know if we’ll go that route or not, but I do know it made me want more bees. Of course, everything makes me want more bees. The last presenation we attended was Peter Borst of Cornell University talking about swarms: why bees swarm, when, how, and how to stop swarming. Setting up more swarm traps is a goal for 2016 so this was timely information for us.
The last exciting part of the day was the auction. This was Grace’s first auction as anything other than just another kid underfoot at a farm equipment auction. She had her eye on a homemade full size quilt for her bed. I told her it would go for over $200 but she gave me the preteen eye roll that universally conveys that mom doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Final price on that quilt? $265. Who looks like a genius now! 😉 She insisted we bid on something, and since I still needed a little something to take home to my son and husband, I let her talk me into it. I ended up winning a small jar of comb honey for $6 and a counter top honey dispenser with a honeybee finger puppet for another $6. The dispenser has a retail of $18 so I feel pretty good about that purchase. Grace worked up the nerve to bid on a pair of earrings, although she would still not look at the auctioneer when she raised her hand. She had a bidding war going on with another lady, but once she reached the limit of what mom was willing to pay, she decided she didn’t want them bad enough to use any of her own money!
I was unsure about attending the conference since we are fairly new beekeepers. Beforehand, I felt that perhaps I didn’t have enough experience to get much out of the advanced topics, and too much experience to want to sit through yet another beginner beekeeping lecture. Now that the day has come and gone I am very glad we attended. The conference committee did a great job of offering topics for all levels and interests, and we are planning on attending again next year. In fact, we may take the whole family and make a full weekend trip!