A look ahead to the coming year while looking back at 2019
An overview of our goals + accomplishments this year
For us here at GooBees.Farm and Honey Emporium, 2019 was a year of growth and massive action. In 2018 we set a goal of sending our hives to California for the winter in preparation for 2020’s almond pollination. We worked hard to make this happen and on December 11th we loaded up our babies and Eric took them to California. We started in the spring with a total of 9 hives. Our goal for the number of hives to send to California was forty and we are grateful to report we were able to meet that goal.
When Eric left Stanwood, it was 39 degrees. When he arrived in California it was sunny and 68. The unloading of the bees went without a hitch until the bee brokers’ wife got stung. Eric was able to administer epi as she had a severe anaphylactic reaction. She was taken to the hospital and later was discharged. I look forward to meeting her this weekend when we go down to inspect our hives.
In addition to our regular beekeeping and farm duties, we put up a 30 X 40 building which was another goal of ours.
While Eric spent most of his time at GooBees Farm I was out and about in the community at farmers’ markets and fairs selling our honey, honey related items, and GooBees Honey Emporium bath and body products from May through December. Our daughter Margo in addition to her full-time job filled in where and when she could. The day will come when she will join us full time.
Another one of our goals in 2019 was genetic stock improvement and to take our beekeeping to the next level. While I stayed behind, Eric and Margo went to Washington State University in June for a Queen Rearing and Bee Breeding Workshop. Eric and Margo improved their understanding of queen rearing, bee breeding systems and selection methods. They were also introduced to the more advanced techniques of instrumental insemination and cryopreservation. We believe in education and staying at the forefront of advancements to ensure our hives are healthy.
Bests of 2019
- Strengthening old relationships
- We called upon Eric’s Seattle Fire Dept. coworkers and a family friend to get the concrete slab poured for our building. On Nov 1st we had six firefighters and one family friend step up and get the job done. A heartfelt thank you to our crew: Brad, Clint, Nick, Ryan, Sean, and Steven.
- Forming new relationships with our neighbors in Stanwood. We are forever grateful to:
- Matt Fenton of Competitor Landscape https://www.facebook.com/Competitor-Landscape-321445018066004/ for all the dirt and road work he provided.
- Our neighbor to the north Warren and our neighbors to the south Ken and Amy were always ready to help.
- If you are ever in the neighborhood stop by S & T Espresso first https://www.facebook.com/S-T-Espresso-167166013299755/ and Teresa will hook you up with a hot or a cold drink.
- I discovered I am no longer allergic to honey bees. Whew! What a relief.
- Formed a strategic partnership with a local business where we have been given access to hundreds of acres in which to place hives. We are very excited to be working with them in their efforts to become a certified pollinator garden with hives of their own. Their goal of working within the community to educate and support pollination efforts are in line with ours. We are excited about what 2020 will bring.
- The blackberry honey we pulled off our Stanwood Apiary hives this year is the best we have ever had. We gave it the designation of “Special Reserve”.
- I was challenged by a new friend to add a creamed (also known as whipped and spun) honey to our product line. Where before I looked at it as too much work, I fell in love with the process of making it. It is so beautiful to watch. Thank you, Melissa, for being my muse.
- While out and about in the community selling products and educating about honey bees, I made lots of new friends. I was constantly in the presence of gifted artisans, growers, crafters, and local businesses and I learned so much from every single one of them. A special thank you goes out to Tia Entrikin, Manager, of the Mount Vernon Farmers Market https://www.facebook.com/mountvernonwafarmersmarket/photos/pcb.3548626678512643/3548626308512680/?type=3&theater. Insert pics
- Having only 2 Worsts of 2019
Worsts of 2019
- Hornets killed off 15 to 20 of our hives.
- Having the contractor, we lined up to pour the building’s slab disappear on us. Boy did that cause us some major heartburn. Eric with Karen’s help finished the formwork and on November 1st we had a very successful slab pour.
Goals for 2020
- Hornet control – Operation kill or bee killed!
- Growth – have 250 hives to send to California for the 2021 almond pollination, we are going to need a bigger truck
- Produce 60 pounds of comb honey
- Sell 100 NUCS for Spring 2020 – Nucs, or nucleus colonies, are small honey bee colonies created from larger colonies. The term refers both to the smaller size box and the colony of honeybees within it. The name is derived from the fact that a nuc hive is centered on a queen, the nucleus of the honey bee colony. For information on how to order a Nuc or a 10 Frame honey bee colony visit us at https://www.facebook.com/GooBeesHoney/
- Take our demonstration hive out more into the community to give children and adults the unique opportunity to experience bees and their environment firsthand. We believe this exposure to the fascinating world of bees gives people the power to move from bee observers to bee advocates.
- Plan a pollinator garden for GooBees Farm in Stanwood
- Make new friends, strengthen old friendships, have fun while “Saving the World One Beehive at a Time”
Thank you for being apart of our lives and our success in 2019! We look forward to what 2020 has in store for us.
Your Bee Team!
Eric, Karen, and Margo Stroschein