We are back!  It was nice break but not really sure I can say I actually caught up or anything – but that’s life!

Another storm blew yesterday and dumped about 3/4″ of rain – what a tremendous blessings that was!  The garden seems to have grown overnight.  Everything is lush and beautiful.

Justin tallied up the harvest for March and and for those of you who have been following Amy, our duck, she laid her first eggs since her injury (of course there was some complications — more on that later!)

Not to mention on Sunday there was a 7.2 earth quake south of us which rattled the windows along with a few nerves.

Whoops diverting a bit here, sorry!  Like I said it was a pretty busy break!  Now back to the title of this post.

Spring is here and there’s blooms galore here on the urban homestead – citrus, peaches, apples, lavender, borage, wildflowers etc.  It’s a bee’s all you can eat buffet!

With the warmer weather and everything blooming like gangbusters there’s one thing you gotta know about keeping bees no matter how good your digs are or how tempting your all you can eat smorgasbord – you can’t just “fence ’em in” especially if there’s a new queen in town.

An old English poem says:

A swarm of bees in May is worth a load of hay;
A swarm of bees in June is worth a silver spoon;
A swarm of bees in July isn’t worth a fly.

Learn more about why bees swarm – check out this well put together resource

Here’s our recent swarm capture.

Beekeepers Jules and Justin get ready to capture a swarm located in a tree

Justin climbs up the ladder and cuts the branch

Closer look at the swarm – its’ a beaut!

Jordanne climbs up to help

Justin puts the hive on a plank and lowers the limb with the swarm

Cutting away some of the branches

Everything ready and in place

Justin gives the limb a nice hard shake and

With one hard WHACK all the bees fall into their new hive

On goes the top

All done

Captured the queen! Bees digging their new digs


  1. Wendy says:

    The photos of the capture are so amazing!

    We’re embarking on our beekeeping adventure this year. It will be a completely new experience for my husband and me, and while we’re very excited, it’s also a little daunting, given that neither of us have any experience with bees.

  2. Laura says:

    So cool! I was wondering how that was done. My father in law orders his bees. So far, we’ve been very lucky and able to get free honey from him. However, I suspect bee keeping is in our future too.

  3. Sarah says:

    Glad you’re back! I think if I took a month ling break from blogging, I still wouldn’t get any more done! Things just keep happening, because the homestead is an exciting place!!! Things are always hoppin’!

    I can’t wait to get our first bees! For our weather, we are getting some at the end of this month! YAY!

  4. Michelle says:

    Amazing!! Bees are my new research interest…someday I’ll have some hives of my own.

  5. Josh of Magic Bean Farm says:

    I’ve been following you guys for years, way before all these website redesigns, and through my own previous blogs as well. You guys have been an inspiring resource for me. I now finally have my own commercial urban farm, spanning multiple yards. Bees are the one thing I am most hesitant to manage myself though, although I have a friend who really wants to do it, if only she was more south in Seattle than north!

    How fascinating these swarms are though! Maybe one day I’ll have some hives on the farm. Have chickens now, maybe goats some day as well!

  6. Grizzly Bear Mom says:

    Glad to hear that Amy the duck is doing well enough to lay eggs. I wondered how her health was. I kept ducks and a goat as a teen but my upper middle class neighbor hood prohibits livestock, and only allows cats and dogs, that are non productive, but good companions.

  7. Laura says:

    Wow, those photos are amazing, and yet a little unnerving…I love the *idea* of having bees, but I think it it was necessary to capture a swarm, I’d get somebody else to do it! 🙂

  8. Grizzly Bear Mom says:

    For those of you who can’t commute to Pasadena, watch for these films on PBS around Earth Day. They are inspiring!

  9. ariella says:

    way cool! Thanks for sharing a little about bee keeping. I have a major bee allergy, but I love learning about bee keeping!

  10. Janice Engelberth says:

    Thannks for the pictures. It is quite educational..

  11. Janice Engelberth says:

    Thanks for the pictures. It is quite educational..

  12. julie says:

    Okay I’m new to the bee thing; so why do you have to capture the swarm? Won’t they pollinate as they were? We’ve got a hive in our yard and I’m considering calling one of the cool bee rescue orgs to come get it to relocate them since i have little kids competing for the yard. But then dont i want the bees around to pollinate my garden? What do you think?

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