About Us

We live in the suburbs of Maryland, in Carroll County. Our area is suburban but with a strong agricultural bent (more corn and soybeans than actual farms with cows, pigs, chickens).

We’ve always grown veggies, even our sorry attempts at tomatoes in a pot in the SHADE when we lived in an apartment. Once we moved in here, the gardening gloves were on full-time! The garden beds expanded and expanded. I think we’re done adding garden beds but now the focus is on protecting them from deer, rabbits and groundhogs.

In 2010 we added chickens, in 2011, honey bees. This blog is my attempt at tracking the beehives, hopefully making a useful beekeeping blog. We’ll throw in some gardening and chicken-keeping while we’re at it.

But we are NOT farmers–we just like to play pretend 🙂



  1. Enjoyed your website. Wish i had the time and knowledge to do the same.

    We too are gardners and beekeepers, but in the shadow of Pikes Peak. A few more challenges. Have to replace the soil (decomposed granite) with good top soil, compost, and manuer and irrigate daily. Trapped and killed about 60 YJ queens this Spring but my YJs don’t touch the raspberries. Have a geodesic dome greenhouse to get some semi-tropical plants through the winter. The apiary has to have an electric bear fence 24/7 to survive. Had the best ever harvest of wildflower honey this year though.


  2. I have a question. I just read a post you made about your Kitchenaid mixer making noise. I’ve gone through 2 from the store and a replacement from KA in the last 3 weeks. I still have the clicking noise. Is your new mixer still quiet? I have the Imperial Gray and it is driving me nuts. I’m trying to decide if I want to try another replacement or give up on KA.

    • Yes, it is still quiet and works like a dream. Did KA check it before they sent it out to you? And does it make the noise when the bowl is empty or only with resistance? In my opinion, hassle-free replacement is there for a reason, set a number of replacements that seems reasonable to you (but really what’s reasonable? It should work straight out of the box!) and then give up. My number was three, but when I got the third one I realized I would exchange it again and again and again if I had to, but fortunately the third one worked.

      I love the mixer now that it works but I can completely understand thinking about changing brands. My husband was ready to throw it out the window…if it wasn’t so expensive!
      When looking for a mixer the only 2 I really considered were the KA and the Cuisinart and just last week I noticed that on Food Network’s Cupcake wars they used the Cuisinart 7qt. There’s a very good video on you tube that describes the KA 6qt versus the Cuisinart 7qt and the pros/cons: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYAZX_C6Y3w
      If you are seriously considering a new mixer and are interested in the Cuisinart, check it out and see if it would work for you. I found one at Sur La Table and was able to play with it.

    • Sorry Dale, I seem to have missed this question somehow. Yes the honey is raw, not heated just filtered to remove wax particles and bee parts. If you like I can add you to my “honey email list” and when it’s available, I’ll let you know.

  3. Hi! I live in eldersburg and just found your blog on the cc beekeepers website. We have lots of honey bees that live around our house and am thinking about getting a hive for them. Where do you get your equipment? Any good places to look for books to start? Thanks!

    • Hi Caroline,
      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. If you wanted to start beekeeping, you can get bees one of 3 ways: order a package, order a nucleus colony or set up a swarm trap. Since the bees you’re seeing belong to a hive, you can’t just get a hive for them and expect them to live there (they need their queen to lay eggs). I suggest you take the short-course offered by either the CCBA or the Howard County Beekeeper’s Association next spring. But before that start reading some beekeeping books. Another option is to start attending the beekeeper meetings that are hosted by both clubs (just pick one club that is convenient for you). Feel free to ask questions!
      Here is a post on the books I’ve read and recommend: https://suburbanrancher.wordpress.com/2012/04/23/references/
      And I get my beekeeping equipment from Jim Fraser on Damascus Road, he’s a vendor for Brushy Mountain Bee Supply. I like going there because you can actually handle the equipment, he’s very friendly and helpful. But reading first is a good place to start. You can also ask to visit a beekeeper during an inspection to see what’s involved.

  4. Hey Anna, I’m in Eldersburg as well and am about to order two hives and everything I need to get started this coming spring. I’m trying to decide between Russian and Italian queens/nucs to order in 2015, and given that you’re in the area, I’d love your opinion on how the two might compare. I’ve heard that the Russians are heartier, and given the wild mood swings in our weather lately, I’d like to get a brood that can handle the changes. Any advice?

    • Hi Brian, thanks for stopping in. Have you decided what size hive bodies you’ll be using, mediums or deeps? Eight or 10-frame? Have you decided how to manage pests? And will you be starting with nucs or packages?
      As for the breeds, I have mutts. But if I were to look for a particular breed then I would likely choose Russian that have been (hopefully) showing some mite resistance/tolerance. If the goal is to go treatment-free, then you need to use as many IPM methods and genetic factors in your favor as possible. I’ve heard Walter’s Wholesome Goods, sells nucs with Russian-mite resistance, but I don’t know anything else about them.
      Have you watched a hive inspection?

  5. Enjoy reading-we are in Houston area, just completing a build for a bee hive stand very close to your design- you and your husband did a great job in the design (and construction) as it meets all the good criteria of a great hive stand, We especially like the work area in the middle for lid , hive boxes and tools, we have multiple hives and feel setting up these dual stand pods will make a more attractive, functional apiary. (My wife wants chickens now!) d

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