The thing about San Francisco is that the people who live here are rarely actually from here. And the great thing about the diversity it creates is that it makes very interesting people (…myself included!). I worked with a designer who was an underground DJ, a project manager at work who lived in the Congo, and a lawyer who has a side business doing gourmet Japanese catering.
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a product design firm during the week, and is a beekeeper on weekends. I forgot to ask him how he got into it, but I think it’s a very interesting (and ancient!) hobby.
The Community Garden
Tom lives in the Potrero Hill neighborhood in San Francisco, where there’s a community garden. Land is scarce in San Francisco so community gardens are actually quite common. According to Tom, this particular garden started in 1971, and is the last community garden in San Francisco that is not under lock and key. This is where he tends his beehives.
The garden overlooks a large part of the city, and is a nice, quiet oasis away from the urban scene.
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this is…20th street? I’m not sure. Anyway, gorgeous view.
You would never guess that such an large city would have such lush, beautiful gardens. (Full of free produce! Ah, my dream.)
This is my first time seeing an artichoke plant. They’re actually very ugly, weed-looking things.
A huge zucchini! You know, the zucchinis I had in my yard growing up were also this big, and other people I know who grow zucchini also have zucchinis this big. I’m wondering if they are normally this large, but they sell the mini version in the supermarket because no one can finish a large one? (I can, though).
Mike hates this photo, he thinks it’s too feminine. Well, I like it anyway. It looks like the sunflower is smiling back.
It was actually sunny in San Francisco for once.
Tending the Hive
Here’s Tom and Eliz suiting up. I’m allergic to certain bug bites (not sure which ones), so to be safe, I stayed well away from the bees.
Here’s the smoker that was used to get the bees out of the hive. Smoke comes out when the box is squeezed.
Here’s a video that Mike made of how it was done:
Tom gets all his supplies via mail order.
Tom and Eliz walking back with frames from the hive, heavy with honey.
Tom slicing off the excess honeycomb – called the “spur comb” from the frame. It was SO good!
This is the top cover of the hive.
Tom removing frames from the beehive:
Putting frames in a crate. Very sticky.
Here’s the top cover of the hive again, with a closeup view of the sides of the frames in the box. These eventually go into a centrifuge so that the honey spins out. Tom gets about 3 gallons of honey each time.
Brushing the bees off the frame.
Here we are, walking through the garden. Shannon is holding a frame to feel how heavy it is.
Placing a frame in the crate for transportation.
Look…you can see the actual honeycomb pattern.
The frame is not completely empty. There are two wires that run the length of the frame, so that the frames won’t collapse inward while in the centrifuge.
A wooden box was also used for transporting the frames.