Monday, February 15, 2010

Busy little Bees

This past weekend I went with Jared and his dad to take a load of bees to California. As most of you know, Jared and his dad are beekeepers and they have a contract to pollinate one of the farms just north of Bakersfield, California owned by the LDS church. They have been taking bees down there for the last five or so years and I have never been, so I thought it would be fun to go and check things out. When you travel with bees, you have to travel at night otherwise most of the bees wont be in their hives and you would just move a less than full beehive. So we left town around nine with the trailer loaded. I think my role was to help keep the guys awake while they drove, but sadly, I failed. I pretty much slept the entire way. (The trailer loaded with beehives)

We got to California early in the morning and the guys got the beehives unloaded in the almond orchards. Jared wanted to show me around a little since it was my first trip, so we went over to their processing plant and had a little tour. I was amazed with the efficiency of the process. Although, being as it is owned by the church, I shouldn't have been so surprised.

Here are just a few items that I found very interesting.

*The almond orchard where we have a contract is over five miles wide and they want every blossom to be pollinated by bees. Over 25,000 beehives are brought in for about six weeks every year by different beekeepers. It costs them over $5 million to pay for the pollination. We were also told that this is the cheapest expense the farm has. (Jared and I standing in the almond orchard. The trees were just starting to bloom. I only wish I could have seen the orchard in full bloom. Jared says it is beautiful)

*Every part of the almond nut is used in some form or another. The shells are separated and used in animal bedding, like what you would buy to fill a hamster cage. The spongy thing that surrounds the shell is blended together with other stuff to make cattle feed. They make about as much money on these parts of the nut as they do on the actual almond. The almonds are shelled and sorted, they actually had a bin full of almonds that were "flawed". After they are shelled and sorted, they are boxed up to be shipped out. We were told that most almonds are sold to countries like India and china. (One of the piles of shells taken from the almond nuts)
(Almonds being dumped into the boxes after being processed)
(All of these boxes were full of almonds that were ready to be shipped out)

From the planting of new trees and the pollinating of the blossoms, to the finish product of shelling the almonds and sorting them and their by-products for purchase was such a detailed process. I was totally amazed with the efficiency of how things were ran and organized. It just reminded me of how inspired our leaders are in many different areas.

I loved being able to go with Jared to see where he has been taking the bees and to be able to spend that time with him, too bad I slept most of the trip. I couldn't think of a better thing to do on our Valentine's Day weekend.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Our Super Student!

Ashten's school has monthly winners in each class for different outstanding qualities. Last month she was the winner. Her teacher told me that they would be awarding the winners during an assembly, but that it was a secret to the students. It was so cute to see her walk in with her little class and then to be called up in front of everyone. We are so proud of her and how hard she works in school. She is such a smart little girl and has become a really good reader. She loves going to school everyday and I hope she always has her same desire to learn that she has now.

I am Ashten's room mom, and I also go into her class once a week to test the kids on different things that they have been learning. I love having a child old enough for elementary school and to be able to be involved and experience all of the fun things that go along with it.

*Traxton wishes that he went to school. He loves to wear his brother and sister's backpack so much that I finally went out and bought him his own. I love this boy!!!