Tag Archives: Oak Hill

Oak Hill’s old-timers tell tales about ‘good ‘ol days’

22 Feb

OakHillFour long-time residents of Oak Hill: James Wier, James White, Archie Enochs and his sister Linda Enochs, remember the golden days of Oak Hill long before the intersection of US HWY 290 and Texas HWY 71 became a snarl of traffic and noise.

James Wier

Seventy-three year-old James Wier and his wife, Carolyn, lived in Oak Hill for more than 20 years while he managed road construction crews for Travis County commissioner Johnny Voudouris and then for Ann Richards.

While the family raised their sons, Mike and David, near Granada Hills subdivision, Wier volunteered both for the Oak Hill Volunteer Fire Department and later for the Oak Hill Volunteer EMS Department.

He retired in 2003 and moved his family’s homestead to Buda. These days he likes to sit and to tell stories about the Oak Hill he remembers, dirt roads and ranchland that stretched for miles.

“Whenever we had to put in a road, we had to do our research to make sure it was a community road. We were not allowed to work on private roads. Back in the 1960s the roads were mostly dirt and residents were paying their taxes, but we couldn’t work on any road unless it was approved by the county,” Wier said.

“We don’t know the history of the area around us anymore. But we can still be neighborly and talk to people and take the time to find out what was here before us.”

When he worked for the county Wier often spent his afternoons either in the basement of the Travis County courthouse digging through survey maps, or out in the community trying to figure out which roads the county owned and which it did not.

“We would sit down and talk to some of the old people who had been living in Oak Hill all their lives. The more I researched, the more I enjoyed the old-timers telling their stories about Oak Hill,” Wier said.

Wier said the Mexican government awarded William Cannon a land grant to own the acres stretching from Williamson Creek to Slaughter Lane, known as Oak Springs in 1835. Soon afterwards, settlers discovered an endless supply of cedar trees and natural limestone in the area.

In the early 1880s, the Austin and Oatmanville Railway Company built six miles of rail to transport quarried limestone downtown to be used in building the foundation and inner walls of the Texas capitol, Wier said.

    The train tracks began at Oatman Quarry, once located at the intersection of William Cannon Street and US HWY 290 West followed a route northeast on Convict Hill where they intersected with the Missouri Pacific (MoPac) railroad.  The local train tracks remained in place from 1884 until 1888, until the company removed the rails.

Only a few of the old railroad mounds still exist in the neighborhood. Set off by chain link fencing, the mounds still remain visible today when looking just to the west along MoPac/Loop 1 South between William Cannon and Davis Lane, Wier said.

“A lot of people just drive by and don’t know what those mounds are,” Wier said.

Oak Springs, soon became known as Oatmanville, as the community grew up around the former site of Oatman Quarry, owned by Buster Thomas. Skeeter Hudson owned the land where the quarry sat. Partners Thomas and Hudson operated the quarry through the 1960s until developers began building homes in the subdivision.

Texas prisoners, worked long hours in the quarry without pay, chained at the ankles nightly in a large cave where Oak Hill Centre shopping center now stands, Wier said.

“There was a cave there where the prisoners stayed at night,” Wier said. “They had wooden bunk beds and straw mattresses. There was a big iron ring embedded in the wall and at night when the prisoners went to bed, the bosses would run a chain through all their leg irons and attached them to the ring in the wall, so they couldn’t get out of bed at night and escape.”

Wier said the prisoners used a “cow dip” style water trough about 4 feet wide by 6 feet deep and 15 feet long for bathing and cleaning their clothes once a week.

“That was used for the prisoners to take their weekly baths and to wash their clothes. The prisoners would go in on one end and they would be handed a bar of lye soap and they would take a bath and wash their clothes at the same time, before coming out on the other end. At the end, they would put their clothes back on,” Wier said.

“When they (Thomas and Hudson) built the shopping center, they dug out the cave. Today there is no cave, no trough; there’s nothing there now. That’s all gone. All that was excavated. Where that cave was located, developers probably cut back that rock 50 or 60 feet deep.”

Wier owns a few artifacts excavated from the site in the early 1970s: a wheelbarrow’s wheel believed to have been used at the quarry and oil-burning lanterns likely used in the prisoners’ cave.

“When Buster Thomas and them were doing the excavation up there by Convict Hill, we were friends,” Wier said. “Digging around through the rocks, rubble and all, we found these things. We found the lanterns that they had used because they didn’t have electricity. They used kerosene lanterns.”

Wier recalls in the old days often eating lunch at a few landmark restaurants that have since disappeared in the area.

The site of the old Convict Hill restaurant once operated by Ralph Moreland, stood directly across the street on the north side of William Cannon and US HWY 290 West.

On the south side of US HWY 290, today where a parking lot serves bus commuters for Capital Metro transportation, stood the former site of the Big Wheel Restaurant, near where McCarthy Lane ends. Adjacent to the restaurant once stood a Phillips 66 gas and service station owned by Richards Oil Company.

Curly Glosson operated the Circleville Inn at 9926 Circle Drive, just off Thomas Springs Road from 1972 until 1998.  The location afterwards served as Kelli’s Up-N-Smoke Bar and Grill before it closed in 2012.

Wier remembers the Circleville Inn was the last place locals or travelers could buy alcohol before heading west either to Spicewood on TX HWY 71or to Johnson City on US HWY 290 West.

Wier regularly showed up at the Oak Hill Downs racetrack Saturdays to race his car, he said.

Wier said at times 50 to 60 teenagers showed up with their cars to race on weekends.

“Any kid who thought he had a fast car or the ‘baddest’ car would run. They were mostly stock cars; a few of them were souped up old cars. They were mostly high school kids having a good time,” Wier said. “It was a straight line track – a traditional weekly drag race.”

Nearby, on Friday nights, more experienced drivers raced on what Wier called “the round arounds,” an adjacent oval track.

Wier recalls that Dick Polk operated Polk’s Feed Store near the arena until Hill sold his property and Polk moved his business across the street. There, in 1992 Polk sold Texas’ first scratch off lotto ticket to then Gov. Ann Richards.

Richards served as Wier’s boss as Travis County commissioner while he managed road construction for TXDoT. The previous incumbent county commissioner, Johnny Voudouris, hired Wier in 1970.

“At that time we only had 33 people working for county staff and we had 353 miles of county roads,” Wier said.

     Voudouris also promoted the construction of MoPac/Loop1 South and Texas state highway Loop 360 even though the majority of Oak Hill residents at the time did not support the plans, Wier said. Voudouris also supported plans to extend MoPac South all the way out to US HWY 290 West and past the “Y” in Oak Hill.

“The (original) plan was to spend only about $15 million to extend MoPac South out to U.S. 290 West past the ‘Y,’ but people didn’t want it,” Wier said. “TXDoT folks said ‘ok, we’ll put that money someplace else,’ and they did.”

Oak Hill at one time used to be called “Cedar Chopper Hill,” Wier said.

“Everybody out here either worked rock, or they sold cedar posts and wood stuff,” Wier said. “They were the nucleus of families that helped get everything going. They worked to clear the land of the cedar and they sold the cedar posts.”

Wier remembers meeting Joe Tanner while he still worked as a blacksmith, but before he had a short-cut street named after him that runs from William Cannon to US HWY 290 West across McCarthy Lane.

“I first met Mr. Tanner in the early 1960s when he was over 80 then,” Wier said. “Tanner was probably there at the turn of the century around 1900. His little building was located at the corner of Joe Tanner and US HWY 290.”

Wier said Tanner Blacksmith Shop remained open until Skeeter Hudson bought the property from Tanner in the early 1970s.

James White

Seventy-four year-old James White has spent most of his life living and working in Oak Hill, as a member of one of the area’s oldest founding families.

White’s great-great-great grandfather once owned the Lazy SL Ranch where Freescale Semiconductors now stands and the historic building today that houses Austin Pizza Garden, at 6266 HWY 290 West.

The building first served as a general store owned and operated by the former Texas Ranger James Andrew Patton, and his wife, Virginia Bishop, from 1879 until 1909.

J.A. Patton helped to change the local subdivision’s name from Oatmanville to Oak Hill and soon became known as the “unofficial mayor of Oak Hill.” He also became the area’s first postmaster, operating a small mail center from inside his store until the U.S. Postal Service began to offer rural delivery service.

In 1970 then Gov. Preston Smith dedicated the official Texas Historical Landmark at the personal request of James and Annetta White and their eldest daughter, Terri Rene White.

“Governor Smith had dinner with us the night before and it was the only night that I ever had dinner with the governor of Texas at the Fortress. He ate a T-bone steak and he took some barbecue with him back to the governor’s mansion,” White said. “The next day he dedicated the historical landmark.”

White’s recalls that his youngest daughter, Ginny White-Peacock, learned how to walk inside the historic building, when the family operated the Fortress restaurant, downstairs.

The Whites started leasing out the building in 1977 to several businesses including The Natural Gardner, owned by John Dromgoole.  Not long afterwards, The Natural Gardner relocated to its current location at 8648 Old Bee Caves Road.

Willie Nelson’s daughter, Lana Nelson, for a time also leased space inside the Patton building, naming her restaurant Cowboy’s Steak House.

“Willie Nelson performed there in the 1980s — right there where the fire place is located inside,” James White said. “Lana told me one day, ‘Daddy wants to buy this place,’ but I said I appreciated the offer, but I didn’t want to sell it; I wasn’t interested in selling it then and I’m still not.”

Several sandwich businesses moved in and out of the Patton building before the early 1990s when Austin Pizza Garden opened.

J.A. Patton donated an acre of his land to build Oak Hill’s first elementary school where Don’s Grass company stands today at 6240 HWY 290 West. Austin Independent School Disrict built a new J.A. Patton Elementary School, at 6001 Westcreek in 1985.  J.A. Patton’s great-great-great grandson, James Lamar White Peacock, currently attends kindergarten there. His mom, Ginny Peacock, is James White’s daughter and she and her husband, Mike Peacock, also manage the Broken Spoke.

In the lobby of the school, a picture of J.A. Patton, donated by James White, hangs.

In 2000, the Whites co-authored and self-published the book, They Came to Texas, written about the Patton, the White and the Campbell families of Oak Hill.

James White remembers that as a teenager, quite a few establishments earned reputations along US HWY 290 West where it met Texas State HWY 71 at the “Y” in Oak Hill. One of those places included, The Moose Head Tavern, where an actual moose head hung on one wall inside the bar, home to a large dance hall.

On Saturday nights Moose Head patrons could count on a fight. As the evenings drew long and serious drinking began at the Moose Head, James White said he learned how to keep away from trouble, if anyone threw a punch or a bottle.

White also recalls that he used to drive his 1959 hard top black and white Chevy onto the parking lot of the Sportsman’s Inn, then a dimly-lit, 30-by 50-foot wooden-shingled building along US HWY 290 West near the “Y” in Oak Hill.

The cover charge at the door of the Sportsman’s Inn on Saturday nights paid for a band to play.

After a few beers, White said he would look for the prettiest girl he could find in the place, to either dance a two-step, a waltz, or the Cotton-Eyed-Joe.

On one particular night in 1961, a pretty blonde-haired girl dancing in a red dress on the dance floor there, caught his eye.

“That girl turned out to be the love of my life and my wife, Annetta Wells,” James White said.

James White and Annetta Wells dated before he enlisted in the U.S. Army and he went overseas during the fall of 1961. He returned home Nov. 10, 1964, and opened the Broken Spoke. The two married on a Thursday, Sept. 15, 1966 and they held their wedding reception there. White celebrates his 75th birthday with a public party at the Broken Spoke April 12, and they will celebrate the Broken Spoke’s 50th anniversary Nov. 10.

“That’s an accomplishment. I’ll be 75 this year that the Broken Spoke turns 50. What I did was kinda’ create a place like some of the places that we used to go to when I was a kid,” James White said. “I looked out over a vast Texas landscape and there wasn’t another building in sight except for a mile down the road on the right, the Austin city limits sign.”

The Broken Spoke stands not only as a 50-year-old landmark in Austin, but represents decades of country music stars who have performed there over the years including: Bob Wills and the original Texas Playboys, Ernest Tubb, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Marcia Ball, Don Walser, George Strait, Ray Benson and the Asleep at the Wheel Band, Alvin Crow, Dale Watson, Bruce Robison, James Hand, Johnny Bush, Johnny Rodriguez, Rosie Flores and more.

Archie Enochs

At 68, Archie Enochs has lived his whole life in Oak Hill and he currently resides in the only house that still faces the highway at 6254 US HWY 290 West. He also sometimes works cattle on a ranch in San Angelo.

Traffic zooms by at speeds beyond 50 mph, just a few steps outside his front door daily, headed west towards Johnson City.

“I don’t have any problem with the traffic anymore than anyone else does. You kind of have to creep your way into the traffic from one signal to the next,” he said.

When he’s home in Oak Hill, he eats breakfast every morning at Jim’s restaurant across Texas HWY 71 or lunch daily at Austin Pizza Garden, his next door neighbor.

Archie Enochs remembers the former Big Wheel restaurant opening as the first 24-hours restaurant in Oak Hill.

“When it opened up, that was a lot of bright lights for Oak Hill. There was always a lot of activity there at the Big Wheel and it was a good place to get a get a cup of coffee,” Archie Enochs said.

He also helped to build Hart Field at the Oak Hill Little League Baseball fields at the corner of McCarthy and US HWY 290 West.

“I drove a dump truck. We cleared all the trees, piled up and burned them. We borrowed a front end loader and some other people brought some other equipment and we cleared out that area to build the ball field. When it opened, it didn’t have bleachers or a concession stand or anything like that. It was built up incrementally as funds became available,” Archie Enochs said.

  Linda Enochs

Archie Enochs’ younger sister, Linda Enochs, remembers as a young girl, buying soda pop and candy at Mrs. Martin’s Store where it operated out of the downstairs level of the Patton building.

She recalls that the upstairs of the Patton building served for years as the regular meeting place for Woodmen of the World organization.

“When I was little, Miss Martin lived in the back and ran that little store at the front of the building downstairs,” Linda Enochs said. “That’s were all of us kids went to buy a nickel Dr. Pepper and penny candy and things like that. I remember being old enough that Mom would send me for a loaf of bread and she would give me a quarter and I brought back 3 cents change.”

Linda Enochs also remembers that as a girl some of the top floor of the Patton building leased out apartments to private individuals.

She also remembers her maternal uncle, Archie Patton, operated three local racetracks nearby. He operated a horse racing track, an oval racetrack and a “straight away” track.

“I remember that little oval jalopy mud track for just old car racing, then he had a quarter mile drag track too,” Linda Enochs said. “Archie’s (Patton’s) idea was, if you had two things you needed to race ‘em – cars and horses. And he could sell beer while everyone was watching.”

Linda Enochs said the cars raced on the oval track well into the 1960s.

“The oval car track was hysterical – it was just a little oval with bank turns and they would just water that black dirt. It just made the greatest mud and the drivers would just spin their tires and throw mud into the air – it was wonderful,” she said.

Linda Enochs said she remembers the horse race track ran about three-tenths of a mile long.

“When I was little I would work the concession stand with my aunt. Of course, I couldn’t sell beer, but I could open the Dr. Peppers and make change,” she said.

The racetracks drew crowds of 200 or 300 people, who sat in stadium style seating.

She recalls that Archie Patton’s wife, Norenah Patton, until the 1970s ran the Oak Hill Steak House, just east of where the Shell Station stands at 8314 State HWY 71.

Linda Enochs also remembers Cecil Hill, a rancher, and his wife, Maxine, who kept a rodeo arena located near where Bank of America sits today at 5725 Highway 290 West. Hill allowed cowboys to rope steers and ride bulls there, but the place also served as a hangout for local children after school let out for the day.

“They built that arena and it was just a fun place to go. They held junior rodeos and Labor Day adult rodeo,” Linda Enochs said. “There was always something going on down there.”

The owners of a local feed store also looked after Oak Hill children after school, she said.

“I would just jump on my horse and ride up to my cousin, Bobby Miller’s and he and his sister would saddle their horses and away we’d go,” she said.

Linda Enochs, the daughter of Alvis “Buster” Enochs, said her father earned his nickname by being a bit of a cowboy in Oak Hill who broke horses and could rope them too.

She also loved riding horses at the former Patton Lazy SL Ranch in Oak Hill, where Freescale Semionductors Co. stands today at 6501 William Cannon. The Enochs knew Tanner well and they might have been some of his best customers.

“I used to ride my horse across 290. I know that’s hard to believe today. He was a big Sorrell horse with white stocking feet, so I called him ‘Socks,’” Linda Enochs said.

Buster Enochs’ wife, Erelene Enochs, worked at the Texas Public Service Company and drove into downtown daily. Linda Enochs recalls that it took her mother only seven minutes to drive from Oak Hill to Fourth and Congress streets daily.

Linda Enochs and her brother Archie Enochs tend to their ancestors’ graves inside Oak Hill Cemetery on Old Bee Caves Road, just a half mile off US HWY 290 West.

Her paternal great-great grandparents, James Maddison Patton and Sarah Jane Smithson-Patton, her great grandparents James “Jim” Andrew Patton and his wife, Virginia Bishop, and her grandparents Andrew Patton and his wife, Webster Grumbles-Patton, are buried there. Linda Enochs’ mother, Erelene Enochs also is buried there.

“It’s ours to take care of now,” Linda Enochs said. “On Mother’s Day we go out there to take flowers to Mom and all the grandmothers.”

Published in the Oak Hill Gazette http://oakhillgazette.com

Biscuit Brothers to open ‘Fine Arts Farm’ this month

3 Oct

Jeromecropped

Preschool age children will soon have a place in Oak Hill to sing, dance, act, and create arts and crafts in the new Fine Arts Farm designed by one of the Emmy Award-winning stars of The Biscuit Brothers television show.

Jerome “Dusty Biscuit” Schoolar said he anticipates a “soft” opening for the Biscuit Brothers Fine Arts Farm sometime in October at 6036 West US HWY 290. Meanwhile,  tuition costs have yet to be decided.

Schoolar took the project on personally by renovating the building space he leased in June – performing most of the work himself. He completely gutted the inside of the site so that it no longer resembles the building that once served as a liquor store and before that a church. Meanwhile, snags in development have occurred while he awaited City of Austin inspections on contracted professional electrical and plumbing work.

The Biscuit Brothers virtual community through donations has funded a big part of the costs to get the Fine Arts Farm up and running, but Schoolar chose Oak Hill as the home of his facility because he lives here. Also, all three of his children have attended schools in the area including: Mills Elementary, Clint Small Middle School, and James Bowie High School. He said he saw a need for a children’s fine arts facility in the area.

The permanent building will be a first for the Biscuit Brothers, who for the past 13 years have produced high-energy children’s television shows while borrowing Pioneer Farms’ facilities. Indoors, things will look very familiar to fans of the show – in keeping with a barnyard theme complete with gingham curtains, rustic wood, and country bumpkin costumes.

“They’re going to see Dusty Biscuit here every day,” Schoolar said. “They’ll see the ‘Big Book of Music.’ They’ll see all of the things they see on the TV show here.”

The Biscuit Brothers’ show is reminiscent of such early children’s television programing as Howdy Doody, the Shari Lewis Show, and Captain Kangaroo of the 1950s and 60s, and it has been compared to a rural Sesame Street today.

Dusty Biscuit and his sidekick, Buford Biscuit, dressed in blue jean coveralls, plaid flannel shirts, straw hats and boots create a visual representation of a simpler, pared down slice of wholesome American country life.

“We made a very distinct effort to try to accomplish that. There’s no ‘wink-wink,’ no innuendos. It’s humor for all,” Schoolar said. “We absolutely try to be as wholesome and as genuine and as honest as we can.”

Schoolar has served as producer of the TV show while performing alongside of its musical director, Allen Robertson “Buford Biscuit;” with appearances by Jill Leberknight, “Buttermilk Biscuit;” and writer/director/puppeteer Damon Brown “Tiny Scarecrow;” as well as Ian Scott as “Old MacDonald.”

The Biscuit Brothers’ nationally recognized cast has made hundreds of live performances at venues statewide while prerecording their programs since 2005 to feature voiceovers by famous local musicians such as Willie Nelson and others.

Their half-hour syndicated show airs on PBS station affiliates nationwide, including Austin’s own KLRU every Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. The Biscuit Brothers have filmed primarily at Austin’s Pioneer Farm and features a mixture of live action singing and theater productions, puppetry, and animation graphics.

Every episode has a theme and a storyline, with a musical element that runs as a thread connecting all its featured segments.

“Like we might take ‘harmony.’ Of course musical harmony involves two people singing or playing different notes and creating the sonic sensation of harmony with chords. Well also, we show an episode where Buford and Dusty had to accomplish a goal in harmony – as to work together for an ultimate goal,” Schoolar said.

Within each of the televised episodes the Biscuit Brothers also feature “the Instrument of the Day,” as professional musicians explain their instruments – everything from clarinets to dobros to sitars. They also feature “Crazy Classics;” the Biscuit Brothers take a sheet of classic music and put a zany spin on it.

“The latter harkens back to our youth; we grew up at least listening to the classics through the cartoons – with Bugs Bunny and all of the Warner Brothers Looney Tunes, because those were their sound tracks,” Schoolar said.

“Well, nowadays they (today’s cartoons) don’t offer a lot of that. So we want to make sure that in each episode of our show that we have some bit of classical music that kids can listen to. As they’re growing up, we want them to go – ‘Wait, I know that song.’”

From 1930 through the 1960s, Warner Brothers offered its classic soundtracks in both its Merrie Melodies and its Looney Tunes cartoons featuring the characters: Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, Wile E. Coyote, the Road Runner, Foghorn Leghorn, Yosemite Sam, Pepe Le Pew, Speedy Gonzales, Sylvester, Tweety Bird, Taz the Tazmanian Devil, and Marvin the Martian.

“Bugs Bunny toured. They did a Bugs on Broadway tour just playing classical music,  but that is something rarely done now. So we try to give a little bit of that style of presentation to the children,” he said.

“We show the connection between music and the life around you. For example, we might use the word ‘conducting.’ You need a conductor to keep all of the elements in place within an orchestra. You also have to conduct yourself to work well with others.”

The Biscuit Brothers hope to extend children’s interests beyond their elementary years, well into their secondary school careers as part of what Schoolar likes to refer to as “my bubble theory.”

“It’s all about that bubble. At least here in Austin, there’s that one spring evening for  your fifth grader going into middle school. Your student comes home and he or she has to bubble in his or her choice sheet for the next fall semester. I hope that because they explored fine arts as children here, they will give one bubble to the fine arts in middle school,” he said.

“Then hopefully, they’ll explore the fine arts in high school. I hope that someone in high school bubbles in orchestra or band. I hope someone bubbles in choir. For some of them, hopefully we’ll make the difference.”

The interior lobby of the fine arts farm will feature an airy lobby and a central reception desk.  Each of three classroom areas will feature a window or glass partition for adults to peak inside to view children’s activities.

One classroom will feature a mini stage area, complete with ceiling floodlights and varnished wood paneling along the interior walls and on the floors.

“I don’t plan to make the next American Idol singer or the next Broadway star or Academy Award winner,” Schoolar said. “I just want kids to enjoy the arts in a way that maybe they’ll continue it in some shape or form throughout their lives. Maybe they will continue the relationship with their families at home or with the city theater, or whatever.”

The largest majority of younger children who enroll in the Fine Arts Farm classes will be pre-school age, but the facility promises something for everyone – young and old, he said.

“If we can start them real early enjoying the arts, then they will follow through in elementary school, hopefully,” Schoolar said. “Fortunately the (TV) show is based around music — and music of course just gives us a huge broad range. We have all ages who enjoy the show.  That’s why this facility will be for all ages, but I have a feeling that the majority of kids who come here will be within the ages of preschool up to maybe second grade.”

One other classroom will feature an arts and crafts area and still another will provide a separate dance studio.

Schoolar said he hasn’t decided yet whether any of the future Biscuit Brothers TV shows will be filmed on the site.

“How much we plan to dress up the back has yet to be determined. We have camera angle issues. At Pioneer Farm you can move the camera around and you still just see the farm, but here if you turn the camera, you’ll see the YMCA (next door,)” he said.

However, Schoolar plans to develop the back yard area behind the Fine Arts Farm.

Children will be able to “shake their sillies out” in three outside areas yet to be developed: “Melody Gardens,” the “Canvas Corral,” and the “Actors Acre.”

“Melody Gardens,” will feature a series of little paths with bushes and trees decorated with instruments hanging in them for children to explore hands-on.

“There will be tubas coming out of the ground, or a piccolo tree,” Schoolar said. “Kids will be able to go and touch instruments. It will be much like the Austin Symphony every year provides at Symphony Square for kids, where they have the instruments hanging from the trees. It will be very much like that.”

Schoolar said whenever he and the other Biscuit Brothers cast members perform at music festivals, they provide a similar “instrument petting zoo” – for children to explore music by touch, or by playing it.

“It’s a place where kids can actually hold a flute, or hold a trombone. They don’t have to bring their own,” Schoolar said. “If they want to bring their own, they’re more than welcome to, but they don’t have to. There will be plenty of things for them to explore here.”

“Canvas Corral,” will resemble a horse corral, but will feature big slabs of cement with ornate frames around them on the ground and buckets filled with colored chalk that  children will use to draw pictures.

“Actors Acre,” will feature a little amphitheater for the children’s outdoor concerts and theatrical performances.

City code restricts the arts farm’s capacity to 30 students inside the facility at the same time. Schoolar hopes to provide a ten-to-one teacher ratio daily: with ten students enrolled in music, ten students in art class and ten students in a movement/dance class, each led by separate teachers.

“We’ll rotate the children around (in the different classrooms and areas) to keep it lively,” Schoolar said. “I have a lot of great professionals who want to work here. I’m going to let them come to me and say ‘this is what I would like to do.’ If there is interest in that class, then I’ll let that determine what a class will be about. Classes will be determined by which teachers I hire and what they are truly passionate about – whether it’s music, or movement, or theater arts.”

Schoolar said he envisions the art studio as a place where students “can get messy and play.”

He envisions scheduling the children in eight-week fine arts sessions. Children may sign up for a class, for example, every Tuesday and Thursday for one hour each time. They may sign up for any one of the art, dance, theater, or music sessions. He hopes to squeeze in two eight-week sessions into his calendar before Austin public and private schools break for the winter holidays.

Schoolar said he hopes to offer an all-day holiday camp at the end of December through January at the Fine Arts Farm as well. Next semester, he hopes to schedule two separate eight-week sessions beginning in January, followed by summer camps starting in June.

“We know that parents need somewhere to take their kids when school’s not in session,” he said. “So we will provide them a safe place to go, but where they’re getting so much more than just to sit here and watch Finding Nemo (on DVD.)”

Additionally, Schoolar said the facility may meet the needs of Oak Hill families who home school their children.

“Austin has a lot of home schooled kids and they’re organized. Hopefully I can provide fine arts for them,” Schoolar said.

He said because the facility serves children, there will be only one entrance inside or out.

“There will be a receptionist at the entrance at all times to welcome the kids and their parents and she’ll make sure that they leave with the same adult that they came with,” Schoolar said.

Before starting the Biscuit Brothers, Schoolar previously worked for the City of Austin as the fine arts coordinator for the parks and recreation department at Dougherty Arts Center. He helped to create summer camp classes at the center.

“That really got me interested in thinking that we really need another facility like that,” Schoolar said. “With the Biscuit Brothers, our show is pretty much about music education, but I want to have something where children can explore all the arts. They can explore theater, they can explore visual arts – dancing and music. They can have the opportunity to explore all of the elements. So that’s the hope here to have art classes, workshops, production, all sorts of seasonal events – all based around the arts.”

He also hopes to provide fine arts field trips offered at no expense to Title 1 schools, for those students living in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods and at risk of failing.

“I want to get the Title 1 students out here and let them explore by rotating them through all of the elements of the fine arts in an hour and a half setting, like a field trip. Then they can be a part of arts education. Of course they can get it in Title 1 schools, but you can never get enough,” he said.

Brown, “Tiny Scarecrow” writer/director of the Biscuit Brothers TV Show fame, said Austin needs the facility.

“I am really glad that Jerome has this opportunity. Having an arts facility like this for families is something we really need and it’s a project that is close to Jerome’s heart so I know he’ll put a lot of that heart into it! It’s a great extension of the work we founded with the Biscuit Brothers Live Concerts and TV show and it will be great to see the Biscuit Brand entertain and educate families in a different way through this Fine Arts Farm,” Brown said.

“I am all for more Arts Farming. Being an arts farmer myself — specializing in home-grown melodies and baby-baby grand pianos — I can say there’s nothin’ more rewarding than planting the seeds of creativity and watching artistic expressions grow. But why only ‘fine’ arts? I think all arts are ‘fantastic’ not just ‘fine!’ He should call it a Fantastic Arts Farm, IMHO — which stands for ‘in my hay-filled opinion.’”

Schoolar and Robertson met while working together on shows at Zachary Scott Theater in 2000. The concept for the Biscuit Brothers began as a spinoff from a special field trip program Scott Theater partnership offered with the public schools called “Ei Ei O.” They bused 300 students to the theater at a time to hear a performer sing farm songs, he said.

“Well, the guy who was going to sing farm songs had to bow out. I’m not sure if it was due to illness or some other commitment or what. Zachary Scott Theater folks called Allen (Robertson) in a panic saying ‘Can you come and sing some farm songs to some kids next week?” Schoolar said.

Robertson agreed, but he also enlisted Schoolar’s help.

“We thought maybe we could come up with something a little more than just singing some farm songs,” Schoolar said. “From that little nugget, we just started building. Ok, so we had to be farmers. Ok, so we thought: we’ll make it Old MacDonald’s farm and we’ll be his farmers.”

They created the name, the Biscuit Brothers, reminded of the nursery rhyme, “The Muffin Man.” They picked costumes that supported the farm theme.

“If they had called and said they wanted to do a show called ‘To the Moon,’ then we might have been astronauts. It really was just that lucky happenstance that we were there. They asked ‘Can you do this?’ and we said ‘yes,’ and then we did. From there that seed just kept growing.”

published in The Oak Hill Gazette 10-3-13 http://oakhillgazette.com/featured/2013/10/emmy-award-winning-biscuit-brothers-to-open-fine-arts-farm-in-oak-hill/#more

Beekeepers sponsor Tour De Hives Aug. 17

8 Aug

by Donna Marie Miller

Thousands of bees buzz just inches away from Tanya Phillips’ face on a recent hot August afternoon. They carry golden pollen from native wildflowers to hives located on her property just off U.S. Highway 290 in Oak Hill.

She peers into an observation hive that her husband, Chuck Reburn created. It allows Phillips to watch her bees safely from behind a sheet of clear glass as they reproduce and make honey in their human-made habitat.

Still, other bees exit and roam from the hive, zipping and zizzing through the air around Phillips’ head.

Phillips and Reburn, who own Bee Friendly Austin, a certified naturally grown apiary in Oak Hill, will co-sponsor Tour De Hives Saturday Aug. 17, beginning at 8 a.m. on their property located at 9874 Wier Loop Circle in Oak Hill. The Facebook address is: http://www.TourdeHives.org.

The event will kick off with honey and mead tasting, beehive tours and basic introduction classes to beekeeping. Self-guided participants will sign waivers to visit bee yards within a 20-mile radius of the state’s Capitol until 2 p.m. using flyers with maps and directions. This is not a pet-friendly event and Phillips advises participants to leave them at home.

Phillips will provide some training presentations and a few vendors will also provide equipment used for harvesting and will allow tasting of honey products. The event will also serve as a fundraiser for The Bee Friendly Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports scientific education, public awareness, humane treatment of bees, sustainability, and the collection of honey from bees.

The Phillips-Reburn business web address is: http://www.beefriendlyaustin.com. Information about the classes Phillips teaches and the hives that Reburn sells can be found at: http://www.teeceebeez.com.

Phillips and Reburn represent just two Austinites who enjoy beekeeping. They plan to introduce others to nine other local beekeepers as part of the Tour De Hives. Participants will caravan to various homes in Austin to observe backyard beekeeping.

“I started this whole vision of The Tour De Hives. We like being on the leading edge of ‘cool.’ We did ‘back yard chickens’ (farming)  in the city before it got trendy and now back yard bees are the next Austin ‘funky thing’ and we think it’s time to get folks started because the bees need us,” Phillips says.

The Tour De Hives will also coincide Aug. 17 with “National Honey Bee Day.” Phillips hopes people will be inspired. Future beekeepers can order their bees in December, receive them by March and build up a strong colony by next summer.

“We hope this first annual Tour De Hives will lead to a bigger and better one next year,” Phillips says. “The trend is happening. We know this because we participate in all kinds of groups and organizations connected to beekeeping through Facebook.com and Yahoo.com.”

Some of the groups are Austin Area Beekeepers, San Marcos Bee Wranglers, Central Texas Beekeepers and FayCo Beekeepers of Fayette County.

Some of the focus groups hope to alter the global-wide decline of honeybees. Scientific researchers have blamed genetically modified seeds, environmental influences, and pests such as the varroa mite, according to Brit Amos, author of “Death of the Bees. Genetically Modified Crops and the Decline of Bee Colonies in North America,” published Aug. 9, 2011 on http://www.globalresearch.ca.

“Our goal with the Bee Friendly Foundation is to create a grant that a college student of entomology can receive to study bees and that research will benefit bees,” Phillips says. “Like an assistant professor of apiculture in the department of entomology at Texas A&M University.”

The foundation’s website address is: http://www.beefriendlyfoundation.org.

Other beekeepers, like Phillips and Reburn, farm honey as a sustainable food source as well. The couple hopes to move to their farmland near Big Bend National Park within three years and start living “off the grid,” she says. Their future mountainous desert home has solar energy, a rainwater collection system, and area to plant a large garden and to care for bees.

At Phillips’ current home in Oak Hill, bees fly towards a metal water tank, like those reserved for cattle. The bees land on top of a concrete hexagonal-shaped island designed specifically for bees in the pond’s center surrounded by water.

“They’ve left the hive. They’re foragers, they’re female. We don’t really have any male bees right now. It’s not drone season yet. So you probably won’t see the boys,” Phillips says chuckling a bit.

“This floats in our pond for the bees, so they won’t drown. Unlike the wasps –

they will fly down and can land on the water and they can take off, but bees can’t do that.”

Phillips doesn’t run nor hide from the bees. She’s affectionately given all five of her personal beehives names – such as “Bee-yonce,” “Bee-onca,” “Ona-bee,” “Bee-atrice,” and “May-bee.”

The exits on hives face the very same direction forming a parallel line, northeast along a barbed wire fence that surrounds the Phillips-Reburn property. Phillips gets inches away from one hive with two holes in it that bees enter and exit.

When she’s simply observing the bees, she wears just shorts and a T-shirt, no protective bee farming gear. The largest of her hives has three additional holes, currently plugged with corks.

“If you get enough bees, you can open more holes,” she says. “But you don’t want to open more holes than they (the bees) have the ability to guard.”

Since she started keeping beehives in May, the numbers of bees living in each her colonies has remained small – less than 30,000 per hive.

“I was supposed to be the only bee keeper,” Phillips says. “But as soon as Chuck started studying bees, he was like ‘I’m gonna’ do bees too.’  And he kinda goes crazy; when Chuck does something, he does it all the way.”

In the last three months, Reburn has built 12 Langstroth style hives, large rectangle-shaped wood boxes that stack vertically to provide eight frames each for bees to create combs.

According to Oscar H. Will III, author of  “The 2011 Guide To Backyard Bees and Honey,” published on http://www.grit.com, the Rev. Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth designed the modular structures in the mid 1800s in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Though Langstroth never profited from his patent, apiarists still consider him “the Father of bee keeping.

Reburn also built nuc hives, smaller starter wooden ones shaped like hat boxes. He will more than likely combine the bees living in his nucs with his other hives to strengthen them for the winter, Phillips says.

“What I build or what we are using are these eight-frame ‘mediums,’ so it’s a little narrower than the old-school ones, which make them a little lighter,” Reburn says. “They’ve got aluminum tops that I’ve built on all of mine and I’ve got an inner cover that is set up so I can actually feed through the top of them in the dearth when I’m first starting out a hive and feeding them sugar water. And I do all cedar construction on my boxes. Hopefully they’ll last quite a while that way.”

Reburn built Phillips’ top bar hives, modeled after a centuries-old form of human-made beehives that originated in Greece, according to Peter Sieling, who wrote “A Brief History of the Top Bar Hive,” published on http://www.makingbeehives.com.

The top bar hives consist of a series of 1 and 3/8-inch wooden slats laid horizontally on top of a wood box to allow bees to build combs separately inside.

“The bees are calmer and easier. You’re lifting just one bar at a time when you’re opening the hive, so it’s really light; it’s not heavy like lifting a whole box,” Phillips says.

In order to open and close the handmade wooden hives Phillips sometimes subdues the bees using a smoker. The hand-held device burns wood and pieces of raw cotton to create a flameless, cool smoke.

“People think that the smoke calms the bees, but I always say ‘I don’t think it calms the bees.’ One, they don’t have eyelids, so it hurts the bees; and two, they release a pheromone called an ‘alarm pheromone’ and it masks the alarm scent, so the bees can’t smell (and say) – ‘oh my god, there’s danger, danger around.’ So it kind of confuses them. So it hurts their eyes and it confuses them,” Phillips says.

Reburn often uses propane lighter to light the smoker.

“There’s these wood pellets that we use: I think it’s almost like an animal bedding that they sell in a compressed wood pellet with a little bit of wood scraps,” Reburn says. “And then I add a little bit of cotton in there. There’s raw cotton you can use as well. But the wood scraps work real well, if you can get ‘em lit. That’s the trick. You don’t use much and we don’t use it if we don’t have to.”

When opening up the hives, Phillips uses a protective suit.

“I don’t like to get stung,” she says. “So I researched a little bit about what is the best suit to buy and decided for Texas I wanted an Ultra Breeze® (suit.) It does let a little bit of air in, but it’s sandwiched waffle material – it has an inner layer, a waffle layer, and another layer so the bees can’t get through. And if they did sting one, it still wouldn’t get through all three places.”

She likes the Ultra Breeze® bee suit because zippers run from hip to ankle, making it easy to get in and out of quickly. The gear also allows easy access to pockets, with Velcro snap closures at the wrists and ankles. Phillips usually wears boots and long socks underneath the suit, to prohibit bees from attempting to enter her suit from the ground. The spacious suit also features a special zipper-sealed hood with a form-fitted enclosure or mask kept away from the face.

“The other thing I like about this suit that I haven’t found anywhere else is the face mask has a bottom stiffener. Most of them have this one (the stiffening arc brace around the head,) but they don’t have this one, (the one across the chin,)” Phillips says.

“Unfortunately, it sells for $259 and you cannot find it cheaper. But it’s the best and I’ve never been stung through my suit.”

She thinks that she has been stung on the back of her hand through the gloves, she says.

“When they sting you through the gloves, it’s not sticking the stinger (in) real deep, so it doesn’t hurt. When they sting you, their whole abdomen detaches and that leaves it in your skin. That’s why if you leave it in there, it’s still pumping the liquid in you,” Phillips says.

“So you just want to real carefully, grab the abdomen and pull it back out, or slide it out like with a credit card, or your fingernail and pull the stinger out and it (the pain) goes away right away. Honey bee stings hardly hurt at all and they hurt for a very short time.”

She says the pain one feels from a honeybee sting is nothing like any received from a wasp or hornet. The less a beekeeper disturbs a hive, the better. Most hives require little maintenance after the first year, about one visit every two months.

Phillips says that when opening up a hive, she immediately locates the queen, the largest bee, the one with a large golden-colored abdomen usually found closest to the larvae, or bee “babies.” The life span of a female honeybee from egg to adult ready to leave the cells of a honeycomb spans 21 days, she says.

“For three days it’s an egg, then a larva, then it starts out as a white bee – it’s so cool and then it changes into the bee that we see now,” Phillips says.

“They (other bees) start shaking her, (a queen) and stop feeding her and pushing her out around the hive. And she’ll start to lose weight. And when she gets thin enough that she can fly, her and half of the bees will take off. It’s called a swarm. They’ll land up in a tree or on a building somewhere and they’ll all hover up like a football or a giant basketball of bees. Then, they’ll sit there and they’ll wait and they’ll send out some scouts. As soon as the scouts find a place to live, they’ll put some pheromone out and then they’ll go and do their little bee dance and tell all the other bees where they’ve found some place to life.”

The swarm of bees will move as one in a formation similar to a tornado in the air until the bees fly into their new location. Once relocated, the bees will sit and fan their wings and spread more pheromones so the rest of the bees can find their way. The rest of the bees will begin feeding a few of the larvae (left by the exiting queen) extra royal jelly to make queen cells. Typically the first or strongest queen born will kill the rest of the queens and take over as the new queen of the hive.  The life cycle of a queen honeybee is 16 days; drones, the male bees, take 24 days and are much larger.

Phillips says she and Reburn will take calls from people to remove a swarm of bees and relocate them safely. She says she and Reburn cannot offer “cutout” services or remove established bee colonies from their hives – such as the inside walls of structures. That takes a special professional removal team.

“We like to pick up swarms,” Phillips says. “But we don’t do cutouts. We don’t do that. Some places do that, but we are more about beekeeping for the bees than us. We’re not beekeeping as a life-supporting business. If we make enough money to help the bees, that’s all we care about.”

Phillips says that most people who are afraid of bees don’t know enough about them. Those who learn about them, often end up wanting to help the bees. At the Tour De Hives, Phillips plans to offer some classes in an air-conditioned building led by PowerPoint.

 

Bees depend upon human relationships

“Bees are about relationships and working together to achieve sustainability. I think the world will need a lot more of that to survive and thrive for future generations,” Phillips says.

Phillips and Reburn introduced their neighbors Bill and Sharon Stanberry to bee keeping recently. The Stanberrys keep two hives just down the road.

“Tanya and Chuck raise bees and we’ve talking about it for some time. I wanted to put some in my back yard in Western Oaks and thought we’d try a couple of hives over here first,” Bill Stanberry says.

“Tanya and Chuck have been very, very supportive and helpful – good trainers. So it has been a good learning experience; it looks like we’re going to have honey.”

Phillips says both she and the Stanberrys will allow their bees to keep their honey for the first year, but will harvest the hives during their second year. She plans to take as much as 20 to 30 pounds of honey from each of her hives after their second year of production.

Phillips and Reburn will co-sponsor Tour De Hives with BeeWeavers Apiary of Dripping Springs; owners Danny and Laura Weaver plan to add their new bee farm, mercantile, and learning center to one of the stops on the tour.

Before Phillips invested in her apiary and started her non-profit organization, she took some classes hosted by Dean Cook at Rohan Meadery, one of the vendors who will offer mead tasting as part of Tour De Hives.

VENDORS

to present at Tour De Hives Austin

Rohan Meadery

  6002 Farm to Market 2981La Grange, TX 78945(979) 249-5652http://www.rohanmeadery.com

John and Wendy Rohan, owners of Rohan Meadery just outside of LaGrange, represents the first its generation of meaderies to process Texas honey into wine. Since the Rohans opened in 2009, four other meaderies have followed and soon a fifth will open in Austin.

The Rohans formed the Texas Mead Association and also sponsor a Mead Fest in Sequin during the month of September as part of National Honey Bee Month. They also are members of the Fayette County Beekeeper (FayCoBeeks) Association.

The Rohans built a tasting room in 2010 nestled between Round Top and LaGrange. The company produces 12 different mead varieties; including traditional mead fermented from honey alone and 11 other fermented fruit meads that include:

The Rohans make their meads from Texas Wildflower honey and Texas Huajilla honey. They also collect honey from hives on their own property and some from the Reed Family Honey farm in Montgomery County. Otherwise, the Rohans use only a small portion of an orange-blend honey from Florida mixed in the peach-flavored mead they make.

When the Rohans attend the Tour De Hives Aug. 17 they won’t bring all 12 varieties of mead with them. The company can’t keep all varieties in stock long enough to have more than five or six types of meads on hand at any one time. Right now, the Rohans plan to bring five types of mead with them to town next week, Wendy Rohan says.

Fermented honey, considered a wine in the state of Texas, takes anywhere from six months to a year to process. In terms of quantity, the Rohans’ production varies every year because it depends upon the honey supply. They processed about 500 cases last year – or 12 bottles per case, at about 750 ml per standard wine bottle.

“We’re tiny. We’re the tiniest winery you can imagine, very tiny for a winery,” Rohan says. “In the past couple of decades, there has been this resurgence in craft brew, crafted alcohols – artisanal handmade alcohol, whether it’s spirits, or grains and beers. We need to thank of the craft brewers; they have expanded the palates of what people consider flavorful. They’ve pushed people to try things that have flavor and complexity.”

The Rohans use either one of two processes to create their mead. The honey is fermented first by itself for a couple of months and then they add fruit juice or they ferment fruit juice and the honey together. The process just depends upon the type of mead that the Rohans choose to make at any time, she says.

“Honey is the number one show-stealer — by volume or weight — it is the number one ingredient in all our meads,” she says.  “I think the Tour De Hives is a great idea. I’ve met Tanya and Chuck on a number of occasions. John and I think they’re great people. We hope to support the event anyway that we can.”

BeeWeaver Apiaries – Hill Country location

3700 McGregor Lane

Dripping Springs, Texas 78620

http://www.beeweaver.com

(866) 547-3376

Bee Goods Mercantile –

6301 Highland Hills DriveAustin, TX  78731http://beegoodsmercantile.com(866) 547-3376

Danny and Laura Weaver represent fourth generation beekeepers that own three locations in Texas associated with both BeeWeaver Apiaries and Bee Goods Mercantile: one in Dripping Springs, another in Navasota near College Station, and still another non-retail Austin location where they house bees. The Weaver children will likely become the family’s fifth generation bee farmers.

The Dripping Springs location is currently being renovated. The family has hives and equipment on the land, but it is not completed. Eventually the family plans to teach lessons, said Central Texas beekeeper, Andrew Shahan.

He manages the bees at Dripping Springs and teaches one-on-one beekeeping courses on client properties or at the BeeWeaver facilities.

The BeeWeaver company also sells equipment on its website and will ship it to bee farmers.

When Shahan received his bachelors degree in entomology from University of Florida in 2012 he contacted the Weavers in Texas because they are internationally known for their queen breeding. He’s 24 years old and the first beekeeper in his family.

“My family thought I was a little bit crazy when I told them that I was really into bugs, but they all love it now,” Shahan says.

One of the largest facets of the BeeWeaver family business involves selling bees. Shahan and the Weavers ship queen bees around the world. Most of their clients – about 50 percent – are based only in Texas and the company also serves beekeepers around the world, he says.

Typically, beekeeping has been passed down from generation to generation within families, but that’s changing in Texas, especially.

Shahan said the company ships “a lot of bees” – alive each week by U.S. Postal Service or UPS. Each box has 3 pounds of bees and a queen along sugar water when it arrives. It’s a tricky feat; but people need to think months ahead in this business.

“Spring time is when people should start new colonies. If someone wants to start a new colony with BeeWeaver queens, they need to order their bees in September. The way beekeeping works, bees don’t start building up their colonies until springtime. So you pre-order in September, saving your spot to get some bees, but we don’t ship until the first week of April,” Shahan says.

“People are getting on board with beekeeping. That’s why my job was created. There are so many beekeepers in Central Texas and there are only a few courses. I’m not aware of anyone else who offers one-on-one courses like I do. There is a movement towards beekeeping in Central Texas.”

Younger people seem to be taking an keen interest in beekeeping, what used to be considered an older person’s vocation. While owning one’s own queen bee may be causing a buzz worldwide, in Austin overall interests in growing and crafting ones own food sources reign supreme, he says.

“At one time, all the beekeepers were older, farming men who had been beekeepers for decades and owned thousands of hives. Today, the new beekeeper is your middle-aged or young person who has heard about the loss of all the bees around the country and in the world and typically keep just a few hives. They’re interested in helping keep the bee population healthy,” Shahan says. “And in Austin, more young people are interested in growing and sustaining their own food supplies.”

Beekeeper terminology:

  • Apiary – a bee yard that includes bees, hives and equipment used for their sustainability
  • Beehive – a place where a colony of bees live and thrive, human made or nature made
  • Beeswax – secretions from a worker bee’s body used to build a comb
  • Brood – a name for immature bees who live inside the cells of a comb
  • Comb – a mass of six-sided sells that contains the brood, as well as stored honey
  • Drone – the male honey bee
  • Dearth – a feeder containing a 1:1 ratio of sugar water for bees in a human-made bee hive
  • Honey – a sweet material produced by bees from the nectar of flowers that contains both minerals, vitamins, proteins and enzymes
  • Hive beetle – a destructive pest of honey bee colonies, they cause damage to the comb, pollen, and honey
  • Langstroth hive –a style of human-made bee hive only a few centuries old that features a box designed from wood with a series of ten removable frames inside it, all covered by a canopy or roof with one entrance in or out.
  • Larva – a white, legless, grub-like insect and the second stage of a bee’s metamorphosis
  • Life cycle – the development of a bee from an egg to an adult, when it leaves its cell, takes a total of 21 days including: a) hatching = 3 days, b) larva = 5 days, c) pupa = 13 days.
  • Nuc hive – a smaller size human-made bee hive made from a wooden box with only five frames inside it,  built Langstroth style.
  • Scouts – worker bees that search for a new home hive
  • Smoker – a device that produces a flameless, cool smoke that subdues bees in a hive by masking the scent of a beekeeper as well as the alarm pheromones of the colony’s bees
  • Stinger – the barb at the end of the abdomen of a bee that contains the apitoxin and results in the release of “alarm pheromones” and the insect’s fatality
  • Swarm – a collection of a single queen, drones and worker bees that leave a colony to await a new home hive to be discovered by scouts
  • Top-bar hive – a several thousand years-old style of human-made hive created from wood or other materials for the purpose of beekeeping, designed with a series of removable wood slats each anywhere from 1.25 to 1.38 inches wide placed on top.
  • Queen – a female bee with a complete reproductive system that lays all of the fertilized eggs in a hive
A beekeeper pulls a comb filled with honey as well as larva ("bee babies" for viewing.

A beekeeper pulls a comb filled with honey as well as larva (“bee babies” for viewing.

http://oakhillgazette.com/uncategorized/2013/08/austins-first-tour-de-hives-is-saturday-august-17-national-honey-bee-day/#more

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