Mud Songs documents the successes and failures of two beekeepers, Jenny and Phillip, who have kept bees in and around St. John’s, Newfoundland, for exactly 1067 days. Written and illustrated with photos and videos intended for novice beekeepers, they try to keep everything simple and practical. They’re not expert beekeepers, but they hope that by being honest about their mistakes while documenting what actually seems to work, others might learn as well from them as they would from more experienced beekeepers. They make the mistakes so you don’t have to.
Phillip got interested in honey bees after reading about people keeping bees on their roofs in Chicago. Then he discovered the Backwards Beekeepers and got hooked, which led to online lessons from Long Lane Honey Bee Farms, which led to several more months of online research, and finally on July 18th, 2010, the bees arrived. Presently, Jenny and Phillip have five Langstroth honey bee hives in a rural location approximately 16km outside of St. John’s. They kept their bees in the city, in their small backyard, for a couple years, but decided to move them to the country to keep the peace with certain neighbours. They’ve experimented with foundationless beekeeping which turned out to be not such a great move, but they’re learning as they stumble along, getting it wrong before they get it right. They harvested their first batch of honey in September 2011, and it was delicious.
Mud Songs used to be a gardening blog. Jenny and Phillip grew vegetables in an 8-by-8-foot raised garden bed in 2009 with great success. They used various containers and contraptions to grow herbs and veggies around their yard, all of it organic and accomplished on the smallest possible budget. They expanded the operation in 2010 to include a 4 x 8 raised bed along with a couple mini potato towers. Which is all fine and good. The gardening will always be there. But Mud Songs is strictly a beekeeping blog now. (Most of the old gardening posts are gone.) The name “Mud Songs” didn’t make a whole lot of sense even as a gardening blog and makes even less sense now as a beekeeping blog. But changing the name is too much of a hassle, so that’s it.
All images and original content © by Phillip and Jenny, unless otherwise noted.
Artist’s rendition of Phillip & Jenny © 2007 by Jonathan Adams (used with permission).