Skagit Valley Beekeepers Association

Newsletter for April 2022 

Spring is in the Air:
Join Us at the April Meeting

We've all turned the official corner into Spring, and the bees will soon be enjoying the warmer weather and flowering world.
Ideas and advice about the seasonal transition will be part of our next SVBA meeting on Thursday, April 14th at the Burlington Public Library. For those attending in person, we will follow the practices required by the Library, which they keep current on their website. But we hope to also provide an on-line stay-at-home option through the multi-media juggling by Brad Raspet - he will post an internet invitation with the meeting link attached.

Back, Live, and in Person:
Annual Silent Auction and Potluck Dinner
We held our annual Silent Auction event last month, and are now back on track with this annual food-filled fundraising event. The excellent great included both new and long-time SVBA members who shared an abundant potluck spread. Dinner included the spectacular contribution of baked king salmon, thanks to the generosity of Bill Markus. It's a wonderful thing for the SVBA that Bill's other pastimes include angling.
The list of donated items was long, and there were wonderful finds for those fishing for a deal. The successful bidders adding hundreds of dollars into the SVBA till. A shiny three-frame extractor drew lots of competing bids. There was a complete starter setup for a new beekeeper, and hard-to-find items for the very experienced among us. The bee-themed items took many shapes and forms, from hand-sewn table mats to kid's games and boots.
You must be sorry if you missed it - but you can look forward to next year's version. And don't forget about the Potluck family picnic in July. 
Featured Beekeeper:
Rob Johnson
Ten years ago, Rob Johnson and his wife Joan signed up for a basic 4-week beginner's course in beekeeping as a winter "date night" activity. They learned about a course was being run by a group called the Skagit Valley Beekeepers Association in a space provided by the Skagit Farmers Supply. Beekeeping seemed like an idea that might meet mutual interests - she was a gardening enthusiast, and Rob was interested in home-grown food intrigued by the study of biology, going back to college days. 

It worked, and beekeeping is a lot more than a date night activity today.
Rob now co-teaches that same beginner's class with other SVBA mentors, sharing his experience and growing knowledge. He has become a beekeeper, typically maintaining 20 hives distributed among 8 different sites - from Alger to Anacortes and in his home grounds on Fildago Island. If you stop by the WSU Extension gardens, he has hives there, too. 
He is also the Treasurer of the SVBA, and helps organize key programs and then contributes many hours to them, like the association's annual participation at the Skagit Valley Fair.

"Bees by the Sea" is the label Rob tagged to the honey produced by his hives. In a good year (and 2021 was a very good year), his bees produce over a hundred gallons of honey. This output places Rob in that zone between the big-scale hobbyist and small-scale commercial enterprise, with a goal of making enough revenue to at least cover the annual costs.
Bees by the Sea on display

Distributing and marketing the honey has its own skills and adventures. For the folks that host his colonies on their property, he exceeds the typical proportions and shares more than the standard quart/hive/year. He has participated in farmer's markets in the past. He also barters his honey with other people - he scored a huge supply of burlap bags for overwintering that way. 
But one of the best methods has been to slap a magnetic "Bees by the Sea" business sign on his truck as he drives around to the different hives, with his phone number on it. He then harvests the phone calls, including one from a CSA that now markets some of his honey for him. 
Rob has similar insights and stories to share when you run into him at SVBA programs and meetings, which we look forward to hearing.

Be an SVBA Board Member
The Executive Search is On
One of our three board members has decided to move on from his position in the organization, leaving an opening that you might help fill. If you are interested in helping the association by nominating yourself (or another) willing member, get in touch with Brad Raspet, SVBA President, The duties are light, but this is an opportunity to help with occasional official tasks and work with the other association officers as we find new routes for education, engagement, and fun for our beekeeping community.
We have an experienced lineup of Skagit Valley Beekeepers putting together the program and running the sessions, including Rob Johnson, Bill Markus, Brad Raspet and Seth Smith.
If you are interested in attending, please contact Brad Raspet, SVBA President 360-708-9424

Trading Post
If you have supplies and equipment that you may be interested in swapping, selling, or just plain giving to other interested members of the SVBA, send a brief description, price, and contact information to your editor,

SVBA Membership
Renew or Join Now  
If you haven't already sprung at the chance, your 2022 SVBA membership dues are now due, and you may have gotten a friendly reminder. It's easy, simply mail us your annual renewal fee of just $12.00. For those who wish to join, it's the same price, and a wonderful introduction to our beekeeping community with the many programs, events, education, advice and connections that we offer through our web page, Facebook, and this newsletter. The membership form and payment instructions are found at:
Brad Raspet, President

Dawn Beck, Vice President
Rob Johnson, Treasurer
Susan DeLawter, Secretary

Steve Cecil, Newsletter

Steve LeBlanc, Board
Alvin Forar, Board
Seth Smith, Board