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RBR News | May 19, 2016

Posted in Ranch Report

Around the Ranch
After a string of unplanned events, minor delays, and a broken truck, things finally began to come together last weekend ahead of a busy week at ACES at Rock Bottom Ranch. This week, we have a full plate - installation of a new pizza oven, juggling vegetable soil prep and planting, and, perhaps most excitingly, introduction of new beehives.

Several months of planning, brainstorming, research, and preparation have taken place to welcome the newest animals to the farm - honey bees. In preparation for this latest addition, we read books and online articles, took classes, built hives and new fences, mulched hive areas, caught swarms, and more... 

Once we were ready for bees, we needed to drive to Denver to pick up bee nucs, or starter hives. Chris Dominick, one of our Agriculture staff, volunteered to make the arduous journey. Departing after work on Thursday afternoon, Chris's truck experienced a few mechanical issues that needed immediate attention. An inspection on Friday morning confirmed repairs were needed, but the earliest they could attend to the issues was Monday. This left us with an interesting challenge – 30,000 bees that needed a ride from Denver on Saturday morning.  

So, at 5am on Saturday, I departed from Basalt to pick up our bees in Denver. Upon arrival at 8:15AM we were informed that the bee truck had experienced its own delays and would not arrive until 10AM. A fresh refill of coffee and a pastry proved to be refreshing and upon returning at 9:30AM, I found a spot in the newly forming line. The line at the bee supply store more closely resembled a product unveiling at an Apple Store - hundreds of people lined up to wait for the delayed delivery truck carefully transporting the bee nucs. 

Around 10AM a staff member informed us the bees were still about 2 hours away. Not wanting give up my place in line, I waited, passing the time researching more bee questions on my phone. The truck transporting the bees arrived around 11:45 and we had our bees back on the road headed for Rock Bottom Ranch by 12PM.  

Since our vehicle options were limited, I took our trusty Subaru wagon. It's hard to explain the feeling of driving down i70 with 30,000 bees in the back of your car, cautiously navigating bumps and potholes out of fear of the temporary hive popping open. We returned to the Ranch without incident and our Ag team eagerly, though carefully, moved the bees to their new home. 

Available Products
Tune in next week about the details of the bee nuc installation, the hive inspection, and our first week with the new hives.

NEW! Eggs are now available for sale at Hallam Lake in Aspen during open hours (Monday - Friday 9AM - 5PM). All products can be purchased at the Ranch during open hours (Monday – Friday 9AM – 5PM and Saturday 9AM – 1PM). Please call ahead to confirm availability or to place an order for pick-up.

  • We now have a steady supply of our locally famous, pasture-raised, non-GMO, Animal Welfare Approved, delicious chicken eggs. 
  • A full pork inventory is available including chops, bacon, ribs, roasts, and ground pork.

~ Jason Smith, Rock Bottom Ranch Director

Rock Bottom Ranch is open Monday – Friday 9AM – 5PM and Saturday from 9AM – 1PM with Farm Tours each day at 11AM. For questions about Rock Bottom Ranch please email Jason at jsmith@aspennature.org.