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ACMC-Redwood Falls' Dr. Joshua Friese
: For the Love of Honey
Dr. Joshua Friese, ACMC-Redwood Falls, Family Medicine
Joshua D. Friese
admits the adage about farms and boys applies to him.
"I grew up on a farm, so you can't take the farmer out of me," says the family physician as explanation for the life he's chosen for himself and his family.
practices at ACMC Redwood Falls and lives on an acreage with his
wife and four children a few miles (three stop signs, he
says) outside of town.
A few years ago, he
built a barn on the property and now is raising a cow, nine chickens, two cats, a dog and several hundred thousand honeybees.
Actually, the adage doesn't explain the honeybees.
blames on his
"It's probably more of my wife's hobby," he
says of beekeeping.
"It all started with my wife's grandfather.
grew up going to his
house and having fresh honey all the time," he
says each one will have about 50,000 bees "once it's all up to speed."
says bees require tending about once a week or so.
Early in the spring, when the bees are waking from their winter's nap, he
wife place a one gallon container of sugar water on top of each hive and a "pollen patty" inside the part of the hive where the queen lives.
The sugar water stimulates the workers to build the comb and the queen needs the pollen for laying eggs.
Once the temperature reaches about 65 degrees, the bees have free range among the family's apple, cherry and linden trees as well as other flowers and plants.
During the summer months, the beekeepers' main job is making sure the bees have enough room to grow and make honey.
explains that each hive contains a brood box, in which the queen lays eggs and "makes" workers, and smaller "supers," in which the workers build the comb and make the honey.
When a super looks full, the keepers add another one on top.
says they check the hives about every 10 days or so.
Sometime after Labor Day, they collect the honey, which means taking off the supers, brushing (or sometimes vacuuming) off the bees and putting the frames containing the honeycomb into a centrifuge that separates out the honey.
They filter the honey and then put it into five-gallon buckets, from which they fill smaller jars.
"We give a lot away to friends and teachers," Friese
likes the fact that others are fascinated by bees as well.
People come to his
farm to see them.
"They get their suit on and go down there, and we open it up and show them everything," he
patients and staff ask about them, too.
can teach his
children, who range in age from 8 to 15, about the process.
"I want them to enjoy certain things," he
says, "being outside and caring for nature and living off the land.