Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Trip Through Time

Because I don't have enough hobbies, between spinning, knitting, beekeeping, quilting, gardening and motorcycles, I decided to volunteer my time as a docent at Rock Ledge Ranch.  That's right, volunteer, as in not get paid, donate my free time, work for nothing.

Rock Ledge Ranch is a city park that acts as a living history museum.  I've been out there before during a craft fair but hadn't really thought about it again until some women came to my quilt guild asking for volunteers.  One lady was promoting Quilting Friends of Rock Ledge Ranch, whose main function is to make products that can be sold in the general store either as a fundraiser for Rock Ledge, or under consignment.  This sounded interesting, but they meet during the work week when I have to, well, work.  The second lady was there as a city employee, in charge of the docent staff, trying to drum up volunteers.  I don't know what I drank that night, but somehow my name got written down on some paper and I came home with some informational fliers.  I attended two training sessions, then they let me loose on some real people (they never learn). 

I am a docent for the 1860's Galloway Homestead area.  I wear period appropriate clothing, speak appropriate to the time period (For those of you who know me well, this is incredibly hard.  Apparently only whores and outlaw women swore the way I normally do.  I'm going to ignore what this says about me.), and perform period appropriate tasks.  What does this mean?  Well, I volunteered as a quilter, so my main focus was to sew and quilt something that was popular during the 1860's and 1870's.  I picked out several post Civil War era patterns, chose some beautiful reproduction fabrics, and pre-cut my strips using my rotary cutter (I'm reenacting history, not stupid).  Then I realized that hand sewing a large project could take a long time, especially if I'm only sewing on it during my docent shifts.  It was actually the Junior Docents that gave me a great idea.  To keep the project small and allow others to easily participate, I decided that doll quilts were the way to go.  The strips became squares, easily packed in a sewing basket, along with a pincushion of pre-threaded needles.  I enjoyed sitting outside the homestead cabin, under a tree, sewing my squares together, teaching the junior docents and any visitor who wanted to try. 

My other interests, aka time-consuming hobbies, mesh surprisingly well with the time period also.  I bought some 100% wool yarn and wooden knitting needles and have been knitting a scarf during my docent shifts.  Several children have asked to try, and I've got another pair of needles all set up for them.  I've also brought along some undyed BFL (Blue-face Leicster) wool fiber and a simple wooden spindle and spun some yarn up.  RLR actually has some merino sheep, which they shear in the spring on opening weekend, so it's fun to tie it all together. 

In addition to demonstrating these crafts, we cook (sometimes) over fire, saw logs for firewood, work in the homestead garden, or my favorite, hang out with Patches the Guernsey cow.  I've enjoyed my first season at RLR, and I'm looking forward to next year.
My niece Enya and I outside the Homestead cabin

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Ravellenic Games Torched My Ass

Obviously I didn't finish my Ashton shawlette before the end of the Olympic closing ceremonies, or I would have been bragging it up.  Well, life (meaning family and work) got in the way, and I semi-seriously overestimated my knitting abilities.  No medal for me.  I was able to make continual progress on it though, and I finished it up a few weekends ago.  I had to buy another skein because I ran out of yarn with 7 pattern rows left in chart 4.  I worked on it at Spinners With Altitude knit group (lovin’ these ladies!) and finally finished it up.  I've been waiting to wash and block it until I can borrow some blocking wires (oh, the tools and gadgets used by knitters would boggle your mind), but I'm like a kid at Christmas and just can't wait any longer.  So I soaked it in the sink and used pins and scrap yarn to block it out until it's dry.

soaking in the sink with a little wool wash
my shawl is rolled up inside there somewhere . . . trying to get as much moisture out as I can
The pattern instructions were awesome, and I felt comfortable knitting the entire time.  Maybe lace isn't so intimidating after all!  If I would have had entire days free and hours each evening, I might have been able to finish in time, so I wasn't necessarily completely off in choosing this project for the Ravellenic Games.  It wasn't the difficultly level of the knitting, or beyond my skills, it was just knitting speed and lack of free time.  I should have realized I wouldn't have had that much time, and chosen a smaller project.  Oh well, better luck in 2 years.
Yes, this is a queen size bed my "shawlette" is pinned out on.  And that's a Mass Transit from Bristol Brewing Co. on the bedside.  I needed it after seeing how big this thing turned out.
Blocked it, and discovered my shawlette is definitely a shawl.  No wonder I needed more yarn!  The finished size ended up being 76”x38” vs the 52”x26” called for in pattern.  Oops.  Silly gauge! However, I am loving it.  Could definitely see myself repeating this pattern for a gift also, after making sure I was using correct needle/yarn to get the correct size.  Can't wait for the winter Olympics now!

My beautiful new shawl.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

July Hive Checks, Playing Catch-up

My niece, making a great start as a junior beekeeper!
The bees are building up VEEERRRRRYYYYY slowly.  I've been really busy lately and haven't blogged, so I'm playing catch-up.

Hive check results:
15 July 2012sunny and clear; refilled feeders, they'd started building wax on top jar, put out the 5 gal open feeder and the only thing at it were ants; bees slightly more nervous than usual, noisier; laying pattern was mediocre;
Frame inspection:    

     1: nothing, bees present
     2: stuck to frame 3 with propolis, left side nothing, right side 30% comb

     3: 60% comb built on left, nectar present, 100% comb on right side; repaired the comb area built out evenly; drone cells present, nectar, spotty brood 
     4: 100% comb drawn on left, capped brood, 100% drawn on right side, with capped brood, pollen, capped honey in corners, drone cells present;  frame is HEAVY
     5: 100% comb built on left side, most with brood, queen spotted, 100% comb drawn on right side, brood, some capped honey; heavy frame     
     6: 60% comb drawn on left side, double-layer twisted comb present again, removed, bridged comb, some brood present; minor comb on right side

They keep building weird comb, we keep cutting it out . . .
     7: 5% comb built on left side, nothing on right side, bees present
     8-10: nothing
Replaced frames 8 & 9 with frames that had additional beeswax (taken from this hive) coated on the foundation.

28 July 2012sunny and clear; refilled feeders; laying pattern more consistant (I think feeding consistantly helps, but it's such a drive out here); lots of progress, propolis sticking frames together;
Frame inspection:    

     1: 95% comb drawn on left side, filled with larvae, 20% drawn on right side, lots of  pollen present
     2: 40% comb drawn on left side, some of it wonky, which was cut out, right side 40% comb with eggs, queen present
Queen Beatrice on frame 2, with eggs in all available cells
     3: 98% comb built on left, some wonky comb, 100% comb on right side, drone cells present on bottom 
Several of these cells found on bottom of frame, straight out so we know it's drone comb vs queen cell
      4: 100% on left, good brood pattern, 100% on right side, with good brood, pollen, capped honey in corners;  spotted worker bee with yellow spot on back   

Several worker bees with mysterious yellow marking, we think/hope it's pollen
     5: 100% on left side, mostly brood, 100% on right side, brood, wonky comb cut out     
     6: 60% comb drawn on left side, wonky comb present again, some brood present, 40% comb drawn on right, pollen; another bee with yellow mark on back

     7: 30% comb built on left side, very minor wonkiness, 10% comb on right side,
     8: 10% comb built on left, nothing on right
     9: bees just started building comb on left
   10: nothing but bees
Decided that there was enough brood/bees to justify adding the second deep brood box on, so we numbered the frames and "checkerboarded" the drawn frames with the new foundation frames in the two boxes.  I had "painted" additional wax onto the new foundation frames, which I will cover more on later.  We kept at least two of the old frames together, with undrawn 


frames in between.  We made sure the queen stayed in the bottom box, and then we stacked 'em up and put the feeders on them.  Get to it girls!

Going back to "painting" the foundation with additional wax, I think this was a good idea.  At the last beeyard visit with PPBA, it was recommended, especially if your bees are not wanting to build on the plasticell.  I took the idea of creating my own double boiler, and used two different sizes of roasting pans out on my grill.  I used cheesecloth to strain out the bee bits from the wax removed from the hive, and melted an additional brick of beeswax that Dick provided (thanks!).  
My homemade $6 double boiler for melting wax
Other than it being really hot, I think it worked well.  I used a mini foam roller to paint the melted wax onto the foundation in thin layers.  My niece Enya was visiting from California, and I put her to work too!  In addition to adding wax to the foundation, we painted the second deep hive body and the super a nice yellow.  I took her out to the beeyard with me, and she even held a frame full of bees.  I hope she enjoyed it as much as I did!
Stacking the second deep brood box on
Done for the day!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Light the Torch!

I love the Olympics.  Like luuuuvvvv them.  Summer, Winter, love it all.  Even the sports that never get televised.  I love the athlete bio stories, the competition, the teamwork and patriotism of cheering for one's country.  (The hot men in althletic gear don't hurt either.)  But this year I've been looking forward to the opening ceremonies for a different reason (let's face it, the Ralph Lauren uniform is stupid).  This year I'm competing in the Ravellenic Games 2012.

Ravelry is a website dedicated to lovers of fiber arts, namely knitters, crocheters, spinners, etc.  There are over 2 million members, and it's a great place to find patterns, info on fibers or yarn, and connect with others who have similar interests.  They are hosting the 2012 Ravellenic Games (it used to be the Ravelympics but they got a cease and desist letter from the USOC, don't ask), an event where you pick a project and cast-on at the beginning of the opening ceremonies and try to complete before the end of the closing ceremonies.  There are events for spinners and stash busters and anything else you can think of.  It's kind of awesome. 

Cascade Heritage Silk Paint yarn, 75% merino, 15% tussah silk
As a way to challenge myself I decided to give it a go this year.  I think I'm aiming a little high, but I'm going to try and finish the Ashton Shawlette.  It will be my first time reading a chart, knitting lace, and blocking the piece.  I picked the Ashton because Dee O'Keefe, the designer, has created a very nice tutorial for doing all of these things.  The instructions for reading the charts are very clear, and other people who've knitted this project all have positive things to say about it, and some were able to complete it within a few weeks, which means it can be done.  Maybe not by me, but it is possible.  Feel free to track my progress, offer me encouragement, . . . place bets about whether or not it will get done in time. . .
(sorry my picture is really bad)
Earlier this week I picked my yarn, wound my cake (after taking the yarn from a skein onto the ballwinder, the resulting center-pull ball is called a cake), and packed everything I'd need into a bag.  Now I just need them to light the torch!

Update:  Obviously I wrote this while awaiting the Opening Ceremonies (which were AWESOME!), and I have made some minor progress.  Complete with chart 1, beginning chart 2.
End of Chart 1.  Doesn't look like much yet . . .

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Beeyard Visits

One of my favorite parts of belonging to a beekeeping association are the beeyard visits (it's really just a field trip for big kids!).  If you're a beekeeper, or interested in beekeeping, I highly recommend you join your local group.  They are a great resource for information, knowledge and equipment, and people willing to answer your questions.  Mine is the Pikes Peak Beekeepers Association (PPBA), and last month we met on a Saturday morning for an informative day of beekeeping at a member' house. 
First off, this was quite a beeyard.  Steve H. has about 8 hives in total (do nucs count?), and has some serious equipment.  This beeyard is in the Pikes Peak foothills, bear country, which makes an electric fence a necessity.  Steve has about a 20'x20' area fenced off, leveled, and filled with gravel as a base to prevent weeds, etc. 
Before we checked out the hives, though, Steve had some of his equipment set out for us to look at.  He's a pretty good handyman and repurposer, and has built a lot of his own equipment, such as a queen marking cage out of a pill canister, and a solar wax melter out of an old cooler, plexiglass and insulation.  I got a lot of good ideas.

This homemade gridded board goes beneath the screened bottom board.  It's used to measure mite count.  The shiny white spots are wax flakes that've dropped off of a bees belly, the yellow is pollen and other debris.

Homemade solar wax melter holding bucket with screen to separate debris from melted wax.

One of the more experienced beekeepers in PPBA, John H., went through the hives with Steve.  Most of us wore at least a hat and veil, but they just worked the hives bare-handed and bare-headed.  I'm not at that comfort level yet.

From l to r: hive, 2 nucs stacked together, single deep containing captured swarm, hive, 2 large hives in back
They discovered queen cups along the bottom of some frames in one very healthy colony, but no eggs in them, and the hive never swarmed.  There was another colony which had a laying worker, and a decision was made to requeen immediately.  You could tell the colony wasn't queen right due to the spotty brood pattern, drone brood (due to all the eggs being unfertilized), and multiple eggs in the cells.
John H. and Steve H. going through the hives.  One of the upper boxes is set on its side due to comb and queen cups along the bottom of the frames.  Yes, all those dark spots in the air are bees, and no, they're not wearing any protective gear.
Drone comb frame (you can tell because it's green), used as part of Integrated Pest Management (IPM).  What's different about this is the multiple eggs in the cells, a sign of a laying worker.

Overall this was a very informative visit.  I got to see what a laying worker in a hive looks like, got some great ideas for improvising equipment, and saw what was possible with a backyard beeyard.  I can't wait unit next months visit.

Monday, July 16, 2012

My Garden Sucks

I haven't even planted my garden this year.  Normally, I wait until Mother's Day weekend, as that's a good date for the average last day of frost around here.  Living at altitude (6200ish ft) in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains generally means spring comes slowly here.  Not so much this year.  We had 80deg F weeks in March, everything bloomed early, and we never really got our spring rains.  Instead of taking advantage of this warm spell, I decided not to trust it and wait until May.  In May DH and I both came down with the crud and were laid low for several weeks, so my garden planting was pushed back further.  Then we were out of town, then we got tornados and hail.  (I tell myself the hail would have just destroyed any seedlings I'd planted.  This does make me feel slightly better.) 

I do have my rhubarb, mint, and some strawberries.  I've already picked the rhubarb 3 times, and it needs it again.  I've been pulling up mint runners for a few months also.

Since it's already mid-July, I'm debating just doing some fall crops like lettuce.  I hate to leave my garden fallow this year, but looking at total days to harvest for the veggies I want doesn't leave enough time, especially if weather doesn't cooperate and we have an early frost.  I think fondly of my corn crop from 2 years ago, and how I want to try pickling my cucumbers someday.
my little corn field in 2010
It looks like we'll be busy with traveling this summer also, so I'm making an executive decision to get the rest of the yard in shape again first.  A sprinkler zone broke so last year we never turned on our sprinklers and the grass pretty much died.  I don't have a problem with dead grass in front, as I'm planning on turning that into a little meadow anyway, but the back yard is a tough loss.  Mostly because with the grass dead, the weeds have taken over.  In a BIG way.  I hate to use chemicals, but I think we're at the herbicide stage before we can replant. 
my previous garden
So the list of Things To Do grows a little larger. 
     - Get sprinklers fixed (done!)
     - Kill weeds, prep for replanting
     - Order water-wise native grass from High Country Gardens
     - Finish garden design for front and have order ready for fall shipping/planting
Backyard in 2012, YIKES!
As you can see, there's a lot of work to do.  I am embarrassed to share these photos, but I think it's important to see how much hard work goes into keeping a pretty yard.  This is what happens when you do NOTHING.  Plus, being in a drought hasn't helped.  The back yard will get the lawn replanted with water-wise grass plugs more suited to our area than Kentucky bluegrass, and the rest of the weeds pulled.  Right now I have to switch into blinder mode every time I sit on the patio with a beer, and I haven't been able to enjoy it as much as in years past. 

Dead lawn in the front yard.

The front yard will get the weeds pulled, the tree trimmed/limbed up, some shrubs moved, and everything ready for planting this fall.  We don't need the lawn in the front, it used more water than flowers will, and even though the soil is horrible (sandy with maybe an inch of topsoil), the area is irrigated so I thought I'd design a nice little flower garden where I can put the plants that require more water.  I have an idea of the plants I'd like already, I just need to organize them into the space according to mature size and height, bloom time and color. 

So tell me, are you a lazy yard keeper, or the neighborhood lawn police?  Do you prefer native plantings, or is water no factor?  Are there things about your yard that embarrass you?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Slow Going

We had an apprentice beekeeper with us for the hive check on Saturday.  Jason's niece came out with them, they suited her up, and she got her first look at beekeeping close up.  Including tasting honey straight from the comb!  Hopefully she had fun, learned a little, and will join us again. 

I forgot the smoker.  I pull it out of my car and make sure it's safely extinguished after each hive check, and I forgot to put it back in my car for this visit.  We were slightly concerned, but the bees were calm and we couldn't tell a difference in behaviour between with/without smoke, although without the smoker we couldn't get them to move down into the hive when putting the inner cover on, so we had to slide it across slowly in order to not squish them.  Also, we weren't doing anything really disruptive, so need for the smoker was not as great.  Maybe we'll try to do more work without smoking them as much, as it sets them back a bit, and we need them to BUILD COMB FASTER! 

Trying not to squish the bees putting the cover on
The overall impression during the hive check was slightly increased population of bees, not much new comb, and not a lot of empty comb for the queen to lay in.  It's good that she's filled the available comb, but most of it was capped brood, which means she has to wait for bees to hatch or new comb to be built for her to have more room to lay.  There's also no room for significant honey stores to be added, which means slow buildup for winter.  Not that we've had much moisture around here, but if there was a good nectar flow, they wouldn't be ready for it.  Is it the bees or the foundation?

24 June 2012 - HOT, around 93 deg F at 1000, sunny and clear (no clouds, some smoke from Waldo Canyon fire); refilled empty feeders, 2 qts in 5 days (or less);
Frame inspection:
     1: nothing
     2: nothing (bees festooning on right side)
     3: 10% comb built on left, 90% comb on right side with 60% capped brood; repaired the comb area that was cut out last check, appear to be building it even this time; capped brood, nectar, capped honey in corners 

Frame #3 appears to have rebuilt straight comb
      4: 100% comb drawn on left, all capped brood, 95% drawn on right side, with 60% capped brood, pollen, nectar in corners, eggs have been laid in open cells where bees hatched;  frame is HEAVY
Sarah says Frame #4 was HEAVY!
     5: 90% comb built on left side, most with brood, queen spotted, 50% comb drawn on right side, some brood, some capped honey; starting double-layer comb here also     

What's up with the double-layer comb?
     6: 50% comb drawn on left side, double-layer twisted comb present which we removed, also some of the comb appears to be built out from the foundation, not a true double-layer, more like they just didn't want to build on the plasticell so they made themselves a little bridge and then starting building comb, we could see bees walking between comb and foundation; some brood present, no comb on right side

      7-10: nothing

 Sarah and I talked, and I'm going to make a few foundationless frames and replace some of the empty plasticell frames with them.  I'd like to see if they will build up comb faster that way, or if they're just slow builders due to the dry conditions (even with feeding sugar syrup).  Sarah's pretty much letting me run with decisions on this hive, and next year hive #2 will be her opportunity for CEO.  That means the Mistakes, I mean the Choices, for hive #1 are mostly mine to make.  We're both learning so much through the process, and with no single right way to do things there's lots of decisions to make.
Empty feeder over inner cover
In addition to swapping out a few frames, I'm going to set up a 5 gallon open feeder.  Open feeding is where you provide a food source (sugar syrup) with no physical restrictions on access to it.  The entrance and top feeder we're using now must be accessed from inside the hive, which means other insects (hornets, wasps, ants, other bees) must get past the guard bees first.  The open feeder could attract these other insects, but it could also allow more bees to feed at a time, and need refilled less frequently.  In order to discourage robbing (where these unwanted insects might follow my bees back to their hive and steal the nectar/honey they've already collected) open feeders should not be placed too close to the hive.  I picked up a food-grade plastic bucket with lid from a local donut shop, now I just need to drill the holes, mix the sugar syrup, and install in the bee yard.  No problem.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Hive Inspection Records Update

Bees with drawn comb and stored bee bread
I've been meaning to include the hive inspection results with the associated blog posts, but never got around to it.  So that I only have to record them in one place, I'm putting the results up on the blog, instead of here and in an Excel spreadsheet (even though I'm an engineer and it's really hard not to do it!).  
Bees "festooning" on a frame before drawing comb
History for Hive #1 ( or Unimatrix One as this geek likes to call it):
6 May 2012 - Package installed; sunny and clear; feeding 1:1 sugar syrup using entrance feeder

11 May 2012 - Verified queen released from queen cage, no further inspection of hive; 55deg F, calm, sunny; feeding 1:1 sugar syrup at rate of 1 qt every 4 days

20 May 2012 - Located the queen!  Marked with yellow dot for 2012, unsure if eggs are present, we don't see anything, but we're new.  Population is low.  Brace comb being drawn, notice double-layer comb on frame 3.  Feeding 1:1 sugar syrup in entrance feeder and added qt jar feeder over hole in inner cover (protected by empty deep box), going through 2 qts in ~5-8 days.  Saw many foragers carrying in pollen (orange, yellow);
Frame inspection:
     1: nothing
     2: nothing
     3: 10% comb built on left, 70% comb on right side, double-layer comb being built
     4: 80% comb built on left, 50% comb built on right side, queen spotted, lots of pollen
     5: 30% comb built on left side, nothing on right side
     6-10: nothing (some cyrstallization from spraying sugar syrup previously, some bees on 9)

28 May 2012 - Queen is laying well; warm, calm and sunny; entrance feeder empty, top feeder 3/4 emtpy, both refilled;
Frame inspection:
     1: nothing
     2: nothing
     3: 10% comb built on left, 80% comb on right side with 10% capped brood, eggs; double-layer comb a problem, some hatched brood 
     4: 90% comb built on both sides, with 10% capped brood, LOTS of larvae, pollen, some hatched brood
     5: 80% comb built on left side, most with bee bread, queen spotted, 10% comb drawn on right side
     6-10: nothing (some cyrstallization from spraying sugar syrup previously, some bees on 8)

9 June 2012 - Performed surgery on double-layer comb to remove it, encourage building straight, even comb; sunny and clear; refilled feeders, we are also refilling once in between inspections;
Frame inspection:
     1: nothing
     2: nothing (bees present on right side)
     3: 10% comb built on left, 90% comb on right side with 50% capped brood, eggs, larvae present; double-layer comb cut out; brood in 2 main central areas, surrounded by good amount of bee bread, capped honey in corners 
     4: 100% comb drawn on left, 90% drawn on right side, with 60% capped brood, pollen, some hatched brood
     5: 90% comb built on left side, most with brood, 50% comb drawn on right side, queen spotted, some brood
     6: 40% comb drawn on left side, double-layer comb started here also, eggs present, no comb on right side
     7-10: nothing

Most of the bees are grouped on these 3 frames, #3,4,&5.

Feeders refilled on 18 June 2012, had been empty for several days.  We are refilling the 2 quart jar feeders about once a week with 1:1 sugar syrup.  We should probably figure out a (cheap) feeder that's larger, to ensure the girls aren't sitting empty for days, and that also allows us to only refill during hive inspections.  I've got some ideas.  

We are feeding syrup for several reasons.  One, it's a new package, and having a solid supply of "nectar" is necessary for them to build comb, especially while the population is building up.  Two, it's been really dry so far this year (as evidenced by the forest fires running amuck around Colorado) and I'm not sure how much of a nectar flow is out there.  Third, all the bloom times got messed up by the early spring, so we're kind of experiencing our mid-summer dearth now.  Obviously some plants are blooming because the bees are foraging and bringing in pollen, but I don't want them to slow down building up if they can't find enough nectar out there.  Hence the supplemental feeding.  Once they have all the comb built in both of the deeps (the second one hasn't been added yet), we'll pull the feeders off and let them bring in their own supplies.

I need to remember to bring the Hive Inspection Sheets with me when we go out to the beeyard; I keep forgetting and Jason has to take notes on plain paper.  Not so bad, but the Inspection Sheets have specific items to check and take note about the hive, and a place to record the weather conditions, etc.  The engineer in me loves this.  It's important to remember to look for drone comb, queen cups/cells, and signs of pests/diseases; things that new beekeepers like Sarah and I might easily forget.  One more thing to throw in my beekeeping kit.

Lots of bees on the frame, but still a lot of comb to draw.

Even though it feels like the bees are making no progress on drawing out the comb, looking back at the records show they are drawing it out slow and steady.  Not always straight, but who am I to complain?  The beekeeper that's who! 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Comb Surgery and Dissection

There were a few casualties, but overall the surgery went well.  That crazy double-layer comb that had been bothering us suffered an amputation.  We cut it right off.  It went pretty smoothly, too, considering.  
Covered in bees, the comb on frame 3 doesn't look too bad. . .
First we made sure the queen wasn't on the frame in question.  We spotted her easily again, and she was hanging out a few frames over.  Instead of shaking the bees off the frame, we used the bee brush to remove the bees, ensuring that we smoked them well all throughout the process. 
As the bees clear, the double-layer comb in the center pops out at us.  Other than that, a nice circular area of brood, surrounded by nectar and pollen, with capped honey in the corners looks good.
We then removed the frame a short distance, hoping to not draw the bees back to the frame of brood and stores.  Then I just hacked away, trying to keep a constant thickness to the first layer of comb on the frame.  I ended up cutting up some larva, and we lost the brood layed in the comb we cut off.  As Dick said, what's 70-80 bees among 10,000? 
Carefully wielding the scalpel, uh, I mean the saw blade.

Trimming off one last little section
There were 2 sections of comb cut off, and some smaller pieces along the top.  Hopefully the bees will repair the comb, level out the comb on the opposing frame, and provide open cells for the queen to lay in.  If this goes well, this frame will be corrected, but we've discovered a second frame with the double-layer comb beginning.

I'm tempted to remove the plasticell foundation, cut it into a smaller strip to use as a guide attached at the top, and let the bees build their own foundation (foundationless frames). 
Example of a foundationless frame
Some beekeepers think this works better, others say once they've made the decision to build on the plasticell just let them continue.  But it looks like the comb building on the foundation is sloooooowwww, and they just whip out those double-layer combs in no time.  There's no right answer here, which makes it really hard.  What if I make the wrong decision for THIS hive? 
Frame with double-layer comb before surgery . . .

Frame after surgery.  You can see 2 nice areas of brood, surrounded by bee bread, with capped honey (the white capped comb) in the corners.  Area in center was where "amputation" occurred.

After an afternoon of beekeeping, Sarah and Jason decided to play entomologists, which turned out pretty cool.  They "dissected" some of the larvae and brood in the removed comb, and got some great pictures.  You can easily see the progression from an egg, to larva, to pupae, to adult bee. 
From left to right, egg, larva, pupae in 3 levels of growth

There were 3 bees that we got to see hatch.  We put them back in the hive.
Piece of excised comb, showing pupae in cell.  You can also see the "bridges" used to create the double-layer of comb.
While the removed brood didn't make it, we are saving the beeswax, because a good beekeeper never knows when it might come in handy.