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Shipton’s Big R is locally owned and managed, influencing our efforts to stay rooted in the community that has supported us since 1949. Our commitment to our community forms the solid foundation from which we do business to this day.

Throughout the year, we proudly host in-store events, sponsor local groups, contribute to local causes and of course, generously providing knowledge, expertise and exceptional customer service.

Shipton's Big R Blog

Oct 4, 2022

Keep Your Bees Cozy this Winter

Keep Your Bees Cozy this Winter

October 4, 2022

Taking the proper steps to winterize your hives is a vital part of protecting your colonies during the cold months. Winter preparations begin at summer’s end for beekeepers. The goal is to support what the bees are already doing, keeping in mind that interfering too much can be counterproductive.

Winter Hive Configuration

As daily temperatures fall to 57°F and below, bees will cluster together to conserve heat. The goal is to sustain life and keep the queen and any brood warm. Winterizing your bees in the smallest space possible will prevent heat dispersion, keeping the bees from expending unnecessary energy warming their cluster. This will also limit the space available to mice and other small critters looking for a warm place to crash.

Remove your queen excluders. If excluders are left in the hive, you run the risk of the queen being left behind as the cluster moves up in the honey stores. This will kill your queen (and your colony).

If you have two colonies that are too small or weak, consider combining them. Winterizing one hive is better than losing both! You can also combine a weaker colony with a strong one, just be sure that the stronger colony has enough food stores to support the merge.

Moisture Control

Condensation is a bee killer. This is a bigger problem in some regions than others. If you live in an area with moist winters take extra steps to prevent moisture build and properly insulate your hives.

Condensation forms when excess moisture from the warm cluster rises and condenses into water droplets on the inner cover. When temperatures are above freezing, cold water rains back down on the cluster. Cold, wet bees are dead bees.

Consider adding a box between the inner and outer covers (honey supers work fine). Add insulating material like burlap, hay, or wood shavings to the box often called a “hive quilt” can help retain heat and absorb moisture.

Insulate Your Hives

There are countless different materials you can use to insulate your hive. You can be creative with this process and find the perfect solution for your climate and situation. The top and bottom of the beehive can be insulated, as well as the sides. Popular methods used by beekeepers include using insulation wraps or insulated covers on their beehives.

Make sure that the entrance to the hive is opened all winter to allow the bees to come and go. During the winter the bees may need to leave the hive on warmer days to gather water, or to go on a cleansing flight. After heavy snowfalls, check your hive entrance to make sure it is not blocked.

Securing Your Hives

It’s always a good idea to tie down your hives with rope or ratchet straps, or to place heavy bricks on top. Hives are unlikely to survive getting knocked over in the middle of winter, so taking steps to secure them is vital.

If you are in a particularly windy location, a wind buffer will go a long way for temperature regulation and preventing the hives from being knocked over. Stacked hay bales make an excellent temporary wall.

Beekeepers in harsh climates may move their hives into a shed or garage for the winter. If you go this route, make sure to move them after foraging is done for the season, so that foragers don’t get stuck at their original location. Placing the hives in three-sided structures can provide extra shelter without the need to move them back and forth.
Limit Hive Inspections

If the weather has been particularly harsh, it is ok to take advantage of a moderate day to peek inside your hives. Check for activity and see if your bees need any more food to hold them through the winter. You can use traditional candy boards, fondant, plain sugar, or sugar bricks. These do not take the place of proper feeding that should take place earlier but can serve as insurance to avoid starvation.

Sep 20, 2022

Switch Up Your Burger Game

Switch Up Your Burger Game

September 20, 2022

Patty Melts with Charred Scallion

Classic versions of the patty melt often include caramelized onions, but those take time, so here cookbook author Molly Stevens leans on quick-charred scallions instead. Chipotle-spiked mayonnaise adds an extra dose of lushness and a punch of smoky heat. 
Recipe Courtesy of Food & Wine - Molly Stevens
Recipe Courtesy of Food & Wine - Molly Stevens
Prep Time 10 mins | Cook Time 20 hours | 4 Servings

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 bunch scallions (6 to 8 scallions), root ends trimmed
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon plus a pinch of kosher salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon plus a pinch of black pepper, divided
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise, divided
  • 2 teaspoons minced canned chipotle chiles plus 3 teaspoon adobo sauce from can
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Bakery white or rye sandwich bread
  • 8 - 1 ounce slices of Oaxaca cheese (quesillo) or Monterey Jack cheese

  • Shape ground beef into 4 thin patties to match the size and shape of bread slices. Set aside.
  • Toss together scallions, oil, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of black pepper in a bowl. Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Add scallions; cook, turning occasionally, until charred in spots and tender, about 4 minutes. Transfer scallions to a cutting board, and coarsely chop. Stir together chopped scallions, 1/4 cup mayonnaise, chipotle chiles, and adobo sauce in a small bowl; set aside. Wipe skillet clean.
  • Add butter to skillet; melt over medium-high. Add beef patties, and sprinkle evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Cook patties, pressing tops occasionally using a spatula to keep patties thin and flat, until bottoms are well browned, about 2 minutes. Flip patties; sprinkle evenly with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Cook patties, pressing tops occasionally, until a crust forms on bottoms and beef is cooked to desired degree of doneness, 2 to 3 minutes for medium-rare (about 145°F). Transfer patties to a plate lined with paper towels. Wipe skillet clean.
  • Spread about 1 tablespoon scallion-chipotle mayonnaise on 4 bread slices. Top each with 1 cheese slice, 1 patty, and 1 additional cheese slice. Cover with remaining bread slices.
  • Return skillet to heat over medium. Spread 1 outer side of each sandwich with 1/2 tablespoon mayonnaise; place sandwiches, mayonnaise side down, in skillet. Cook sandwiches, pressing tops with a spatula, until bottoms are golden, 1 minute and 30 seconds to 3 minutes. Spread top of each sandwich with 1/2 tablespoon mayonnaise; flip sandwiches. Cook sandwiches, pressing tops occasionally with spatula, until bottoms of sandwiches are toasty and cheese is melted, 2 to 3 minutes. Cut sandwiches in half, and serve.

Try this recipe or shop our Spices and Rubs to make it your own!

PHOTO BY: David Malosh / Prop Styling by Amy Wilson / Food Styling by Maggie Ruggiero

Sep 6, 2022

Water - The Most Important Nutrient for Horses

Water - The Most Important Nutrient for Horses

September 6, 2022

When the temperature changes from warm to cool, so do your horse’s water requirements. Do you know how much water your horse should consume in the colder weather to prevent colic? 

Water is the most important nutrient that we provide for horses on a year around basis. Horses need 2 to 3 times more water than other feedstuffs. An 1100 lb horse on a dry forage diet at an average temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit will need a minimum of 6-7 gallons of water per day or 48-56 lbs of water, and many horses will drink more water than the minimum. We all appreciate that the water requirement may double at high temperatures but may not realize that at -4 degrees Fahrenheit; the quantity required is about 10-12 gallons per day, or actually higher than at moderate temperature. The onset of cold weather can actually increase the requirement for water because there is no fresh grass, and the air is very dry.

There is a misconception that domestic horses can easily eat enough snow to survive. While horses in the wild do adapt to lower water intakes, partially because food intake is also frequently reduced, horses can survive longer without food than they can without water. Reduced water intake can also impair digestion and potentially contribute to the incidence of impaction colic.

It also requires a great deal of energy to eat snow, melt the snow in the body and raise the fluid temperature to normal body temperature of 99.5- 100.5. Increasing the temperature of 10 gallons of water from 32 degrees to 100 degrees takes about 1372 Calories or about the amount of digestible energy in a pound of feed. Melting the snow to get to water will take a great deal more energy and the horses will not readily eat a pile of snow the size of 20 five-gallon buckets. It takes about 10 inches of snow to have one inch of water.

Providing horses with fresh clean water at an appropriate temperature all year around is a great management tool to reduce the risk of colic, maintain healthy digestion, maintain body condition and even save a bit of money on feed cost!

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