Saturday, March 13, 2010

the set up

Today is really the beginning of proper beekeeping. Mr. Holt and I arrived at the apiary totally unsure about what the next few hours might be like. Turns out apiary is the fancy way of saying bee-yard. That was the first surprise.

The bee-yard is adorable. Tucked away right in the middle of the city, it is hidden inside the university agricultural campus and is surrounded by fields where students learn how to make fatter cows, parasite resistant crops and optimal fertilizers. It's really quiet, birdsong, the wind, and the occasional lowing of a disgruntled cow. City Skyline just visible in the distance. Then, as you approach the hives, the air takes on a wonderful buzzing. Low and quiet, from a few yards away I can only describe it as full of summer and industry. Thanks to the warm spring breeze, the bees were already working.

Yes, this is for REAL how beautiful it is at the bee yard.

Dr. Drone, our mad-scientist partner and fearless leader, showed us the basic equipment: hive tools, for prying the wooden bits and pieces apart, big gloves, a smoker, lots of pine needles, and a jacket that kind of looks like a hazmat suit, only with a mesh face mask. He also brought the beginning parts of what will be our hive- two big wooden boxes, called deeps, full of frames. Frames are sort of like thin, vertical shelves that hang next to each other and provide a surface for the bees to build wax combs. Dr. Drone brought combs that already had some honey in them so our new bees will have something to eat right away. It's like a welcome to the neighborhood pie.

We put it together, stacked in layers, and it looks so like a doll house, colorful and sturdy. I'm confident our hive is the best looking in the apiary neighborhood. It is all ready to receive its insect occupants!

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