Monday, July 19, 2010

The addition

This is what the addition of the new supers looks like.



And full full full of bees.
The Holts are officially on vacation until further notice, so they'll just have to get on without us. They always do.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

First Failure

I think I may have even said it out loud to my visiting friend, and at the very least I THOUGHT to myself, "wow. We have a lot of bees in here".

They have already filled in the lower new super, although they're still working on fixing up the wax, the addition was sorely needed as the colony has nearly tripled in size from the original box. That's about the last though I had before one, then two, then another and another bee made their way to my hair... and stayed there. One got tangled in, and I got my second bee sting. But mostly it was just unpleasant to know there is an angry bee in your hair. Also, a bee in you hair is very loud to the ear. It is hard to maintain a lady-like composure under these circumstances.

The move I used to get the bees out of my hair was no doubt the stuff of comic gold. Doubled over, shaking my head and trying to puff smoke on myself simultaneously, I think I also managed to squeal at high pitch.

As if that is not embarrassing enough, I realized why I couldn't find those elusive beekeeper meetings: they meet on Thursday nights and they show up at exactly the time when I will be running doubled over puffing smoke on my own head. And they are legion.

Today's score card:
-10 for grace
+30 for fortitude

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

Summer Reading list

I'm on vacation, and that means reading for fun (sadly, not for profit).

Here is my list of summer reads I intend to get through (those already finished are in red).
Am I missing some must haves? What are you reading this July?
What should I take on our anniversary trip to Hawaii?!

The list:

  1. The Long Ships (in progress)
  2. Anthropology Of An American Girl
  3. Welcome To Utopia
  4. 52 Loaves
  5. Alice I Have Been
  6. The Kingdom Of Ohio
  7. The Lacuna
  8. Father brown mysteries
  9. Johannes Cabal: The Detective
  10. Johannes Cabal: the necromancer
  11. Island Beneath the Sea
  12. 64$ tomato
  13. Lucy
  14. Animal vegetable miracle

Sunday, July 11, 2010


A lot of people misuse the term ironic. As I hold a BA in English I am required to be bothered by that, just a little, and because I am also pretty mild-mannered, I don't really get TOO bothered.

BUT today Irony reared her ugly head and I saw her for her true self. How many visits to the bee yard so far? Tens. How many bees at the bee yard? Hundreds of thousands. What do I do there? Stick my unprotected hands INTO their hive. Flick them off of me. Get close to their babies and their food. Number of stings to date: zero.

Today in my urban neighborhood I went for a run. Number of hives: zero. Number of bees? negligible. Number of times a year I go running: once. Maybe.

I think you can probably see where this is going. On my biannual run, minding my own business and running on a concrete sidewalk is where I got a bee sting, on my neck. Bad words were said. It itches. THAT'S irony folks.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Honey Prospects

New, empty comb

So our hive is growing, although we missed the first big clover nectar run. Our bees will have about a month and a half to pretty up the supers, get the comb fixed up before the early fall nectar run of ragweed. The workers will collect the nectar, mix it with spit, and shove it into cells of the comb with an airtight seal to ripen into honey. I'm hoping we'll get a few jars for our labor, but since we plan on leaving them the honey they've already stored in the deeps, there may not be a huge harvest for the humans this fall.

This is fine with me- We're not really in it for the honey this year, I just wanted to get the hive established and see how it all works. So far, on that front, I declare this project successful at the 4 month mark. Still, just a little bit to put in my tea this winter would be really gratifying...

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Super Mom

I couldn't figure out the meeting. They are a mysterious bunch, apiarists, and do not post times for their get-togethers. So I made the call- Dr. Drone's mom. She said she'd be right over, and met Mr. Holt and I at the bee yard with two pretty blue supers in less than 24 hours. She's just as excited about bees as her son, and clearly concerned for the welfare of our hive. She even made a call to the head of the bee research lab to ask some logistical questions for us. Put on both supers at the same time? Only one? etc.

Both, it turns out.

Mr. Holt and I were out of pine needles, our usual smoking fuel, and we had stopped by the pet store to get some cedar chips, like pet bedding, recommended as an alternative. At least at our pet store, they only sell those in 10 pound bags for 30$. No thanks. So we bought this dodgy looking fluffy bedding made from "recycled plant cellulose" and crossed out fingers it would burn cool.

It did, eventually, but not before Mr. Holt spent a great deal of energy coaxing it into a smoldering fire. I can't say I favor it for bee smoking, but this bedding will certainly never kill your hampster by fire.

It was SO hot today, high 90s, and the bees were hanging outside the door, fanning their wings to keep the hive cool and hanging on each other like tiny living ropes.

This is not our hive, did I already mention how much my bees see to hate being photographed? The neighbors were more obliging.

We wrangled the two boxes on, making sure to put a queen excluder between the deeps, the lower, bigger boxes meant for babies and over-winter honey, and the supers, shallower boxes on top. The queen excluder is like a cage that the workers can wiggle through, but the Queen with her giant egg swollen abdomen cannot. Thus she lays only in the deeps. Fabulous.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Lazy Days of June

I am a lady of leisure. I am taking the summer off, no school no work! And the lack of responsibility has made me totally lazy. I haven’t been out to see the hive in over two weeks. I DID read this book:

Nice pictures, not totally informative. But went well with my coffee this morning.

The book reminded me that my hive will be growing out of their space soon, and I need to add some supers- shorter boxes of frames that will be used only for honey storage. I looked on line and they are more expensive than I realized. Not more than a nice pair of sneakers, but still more than I want to spend if I can help it- I'm not working! Plus, I know there is a big box of empy supers at the bee yard…

Now I have to work up the courage to show up at the Central Ohio Beekeepers Association to ask to use one. Tuesday. It’s a date.