Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘bees’ Category

Readers of this blog will know that OBE stands for Overcome By Events.   It is a term used when what you planned to do did not happen because the Great Bird of the Galaxy decided to change your plans.

Just two days ago, Jim was looking at his List of Planned Jobs for the next few weeks.  It contain such varied items as “Mend chair,” “Fix shed door” (an entry occasioned by the gnawing through the door achieved by a squirrel who wanted to move up in the world), and “Mow” (a constant entry on the list, actually).  I am not sure why mowing gets put on the list as it is a perpetual event around here.   You can do it, cross it off, and put it right back on, all summer long.

That was the primary job on his agenda for this week.  The grass has gotten happy what with all the precipitation and the slow warming trend.

One of the items on the list was “hive body”, which was a shorthand reference to cleaning out a hive body and preparing it with new frames and wax foundation.   We are anticipating that our bees might want to swarm this year, and it is always better if you are ready for the event when it happens.

At any rate, Jim was contemplating his list (which I am not allowed to add things to) and looked at me and said, “I don’t think I need to worry about preparing the hive body for a few weeks.  It has been so cold I don’t think the bees are going to swarm any time soon.”  I did not disagree with him.

Yesterday I was taking Ruby for her morning excursion about the yard.  I went back behind the vegetable garden to see how the hazelnuts were faring and whether any birds were making nests in the sumac grove,  and I observed that the service berry bush looked sort of odd.   Closer inspection revealed this:

DSCF6622

Yes indeed, that is a swarm of bees.   Not our bees, who are still very much at home in their cozy hive, but a group from one of the wild hives that exist “out there” in the woods.  It does seem odd that the wild bees tend to bring their swarms to our property.  Or I guess it would seem odd if we didn’t assiduously avoid sprays and other poisons and encourage all kinds of pollen producing plants.

I cut the dog walking short and hustled into the house, interrupting the morning coffee ritual by saying to my mate, “Guess what we have?”

He had no earthly idea, so I illuminated him.  “We have a swarm of bees!”

“Oh?,” he replied.  “Where is it?”

“Out behind the vegetable garden on the service berry bush.”

He put some shoes on and we went out and investigated the situation.   Well, OF COURSE there was no hive body ready, since we just agreed the day before that we didn’t need to rush to spend the time, energy and money on that just yet.

Ha ha.

Off he went to the farm supply store to acquire a hive body, frames, foundation and a hive floor.   At least we had a hive lid on hand.   And an extra super, which was fully equipped with frames.

I retired to the massage room to give a massage, and he put the super frames into the new hive body, and then introduced the swarm to their new digs.  While they sort of settled in, he went into the shop and installed the foundation in the new frames.   Right about the time I finished up with my client, he was ready to install the large frames in the hive body.

This is a shot of the process of one of the super frames being divested of the bees clinging to it after the large frame was slipped into the hive body.

DSCF6627The bees were pretty excited about the process, but since they were in swarm mode they were very mellow and I was able to get up fairly close to the operation.

After the proper frames were put into the hive body, Jim put the super frames back into the super and put that on top of the hive body to give the new hive plenty of space.

Now, here is a little tidbit that amazed me rather a lot.   Those bees had only been in the new hive for less than an hour when we took the lid off.  The following picture is of the underside of the hive lid.

DSCF6624They had already created that much beeswax, in less than an hour.   I am not sure why they decided to put it on the hive lid…

At any rate, when you hear the phrase “Busy as a bee” you can think about that clump of beeswax and how much work went into forming it.

Today the new hive seems to be quite happy and adjusted.  They have already found the pond and are busy bringing nectar and pollen back to their new digs.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

We took Jim off to the airport in St. Louis on Wednesday so he could catch a more or less early flight to Wisconsin on Thursday morning.

I drove home in the rain on Thursday morning and it proceeded to continue raining off and on until today.  This beautiful Sunday dawned crystal clear and frosty, but now the sun is shining, the bees are out foraging and the crocuses are blooming.

All told we received over 7 inches of rain in those three days, and that made the yard impressively wet.  Ruby really didn’t see any reason she should go Out There in All That Mud, but I knew that her bladder and bowels needed to empty, and so I insisted, much to her dismay, I might add.

I did go out and take a few pictures in the rain.  I’m sure it must have been an amusing sight if anyone had seen me juggling my  umbrella and the camera in the downpour.  The wonderful Fuji digital that I use may be old and starting to have wonky switches, but it still works and I did not see any good coming out of drenching it in the name of documenting the deluge.

Yesterday afternoon, the labyrinth looked like this:

DSCF6580

Today, less than 24 hours later, it presents a very different mien.

DSCF6588

I did zero in on one very wet clump of crocuses that was courageously trying to convince everyone that it really is spring, even though we have yet to cross the vernal equinox.

DSCF6583Those game little flowers are a whole lot happier today.  And amazingly enough, they did not drown.

DSCF6586

In case you are wondering what the bees are finding to forage for, there are crocuses (obviously).  But there are also bluets up, and the henbit is going to be in full bloom by tomorrow.  The witch hazel is in full bloom too, and so the honeybees are busy replenishing their stores.

 

Read Full Post »

“Whipsaw:  n 1. A narrow two person crosscut saw. v 1. To cut with a whipsaw, 2. To defeat in two ways at once” 

It was a lovely day today at The Havens.  Last week, after several days of pretty cold temperatures (sub zero at night), it snowed.  Then it warmed up enough to melt the thin layer of snow on the ground.  This was followed by some days around freezing accompanied by gusty winds.  Finally it warmed up and the wind blew like a wind tunnel testing a jet airplane.

This morning it dawned clear and cool and totally calm.  It would have been ideal to burn off the labyrinth right then, but we had a date at the kid’s house for home made waffles.   So we went over there (a matter of walking half a block) at the appointed time and thoroughly enjoyed our breakfast with the family.  It is really lovely to have our grandkids so close.  AND their parents…  I must not leave them out!

After our repast, we came home, got busy, and burned off the tall grass that had accumulated in the labyrinth over the last summer.  It was a perfect day for burning, and still hadn’t gotten so warm that tending the fire was onerous.  There have been times when it was sort of like an introduction to Hades, what with a warm day and a brisk breeze.  Today it was just damp enough that the grass burned well but not like an inferno.  No wind to speak of, so the flames crept their way through the paths and rocks desultorily.  We had to use the flame thrower a few times to encourage them to do a complete job.

There are lots of rags and tags of grass tops, as well as things like the stems of goldenrod, little white asters, and primroses spread in the paths.   They really need to be raked up but I decided to do something else instead.  If I leave them long enough they will blow away or compost in place, maybe.

After unhooking and draining the hoses we had deployed for fire safety reasons, we rolled them and coiled them back up on their supports.  Winter is not over yet and we have had enough of frozen pipes.

Speaking of frozen pipes, the contractor man has been here since Wednesday repairing the utility bathroom.  We picked out new floor tile for it, auditioning a style that we are considering using for the Great Bathroom Remodel, which is scheduled for a future date yet to be determined.   We LOVE the tile and lucky for us it was on sale so we bought the necessary quantity and have stashed it in the sauna dressing room.  The bathroom should become functional early next week.

Of course, there has been a daily (except for Thursday) pilgrimage to Springfield to visit the Ailing Mother.  She came through her popliteal bypass alive (barely).  There were a few rough days, and once the hospital figured out that she really needed a blood transfusion, she rallied enough to be moved to a rehabilitation hospital.  Since then she has walked as much as 70 feet during physical therapy and can get up out of her wheel chair and move to the bed “unassisted” (meaning two people stand nearby at the ready to make sure that she does not lose her balance and fall during the painstaking process).  But her appetite has returned, and her mind is once again active.  She has been working on her tatting project.  Aside from the open incision around the bypass site, she is looking fairly good.  There is still a lot of ground to cover, but we are no longer in fear of her life.

And my sister was released from the hospital today, after fighting infection from the cat bite she got while she was neutropenic from her latest chemotherapy for her leukemia.  Thank God for small favors.

With both people that were in so much danger moving towards safety, maybe I can actually get some sleep tonight.

Anyway, back to today.   Instead of raking the labyrinth, I cleared the old dry tops out of the asparagus bed.   While I was engaged in that chore, I noticed that the bees were out foraging.   Then I started wondering if they still had enough honey to keep them going through the rest of the winter.  (Despite the lovely day today, winter is FAR from over.) Presently my curiosity grew so much that I went into the house and prevailed on Jim to make a wellness check on the colony.  He suited up and opened the hive and we determined that they have LOTS of honey to eat, they seem very healthy and active.   Without disturbing them much more than that, he put the hive back together and we watched them continue about their bee business.

This activity made me wonder what on earth they could be finding to forage this time of year?  It didn’t take me long to remember that yesterday while I was walking Ruby I noticed that the witch hazel out at Bennet Spring was blooming.  I have a few witch hazel trees here at the Havens, so it wasn’t much of a leap to wonder if perhaps our bees had found them.

I went to look, and lo and behold!

DSCF6527

The bees have indeed discovered that there is a source of pollen out there for them.  While I was playing bee paparazzi, I saw a couple of tachnid wasps out there too. They declined to be photographed, so I can’t prove it.

Then I went out and weeded the strawberry, blueberry and raspberry cage.   It was very healing to dig out all that henbit and chickweed.  The whole cage looks great!  While I was working, I could hear the hum of the hive on the other side of the fence.

Maybe I will have some time to work on my art journal this evening.  That would be very good.

 

Read Full Post »

Syncopated Eyeball

Creepy Spooky Lovely Nice

Trailer Park Refugee

just three shots of tequila away from a bar fight....

Shlameel Shlamozl

Laverne and Shirley, telling the world how it is.

Ærchies Archive - Digital Detritus

The Curmudgeon's Magazine

Dilutions of Grandeur

Rants, Rambles, Recipes and Random Musings

WordPress.com

WordPress.com is the best place for your personal blog or business site.