This bee apparently latched onto the package and stayed there for the entire trip from Georgia. She was there when the (allergic to bees) UPS driver unloaded the package. She was still there when I moved the 10 pound package into the garage for the bees to have to some quiet time and was still there when I toted the 10 pounds of bees out to the orchard to hive them this afternoon. Very determined.
Eight 40 pound blocks moved into place: done. Three hive bodies placed: done. Eight frames into each hive body: done. Two inner covers and top covers and one redneck jerry-rigged top cover in place because I’m one short and delivery isn’t until Friday: done. With any luck, the UPS driver will be keen to get the bees off his/her truck before it’s time to go visit the pulmonologist mid-afternoon so at least I can look them over before I have to take off. We still will not install them until late in the day, and put the entrance reducers in place to help reduce the potential of the bees absconding before they get used to their new homes. Next spring, we (I) will do a better job of managing the bees and watching for signs of swarming so we can split hives before half of them take off for greener pastures. But that’s in the future, and this is now: I’ve received a request for LOTS of pics this time, so we’ll have someone on the camera(s) during the installation snapping away.
Such as it is – or isn’t. We had a couple of days of lows in the 20s, but that’s what passes for winter here. Today, we maxed out at 88 in the sun in the front garden. Each year is getting hotter than the last, and still people deny that global warming is an actual event, occurring in their lifetimes.
Much of my winter will be spent redoing the frames around the farm, to get rid of the wood that takes a beating and then warps or otherwise falls apart with roofing metal that will probably outlive me. This week, I spent two days redoing the herb garden frames after spending three days viciously ill with some kind of crap. After two days, the frames themselves are completed, and now need to be finished off by topping them with a good soil mix, relaying the irrigation lines, and bringing in some fresh mulch to freshen what’s there and cover the now bare spots left by the rearrangement. Oh, and putting some seed in, because while we may get a couple of random days of freeze between now and spring, it looks like it’s going to be more springlike than winterlike for us moving forward.
We had one hive of bees abscond, but the other two are well, for now. I’ve ordered up two new packages for the spring (to be delivered in May), and will need to build a new set of brood boxes for the second package since we have the now empty brood boxes for the other package. I burned the frames from the vanished hive as a precautionary measure. After the flames were out and I was scraping up the ash and pins from the frames, I saw some bees flying around the pools of solidified beeswax.
For now, I’m ill with what seems to be a relapse of whatever I had earlier in the week. I’ve had the flu vaccine because my doctor always bugs me about it – I’m now in the “at risk” group thanks to (fuck!) cancer and the effects of radiation and chemo – but it surely feels like the flu. Maybe I’m in that 35% where it turns out it isn’t effective. Whatever it is, it needs to go, because there’s a lot of work to be done, seeds to start, and a season to prepare for, even if the season appears to already be here.
This morning before heading to the NOC to rack a new server for someone, I moved a couple of blocks into place back in the orchard to act as the stand for the front hive. That one is being moved to the rear after I discovered that the hive was completely shaded all day long in the original position – and that’s no good. It’s an invitation for hive beetles and for the bees to spend far too much time keeping the brood warm (no good now that we’re heading into whatever kind of winter we’ll have around here). This evening, mom and I suited up and transported the hive to the orchard. The bees were not terribly happy about any of it. I got stung twice, both times on the same foot I got stung previously: one directly on the achilles and one just slightly above the ankle, on the interior side of my foot. This even though I was suited up as the ankle cuff rode up a bit and the bees that had landed/fallen on my boot just crawled right up and let me know what they thought of it all. Hopefully they’ll be stronger now that they’ll have a lot more sunshine to work with, as this hive is definitely a laggard compared to the other two. The other two are destined to be moved out into the open orchard as well, so we’ll have a nice line of beehives back there when all is said and done.
Everyone was up and moving around earlier than usual this morning. Mom is off for a week for vacation in the Blue Ridge area, so we packed her up and saw her off (we meaning the dogs and me, along with assorted other critters). It was quite foggy this morning, but started burning off immediately, and it should be a gorgeous day at the ranch. No rain in the forecast, and it hasn’t rained the past couple of days. This is a good thing, as we are absolutely saturated here, and still have some good sized mini lakes scattered around the property. What we really need, and which I hope to be able to do today, is a good mowing, since the grass has taken full advantage of the daily rains we had over the past week and a half. This morning, though, was just for looking around and marveling at the sheer number of spider webs. ‘Tis the season for this sort of thing.
They were everywhere. From the branches of a pear tree in a bucket in the herb garden…
…to the fence around the rear garden…
…to a supremely ambitious, human-sized web by the barn…
…to those seeming to float from their anchors in other places.
The girls were also up and working hard. Eventually, they’ll earn their own keep instead of requiring us to feed them every day to keep them alive. Until there is a good sustained bloom, though, I change out their feeders every day (or every other day, depending on the weather and how much syrup they’re taking).
Almost done. After starting off the day with the dispatching and burying of a chicken before morning coffee, I did some company work and watched Olympic coverage, managing to find quite a bit of fencing on, with some archery – including the men’s team event matches, way to go USA for the silver!) – and some handball and beach volleyball. I managed to find in the DVRd early morning hours the women’s 10m air rifle final, which mom judged to be quite boring. The primetime stuff on NBC tonight is tape delayed and already decided, so unless there is nothing else on, I won’t be watching much of it, as I’ve been following the #Olympics twitter feed and already know the results. I also managed to get out and refill all the gas cans around noon when all the soccer and basketball started, none of which interests me. The tricky part will be finding a time period in the coming days to do some mowing before we’re knee deep in grass again.
More jaw stretching shortly. Counting down to the point where it makes more sense to pull the rest of my teeth than to keep working on them, and there will be no dentures for me if I can’t open my mouth. I’ve given up enough foods over this crap, and I’d prefer not to have to be restricted to a completely liquid diet.
It doesn’t get more accurate than this.
Meet the bee assassin. Assassinating one of my bees through the devious means of hanging out on one of the hives. Now the conundrum: assassin bugs are, in general, considered to be beneficial insects. But I consider my bees to be higher on the “beneficial” chain than these. What to do?