And for your parting gift

As my handful of readers know, I watched the Super Bowl on Sunday (congratulations, Manning – please retire before someone takes your head off and you die on the field) and did my thing where I rate the ads. Side note: someone on twitter asked why people watched the  ads and made comments about those but not through the rest of the year. This should be obvious to the questioner, but apparently is not: the ads for the big game are supposed to be better and funnier, even though sometimes they fall flat. Good ads are noticed during the year, but there are far fewer of them, and most of the time, they are not funny in the laugh out loud sense.

The day after – and no hangovers here, as I can’t drink any more – was business as usual. Tuesday, however, started off poorly and rapidly got worse: after getting up in the morning, I went back to bed for a “nap” that was more like a coma, and slept until 5:30 that evening. Tremendously out of character for me, as those who know of my insomniac ways are aware. A few hours after being up, I once again went back to be and slept through to the next morning.

All seemed to be fine Wednesday, although I did take a nap that morning, for just a couple of hours instead of all day.

Thursday. That was the day the body marshaled all it forces to tell me something was wrong just after noon, by signaling a horrific pain in my left shoulder and an even worse one in my right upper chest. The  shoulder could be from anything, really – I had been to the NOC pulling some servers and racking another. The chest, though, is an entirely different story. Given my weirdo history, anything involving the chest generally rewards me with an immediate order for a chest xray, as it did in this case.

Verdict: pneumonia. Usually,  I get aspiration pneumonia, which is the type you often get if you have issues swallowing properly or fully and food or drink winds up in your lungs instead of your belly. Thanks to the (fuck you!) cancer rounds, this is my typical problem. There’s no real way to tell which type this is, but it doesn’t matter all that much as the treatment is the same: heavy duty antibiotics, which I picked up yesterday and will take for the next week. Fun times!

That means rest and light duty for me, but I still need to check my flats in the barn and check the feeders on the bees. I also need to prep for the upcoming season by ordering bee supplies, keeping watch on the girls to detect swarm activity, and so on, and this is very difficult when every breath burns and feels like someone is stabbing you with a dull knife. I shall, as always, carry on, because there is Shit that Needs To Be Done, and I’ll survive, as usual.

We’re forecast to have another evening right around freezing Saturday night into Sunday morning, with perfectly balmy temps after that. Those will be the days the girls start gearing up for spring and will be the danger times for swarms. We had the first swarm emerge last year toward the latter half of February – when honestly, we, or I, was not expecting anything of the sort. That’s a lesson learned: the bees don’t care about schedules. They care about the environment, both inside the hive and out. The only good thing so far about the swarm issue this year is that in my couple of examinations on the nicer days, I’ve noticed no drones. No drones = no mating partners for queens, although I have no idea if this makes a difference to them or not. Hopefully it does.

One of the hives (#9) has a ton of bees in it, or did when I last opened it. It might be good for not one but two splits from it, which would be awesome. That, however, also needs to wait on weather moderation and the availability of drones. If it gets warm and stays there, those splits might be done sooner than later.

In other news, the seedlings are emerging in the barn under the lights, and we’ve had no hitches in anything otherwise. Except the pneumonia thing. Thankfully, modern medicine is ON IT.

Stay well, folks, and I promise the next entry will have some pictures for your viewing pleasure (and a little teasing if you happen to be in one of those places frozen solid for four months out of the year).

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