Saturday, May 7, 2011

The birds and the bees

The birds will come later. We'll be joining several neighbors to create a chicken coop co-op.

But the bees have arrived!



Bees will build their honeycombs on these frames

EarthDoctorSon hustles the bees from his truck to our backyard

And gives them a once-over


The beekeeper checks his tools

The bees will feed off the orange stuff on the left. The queen was placed inside a marshmallow for safekeeping and the worker bees ate up the pillowed confection to get to the queen then encircled her and began to buzz to keep her warm.

Oh, Mr. B does love his little creatures!

Mr. B sprays them to slow and clump them

He's not taking any chances!

No chances whatsoever!

Ready, set, GO! EarthDoctorSon gets ready to flip the box over . . .

. . . and cast them into their new home

After which, he replaces some frames


places their good on top of the frame*

covers the frames and places more food on top

adds the penthouse suite

and their shiny new roof (I think the queen is in there, too).


And then he returns his attention to the bees that didn't get into the hive

and worries about them (hmmm...I wonder how I'd look in one of those hats?)

And Mr B joins the worryfest

while spectators PreciousGrrrlChid shivers and FriendofFamily thanks us for adding bees to the neighborhood.


oops . . . forgot to paint one little section

"Let's worry some more."

Uh-oh. Mr. B learns the hard way that a beekeeper must wear the veil more tightly

All in a day's work!
Happy to report that the hive is humming, and the bees are coming and going without incident.
They really are amazing little creatures.
Next year: honey!
. . .

* So a word about that pair of gloves. 
 realized just the other day that those gloves have had had multiple adventures in their lifetime. They were a gift to me from an amazing woman who, after surviving breast cancer, rode her bicycle not once but twice across the US. She gave them to me when I discovered how much I love riding my bike. But I found they also came in quite handy for mushing. I'm able to use them as glove liners because they give me enough dexterity to hook up my pups and stay dry.
 As a result, they've had multiple mushing adventures.
And now these gloves have participated in setting up a bee hive. 
Do you have an article of clothing with a story?
I'd love to hear!

8 comments:

steven said...

thanks for sharing this well-documented and presented story kathleen. i had no idea of the many steps it takes to set up the beginning of a hive. sweet treats ahead!! steven

ellen abbott said...

oh how cool! I've thought about setting up bees but there are several beekeepers already around here and all I have to do is go and get the honey.

Finding Pam said...

I enjoyed seeing just how it is done. Why isn't your son wearing protective covering?

I can't wait to hear about the chickens. Thanks so much for sharing.

Joanna said...

Fascinating to see all the steps. I like the idea of the bees eating the marshmallow to release the queen. And I'm thinking about a story behind an article of clothing....

Barb said...

Kathleen, I loved your story. It did look a bit worrisome, though - esp. DR Son who doesn't even wear a veil or long sleeves... And, who knew the queen could be placed inside a marshmallow?

Uncle KT said...

I LOVED this post--thank you SO MUCH for sharing all of your new knowledge on bee keeping. I can't wait to hear more--and about chickens too. Remind me--I have a FANTASTIC oatmeal almond cookie recipe that uses honey as the majority sweetener (It does have sugar--but maybe you could sub in stevia?)

I also LOVED the part about the Queen in the Marshmallow. I capitalized it because I think that you would be just the person to turn that idea into a series of Grrrl Power childrens books!!!

Janie said...

We kept bees for many years. They really are most interesting creatures.

LB said...

What an exciting hobby you've begun!!! Met a beekeeper last week, just the hives as he experienced a colony collapse last summer and was expecting his shipment of bees over the weekend. I'm sure I would have had Mr. B's worrier expression (unnecessarily I'm told) if they were around.The more I heard, the more amazing! Loved your photos. Good luck with the honey! This couple loved sitting outdoors with coffee and watching the worker bees comings and goings.

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