Thursday, April 8, 2010

so what about the bees?

I have a little update on my wonderful son and the thing he says at his blog over here.

I've been reluctant to update what's been happening with the bees, because I needed some time to process it and to just have some down time from all things bees. The whole process has been keeping me awake nights, and every time I wake up all that runs though my head is "bees, bees, bees" and all of the things we ought to be doing/should have done.

Without further ado, though, these are my hives. My wonderful and amazingly detail-oriented husband built them, and I painted them. Click the photos to embiggen. These are completely surrpunded by blueberry bushes (outside of this area, obviously). I'm going to ask the landowner if we can cut down these weeds and plant wildflowers in their place. I doubt he'll mind since their plan is to burn the weeds eventually (owie!).

Let us pan out for a broader view - note the pond in the background. That pond id FULL of lilypads and frogs - it is like a symphony at night. When my ankle is healed enough for me to be walking around, I'll get photos of the lilypads and more of the pond. And of course, of the blueberry bushes. Oh, wait, I've got lots of photos of the blueberry bushes from years past when we've gone picking...but they're on my other computer. Later for those, then. Again, click the photo to embiggen.

On to the saga of the bees, no?

Sigh. I've had to readjust my entire expectation - and my entire paradigm - on the bees as of late. Why? Broken ankle. More accurately, the bees are in a good spot for the bees to be in, which isn't necessarily a good spot for someone with a broken ankle to get to - especially someone who isn't all that fit and is fairly heavy. Not easy to get around on crutches and just using the one leg.

* - This photo is my husband and my friend. Those long tubes they're holding are actually the packages of bees. Nothing like we'd ever seen before - no online videos of installing these. I was hoping to take one myself, but we were losing daylight and I couldn't get to the hives, so it didn't happen. This is the only photo I have, too.

I didn't get to hive my bees. My friend who took the beekeeping class with me (who is as new to this as I am only hasn't studied my type of hives at all) and my husband (who expertly built the hives but knows next to nothing about actually taking care of the bees themselves) hived the bees for me. We had no idea this was going to happen until it was actually happening. The day was cold as heck, we were losing daylight, and the bees needed to get in their home. Kiernen was crying in the car, I was in my wheelchair and it seemed I couldn't get to the hives - decisions were made on the spur of the moment and without consultation. Mistakes were made that could have been avoided had someone stopped to talk to me about what to do.  Because you know, I was mentally prepared. I'd been studying, watching videos of intstalls, asking questions of my Warre hive yahoogroup. I was the one who was ready to do this. Instead, I was here. (Note in photo you can see them walking away toward the hives through the car window.)

We returned the next day , and I was determined to see the inside of those hives. I managed to crutch over to one of them - the one closest to the pond. We opened the first hive to find that because two of the top bars had been left off of the boxes on top, the bag feeders we'd used had fallen through the hole left (duh) and crushed a large number of bees. We were pretty sure the queen was dead as well, and it really didn't look like there were many bees left in there.

I couldn't get to the second hive, though - the ground was too uneven for m crutches, and too wet. Kiernen was whining about the cold so I crutched back to the car with him to wait while my husband checked the second hive.

Apparently that one looked much better. Although it had suffered losses and the feed bag fell through just like the first one, it didn't fall on the bees. We left and Hubby dropped me off at my bee club meeting. While there, I talked with some of the experts, including the man I bought my bees from. As he was only ten minutes from the location of my hives, he volunteered to come out the next night when Hubby went after work.

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Thank you so much for commenting, it is always a pleasure to hear from anyone who is reading. Note that all comments are moderated, so when you post your comment, it will show up once its been reviewed. Thank you for your patience and your time. I wish you healing, and stay curious!