The stories are too numerous, the adventures are too complicated. I simply can’t begin to explain where I’ve been or what I’ve been doing since we last visited some months ago.
But, I am here to tell ya that MAY is on its WAY! Together, we celebrate US, ourselves, in May as we enjoy the You Challenge together. It’s a month of YOU, yes- precious YOU. You, the bee’s knees. It’s a time of sharing our daily journeys in a safe and special place. We recognize the beauty around us and share it through photogrpahs of our various spots on earth.
My new favorite mug. For obvious reasons.
If you are interested in learning more before you join our You Challenge, here is a link to some previous posts about this remarkable YOU time. Hope you’ll join us for the Merry, Merry month of May.
Now, on to the “bees knees” news part of the post!
Keeping bees makes one ridiculous. (A positive, silly kind of ridiculous.)
Like, ever since last Saturday when they arrived, every word that begins with be- has become bee-. BEEyond. BEEautiful. BEEtween. BEE (be).
Did you know that some honeybees have little pockets on their little knees so they can stuff them full of pollen and fly it home to the hive?
Here’s a photo I got earlier today of a bee with her pockets full.
It’s 11:45pm on Monday.
I was working on this blog post when I heard a buzzing around my head. The buzzing I heard was the sound of a honeybee’s four wings. Ah, it was one of my new bees right here beside me in the gathering room. He must hitchhiked into the house on me or my clothes when I came in from my new “bee yard” right before dark. I’ve heard of having a “bee in your bonnet.” Well, they get tangled and stuck in your hair.
So, this bee buzzing around me. I know it’s a “him” because this bee doesn’t have a stinger. (Only the “hers” have stingers in the honeybee world.) He’s called a “drone” and his only job in his short life is to mate with an unfertilized queen.
I grabbed a flashlight, slipped on my tall boots, and carefully took him back out to his new hive.
That’s the big news on my farm! I’m a beekeeper now!
Last Saturday I brought thousands of new little wards to my raggedy, but happy farm. I love them already.
Look at this cool photo I took today with my phone. A bee in flight and her shadow.
My Bee Adventure started in mid-February when I saw the ad on a local Facebook page. Local bee “nucs” for sale, ready for pick-up April 3rd. At the time I didn’t even know what a nuc of bees was, but I knew I wanted bees, so I didn’t hesitate a second. I responded, “I’ll take some of your bees,” and hit send. (A nuc is, by the way, a small village of bees that have already accepted a queen.)
It’s been crazy and confusing since then.
As it turns out. Raising bees is a lot like raising children in one aspect: the advice you receive.
One person tells you one thing; the next person tells you another; a book suggests something altogether different; and dang, then the Internet gets involved. You want 77 different answers to 1 question? Ask about how to raise children…or bees.
I began by digging out a spot for my hive. I have no flat land on this farm, so digging was required.
It took me quite a while, but I finally made a spot by the chicken barn, beside the pasture.
I purchased a wooden box hive for the bees.
Anna-Belle, the cat, loves boxes. (As do all cats.)
Since I know nothing about hives, I had no idea it was defective or a maybe it was a return item. I couldn’t figure the thing out.
I finally learned that it wasn’t me; it was the hive!
I returned it for one that had no issues.
I painted it, bought a stand, and was ready to go.
Then, at the last minute, I learned that another bee buyer had backed out and another nuc was available. Me, Me, Pick Me! I want it!
As excited as I was about a second hive, this meant a mad scramble to get another hive ready for the bees. I was unable to order and receive another hive stand in time, so I went with Plan B. Plan B is concrete blocks and landscape timbers. Bulky and not as cute, but functional.
I know what you think. That’s so very unlevel. Our eyes say it isn’t right because of the grade of the land and that fence line. But levels don’t lie. (well, almost level, lol)
Ready for their arrival, early Saturday morning I headed out to bring home my honeybees.
It’s been a warm spring here and flowers and trees were already in bloom. This is great news for a bee community moving to a new home. But. A last-minute issue that arose that was beyond anyone’s control, the weather. A hard freeze happened the night before pick-up.
This large azalea bush was covered in beautiful, sweet pink blooms before the freeze.
It was 27 degrees when I went to get my bees. I wouldn’t be able to install them into their new hives until it warmed up. And, sadly, all the flowers (with the pollen bees need) had been zapped by the cold. Sigh. Another challenge. The answer is sugar water and bee feeders. For the first time in my life, I purchased a 25-lb bag of sugar.
I am stirring a pot of water and sugar with my left hand and inserting the photos into this post with my right hand. Multi-tasking! (It’s also 12:55am now. Staying up late for that BEE love. I’ve got to get them fed before I leave for work in the morning.)
I hurried and ordered bee feeders on Wednesday when I saw the weather forecast. I paid almost $30 for fast shipping. Guess when our good ole delivery service delivered it? This afternoon. Yes, that’s right. Monday. Day 5 after the order. (What in the world is going on with ALL of the delivery services. They’re all getting worse and worse.)
I made do with putting sugar water in poultry waterers until the bee feeders arrived today.
When the winds died down and the weather warmed up during the late afternoon on Saturday, I was able to install the bees from their nucs into the new hives.
Oh, yes indeedy, I could list all the many inconveniences, misinformation, surprises, and missteps in this process so far, but why?
The bees are home and now I’ve got feeders.
I set up some chairs in the bee yard on Easter Sunday.
I like sitting close to the hives and listen to the humming and buzzing.
I like to watch the activity of the bees.
They tolerate me thus far. Either they feel the love or maybe I smell good.
We’ll see if I need to scoot my chair away from the hives when they start making honey.
All is right with the world. Let’s just keep telling ourselves that. Sometimes it’s easy to believe…
BEE healthy. BEE sweet. BEE you. Just BEE.
Until next time, Friends, savor the flavor of life!
Lots of love, The City Farmgirl done moved to the Country