Archive for May, 2008

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Wednesdays Woodland Walk

May 14, 2008


BLACK SNAKE IN TREE STUMP

This is to show how docile black snakes are. You can pick them up with relative ease. The worst thing that they’ll do is to skunk you. They will produce a musky oil on their skin which gets on you when handling them. To get it off requires only a few washings of the hands & arms. I’ve never had one try to bit me. They prefer to escape by speed or burrowing. I would have liked to pick this guy up to give you the full tour. However, this is in a large poison-ivy patch. Not a good place to tangle with snake. Enjoy.

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The Buzz…

May 5, 2008

This weekend kicked-off my new hobby, Beekeeping. first we bought two hives from a local farmer. He’s eighty-six and can no longer tend his bees. Second I bought a book to learn what I needed to know. Third I inspected the hives. If this sounds off-the-cuff, it is.

The Wife has wanted bees for twelve years. More than once she’s mentioned that we need to get bees. Two factors working against us getting bees has been: bees sting and I hate the taste of honey. Well last month she informs me that two hives are for sale by a farmer with health issues. Recognizing the subtle poke-in-the-ribs ploy and realizing that I’d put it off long enough I acquiesced. Usually she has to drag me kicking & screaming towards anything good. This time was different. I’m in a very good place now and can stand to deal with something new. So I simply said, “Great. When can we go get them”.

My girlsPlease note that I know nothing about bees. That, however, changed immediately. Apparently you can only move hives at night! Which means that I had to manhandle two hives in the dark without any prior experience. Noooo…that wasn’t intimidating at all! Yikes! I felt like I was a bomb technician on his first day trying to disarm The Holy Hand Grenade. Lift them up, whole hive. Place in back of truck. Drive home. Carry hives down dewy grass hill to place in prepared spot. IN THE DARK! Real hives. Fifty-thousand bees each. Yet, it went off without a hitch!? Hallelujah!

Well we bought some basic equipment and did the inspection this weekend. We learned a lot more. Namely that bees are loads of fun. We also found out that Farmer Ben did not (could not) do any maintenance last year. I’ll need to replace several of the ‘Suppers’ and get some hive structures he never had.

The Princess Bee
The inspection was a real family event. Kid One hasn’t been that excited since he caught his first fish. He was helping me whether I wanted his help or not. After I cracked open the hives the whole family just walked up and stuck their heads next to the buzzy bees to see inside. I felt stupid since I was the only one wearing a bee net yet all of us were poking around in the hives. I though Kid Two was going to climb into the hive and take up residence. After all she is a Princess & I did tell her about the Queen.

Well After taking a full inventory of what parts of the hives need to be fixed I began looking at it’s health. One hive had lots of brood cells and one short super must have weighed forty pounds with the honey in it. The other hive was producing Queen cells (not good) because they are out of room. I will add suppers to that hive. All in all I can’t complain. The hives are healthy enough to grow as big as I want them to. With the fixes I have to complete (I’m taking a half day off of work tomorrow to deal with it) I will learn much in the way of maintenance that a book could not convey. All’s looking very good for my new hobby. Especially since the taste test went very well and got six thumbs straight up.

Who wants some?

Who wants a taste?

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Can’t take it back

May 1, 2008

At the speed of sound

Are words etched in this moment

Forever branded