• Tag Archives brood
  • Bee Diary: Hive Inspections

    Beltane                                                    Waxing Garlic Moon

    Colony #1:  This is the colony in which my queen release went well.  She’s been busy.  The second hive box, on only a week, has all the brood frames with brood, some full, some partial, so I went ahead and added another hive box.  This is the colony I’m going to keep as a parent colony for next spring.  I’ve decided I want to manage the other two for maximum honey and then let them die out in the fall.

    Colony #2:  The first of the one’s where the queen got to her job a week late because I didn’t handle the release well. (at least I didn’t kill her, which I did last year)  This colony seems to be putting a lot of honey in the two supers I added in place of a second hive box.  Not sure what that means, but it for sure means we’re not ready for another set of supers quite yet.

    Colony #3:  The second late queened colony.  This colony has brood in the bottom of the two honey supers I added last week, and seems to be storing honey in the top one.  Again, I don’t know what this means, but this one is not ready for another two supers yet either.  I plan to check both of them mid-week, just in case they accelerate the brood production process.

    Once again, these bees are placid, friendly, and diligent.  Great colleagues in our life here.  I feel lucky to have them.

    Artemis, our patron goddess, has several images, as do most of the Greek pantheon, but this one always causes some consternation.  What’s with all those blobs on her chest?  Though a common explanation suggests they are breasts, symbolizing her role as a fertility goddess, some scholarship suggests they may instead be bull’s testicles or gourds, both also potent symbols of fertility in Asia.

    I saw this statue in a museum near the ancient city of Ephesus.  From nearby it was also possible to see the one remaining pillar from her great temple, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.  Now, it looks bereft, a lone monument in a not too well tended field.

    On the same trip Kate and I went to Delos, the site of the Delian Leagues treasury during the glory days of Greece.  Artemis and her brother Apollo were born on this island. It’s a small, uninspiring rocky island, but it has a storied past that makes it more than repay a visit.

  • Still sinking.

    Beltane                    Full Dyan Moon

    Kate can tell when I begin to submerge, move below the surface of day to day contact.  I become short, irritable.  She gets the feeling of walking on egg shells.  By the time this happens I’m not in touch with my effect on the outside world.  Distraction and self-absorption reign.

    She brings it up.  We talk.  Today I said, “I’ve moved into melancholy.”  The distance between closed.  We both know this journey and its dark side.  I ate my chirashi and she her teryaki bento box.

    “What precipitated it?”

    “I have no idea.  Chemicals, I think.”

    “No. Wait.  It began, I think on Hilton Head.  Maybe it was the weather.  I now that sounds absurd, but then, I know it happens, too.  Gloomy outside, gloomy inside.”

    “I love you.”  Said with the grasp of both the condition and the afflicted.  Therapy in their own right.

    Otherwise, the day had bees and money.

    Mark Nordeen came over and we popped the top on the second hive.  Lotsa bees.  Took a long while to get the smoker going.  The smoke calms them down.  They stop flying, go back into the hive.

    The top hive had brood on several frames and the number of bees has tripled at least.  There were three queen cups and I got to see exactly what they looked like.

    “If you ever see a queen cup that has a queen in it, don’t knock it off.  That means they’re about to swarm and you’ll need the second queen for those who stay behind.”

    We moved the bottom hive on top because there had not been as much work done down there and we wanted to encourage more frames filled with brood.

    Later in the morning we saw our cash-flow adviser.  We’ve done very well and continue to  do so, but as we move to retirement she says there is a big trick to moving from paid employment to retirement income.  In the case of Kate we’ve been lucky to have her producing large quarterly bonuses which have enabled us to do many different things:  dogs, permaculture, long trips.  After retirement, those kinds of bumps in income will disappear and we have to decide how to deal with that.  Turns out cash is the primary tool, having lots of it in liquid investments like CD’s, bonds or money market.

    The moral here is that no matter how you feel, life goes on.  Decisions have to be made.  Bees need care.  The garden goes through its season.  There is something reassuring to the constancy and permanence of natural change.