• Tag Archives hive inspections
  • Still Alive.

    Beltane                                                              Waxing Garlic Moon

    Oh, boy.  I’ve not gone a day without a post in a long time.  Yesterday went by so fast.

    Worked on Latin for a bit, but a brightening day pulled me outside.  I plucked tulip detritus out of a bed where some tomato plants needed to go.  These were full grown ones, liable to produce tomatoes as opposed to my healthy, but still immature seedling started back in April.

    At the Minnesota Hobby Beekeepers meeting Tuesday I learned that honey filling what could be brood frames means the bees in colonies 2 and 3 felt crowded.  I got out my honey supers, scraped them free of propolis, something I realized I could have done last fall, and excess wax, then plopped two each on 2 & 3.   These are the colonies that will be allowed to die out over the winter.  Colony 1 already has its 3rd hive box on with the queen producing brood at a quick pace.  All three of these colonies started out on drawn comb which reduces the initial work load significantly and allows the bees to focus on brood raising, foraging and honey and pollen collecting.

    All of this means Artemis hives have positioned themselves for the start of the honey flow.

    Then it was quick get into my nicer clothes for a 3 hour stint at the Netroots Convention in downtown Minneapolis.  I volunteered for service at the Sierra Club table in the convention’s exhibit hall.  We highlighted our Beyond Coal campaign.  I got into a snit with an organizer who felt that chairs should be anathema at tables.  He feels this creates a climate that forces staff and volunteers out into the stream of traffic, pressing cards and information into people’s hands, getting names and addresses.  At 64 standing on a concrete floor for 3 and 4 hours in a row is not something I choose to do.  A chair gives me an opportunity to take a break now and then.   Which I need.

    The organizer’s view saw volunteers as numbers useful for gaining more numbers, rather than people.  This is an instrumentalist view of the person, an error in judgment not unusual among utopians who willingly sacrifice today’s people in service of a better future.  It ignores the true and only reason for organizing which is to gain a better life for others, a better life which begins in the present, not in some imagined or hoped for more powerful future.

    Do we need to sacrifice to move our political ideas forward?  Of course.  Do we need to sacrifice our health and well-being?  Only in extreme situations.  Which the Netroots Convention in the Minneapolis Convention center is not.

    After three hours of hawking underwear (I’ll explain later) and moving beyond coal as a source of electrical generation, I drove over to the Walker where I began a two session seminar at the Walker Art Center on THE BLURRING OF ART AND LIFE: IMPACT OF MASS CULTURE ON ART. Taught by an art historian from Hamline College, Roslye Ultan, this seminar approaches modern and contemporary art especially since Dada and Marcel DuChamp.  There are ten or eleven of us in the class, all women save for me and all Walker guides save for me.

    This means I find in myself cast in the unusual role of traditionalist.  The MIA is an encyclopedic museum with an emphasis on the historicality and the geographicality of art from the earliest to the most recent, extending from a 20,000 year old Venus Figurine to a finished last year installation, Dreaming of St. Adorno by living artist, Siah Armajani.

    Roslye takes her art historical cue from DuChamp who said he wanted to put art in the service of the mind.  Rosalye has expanded on or extended this idea into an assertion that it is not the object that is the universal, transcendent work but the idea given form in the object.  Seemingly entrenching my traditionalist orientation, I disagreed, holding out for the work of art itself as the what that transcended time.

    She tried to tell me this was not right, but I am not easily budged by an argument from authority, so we had a tussle.  A mild one.  I backed off, as I often do in classroom settings, not wanting to waste other peoples time.  In this instance, as the class progressed, I found the tussle invigorated the class, gave it an edge and increased my focus.

    That was two instances of conflict in one day.  On the drive home I turned them both over in my mind, like teasing a hole in a tooth.  Was I too much in the argument with the organizer?  Yes, my tone was over the top.  Did I regret?  Tone, yes. Content, no.  I’ll apologize for the tone to him today.  But not the need to treat volunteers as people not instruments.

    The tussle in the class left me with no negative hangover.  In fact, when I put the two together, I realized they meant I’m alive and still living.  I felt good about that.

  • Bees and Dogs

    Beltane                                                        Waxing Garlic Moon

    Bee check this morning.  Colony 1 is about a week ahead of 2 and 3 due to my late release of the queens in those two colonies.  None of them have brood in the top box, though there is 400_honey-extraction_0225new pollen stores and honey.  They’ve only had the top box on for a week, so I’m not expecting much until the next hive inspection.  If I don’t see brood then, well, I don’t know what.

    All three colonies look healthy, plenty of bees and plenty of room.  These bees, too, are so gentle.  I can inspect the hives with just a veil, a long sleeved t-shirt and gardening gloves.  So much better for the heat.

    Each colony still has stored honey in the frames I put into the top boxes, the first one less than the rest, but they still have some.  I may need to get some feeder pails and some syrup, just to be sure.

    I feel more confident this year, more sure of what I’m doing and what I’m looking for when I do a hive inspection, but I’m still a long way from a  knowledgeable bee keeper.

    Mark has started a second round of work on the fire pit, a project stalled three years ago by lagging energy on my part.  He squared off the walls, has cut landscape cloth to put behind the granite paving stones I bought from the guy on Round Lake Boulevard and also put landscape cloth on the botton of the fire pit and covered it with sand.

    Gertie went outside this morning and wandered around the front yard.  She moved slowly, feeling the trauma today probably more so than yesterday as the vet’s pain killer subsided.  She’s still on two pain meds though, tramadol and rimadyl.  I think she’s gonna be fine.  We’ve seen battle wounds before.

    As I went to sleep last night, I said to Kate, “Just like an episode of Combat Hospital.”

  • Bee Diary: June 24, 2010

    Summer                              Waxing Strawberry Moon

    I got through 2.5 hive inspections.  The package colony has beautiful comb, an excellent egg-laying pattern and is now ready for the third hive box.  That’s as far as it needs to go as soon as it fills out at least 8 frames in the new hive box.  That should happen over the month of July.

    The divide has had three hive boxes for a week now and has begun to fill up frames in the third hive box though they are far from full.  I see no evidence that either of these two have swarmed and I saw few swarm cells.  Still a bit difficult for me to recognize for sure.

    All of the colonies were a bit more aggressive than usual this morning, a surprise to me since it’s sunny and warm, a good day to go gather nectar and pollen.  In my opinion there was no need to harass the bee-keeper, but the divide began whacking at me and got me in a tender space right on top of my thumb’s joint.  That hurt!  I completed that inspection, too, trying to follow the check every frame idea.

    When I got to the parent colony, I removed the two empty honey supers I put on last week.  Nothing.  Nature’s Nectar, a blog about bee-keeping kept up by the guy who sold me my queen and my package, however, said he had little new honey, too.  He’s thinking it will pick up this week.  It’s nice to have that kind of confirmatory message since it makes me think things are ok here at Artemis Hives.

    When I got the honey supers removed, I began my inspection of the top hive box.  It is full of bees.  Mad bees.  I to about half way through the inspection of the top box and the bees had begun to dive bomb my hands as I reached for a frame.  Game over.  I’m not willing to spend a week with swollen hands.

    I’ll go out tomorrow or Saturday to finish the inspection.  I don’t know for sure whether the irritation of hive inspections transmits from colony, but if it does, then the parent colony was ready for me.  I may try starting with it next time.

    Other than that my fears of a foul-brood infection seemed to be misplaced.  I saw none of the signs.  The egg laying pattern in the parent colony seems uneven to me, where the other two looked more compact. (better)  I’m still a long way from feeling sure about what I see and what to do with the information.  But, I’m much further along than I was in April.

  • The Weekend Ahead

    Beltane                                   Waxing Planting Moon

    Today will see planting under the planting moon:  tomatoes and peppers, alyssum and butternut squash.  Unless it’s too breezy and/or stays rainy this will also be a bee day, too.  I have to continue reversing Colony 1’s hive boxes until July, check the feeder pail in the package colony and replace the new hive box I put on Colony 2.  Part of my deal with the woodenware assembler (Kate) is that I put foundations in the frames and drill my own one inch hole in the hive boxes.  Oops.  Put a hive box on without a hole.  Shouldn’t be a problem to swap it out with a new on in which I have cut a hole.

    Gotta head over to Northern Tool right now and pick up the wagon that we’ll use the garden tractor will pull.  We have a young man, Ray, earning money for college.  Which turns out to mean, I think I wrote earlier, trade school.  He mows the lawn so we can change up the lawn tractor and let it become a donkey.  Back in the day I moved garden material myself with a wheelbarrow or we had sons here to do it, but now we’re going to use mechanical help.