Thriving

Today I did my first inspection of the hive… it was so amazing! The bees were not upset at all that I was checking them out – in fact, they just went about their business. I did use a little smoke to mellow them out, but I probably could have done without.

I did find that they had eaten all of the sugar-water, leaving a void in the top of the hive. They promptly filled that with honeycomb! Go little bees go! I’m not sure if I was supposed to, but I scraped that bit of comb out – I want them to focus on building on the frames (which are not all full).

Rogue Honeycomb
Rogue Honeycomb

There’s definitely some honey production going on, but they will continue to need more sugar syrup to help build it up. I think I found Queen Latifah – I didn’t want to spend too much time in the hive today, but they had broke her out of her cage and I thought I saw her on one of the frames. I’ll look a little closer the next time I go in, but I figured if they were happily building comb and working, she was probably there.

Yay for the bees!

Monumental Decision

I hope that twenty years from now I’m talking with my children and they say (with horror) “Wait, there was a time people were not given equal rights because they didn’t have the right colored skin, didn’t have male genitalia, oh, I mean they didn’t love the right people?”. Yes, I liken today’s decisions to both the civil rights movement and women’s suffrage.

Change is never easy. There are always going to be people who disagree. But as a country we cannot let our disagreements lead us to infringe upon the rights of fellow human beings. Will things suddenly be magically easy for the LGBT community? No, I don’t think so. It takes a long time to change generations of thought – the same way that we haven’t truly moved past the racism of the 1970s (um, hello, Paula Deen?). But this is a giant step forward and I am so happy and excited for my LGBT friends.

Those of you who are firmly against gay marriage, I have to ask why? How is your own marriage/relationship impacted? Remember that not so long ago, we had issues with interracial marriages – something that is considered commonplace in today’s society.

I heard this song on the way home from work today – not sure if they played it specifically because of what happened, but I was really moved by it.

Just Like That, We Have A Hive

Today we had a bee installation party. Well, sort of. Apparently various branches of my family wanted to come over to see if I would pull this off or end up like the boy in “My Girl”. And we had food after.

First things first, I geared up:

The Gear Is Half The Fun
The Gear Is Half The Fun

After that, it was time to spray them down with sugar water (apparently that makes them feel like I do after a pint of Ben & Jerry’s). From there, I had to go through the process of finding the queen. Being a first time beekeeper, I was not entirely familiar with how these bees were packaged – I knew somewhere in the mass of three pounds of bees was a little cage with a queen. There were a couple different little lids to pry off and eventually I found the right one.

Queen Latifah
Queen Latifah

Yes, I named her Queen Latifah. She’s a classy broad, after all. I had planned on naming her Queen Elizabeth, but Mike’s suggestion was way better. She had a couple of buddies in there with her (I think they’re supposed to help feed her), but she was alive and kicking. I stuck the cage in between two of the slats and proceeded to dump a few of the other bees on top.

Introducing The Queen To Her Subjects
Introducing The Queen To Her Subjects

After that, it was time to give them some food. I did some research on this and the easiest way was using a 1:1 sugar syrup and a gallon Ziploc bag. You lay it out on top of the frames and then cut some slits into it to give the bees access to the syrup.

Feeding The Bees
Feeding The Bees

After that began the scariest part for me… releasing the rest of the bees. Sugar-induced haze or not, those guys got a little agitated. The hum of that many bees (especially all over/around you) was a little nerve wracking. My brother-in-law Tim had warned me that they sense your mood, so I tried really hard to stay calm. After what felt like an hour I finally had all of them out of the box in front of the hive.

Releasing The Bees
Releasing The Bees

This was seriously quite the process. I was a sweaty mess by the time I was done, but I had no stings. It was such a cool experience! I walked down after dinner and all of the bees that you see on the ground in the above picture were gone… I’m assuming into the hive since they had been moving in that direction. I could see some flying around, but hopefully they’re all getting settled in for the night. This was so much fun!

Now for the hard part… no peeking for a whole week! If you do, they can sometimes turn on the queen!

Shout out to my brave mama for standing in the orchard with me, sans bee clothing, to take pictures! Love you!

Bee Prepared

Woo hoo!!!
Woo hoo!!!

They’re here! They’re here! When I got home from work today, I discovered this lovely package on my doorstep:

Special Delivery
Special Delivery

Yeah, I’m 99% sure that my UPS guy hates me. I checked the online tracking and these were loaded into his truck at 7am this morning… and delivered at 3:30pm this afternoon. I’m not gonna lie, the buzz of thousands of bees is a little unnerving… driving around all day with them in your car must have sucked. I haven’t been able to find the queen yet – she’s somewhere under there in her own special cage.

Accidental Artsy Bee Shot
Accidental Artsy Bee Shot

It was a little too late in the day to install them in the hive, so instead I set to getting the hive completely ready. Tomorrow is the big day! Here’s what the hive looks like in it’s permanent location:

The Hive
The Hive

I can’t wait for tomorrow! The best time of day to introduce bees to the hive is in the late afternoon – apparently they’re a little sleepier and less likely to “drift” (seek out another hive). More to come!

 

To Bee Or Not To Bee

Well, I have a new hobby and I’ll give you one guess as to what it is:

Beekeeper Gear!
Beekeeper Gear!

Yup, I’ve decided to become a beekeeper in my spare time. My sister-in-law and brother-in-law are currently raising bees and love it. I thought it’d be good for a variety of reasons including fresh local honey (hopefully it helps with my allergies!) and pollination of my orchard (that’s where the hive is going to go). The hive was delivered today… I’m totally geeking out over it.

The hive came mostly assembled (thank goodness, because for as simple as they look, I don’t know that I would have gotten it all together). Here’s what the final product looks like:

Assembled Hive
Assembled Hive

The inside is a little more complicated – this hive contains ten frames, an inner lid, and an outer lid.

Inside The Hive
Inside The Hive

The frames have an artificial honeycomb built-in to encourage the bees to build theirs around it (and to keep them from building between the frames, making it hard to pull them out and access the honey).

Empty Frame
Empty Frame

Finally, there’s a very important piece of gear – the smoker. This basically makes the bees sleepy/lazy/less prone to sting when you want to either check the hive or harvest the honey.

Smoker
Smoker

Even Shadow got all excited about it:

Shadow Loves New Stuff
Shadow Loves New Stuff

 

I am seriously geeked out right now. I asked Mike if he thought it was as cool as I did… his reply was “It’s interesting…” At least he’s humoring me! The bees are scheduled to arrive tomorrow – between now and then I need to get the hive down to the orchard and up on cinder blocks (so it doesn’t get rot and isn’t as accessible to critters). Stay tuned for the next chapter of the Bee Chronicles!

A Whale Of A Tale

I know it’s been a while, but I was on vacation and I’ve discovered that I’m getting better and better at this whole relaxing thing. Those of you who follow me on Facebook saw that I posted a few pictures and status updates, but not nearly as much as I have in the past.

That’s because I was busy catching fish:

Fish In The Wind
Fish In The Wind

It was a little bit breezy out that day, can you tell? Mike and I spent the week down in Newport Beach with my brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and niece and nephew. It was really a fun time – we took the boat down. I finally got to go on it, after three years of dating and almost two years of marriage. No, my husband is not a jerk that won’t take me fishing, it’s just that whenever they do go, it’s typically during the week when I’m at work. Apparently the tuna don’t understand the five day work week. Anyway, we spent the entire week fishing, dolphin watching, sea lion (seal?) watching, and playing on the beach. I boogie boarded with the kids and taught them to paddle board. We even took the boat over to Catalina for the night and hung out on the island.

I did, however, get the dreaded sunburn. I know, I should know better – I got distracted once I put it on my face and ended up forgetting the rest of me. Two hours and a lot of boogie boarding later, I ended up with a gnarly sunburn just about everywhere besides my face. Coincidence? I think not.

The boys did manage to get some serious fishing (sans wives and kids) and caught/saw some interesting stuff. This is a mola. It scares me:

Mola
Mola

They also came upon a shark, sheep head fish, perch, sea bass, and god knows what else.

Finally, the real reason we headed down for the week… my stepdaughter graduated from college! Without getting all stepmother mushy, I’m really proud of her!

Graduate!
Graduate!

Favorite Song Friday – “Just Give Me A Reason”

This week’s song that is stuck in my head is “Just Give Me A Reason” by P!nk, featuring Nate Ruess (from the group fun.). I fell in love with P!nk when I saw here with JT (she can seriously SING) and saw f.u.n. on SNL. Nate Ruess has an amazing voice… his range is huge! P!nk actually wrote the song as well – she is so talented!

I love, love, love this song. And the video is sexy!