Portrait Of The Blogger, Accompanied By Bees

As a rule, I avoid having my picture taken.

I am not photogenic.  My eyes are usually closed. I always have a look of impatient suffering on my face.

Plus, I agree with those remote jungle tribes people that a camera steals one’s soul. (In a few years, that will be scientifically proven.)

This past weekend I made an exception to my rule.  I let Loyal Yard Dude Alex take a bunch of pictures of me in my bee suit. Yes, really.

I’m a sight to behold.

No, I'm not really handling Plutonium...

No, I’m not really handling Plutonium…

Is there any garment less flattering than a bee suit? I don’t think so.

I volunteered to be a source for an article about women taking up pursuits outside their comfort zone. Theoretically, that was beekeeping. Truthfully, being photographed made me way more uncomfortable than the 10,000 or so bees I was handling.

And then the Loyal Yard Dude got stung on the forehead by one of the Mean Bees.

Just another Saturday on Columbia Parkway!  🙂

My Bees Are In Their New Homes!

The New Hives

The New Hives

Well, for the most part. At least they’re around their new homes…

Even though my new bees arrived yesterday, I decided to wait until today to hive them because it got down to 28 degrees Farenheit last night.  The rest of this week (and with luck, the rest of this season!) is supposed to be above freezing.

I had plenty to do yesterday though, what with setting up the hives, gathering up all my equipment and putting the bees’ sugar syrup into quart glass jars with lids. That’s something new I came up with this year to make the syrup easier to handle.

One of the most important rules of beekeeping is to never leave sugar syrup out in the open around a hive, even for a minute. Sugar syrup attracts robbing insects of all kinds. I learned that the hard way. (Come to think of it, I’ve learned most everything about beekeeping the hard way…)

This year I loaded up a recyclable grocery bag with 4 quart jars of sugar syrup – easy to handle and hermetically sealed!

It was fun having the bees in my kitchen last night. They really do go to sleep. I made sure to turn off all the kitchen lights so they could have a good rest before Moving Day!

Today was perfect for installing a package. Temperature in the 50’s, no wind and partly cloudy. I’m more comfortable around my bees when I’m wearing a full bee suit, so the cooler the day, the better for me. Those bee suits are hot!

The bees still in the box will eventually make it into the hives by themselves.

The bees still in the box will eventually make it into the hives by themselves.

I would love to tell you that I was the picture of beekeeping professionalism. Not so much.

At least I didn’t hop around like I had St. Vitus’ Dance like I did the first time I installed a package. Oh, for a video of that performance!

But there are things I don’t remember until I start the installation process. Like how hard it is to get the frigging bee package open. And pry out the feeding can. And find the Queen cage. And jimmy out the cork at the end.

The frigging box should come with a handy hatchet to help open it!

The frigging box should come with a handy hatchet to help open it!

And get the frigging bees out of the box and into the hive. (I did what I usually do – just left the box there and let them move in by themselves. They’ll go anywhere the Queen is residing.)

And not squish too many. (Oh, the humanity!!)

It didn’t help that my back garden is slightly less steep than Mt. Everest and I put the new hives at the bottom.

The view down Mt. Everest...

The view down Mt. Everest…

The Mean Bees live at the top of the garden, and have clearly indicated that they don’t want any next door neighbors, even if they’re relatives.

The Mean Bees at the top of the garden

The Mean Bees at the top of the garden

But, all in all, a good day on Columbia Parkway!!

P.S. No, I didn’t get stung.  I usually don’t when hiving a package. My average is two stings per season, both while I am in the process of doing something stupid. 🙂

Bringing The Garden Indoors

My garden is officially dormant for the winter. It’s a sad day on Columbia Parkway.

Oh, I have some bulbs to plant and some mulching to do. The usual fall tasks. But the really fun part outdoors is over for the year…

I cheer myself up every November by planting giant amaryllis bulbs indoors. This year I found a great deal online for a dozen Amaryllis Apple Blossom bulbs. I spent the day finding suitable vessels to hold them.

They are so easy to grow! I just stick them in water and leave them alone. In 6 to 8 weeks I’ll have a little garden indoors. I’ll be sure to post pictures.

After the amaryllis blossoms are gone, I’ll start Sweet Pea seeds under lights. With luck I’ll have fragrant blooms by February.

And spring will be right around the corner!