I can't imagine working my bees in the weather we've been having. Getting suited up and working with temperatures in the mid 80's was hard enough. I had a tank top on under my bee jacket, and I was dripping sweat the whole time. I'm not really sure how beekeepers in places like Florida, Texas, and other southern states do it.
Upon opening up the hive, I was super excited to see that there was no new cross combing! All the combs we had straightened out were still straight, and I was able to pull out all the bars and inspect them with no problem at all. There was a lot of brood and some capped honey on all the bars. I looked for the queen briefly, but she still managed to elude me somehow.
I took out a small bar at the entrance that was but there to give the bees space but seemed to be causing more problems (they were building comb on it.) I was pretty proud of myself for operating a phillips head screwdriver while wearing over sized gloves and dripping sweat.
Just about an hour ago, I looked outside and saw a lot of activity at the entrance. I'm not sure if it was a lot of bees coming back to the hive before it rains, or if this is an orientation flight. Orientation is when new worker bees fly in figure eights outside the hive entrance to sort of memorize the way the hive and the horizon look so they can find their way back after they go out foraging for nectar and pollen. Sorry about my lack of video skills, but here is a short clip of what I saw.
Pretty cool, I think. I feel so peaceful watching them, and they don't pay much attention to me. I think they're used to my presence now.
In other backyard news, my dad said he would help me build a chicken coop. I can't tell you how excited I am! It's another step on my way to having my own little backyard farm. I've been doing lots of reading, too, and next weekend I'm going to a workshop about backyard chickens. So hopefully before the end of the summer, this blog will be about birds and bees!
Things have been a bit personally tumultuous for me lately, but my little winged friends are a constant presence. I know I can count on their coming and going each day just like the rising and setting of the sun. It's funny how little flying insects somehow seem to anchor me in a way.
For Joy's Sake, From My Hands
by Ossip Mandelstam
For joy's sake, from my hands,
take some honey and some sun,
as Persephone's bees told us.
Not to be freed, the unmoored boat.
Not to be heard, the fur-booted shadows
Not to be silenced, life's dark terrors.
Now we only have kisses
dry and bristling like bees,
that die when they leave the hive.
Rustling in clear glades of night,
in the dense forests of Taygetos,
time feeds them; honeysuckle; mint.
For joy's sake, take my strange gift,
This simple thread of dead, dried bees,
turned honey in the sun.