Sunday, April 29, 2012

Buzz, I say, Buzz Part 2...

I'm back. Yeah, I know, hard to believe. Another post so quickly after what seemed like forever before the last post. Now you can't get rid of me. I scoff! I scoff! No, wait. I don't scoff! I need readers. I humbly apologize. I'm sorry. I'm not worthy of your readership. I slink away now and chain myself to my computer. Bread and water is fine.

Well, then. That was odd.

ANYwho. Where was I? All that groveling got me off track.

Oh yeah, bees.

Well the fence is done. Blog post over.

Oh? You want the second part? Alright! So demanding.

You know what's really weird? I'm having this conversation at my computer as if you all are really talking to me. Freaky. I better check my meds.

Okay, when last I left you I showed you an awesome Harry James video and how to sink a post. Kind of an odd combo, huh?

Now this...


Then this...


And this...


And a sexier shot...


Okay the basic frame was now finished.

I now had to make the gate. Weeee...


Pretty straight forward. Two long pieces of cedar for the sides and 3 for the cross sections. (once again, I threw caution to the wind and sort of made this up as I went along.) I got my measurements for the size of the gate via the width and height of the opening to the bee "enclosure".

Much like how I built my now infamous clothesline, I created some "lap" joints for the gate as well.




And here is the gate all fitted together... (like the dramatic lighting?)


That evening I glued and screwed the joints together.


(sorry for the miss-formating of this photo. for whatever reason Photobucket just doesn't like it. I've resized and rotated it several times and it still shows up over sized and on it's side. Hmmm, there's a joke in there somewhere. UPDATE: it appears as if it reoriented itself but now shrunk the photo! fine. it works).

The next day, on went the hardware and it was time for mounting.

Here are the hinges...


Here is the latch...


And the completed gate...


Not too bad if I say so myself. As you can see I put up the fence pickets as well.

But this is certainly not the end of the bee, fence, gate saga. Oh, yes, there is so much more. I know you are all on the edge of your seats! Look, I have to lie to myself to keep my spirits up, okay? So just humor me. I will believe that you can't wait for my next post and you just smile and nod and give me the half sane look of, "oh sure, we can't contain ourselves", before rolling your eyes. Deal?

So next week...can you guess? Part 3! I don't think anyone could have anticipated that! ;)

In the mean time, here are some fresh photos for your viewing pleasures.

Squash...(I know this is similar to a photo I posted last week, but I just love the color)










So there it is another installment of my insane mission to turn my yard into a food factory. Tune in next week as our hero finally finishes the fence and, gasp!, we actually get to see the bee hive!


Remember, Green is Good!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Buzzzzzzzzzzzz........Part 1

I know, I know, it's been a while.

I could snow you under with one excuse after another and frankly, what would that solve? Well, it would give me a false sense of satisfaction. :) And isn't that what life is all about? But the truth goes oh so much deeper. I like to call it writers block. But wait, Surbandweller, that's crazy talk!

I have all this stuff I wanted to write about, but it builds up to the point where I don't know where to begin.

So rather than trying to play catch up, I will clear the table, start anew and over time, drop little tidbits of stuff that I had been working on.

In the mean time, I will update you on the thing that has been occupying my life for the past several months.

No, it's not Tequila induced base jumping. Although that does sound fun. Ah-hem.

It's been this...or should I say these...


Yes, bees.

But wait, don't they, like, sting?  Well, yeah! But just like people, they won't sting you if you don't mess with them.

For the most part, they keep to themselves. I mean they're bees afterall and they sort of just tolerate us humans.

As far as hobbies go, they are pretty low maintanence.

So why have they been occupying all my time? Let's step back into the Wayback Machine, shall we?

The year is 1977. Star Wars was a big hit, people wore bell bottom pants and The Ramones (the greatest band of all time!!! Don't argue with me!!) was all the rage on the music scene. Me on the other hand, a young Suburbandweller, or Suburbanteen, if you will, saw a documentary on PBS about bees. "Gee" I said to myself, "as god as my witness, I will keep bees one day!" shaking my fist toward the sky. Actually, it was more like, "huh, that looks pretty neat".

So started the private quest to one day raise bees.

Now let's jump in the Wayforward machine many many many years later to about 1 1/2 years ago. Among the dozens of other projects I had going, I causually said to my much more significant other, "You know, I would like to raise bees". SO just rolled with it. I love that she tolerates my brief moments of insantity. Little did I know, it would turn into reality. Hmmmm, is it really a good thing when insanity turns reality?

ANYway, beside reading a few books on the subject and having a desire to raise them, I hadn't a clue. So when you don't have a clue, what do you do? Go out and buy a hive! (don't worry, the bees are sold seperately. Good thing, I probably would have killed them.) However, it was too late in the season to get a queen and the bees.

In the interviening time, Paulie, the dog with a thousand teeth, came along and my dream of raising bees wained. Awww...


We sweltered through the summer, my garden died, my fig tree died and my blueberry bush died. (and had a little snow, a very little bit of snow)

It's now Feburary of this year. I want those bees! I have to put in my order. So $125 bucks later (they better make honey!), my bees were to arrive the first week in April.

I had to get to work. There are several regs that I have to meet in order to keep bees in my back yard. A couple of which, if not met, makes raising bees a no go.

1) They have to be at least 25 feet from the nearest neighbor. No problem

2) The entrance and exit of the hive has to face a wall or fence. This way, when the bees go out to do their daily rounds, they swarm as bees do and because of the fence is placed in front of their hive exit, they will swarm upward instead of casting straight out and scaring heck out of all my neighbors. This part was problem.

I had taken down our old fence that came with the house about a year after we moved in. It was a mess and needed replacing.  Now was the time to do just that. And putting up the fence solved 3 issues 1) we needed a new fense 2) the bees needed a fence and 3) my very nice neighbors who never wave back to me when I wave to them, nor respond to me when I say hello to them; have collected a nice pile of disgarded contruction debris that looks, to be polite, not very nice. A pile which we have had to view for the past 3 years. A pile that has now been so completely overgrown with weeds and hack trees that it could be movie set for a post apocolypic film; now needs to been not seen, by me or my SO. Oh the sweet joys of suburbia!

So starts the planning, well more like making it up as I go along. :) 

Putting in the posts. At first I did the whole mixing in the wheelbarrow deal. What a colossal pain in the patoot! Until I discovered a wonderful video on Youtube about how to mix the concrete right in the hole!

This saved an enormous amount of time...and my back. And yes it works.


So the process was: dig hole 2 feet deep. Take 8 foot post and cut 1 foot off top. (why? because there is apparently a rule of thumb when it comes to digging holes for posts. You want the post hole to be at least 1/4 the height of the post. However, a 8 foot post was too tall so I lopped a foot off so they would be easier to deal with. So technically speaking, I had too much hole. Hmmm. I'll just leave that one alone). Then fill with concrete. So dig, cut, fill, dig, cut, fill, dig, cut, fill, etc...

However, while digging, cutting and filling, I had to make an enclosed area for the bees? Why, you ask? Again, I have a very curious dog who thinks nothing of putting his nose in to things that, well, he shouldn't and I didn't frankly want to have the bees in a constant state of being PO'd, so I have to put a fence around it. Weeeeeee!

And that little wonderment will be part two of this epic endevor!

In the mean time, here are some photos from the garden. :)





 Acorn squash...










Wait what? That's not from the garden! That's a preview of a future blog!

In the mean time, remember, Green is Good!