Friday, April 27, 2012
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...
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. :)
Wait what? That's not from the garden! That's a preview of a future blog!
In the mean time, remember, Green is Good!