Bees · Hive equipment

One Bee of a Headache!

We’ve had a good weekend working in the yard and painting hives in preparation for the bees we’re getting from the South Carolina Beekeepers Association on March 19th.   We have enough hive bodies built and painted to accommodate the newcomers, and I’ll spend evenings this weekend decorating them and using the wood burning tool to permanently add our name to each piece of equipment.  We did some hive maintenance and found good supplies of nectar, pollen, and brood and no evidence of mites or wax moths.  After I cleaned up a little, I decided to take one last look at the hives before coming in to grade essays.  That’s when a bee got itself tangled up in my hair band.  I’m used to bees buzzing through my hair when I’m standing near the hives, but they have never stopped to say hello before today.   When I pulled my hairband off, the angry little critter was still saying hello to my headband with its pulsating stinger!   Now, all previous stings have been minor nuisances, but this one is giving me a headache like I haven’t had in years — despite the toothpaste rubbed into my scalp.

But, back to positives…..  we have almost everything painted that needs painting, just in time for the nucs that were on backorder to arrive on Tuesday for next weekend’s painting marathon!  I am getting closer to finding a good sized font for the name of our farm and I’m even getting better at painting the farm name free-hand.   This kind of work outside in the spring sunshine is the perfect antidote to the stress I felt by the end of last week.   It’s not that the week was much different to others, but at one point I thought I was caught up on the tedious side of teaching, such as filing paperwork and grading, and then I received a stack of essays to evaluate by Tuesday…..   I will be able to score them relatively quickly, but I did so want to feel caught up for just one afternoon!

The seeds I planted last weekend are also trying my patience, but I checked the seed packets and saw that germination time for all of them is anywhere from 7 – 14 days, so I’ve resisted the urge to dig around in the potting soil to see what they are doing.    But while painting I’ve been able to look at the first daffodils and crocus blooming.  The bees are bringing in four different colors of pollen, and lots of it.   Yes, my head still hurts, but it’s still a beautiful day and I look forward to seeing our bee business grow.   (And to spring break and a week on the farm!)  Life is good.

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Bees · Relaxing

Painting Hive Bodies

After weeks of cold weather and a sinus infection that wouldn’t quit, I was so happy to see the sun come out and temperatures to rise above 50 degrees this week!   My husband had been putting together hive bodies while I slept the previous weekend away, and they were stacked up in the garage just waiting to be painted.  I arrived home Tuesday and grabbed the paint can with the green dot on the lid and headed out to start painting.

The green dot and label lied — the paint was actually the interior paint we are using in the living room, but I used it anyway.  A lack of exterior paint was not going to send me back indoors!   I painted a couple of boxes with that and a couple with some ancient paint I used in the upstairs bathroom after our youngest daughter moved out after high school.  (She’s since completed her degree and has been working for two years, so the paint is old!   It was also the consistency of old milk, but it served as a primer.)  On Wednesday I stopped at Wal-Mart then Lowe’s and purchased some pistachio spray paint, and yellow and almond paint.   I’m not very good with spray paint, so the pistachio also ended up being a primer.    But, I am well on the way to having a quart of paint’s worth of yellow bee boxes.

I found two sketches of magnolias I like, and used the line drawing one with transfer paper with minimal success to decorate one box.   I haven’t been able to find a stencil I liked, so I decided to make my own stencil.  I also decided to try wood burning.  As luck would have it, the wood burning tool I bought on Friday comes with a tip designed for cutting out stencils and it worked for the first one.  I  ended up hurrying the second one and melted holes all over the plastic with the barrel of the tool, so I’ll revisit that in a few days when my patience level has refilled a little!

I know I won’t have time to decorate every box, especially as hubby is on the way back from Georgia with a trailer full of boxes that need to be cleaned and painted in addition to the new ones still waiting in the garage.    I figure I’ll girlify a few at a time.   All of our current boxes are painted with a baby blue paint that is the result of mixing lots of left-over cans in a big bucket, so a few splashes of color here and there will at least be a break in the monotony!

I hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow and I also hope it does rain.  I still have 40 essays to grade before Monday morning, and painting magnolias is just so much more fun!   Somehow I just have to find a balance between getting my students the feedback they need and indulging in the creativity that gives me the mental strength to keep teaching literary analysis and writing!