Saturday, April 22, 2017

Today Butterflies Tomorrow Bees

Monarch caterpillar on the purple milkweed vine
If you build it they will come! Walking through the new garden with the spouse tonight (it's our path to the mailbox) and saw two (two!) monarch caterpillars decimating my milkweed! It's too bad I just planted it because I think a lot of the plants won't make it through the monarch larval stage as they haven't built up enough leaf reserves. In other garden news, the bee hives are all set up on stands which are on new concrete pads, the concrete footing around the pond was poured and the frames cleaned up today, and it rained all last night so I didn't have to water today (yay!).

I've still got it! Kite for On The Main
While I worked in the studio this afternoon, Dave worked in the apartment. The bookcases have now all been set up and filled with books. I made a list of the last few things we need so that Tuesday evening--barring all the photos, and registering, and setting up on-line with Home Away and/or Air B&B--the apartment will be ready to rent out. Friends and family, you always have first dibs (to stay, not to rent) except for during SXSW. :-)

In the studio I fired three full kiln loads and did a little unpacking/organizing, but I swear it's going to take more effort than I have in me to get it all unpacked and set up. At one box/container a day it would take well over a month. Then there's the textile studio and the wet studio (which also serves as the work area for jewelry, soap, torch-worked glass, and paper. I need fewer hobbies.

I have a studio cat--Kaiju rules supreme
Tomorrow morning Zaga and I are heading down to Navasota to take a two-hour beekeeping lesson and to pick up three hives worth of bees--two nucs and a package. Nucs, short for nuclear hives, have a queen, workers, and frames already started with brood, nectar (proto-honey) and bee bread (pollen for protein). All you do with them is take the wooden frames out of the cardboard box you bring them home in and install the frames in your existing hive. A package is just three pounds of bees scooped into a box with a new (to them) queen in a little matchbox looking contraption hanging it it with them. Eventually the workers will chew through the candy end on the so named queen cage, releasing her into the hive. She is initially put in the queen cage to keep the other bees from killing her. She needs a couple of days with her pheromones pervading the hive before the workers will accept her. To install the package of bees in your hive you take out the queen cage, open your hive, and shake the 10,000 bees  in the box into your hive. Doesn't that just sound fun? I think everyone should pick up a box with 10,000 bees in it and shake them out! Maybe I'll ask Zaga to video the procedure for tomorrow's post.


Bill said...

Are you prepared to be stung?

Brenda Griffith said...

Yes, actually I am! For some reason--maybe because the fire ants devour me on a daily basis--I am not worried about being stung a few times, and I hope for the rest, I pay enough attention to the bees and am in tune enough with them that I don't end up badly stung.

Bill said...

Best wishes...