Hives and Dials

June 3, 2008

Mixed news on the hives. I checked in on them a couple weeks back and everything seemed pretty peachy. Good healthy brood pattern in both hives (see picture on the left there) and I even caught a surprise glimpse of the Queen in what I’m calling “Sunny Hive” (because it gets the morning sun directly). That’s her in the middle and right there. Notice how her wings are a bit shorter and she’s a lighter amber color then her daughters?

Beekeeping Beekeeping Beekeeping

I had already given them two brood chambers and a honey super that was half-filled from last year. Sunny Hive was making good progress on them, so I doubled her up with an empty honey super. Shady Hive (so called because it’s squeezed in there between Sunny Hive and my neighbor’s garage) seemed to be spending more time eating the honey then storing it, so I her alone.

I’ll also admit at this point that I’ve been almost completely remiss in my beekeeping duties, busy as I am trying to launch a new business (did I mention I quit my job at Microsoft?). That means that while everyone who knows anything says “feed the bees sugar water until they won’t take anymore”, my strategy has been “feed the bees sugar water until they drink the little you gave them, then don’t.”

Clearly less than ideal, and it looks like it’s caught up with me. Four or five days back, Shady Hive was showing clear signs of an impending swarm: late in the warm afternoon, they were absolutely pouring out of the hive like kids out of school when that last bell of the season rings in the summer. The way they were circling the yard and humming and singing, I thought for sure they were going to go right then and there, but a dark cloud happened by and a cool breeze and I guess they thought better of it.

Four days of cool weather since has had them biding their time, but they were at it again when the sun broke through this morning, so I’m betting the next good day they’re going to pack up and head out.

Oh, if only I had the time to do something about it, but I suppose the frequency of my posts here should be an indicator of how little there’s been of that.

I will admit that I managed squeeze in a bit of an art project: my first step towards my green wall sundial. As you may remember, I’ve got a bit of an obsession with green walls / vertical gardens (here and here, for example). You may also know that I’ve got a bit of an obsession with sundials (here and here, for example).

Well, I’ve had this little plan for years now to concoct a combination. It started with having my friend Buphalo (creator of Fire Pod, among other amazingnesses) fabricate a 4′ x 5′ steel infrastructure. I sunk it in the ground, and…well, it’s kind of a long story, and I think I’ve got a years work left to do, but here’s a preview.

When all’s said and done, there’s gonna be mirrors and burning and growth and all sorts of coolness. But right now, there’s going to be sleep, so I’ll write another day.

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