Reading While Knitting

Nothing complicated; nothing too exciting, but yes, I do knit while I read. As well as during many other domestic activities.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

To my adoring fans

Thing 4 thanks everyone for their compliments on her knitting.

Remember how suave I was feeling about getting those bees yesterday? Nice and easy, I said.

Today was . . . different. Maybe it was that Spouseman stayed up until 1:00, after having watched the city planning commission quite late for work, making two beehives for me to use today. Even though I went to bed relatively early, I didn't sleep soundly until he came to bed. Maybe it was that when I woke at 12:30 or so, I remembered that I hadn't filed a grade change form for one of my students. And it was late. Or maybe it was me waking up at 5:30 to go get the bees (nicely tied up by the homeowner) and then helping finish those hives. Think the neighbors liked hearing a table saw at 7:00 am? Thing 1 was indignant: "You said you were going to take me with you to get the bees!" "You said you'd changed your mind!" "I have no memory of that."

It was all a rush, as bee mornings often are. I'm worried that the tied-up bees can't get enough air, what with the box being wood and then them being wrapped in a sheet on top of that. I'm worried about the temperature creeping up and up as the sun goes higher. It's also our homeschool Park Day, which means food, and getting everyone going in the same direction, and things like that.

So, having shifted into Turbo Hurry mode, I checked one hive body, and noticed that the plexiglass view side was much higher, high enough to make the bars hang unevenly. So I used a saw to make parallel cuts vertically in it, and then snapped off the offending high edge. Fast.

With my thumb.

Fortunately, previous ER trips for stitches have convinced me that nearly everything can be handled at home with bandaids and superglue. But it hurt, and it was enormously stupid. Thing 1 brought me actual pliers for the remaining snapping.

Then, off to my sister's house. The "bad hive" -- the one that took two queens and killed them in favor of a laying worker, meaning that the hive slowly dies off as only non-foraging males are raised -- had to be addressed. Therefore two hives for one swarm.

I'd also put another swarm in a nuc box (a small, mini-hive) on her apiary shed roof a week ago, and they deserved a real hive too. Therefore the two hives. So I got almost all of my equipment up on the roof while the children played inside and she made lunch for her gang. I'd forgotten my smoker in the morning's excitement. I figured that since swarms are pretty benign, it wouldn't be a problem. Even if it was, I was up a shed roof without one, so I might as well hope for the best. I just had to climb down to get the very last thing, but with the ladder's help, took a faster route down by pitching off of the top rung right onto my bottom. I had enough time to shriek wildly and try to call my sister before hitting. There was something in my pocket -- the pliers? The bee brush? and it hurt a lot to land on. Looking on the bright side, I missed the terra-cotta plant pot with my head by a good few inches. Lying on the ground, counting your blessings and feeling the effects of your autonomic nervous system, is a good time to make resolutions about level ground and helpers with ladders. My sister came out and held the ladder after that. She hadn't heard the fall at all, which is probably a good thing. I thought about charging her double, but since double of nothing is. . . well, you know. So sometimes it's good that there's no video about. A wise beekeeper would remember that the next time she gets cocky.

Back in the saddle, I took the week-old swarm (now a real hive) from their box and set them up in the new hive. They were wonderful -- in a week, they'd made about 4-5 full combs and started filling them with nectar, although I forgot to check for eggs. I didn't see any capped brood. They were mellow and very nice, although the bees not on the combs, but left in the bottom of the box were miffed when I upended it and thumped on the bottom to dislodge them. A cloud flew up, and more were upset when I dropped the box off of the shed side.

Next, I moved the bad hive out of the way, placed the new hive in its place (different bar dimensions; we're still experimenting) and dumped the neatly-wrapped swarm in it. They did the usual fly around in circles thing, buzzing loudly. The bees from the bad hive got carried across the yard hanging on the bizarre comb they'd constructed, and then I intended to use the bee brush to get them off. As I began, however, one of some hive's bees got into my veil. Again. And again, as I tried to get it off, I got stung right on the face. Blast. There's a vague chipmunk vibe going on in my mirror this evening. Again, glad there's no video during this episode either.

After everything had settled down, I could tell that bees were trying to return to their old home and being checked at the door by the new swarm. Maybe they'll be accepted, maybe not. The hive had dwindled strikingly. It's up to the bees, now, fortunately.

After a quick trip to provision for the park, we finally arrived. And I worked on that sweater. Two parts, together at last!

One or two more repeats of the leaf pattern would have been smart, but hopefully some blocking will even out the bulgy look. On, it looks flattering on the recipient:

Since I'm all about learning my lessons, no bows until those sleeves are done.

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At 10:02 AM, Blogger Charity said...

I think you could get away with a little cursy, here, the green sweater is looking awesome! :0)

At 2:20 PM, Blogger Elizabeth said...

It would look even better if we could see her face! Is S averse to showing her face on your blog?

At 6:15 PM, Blogger Gordon said...

You have such nice people commenting - nobody pointed out that you are taking *stupid* risks. I know I haven't been down to see you guys in awhile so I'm guilty of being a lousy friend but I still would hate to hear that you *didn't* survive falling off a roof.

At 8:20 AM, Blogger Stefaneener said...

Yes, Gordon, you're absolutely correct, oh driver of a small sports car! ; )

Come and I'll show you the bees from the ground level.

At 11:39 AM, Blogger Alisha said...

The sweater is looking great!!

Oh your poor thumb....~cringe~. Anything to fingers/thumbs is so painful.

At 7:14 PM, Blogger Katherine said...

Good god! The things I've missed! Chipmunk face, super glue, and a fall off a roof all in one morning?

Oh, and the sweater is looking great.


At 12:08 PM, Blogger Rain said...

The sweater is gorgeous so far.

I would never have guessed when you found the first swarm that the bees would have turned into such an amazing hobby. Be careful though, you'll be needing your thumbs for those missing sleeves.


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