Yesterday when Bruce and I stopped to see a friend in the nursing home, she said, "What have you guys been doing?" To that we pretty much had to reply, "Not much!" Well, except for cleaning yards, hauling manure, feeding animals, splitting wood, hauling out ashes, cursing rabbits (they are devouring everything in sight), walking on the treadclimber, sweating bullets, cursing the contraption, weighing myself, cursing the scale, other than that, not much.
Yesterday I decided I needed to check on the bees to make my decision whether to restock the empty hive. It was a lovely winter day, we are getting our January thaw. I fired up the Gator and strapped the dogs in their camo vests.
Murphy loves hers....
....Mollie not so much. I put her's on first and when Murphy saw us, she jumped in the Gator, "Put mine on, put mine on!!"
I knew something had been messing with the hive, the last time I was there two of the wine corks were pulled out that block the extra entrance holes and the hardware cloth wire covering the one entrance hole to discourage mice from getting inside. I took along the industrial staple gun and glad I did. I was quite surprised when I pulled away the hay bales blocking the south side to find a possum had taken up residence and made a mess. He pulled the corks back out, completely tore off the wire and was busy shredding the 2 layers of tar paper that covers the hive, trying to get inside.
I called Mollie and she quickly dispatched him and if you think that is cruel and inhumane, possums can carry a parasite that infects horses with EPM, Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis, a serious disease that eventually killed my big, beautiful, Phantom, on the left.
Needless to say, possums are not welcome around here.
I read on my bee forum to use a stethoscope to listen inside the hive for activity without opening it. Years ago, Janet gave me one to check blood pressure and the only thing I ever used it for was when Lacey coliced and I listened to her belly for 'gut sounds.' If you don't hear anything moving, you got big trouble.
I searched for my stethoscope under the bathroom sink, it wasn't there. I searched my shoe bag that hangs on the basement door that is a catch all, it wasn't there. In desperation, I cleaned off the back table, it wasn't there. Then the lightbulb came on and I searched the tack room, found it!
Dodging the possum poop, he really made a mess under the hive, I put the diaphragm to the entrance hole and was rewarded with buzzing, lots and lots of buzzing, it made my day! I set to work with the staple gun, luckily I left a piece of tar paper over there and was able to shut it up again until I ran out of staples, dang it.
On the way home we were treated to a beautiful sunset, I have my big honking lens on, the bins and the tower are in Cleghorn.
Today it was still mild, so the dogs and I went back to the pond to make sure the possum didn't have a family. I reloaded the staple gun to finish my job and then peeked under the lid where the sugar bricks are. There were bees all over the sugar, I did my happy dance and got the heck out of there before any came out to sting me.
That made my decision whether 'to bee or not to bee', I'm going to bee, in fact I bee'd this morning when I sent a check off to my bee guy to reserve a package.
Maybe someday I will actually get some honey.
A girl can hope.