Monday, September 2, 2013

Bees, Garlic, Spiders, Wires

What do bees, garlic, spiders, and wires have in common?  Well, not much really, but that's what I've been thinking about this weekend.  So here goes!  

These are pictures from when Jamie and I opened the hive on Friday.  We had high hopes of robbing some more honey, but decided to leave the honey that was there for the bees, since they hadn't even begun to build wax in the extra super we placed on the hive earlier this summer.  It was a very hot day, and the sticky goo that the bees use to seal the hive was slightly melted, so it was like prying taffy.  You can see some pulled into strings at the top right side of the photo above which I took as we were prying the top box from the hive so we could peek into the main hive body.  

We set up a makeshift table near the hive in anticipation of collecting honey, so I took this photo to show the tools we have accumulated to help break into the hive.  The three crow bar shaped tools are just what they seem - they are used to pry the hive apart since the bees do such a good job gluing it together.  The most useful one is the one with a hooked tip, which is really good for prying up the frames.  The handle shaped tool on the top left is for clamping onto a frame so we have a handy way to hold onto it.  Before my friend gave me this, we had to use our hands to hold the frames, which meant I was nervous to drop it or squish bees with my fingers.  The brush is used to gently wipe the bees from the frame of honey that is being collected.  We've only got to use it once, but I'm not giving up!  

Since I had such a strong reaction to the last bee sting on my arm, I was careful to wear long sleeves this time, but somehow forgot to wear gloves, and got a sting on the meaty part of my palm, below the thumb.  Oh my, did my hand hurt for two days.  My joints ached, and my skin swelled and turned hot, red, and itchy - about half way down my forearm.  No one else seems to have such strong reactions.  What kind of bee keeper is allergic to bee stings?!  Very disappointing. 

What did not disappoint was mom's garlic braid.  I was in a hurry and didn't take the time to really show my garlic to it's best advantage, but mom did a great job with hers and I'm jealous.  I realize that it's not logical that garlic should taste better because it's pretty, but it does.  

As Brandon and I were packing up our tools for a work day at the farm, I asked Brandon to fill a jug with the garden hose located under our living room window.  He said he would fill the jug somewhere else because there were so many spider webs in the way.  What?!  Since when do spiders get such deferential treatment?  So, I went over to investigate.  Whoa, those were some awesome webs, with some awesome garden spiders.  I counted at least seven in one shrub.  That's when I realized that the garden spider egg sack that I intentionally left hanging by the living room window last fall must have made it through the winter and as a result we now have an abundance of garden spiders.  How cool!  

Normally during fall clean up I sweep off any yucky looking webby stuff, but Brandon and I had both been fascinated by the giant black and yellow garden spider that took up residence by the hose and checked her progress throughout the summer.  She grew to an impressive size and when she laid several egg sacks, I couldn't bring myself to knock them all down, so I left one.  I still get teary when I think of Charlotte's Web so I guess that had something to do with it.  Just call me Wilbur.  The spiders make great shadows on the side of the house.  I hope they stay until Halloween.  I feel sure that I will not be keeping egg sacks from all of these spiders though.  Even Wilbur could only love so many spiders, I'm sure.    

Today, we made some real progress with the wiring at the farm house.  As you can see in the photo above, the wiring at the house is slightly outdated.  There are so many types of wires, none of which are like what you can buy now, and they are strung through the rafters in what seems like a tangled mess.  

So we are rewiring nearly everything.  We will have to get some professional help upgrading the breaker box, but are pulling the new wires and installing outlets and lights ourselves.  We are learning so much.  Today we learned that when I suggest that all the electricity be shut off in the house even though we have the breaker to the room Brandon is working in switched off, that Brandon should listen to me, and not say "I know what I'm doing" because in old houses when who knows how many people have been patching in weird wires to who knows where, he can get a shock when tugging on old wires.  The best line of the day was when some time later Brandon caught me double checking that the breaker box was switched off and he said "boy, I never should have electrocuted myself because you are never going to trust me now."  Well, that is one reason to not electrocute yourself I guess, but I can think of at least one more!

Notice anything strange about our grilling utensil?  Turns out that if you forget your spatula, you can flip your hamburgers and grill your bread with a drywall spackle trowel.  Who knew? 

I just wanted to share this self portrait.  No wonder the dog was avoiding me while I worked!


SewinglyShanna said...

At the beekeeping class I attended we were told by a professor that anyone would become allergic if stung enough. He said it was not uncommon for beekeepers that had been doing it 10+ years to suddenly develop a strong reaction. Disappointing. At the very least get an epi-pen! Aches and pains demonstrate a more systemic reaction as opposed to localized swelling and redness. You definitely do not want to experience anaphylaxis.

And that brother of yours I live with has a picture of him in a similar getup. Funny.

rain said...

No,I don't want to try anaphylaxis for sure. How does one get an epi-pen I wonder? I was stung a bunch of times by yellow jackets several years ago and had a terrible head ache from the stings on my head and I still have scars on my arms from the stings, but never had any trouble breathing, thankfully. Before that bee stings were never more than a quick ouch. I will have to be more careful I guess.

SewinglyShanna said...

Next time you go to the doctor ask for a prescription for one. Your parents should probably have one on hand anyway since they keep bees. I know a lot of beekeepers do.

An injection only lasts 15-20 minutes so you have to get to a hospital within that time frame or have another pen to use until you make it there. They expire too so watch for that.

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