Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The Keeping of Bees

Life is sure getting exciting here at Lily Spring Gardens and Farm. The newest addition to the "family" being two Bee Hives, full of bees of course. Italian bees that is. Our good friend Mr. Ostrander supplied the hives and bees and the back corner of our meadow supplied the residence. We are kind of Bee-sitting you might say. :-) (hmm, that sounds a bit painful)
Anyway, Mr. Ostrander brought them over today, and despite the high winds, (it is not recommended that you work with bees in high winds, makes them more liable to sting) we got everything set up, and the bees in their new home.

Here is one of the Queen bees in her little box. Sorry the picture isn't more clear.
Due to the fact that the boys had just left for a dentist appointment, and the other female members of the house were not as inclined, I (Faith) got to assist in the relocating of the bees. (Kicking and screaming I assure you :-)

Here is a picture of me being very helpful as Mr. Ostrander gets the hives ready to cart to the back. (the bees are NOT in the hives at this time:-) Notice I am wearing black pants. That is actually not a very wise thing to wear when working with bees, you see they are attracted to dark colors - in a bad way. Notice Mr. Ostrander has a white suit, (you will see it better in another picture) but at least I did wear a white shirt. So even from the start I was a bit leery as to how this was going to work out.

Notice that one of the frames has honey comb already in it. That is for the bees to eat while they find the local restaurants . . . I mean flowers and trees.

Here we go, trundling the hives off to the meadow. See his space suit . .er . .I mean bee suit? It is very white. Good thing.

The bees wait patiently (?) in the back of the truck. It took us a while to get the hives set up *just so* as bees are very picky about their homes. No gaps for rain to get in, no extra spaces, no tilting, and always face south.

Hey! How do you like my new hat and gloves!!?? So stylish and just in time for the Kentucky Derby, yes? The hat was a bit big and kept falling in my eyes, (which made it hard to see where I was going) and the gloves were quite stiff, but I was VERY happy to have them, let me assure you!!! (Do you know how frustrating it can be for ones nose to be dripping and no way to wipe it, or to have ones hair blow in ones eyes or mouth and have no way to dislodge it? Try wearing a bee hat for few minutes on a cold windy day and you will know.)

Off we go with the bees! See how nonchalantly Mr. Ostrander is carrying his case of bees, and how carefully I am carrying mine? Well, he is a seasoned bee keeper, and I am not. Also it has been observed that I am not always the most steady and coordinated person in the world, thus the added caution on my part.

Part of the trek to their new homes included carrying the bees though our "swamp," and being very careful not to splash water on them. Notice the white stripe on my lower legs. That is white duct tape, so that the bees can't get down inside my boot. The duct tape is white because it is the only color we had at the time, and I think it is very practical and quite stylish at the same time. :-)

Here are the cases of bees sitting atop one of the bee hives while Mr. Ostrander puts the first Queen in the other hive.

And in go the bees! They were all getting very vocal by this time. I don't think they liked being shook so violently out of there nice, snug little case.

This hive gets settled in. The metal can contains a thick syrupy substance that the bees fed on while traveling.

Here are some of the bees trying out their cute little front door.

Praise the Lord that neither Mr. Ostrander or I got stung today! And what a wonderful thing to be so close to this amazing part of His creation! Plus I really did enjoy myself . . to put it in the vernacular . . . it was sweeet!! :-)

~ Faith

(pictures by Christianna)

Psa 119:103 How sweet are Thy words unto my taste!
Yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!