Front view

My Truck

I have a new truck. It’s 40-years old and drop-dead, head-turning gorgeous, and I’m not blowing smoke.

Front view

She’s a 1972 Chevrolet Camper Special, 8 cylinder 350 engine, 8-ft bed, all original parts, paint, etc. It’s spotless. I think it spent its first night outdoors last night…and only because I haven’t figured out how to get it in the garage yet. That part’s gonna take work and some fancy maneuvering.

It's long

Last evening, I drove my new pickup truck home from Indianapolis, and I had some time to discover why I love it and why I was not satisfied as I tested the newer-model pickups. I listened to my gut, and my gut told me I needed this one.

  1. There is no A/C. So I get to hang my arm out the window and feel the breeze. And I can talk with people who admire it at stop lights.
  2. But there are two awesome vents…just pull a black knob that pulls a long lever, and two big baffles open up to allow steady rush of wind all over my feet and legs.
  3. After a rain, this breeze of which I speak is simply glorious.
  4. No power windows. Just roll them up and roll them down. No problemo.
  5. Oh, but there are some beautifully tall and wide side mirrors. Very sweet.
  6. No automatic door locks. Which means I’ll probably lock it less…if at all.
  7. Which means I’ll probably stop hauling a bunch of stuff that I think needs protection.
  8. I mean, please. Why on earth do I need to carry stuff that I have to worry about?
  9. I just want to get in my clutter-free pickup and drive it.
  10. The radio doesn’t work, so there’s no news, no noise, no disturbances. I can think without interference as I drive.
  11. There’s no power outlet, so I can’t plug anything in. Again, no disturbances, no distractions.
  12. I’ll want to stay off of my phone while I’m in the car because I can’t recharge it as I go. Brilliant. Brilliant. Brilliant.
  13. And there is no Bluetooth…I consider Bluetooth the work of the devil. It is responsible for the demise of our society.
  14. So if I don’t call you right back, Reader, I may be driving in my truck.
  15. There’s no cup holder. Which means fewer messes and fewer places to gunk things up.
  16. Of course, because of the no-A/C part, I’ll want some bottled water on the seat with me.
  17. There is a long and sturdy bench seat. And it’s spotless. Did I say “all original”? Yes. I did. It is. Even the upholstery.
  18. And this bench seat does not sag. It hasn’t been driven enough over its 40 years to sink. It seems glad to have me.
  19. Bench seats are friendly and simple. The dog can ride up front with me and Deb.
  20. The steering wheel doesn’t have every control known to man installed right on it.
  21. It’s a simple, skinny, tough steering wheel, and it’s big and wide. My hands look good holding onto it. I admired them the 2 hours from Indianapolis.
  22. Right smack dab in the middle of the steering wheel is a horn. It gives a deep and strong call. It doesn’t beep. It doesn’t honk. It sings. It sounds like my dog, Murphy, when it sings…it’s a baritone. I wish you could hear it.
I love it

Facing the Cross-Comb Music

I’m sort of dreading today’s work. I’ve neglected the two top-bar hives I keep at the Veteran’s Memorial Community Garden in the East End. I let them go it alone for too long, and they’ve built a hive of cross comb. It’s bad.

So, today I’m determined to take my rubber bands and my zip ties and my serrated knife and get things straightened out over there.

To make matters worse, one of the colonies creating severe cross comb is also living in one of the hive bodies that succumbed to a TBH design flaw. Some of the cedar fencing I use for the hive bodies is simply too thin to hold the weight of a hive full of bars loaded with bees and comb and honey. Under tremendous weight, the cedar siding begins to bow. When the siding bows out, the top bars, which usually rest on the edge of the siding, slip down so that the comb squishes onto the bottom of the hive. And in this recent heat, the wax melts on the floor of the hive. None of this is good.

I’m gonna face the music today (because our high temperatures should only reach 80 degrees…which means I can work with the comb without it disintegrating in my hands). I intend to spend hours doing right by the bees that I previously neglected.

Comb by comb, I’ll cut the cross comb from the bars. Then I’ll reattach the straightened comb to its bar using either rubber bands or zip ties. Or both. Then I’ll place the newly reattached comb into a new, improved TBH.

I will reward myself with lunch at Eli’s. :)

I’ll take pictures of it for you. If I remember.

I expect to run into Joe Cocoran there. Talk about a ball of fire.

 

Poetry Sunday: Proverbial Ballade

Proverbial Ballade

BY WENDY COPE

Fine words won’t turn the icing pink;
A wild rose has no employees;
Who boils his socks will make them shrink;
Who catches cold is sure to sneeze.
Who has two legs must wash two knees;
Who breaks the egg will find the yolk;
Who locks his door will need his keys-
So say I and so say the folk.

You can’t shave with a tiddlywink,
Nor make red wine from garden peas,
Nor show a blindworm how to blink,
Nor teach an old racoon Chinese.
The juiciest orange feels the squeeze;
Who spends his portion will be broke;
Who has no milk can make no cheese-
So say I and so say the folk.

He makes no blot who has no ink,
Nor gathers honey who keeps no bees.
The ship that does not float will sink;
Who’d travel far must cross the seas.
Lone wolves are seldom seen in threes;
A conker ne’er becomes an oak;
Rome wasn’t built by chimpanzees-
So say I and so say the folk.

Envoi

Dear friends! If adages like these
Should seem banal, or just a joke,
Remember fish don’t grow on trees-
So say I and so say the folk.

TwoHoneys Bee Co. T-shirt design

T-Shirts for Sale

TwoHoneys Bee Co. t-shirt design

Reader, as you know, I’ve got some mighty fine bee t-shirts. My friend Suzanne started us off with some very cool designs…so cool, in fact, that I’m hoarding them. I don’t want anyone else to have one like it. Just me. I may eventually loosen up with this stinginess.

There are now two wonderful t-shirt designs available to you…the one above has been designed by our very own Nicola Mason. The t-shirt plus shipping will cost around $20 (even less if I get orders for a few of them). Simply email me (liz@two-honeys.com), and I’ll get one to you.

And I still have Bee Love shirts for sale…same price…$20 each.

All the shirts with the designs shown here are available in white, American Apparel, v-neck. The designs spread across the back in the shoulder-blade vicinity, and they are perfect. They look good and feel good. I know because I wear one almost every single day.

Bee Love: TwoHoneys Bee Co. t-shirt design

 

 

Poetry Sunday: The Honey Bear

The Honey Bear

BY EILEEN MYLES

Billie Holiday was on the radio
I was standing in the kitchen
smoking my cigarette of this
pack I plan to finish tonight
last night of smoking youth.
I made a cup of this funny
kind of tea I’ve had hanging
around. A little too sweet
an odd mix. My only impulse
was to make it sweeter.
Ivy Anderson was singing
pretty late tonight
in my very bright kitchen.
I’m standing by the tub
feeling a little older
nearly thirty in my very
bright kitchen tonight.
I’m not a bad looking woman
I suppose     O it’s very quiet
in my kitchen tonight        I’m squeezing
this plastic honey bear      a noodle
of honey dripping into the odd sweet
tea. It’s pretty late
Honey bear’s cover was loose
and somehow honey      dripping down
the bear’s face   catching
in the crevices beneath
the bear’s eyes    O very sad and sweet
I’m standing in my kitchen     O honey
I’m staring at the honey bear’s face.

Matt and a bar of his bees

Matt and His Bees Rock in Columbia Tusculum

I visited Matt’s hives with him yesterday. He keeps two top-bar hives in his home garden—right there at the center of Columbia Tusculum, Matt tends a wonderful little garden (he’s also very very involved in tending the Columbia Tusculum community garden on Columbia Parkway…just above Starbucks). Fruit trees and vegetables and flowers and bees all live and work their magic there.

Notice that Matt’s hands are bare during this inspection. He usually wears gloves, but he also usually gets stung…and Matt experiences quite a significant local reaction to bee stings! But wearing gloves doesn’t seem to eliminate the stings. So, I encouraged Matt to go at it barehanded. Sometimes I laugh at myself for encouraging behaviors like that.

Many of us find that we’re more dexterous barehanded. Fewer clumsy movements translates into fewer riled-up bees which translates into fewer stings. So, Matt braved it with naked hands. And he got stung. Sorry, Matt. But he gets stung anyway, so I don’t feel too terrible about it. Sorry about that, too, Matt.

Next challenge for Matt: We’ve got to find a hat and veil that look good, that work well, and that fit his minimalist approach to beekeeping. I’m not crazy about his current version. He can save his current hat/veil combo for visitors to his hives…I think I’ve got a good idea for a new hat and veil set up for Matt. He’s gonna look great in it. Trust me.

 

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Matt and a bar of his bees

 

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The queen (she's touching the wooden bar)
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Matt's peach tree (from which he gave me beautiful peaches)
Amy's capped honey

Delirious in Honey, Honey, Honey, Honey

Amy's capped honey

Reader, as you may know, I spend a good deal of my time these days removing bees from houses. I usually schedule only one of these removals each week because it seems to take me a week to deal with all the attending ramifications:

  • return to the home at night or unbelievably early in the morning to remove the bees
  • invest some time in customer and community relations regarding a general uneasiness about all the bees still flying around (really, the site of these removals draws quite a crowd of neighbors)
  • vacuum the bees that clustered overnight at their old entry site
  • situate the bees in one of my beeyards,
  • clean EVERYTHING of honey
  • crush the honey-containing comb and filter the fresh, warm honey
  • clean EVERYTHING of honey
  • rinse the wax from which the honey dripped
  • render pure and glorious-smelling beeswax from all the comb we remove from the home…including the wax from which the honey dripped
  • clean EVERYTHING of honey
  • unpack my car
  • clean all the equipment of honey
  • haul all that stuff to the basement
  • clean my car of honey and bees
  • wash honey from all the clothes and bee suits
  • pack it all nicely honey-free for the next removal

All of this is to say that I’ve had less time these past weeks to enjoy my visits to my other beeyards. And here we are at the time of year when we harvest the spring honey.

I harvested some early capped frames from three beeyards…I sort of like doing this in stages as the summer progresses rather than doing it all at once. I invite you over to Amy’s blog to see some pictures of and to read about our first honey harvest.

I’ll tell you that I seldom suit all the way up, but when you rummage through a hive in order to rob it of its stores, the bees are not at all pleased.

 

Poetry Sunday: More Than Enough

More Than Enough

BY MARGE PIERCY

The first lily of June opens its red mouth.
All over the sand road where we walk
multiflora rose climbs trees cascading
white or pink blossoms, simple, intense
the scene drifting like colored mist.

The arrowhead is spreading its creamy
clumps of flower and the blackberries
are blooming in the thickets. Season of
joy for the bee. The green will never
again be so green, so purely and lushly

new, grass lifting its wheaty seedheads
into the wind. Rich fresh wine
of June, we stagger into you smeared
with pollen, overcome as the turtle
laying her eggs in roadside sand.

Good neighbors

Good Beekeepers as Good Neighbors

Good neighbors

Yesterday Nicola and I removed a newly hived swarm of bees from a suburban home (the fact that those removed bees found a new entry point into the same house and may have absconded the on-site hive box only to return to another part of the house is a story for another day. Let me just tell you that I’ll be on site addressing that again this morning).

Here’s what I want to think about today: A man in the neighborhood where I removed yesterday’s bees keeps bees in his backyard. For some reason, I think I heard someone say that he keeps 8 hives. And now all the neighbors are sort of considering this guy the source of the bees-in-the-house problem.

I may have contributed to this blame-the-beekeeper sentiment because when the homeowner told me that the guy right up the street keeps bees, I probably raised my eyebrows as if to say, “Ah-ha. That explains it.” And it may. I mean, bees swarm…and when they swarm in a suburban place with limited trees, I guess they’ll go into the next-best-available empty cavity.

I’m thinking this through because I keep my bees in populated areas, too. I keep about 8-10 hives in my backyard apiary, and though there are hundreds of acres of woods behind my home, there are also hundreds of homes within flying distance of my bee yard. And because my phone has been ringing off the wall with calls from all over the city and all over the state about bees in homes, it’s really on my mind lately.

According to movie “Vanishing of the Bees,” small-scale hobby beekeepers are one of the most hopeful connections in rebuilding the sharply declining honeybee population. So we can’t vilify beekeepers, whose bees pollenate our neighborhood gardens and trees, when bees find a home in a house.

I don’t know the answer to this, which is why I’m writing about it.

And those bees wouldn’t enter a home if there weren’t open, uninsulated cavities waiting there for them to live in. So, I guess it’s just as much the responsibility of homeowners to keep their homes caulked and sealed and insulated against pests.

This post is already way too long. But I leave you, Reader, thinking about neighbors and about the importance of good neighborly relations.

 

 

Poetry Sunday: It’s all I have to bring today (26)

It’s all I have to bring today (26)

BY EMILY DICKINSON

It’s all I have to bring today—
This, and my heart beside—
This, and my heart, and all the fields—
And all the meadows wide—
Be sure you count—should I forget—
Some one the sum could tell—
This, and my heart, and all the Bees
Which in the Clover dwell.