There’s only one small problem here—I hate those colors. So I repainted with the colors I like. And now here is our newest 8-frame, medium-depth hive.
Don’t bug me. I’m down in the basement constructing and nailing and painting new hive boxes, new top feeders, and new screened bottom boards.
There’s a possibility that temperatures will be above 50 degrees on Sunday, and if that happens, I’ve got to open the hive boxes and get those girls some food. Which means I’ve got to go buy a lot of sugar.
(Deb said this morning that it could be very depressing to open a hive box and find all the bees dead. She said maybe we should do it together. Wasn’t that sweet?)
Don’t think the idea of some dead bees can stop me. Yesterday, I called Walter Kelley and ordered the supplies I need to complete my third hive. (I like the people on the phone at Walter Kelley’s; I always pepper them with a million questions, which they humor me to answer in that unhurried Kentucky drawl. And everyone I’ve ever spoken with over there keeps bees).
I’ve decided to plow ahead by adding another colony. Yes, I made some mistakes this year, but how else am I supposed to learn anything, Reader? I was pretty much on my own figuring this stuff out at first, but now I’ve discovered that two of my friends from church keep bees. (Have I told you what a cool church I belong to? I don’t want you thinking these people I’m talking about are typically churchy. They rock. And they’re smart!)
Anyway, these two friends are a year ahead of me with the bees; they live near one another (and not far from me), and they worked a bit together at this stuff last year. Once I discovered they were into it, I latched on to them like crazy…told them they’d be seeing me a lot in the coming years. Good thing I like them both so much.
Unfortunately, Jim’s bees died. But Christy’s are still going strong. Christy has chosen to go the organic route…no chemicals. I’m with her from here on out.
So, today or tomorrow I’ll be getting a big package from Walter Kelley, and then I’ll head down to the basement with my little hammer and those little nails and spend some otherwise cold and dreary January hours putting all the boxes and the little frames with their sweet-smelling beeswax foundations together.
And soon, if I keep adding colonies to our backyard, it’ll start to look like this! (I love this because you can hear the bees sort of getting under the camera guy’s skin…literally.)
I mean, if you already have two hives, what’s the big deal about adding a third, right? That’s what I’m thinking. I’ve been watching some YouTube videos about beekeeping (to which I will probably contribute once I know something), and some of those people have piles of hives in small spaces. There’s one guy in particular whom I like a lot…he’s from South America or Cuba or Mexico, I think…I can’t quite figure out where he’s keeping his bees, but in some of his videos his hives are crazy tight and hilariously high, and something about that appeals to me.
But Deb tells me that I can’t keep my third and future hives on the hill behind our house with our other two. She doesn’t want it looking like a junk yard back there. She said maybe I should find a farm and put them there. I’m thinking I can hide them behind the garage.
Here’s a brief “How to Smoke Bees” video starring my new favorite beekeeper…for some reason, I call him “Santiago.” I love this one because of the pink or lavendar pick-up truck parked near these hives. Aren’t we having fun with this?!
UPDATE: Okay, so I’ve learned that this beekeeper’s name is Jorge Gomez, and he keeps his bees in Austin, TX. Which is where my parents live! And I’m in Austin several times each year! I’m gonna make it a point to find Jorge Gomez and visit with him.
See those black cardboard boxes on yesterday’s post? The ones I used to cover the hives? Not only do those boxes add a layer of insulation, but the blackness absorbs the little sunlight we have here in the Ohio River Valley…and that keeps the bees warmer. My hope is that the warmer they are, the less food they need to eat…because it takes food to make enough energy to stay warm. Hang with me, girls.