In addition to moving the bees, we also collected several gorgeous chunks of honey comb and about 20 ounces of fresh, raw honey. Our very first harvest of the molten treasure was a surprise to me, as was seeing how much honey was still on the combs when we closed the hives and walked uphill. Just weeks after bring bees to the Lazy W, we have our own honey. Gobs and gobs of the thick, oozing beautiful stuff.
Everything went so well. The hives are abundantly healthy and have multiplied much more than I expected. The interior frames are all loaded with honey comb, capped brood and capped honey. The bees were active but gentle. Incredibly gentle. At one point I was holding a frame, gazing at the many different cells and relishing a sudden forest breeze, when I felt a heavy vibration on my right hand. At least twenty bees were clustered across my gloved knuckles, buzzing and flittering without malice. Throughout our afternoon in the bee yard, Maribeth's arms and veil were often dotted by a dozen or more bees, and they all swam loosely and peacefully in the air around us. I never one time felt threatened.
|As always, Mia kept his loving vigil. He never crossed the threshold into the bee yard, |
but he honked affectionately and watched us the whole time we worked.
|Smoking the bees a little calms them down, and it calms me down too.|
The fragrance is not terribly unlike burning sage,
a Native American practice used in all kinds of prayerful rituals.
|Maribeth is using a "hive tool" to scrape that thick, luscious raw honey off of the frame. |
You can see its straight path there in the gold.
|Honey bees possess incredibly accurate internal "GPS" systems, |
allowing them to distinguish between two hive locations only inches apart.
Bonus points if you can find the Lazy W animal portrait hidden here!
|I now know that a quart of raw honey weighs about three pounds.|
Big thanks to Maribeth for her guidance and help. If any of you lovely people should ever venture to keep bees, I hope you find a mentor like her. She makes it feel as natural and magical and unintimidating as it should, and I believe the bees are benefiting from this mood. Also big thanks to Handsome for photographing our second trip to the bee yard yesterday. I will treasure these photos.
Work Hard & Be Sweet to Each Other