Year One beekeepers (me) are encouraged to inspect hives more frequently than Year Two onwards to gain experience. I took a beekeeping course in 2018 + have been studying beekeeping ever since. I'm grateful for academic knowledge but nothing compares to getting right in there + doing the work.
My inspection plan is simple; check hives for health + growth about once a week -- during good weather -- anytime between 10am-ish to 4pm-ish -- when the forager bees are out, OR when my intuition says to check them.
Every inspection reveals a wealth of information. Yesterday, I inspected HIVE 1. It appears to be the weaker of the two hives. So I moved empty frames in place of full frames in two spots to see if that draws the bees to fill empty frames.
Each box has 10 frames. I started a couple of weeks ago with two nucs -- a nuc is 4 to 5 frames with everything needed to start a bee hive. The nucs I purchased each have five frames filled with honey bee workers, drones + a queen, a full frame of capped honey + brood in other frames. Brood are the bees -- the cycle -- the queens lays over 1000 eggs a day in cells. The younger worker bees care for the eggs, feed + nurture them + help them at birth in a few days. During an inspection I look for brood growth. I started with five full frames -- now there are over six full frames in each of the two separate hives. Growth.
New beekeepers are encouraged to start with two hives instead of one. If one hive is weak the second stronger hive can support the weaker one by donating a strong frame. Makes sense. I can see how my two hives differ already.
Today I inspected HIVE 2. More experienced beekeepers online were telling me to remove the second box on my hives. The second box is where the bees store honey. When the brood box is full, the second box is their honey stores. They can use the honey stores to feed new baby bees, drones, themselves, the queen + for the winter. Any boxes added on top of the second box is supposed to be my honey, but for this first year I don't plan to take more than a jar or two of honey for myself. The online beekeepers suggested to wait until the brood boxes are 80% full before adding the second box. So today's HIVE 2 inspection was to include the removal of the second box.
And I wanted to add sticky paper to the screened bottom board to see if the hive has varroa mites.
When I was done I started to second guess myself. HIVE 2 had a lot of full frames. Why did I remove the second box? They will need more space very soon. If anything I should left the second box on HIVE 2 + remove it from HIVE 1, the weaker hive.
I took a break to think.
Online beekeeping advise is much appreciated + helpful -- but my intuition said that the second box is necessary.
So back I went.
This time I managed to do a lot of heavy lifting work to rearrange the cinder blocks for better ratchet tie down security, tilted the back of the boxes up a bit for water drainage during rain storms + took a peek in HIVE 1 to see that moving the empty frames did indeed make the hive stronger.
Lesson: Trust my instincts.
I managed to piss off about 30,000 honey bees with all the moving around, but it's done now. No stings yet.
Two cinder blocks aren't in the best shape so they will need replacing before going into winter.
Life metaphors of raising honey bees is becoming more apparent with every hive inspection + might even be an inspirational book one day -- especially the similarities of beekeeping + my daughter Emily's life + death.
So far, so good. I am honored to call myself a beekeeper. I am grateful for this opportunity. Live your dreams --
In my personal life 2021 started with overwhelming sadness from the death of my 27-year old daughter Emily. Visible mending has been EXTREMELY visible with this part of my life.
In my professional life 2021 started with an unbelievably, wonderful creative contract.
In late December 2020, my daughter, Emily, was in hospital due to complications from her May 2019 heart transplant. I received an email from a friend + art director about a program coordinator 3-month contract coming in January. As I read the position description I knew this was a great opportunity.
The Arts Council of Highlands Highlands (Ontario) received funding from the Haliburton County Development Corporation to create a 3-month program teaching Haliburton area artists + makers how to build, or rebuild, their online digital presence. Covid hastened the need for online presence. I applied for the Program Coordinator position at the arts council’s The Digital Comfort Studio.
Emily died on January 1st, 2021. My interview was scheduled a few days later. I emailed the committee to let them know about Emily + I would withdraw my application if necessary.
I didn’t know how I would react from moment to moment dealing with the raw emotions of losing a child. Would I burst into tears during the interview? If I was offered the opportunity, would I be able to finish it?
For 27-years everything I did was contingent on Emily's heart health. Every job, event + commitment was prefaced with, “If my daughter needs me I need a leave of absence.”
I was offered the program coordinator job.
For the first time in 27-years I was making a commitment without the need to preface.
Saying that, if my husband or son need me in any way I would also need a leave of absence, but likely to a lesser degree than with Emily -- unless an emergency of course.
The Digital Comfort Studio was a great success. So much so that we are looking for ways to build onto the program + offer it to a wider audience. (let me know if you are interested -- email: email@example.com)
I am grateful for the opportunity given to me from Pat Jones, Chris Lynd, Tammy Rea of The Arts Council of Haliburton Highlands + The Digital Comfort Studio.
Tammy is creating an online magazine about The Digital Comfort Studio pilot program for new participants to view + learn from. (again, let me know if you are interested -- email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
I find the 1st of the month to be painful as it marks the monthly anniversary of Emily’s death. It’s a process. Everything is fine -- until it’s not.
I find myself applying for more art grants + creative contracts with 100% confidence in my commitment to complete them using the best of my abilities. I am excited about the future. I am giving my craftivism + vending mending projects the time + energy that they deserve.
I am calling this part of my life Chapter 3. Thanks for reading + thanks for being a part of my Chapter 3.
P.S. I am a Chicken Mom now. 11 Columbian Rock X hens, they are just over a week home now. Stay tuned for chicken update. xoxo
Today's Visible Mending blog is about fitness + weight loss. A person's body is visible to most + mending it comes in many forms.
As I mentioned in my first blog -- fitness + weight has been a lifelong issue for me. When looking back in time I came to the conclusion that my weight gain started when I was 12-years old. It took me years of self investigation to uncover what happened when I was 12 that had me turn to food for comfort. I'll likely reveal the event in another blog post. But for today I will stay on the fitness + weight loss issues. I self-medicate with sugar + fat. I love sugar + fat! But, of course, they are killers + I have to be mindful of consuming these foods. I have been dieting off + on since I was 12-years old. As an adult I've been as low as 118 lbs. -- where I was dangerously heading towards anorexia, and as high was 250 lbs. -- where it's difficult to do anything.
When the pandemic started I was 250 lbs. Within the first 10 months of Covid-19, I lost 50 lbs. as a result of staying in the moment + paying attention to my eating habits. After Emily died I didn't care what I ate and gain a few lbs. back.
Last week, I realized that my 10 baby chicks will be ready for pick up in 5-weeks. They will remain in the brooder, inside the cabin, for about 6-weeks. That means I have 11-weeks to build their chicken coop. No way could I do the physical work of building a coop. So I got mindful + started watching my diet again. I feel so much better when I don't eat junk. I lost 5 lbs. with at least 20 more to go. I'm confident that those 20 lbs will come off around the time I finish building the chicken coop.
I don't usually buy new clothes unless I absolutely have to. I rather repair or resize the clothing that I already own. However, today I bought a new comfy dress. Size L. I'll try it on later. I think it will fit.
So here I am -- making health a priority.
How about you? What's your health status?
Want to do this together?
Sandra Clarke • A Work In Progress