Diary 106

Thursday, July 2nd

Today I took some time out to dry some leaves and pine needles. Let me explain: Yesterday we checked the beehives and when the smokers needed refilling we discovered that, oops, we had no dry leaves to put in them.

The rain of the past few days had done its work, and despite plenty of matches and a fire-lighting thingie, no smoke would emerge.  Now, standing next to two open hives of agitated bees, without a good smoker to keep them pacified is, um, a tad uncomfortable. Bees have a way of crawling inside one’s shirt. 

So we buttoned everything down fast and headed for open ground. The good news was that we also removed a piece of new comb that was being built at an odd angle. This was about a third filled with fresh nectar, the stuff that bees store before it becomes honey, and it is fragrant, light, delicious and … so much more.  It’s also a bit like a high concentration energy drink.  Wow! Someone should market this stuff, with an appropriate warning label.

Even though it All Ended Well I’m taking no chances next time. I have trays of pine needles and leaves drying in the sun. Bees, it seems, respond best to smoke that is not hot, and not made from petroleum products because they don’t like the smell. They’re particular about that. That’s one reason you can’t really use a great fat cigar, either. Not that I would, personally. Who can blame the bees for wanting gentle smoke? Hence the usefulness of leaves.

So I’m prepared for the second wave of bee tending. I wish I could say the same about that other second wave….