Thursday, May 6, 2010

Tut Tut, it looks like Rain....

~An account of the adventures of Hemlock and the honey tree, written by his loving spouse.~

I am going to make the giant leap here that most of the folks reading this will have seen the classic "Winnie the pooh and the Honey tree". That wonderful tale where Pooh grabs some balloons from Christopher Robin and  rolls in some black mud and floats up to the honey tree all the while having Christopher say "Tut tut, it looks like rain" as our delightful little bear is suppose to be a little black rain cloud.

Our story has a similar vein to it. While out walking a timber tract soon to be logged, Hemlock discovered a "Honey Tree". He had the loggers leave the tree, and thus began our adventure.

A very happy and healthy hive in a dead and soon to be falling down Poplar tree.  Unlike our intrepid Pooh with his balloons, my insane creative beekeeping husband decided to borrow a friends deer stand last Saturday (May 1st) to get close to the hive.

Can you hear him? " Hello? it's just maintenance.  Pay no mind!"

Did I mention this hive is 14 feet OFF the ground? Oh, well it is. The next step was to knock on the hive with a hammer as he placed a piece of metal sheeting over the hole to narrow the entrance down. Any gaps or openings of which there were just a few were filled with cloth strips.

All the time he is knocking these lovely ladies are coming out to see whats going on yet being distracted by him spraying sugar water on the opening of the hive. At this point I am muttering under my breath "Tut tut, it looks like rain" in the hopes that maybe a rain cloud would appear and spare me from 91 degrees in the middle of a clear cut. (no such luck)

The most amazing thing about these little ladies is not only did they survive the worst winter we have had here in 50 years, but, they were mostly non-defensive! They simply did not mind any of the "big bears" shenanigans.  After this task was done we took a break and came back later for the final leg of our adventure.

It is a little before twilight here and you can see the 4x4's and 2x4's nailed together to get the box to the right height. There is also the aluminum tubing that will be connected to the hive body that is visible in the above photo.

The tricky part was attaching the tubing to the hive body with out pulling it away from the entrance. It took a couple tries and then we were set. 

The next section is more where we segue into Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom. If you notice, Marlin Perkins is geared up in all his beekeeping duds. I, his faithful assistant "Jim" am not so attired. Although I am not trying to circumcise a water buffalo, I am handing him up each individual wax frame while a Bazillion (that's my girly technical term) wild bees are buzzing me! By the way, it's still hot with the temperature in the upper 80"s with tons of humidity.

Once all the frames were in the box and the lid in place the last thing left to do was to secure the hive in case of wind. One strap secured it to the tree and another secured it to the deer stand.

The idea behind all of this is a hope that the bees will go through the tubing into the hive and utilize all of the empty frames in there. That way once it's full, Pooh Bear can make off with the genetics of this wild hive.

This last one is a personnel favorite, and no "Jim" did not revolt against the beekeeper and shoot him dead on his hive; even though that's what it looks like. I promise he is still kicking and awaiting his next opportunity to go out and see if a beekeeper of very much brain was able to succeed in saving this hive.
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immwia said...

Wow "Jim" you are amazing. You took photos in the sweltering sun all while getting a buzzzzzzz.

Very original tale and I am so happy to see it did not take long to find the "wild" hive you were hoping for.

I can't wait for part two.

"Pooh goes visiting".

Love you and thanks for sharing this lovely tale.

Mermaids Muse said...

So amazing the bees are lucky to have your brave Bear up there..and you also of course! Looking forward to hearing how it went for the bees. (bee-autiful blog also :)