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Two is better than one.
Well, those darn bees went ahead and died this winter. Instead of freezing to death like the bees we pulled out of our house did during the uncommonly cold Arctic blast we had a few winters ago, these bees seemed to have had too much moisture in their hive (or at least that’s the most educated guess we could make). For creatures that can be so fiery and angry when upset, they sure are fickle about hive conditions. Maybe that’s why bees are more Jack’s thing than mine.
The queen gets a bit riled up in the sunlight.
So, for good measure, Jack bought two hives and all the bells and whistles he could think of. These bees are going to LIVE whether they like it or not. Of course, it always is a bit of an adventure when the new bees show up. The girls know to stand back a safe distance while Jack gets everyone moved into their new home. First is the queen who’s trapped behind a wall of candy that she has to eat her way out of before her subjects can wait on her hand and foot. Really, the queen’s got it pretty good. I’d be okay with being imprisoned for a few days, only to be released by eating my weight in candy so I could escape to where everyone would be at my beck and call.
A couple of bee buses.
Once the queen is settled, then it’s just a matter of dumping the workers in and putting on the top. Everyone’s always a bit flustered as they’re so rudely moved into their new home, but hey, they should really be happy they’re out of their bee buses, which are really more accurately described as bee prison buses.
Jack’s the one that handles the bees. I stand back and watch.
With a little smoke and putting the roof on the hive, it only takes a few days to calm down. We moved the hives (along with another two a church friend brought out) to our little forested area in front for a few reasons: they can better pollinate the fruit trees, we can check on them every time we pull into the driveway, they’re out of the way of mowing (I get a wee bit nervous every time I have to drive the growling mower by them after my experience with last year’s ground bees) and they’re a bit more protected from the elements. As interesting and helpful as bees are, though, they aren’t all fun.
Jack’s brow just starting to swell.
Jack is usually the one who suffers the consequence from being around bees. First, he had to change a popped tire on the way back from picking up the bees a good distance away and dropped a piece of metal on the bridge of his nose. Then, while quietly observing the hives (and probably pondering–Jack’s always pondering), a bee flew up, smacked into his forehead and stung him without provocation. I could tell by the way he talked about it that he felt a bit betrayed by the bee’s impertinence but, as I mentioned, bees tend to get riled up pretty easily. So, with a bruised, swollen nose, his brow, then eye and cheek eventually swelled pretty significantly. For a while, he looked like Sloth from The Goonies and had to endure a few comments from me and relatives, like, “Baby Ruth?” and “Rocky Road?” He took it all in good humor, even though he looked terrible.
Eating fresh, fresh, fresh honeycomb.

Of course, bees aren’t all bad either. Jack would probably endure a million bee stings if it meant having fresh honey. Some of the bees wouldn’t get out of their prison bus, so he left it in the hive, which they then mistook as part of the hive and began building honeycomb and filling it with fresh nectar. When Jack pulled the little bus out of the hive to give them room, he had a nice little surprise. The taste of nectar that hasn’t quite been converted into honey and is still in a freshly made honeycomb is heavenly, probably close to ambrosia. The girls and Jack ate until they were sick of it (I am cursed to never feel ill after eating too much sugar, which is probably why I’d make a good queen bee, but that’s another story). And, since one of our mottos around here is Waste Not, Want Not, we melted down the wax and made some primitive little candles with the girls.

Cross candle making off!
So, long story short, bees are (usually) fun.

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True stories of raising children, remodeling, braving the elements and plotting out life, all while living on a humble acreage in central Indiana.

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