Monday, May 23, 2011


On Saturday the sun came out for the first time in a week and though I have a deadline and many things to do I could not stay indoors. So I hung out with Walnut and her mom at the cemetery, paying my third visit in as many weeks to the owl babies, who will soon fledge. While there I finally learned that it's the wood thrush that makes the lovely tinkling call I've admired for many years, snuffled some delightful-smelling blossoms, and watched a bumblebee bumble.

Later Walnut joined me and a few folks from the LNFU to watch a fellow LNFUer and her mom beekeep. The first order of business was pouring a box of bees they'd ordered into a hive. They keep their bees on the deck of their condo in quite the densely populated area (though they do have a bit of a backyard). We all stood round and watched and listened and touched and smelled. Then, after part one of the lesson, we walked calmly through a light mist of bees buzzing around their new home and into the condo, closing the door behind us.

Pissing off the new bees' neighbors was the second order of business.

While we watched from behind a row of windows, my fellow LNFUer and her mom gamely pried some frames out from the established hive for us to look at. The bees had been very busy making babies, which is good news for honey production but bad news for us because when there are lots of bee babies, the grownup bees get especially angry. "Listen to the change in pitch of the buzzing" said one of the keepers, in a delightfully plummy voice. Bees buzz differently when they're mad.

Unfortunately, I got to hear the difference up close when one of the angry bees flew inside and got tangled up in my hair. Fortunately, for both me and the bee, the stinger stayed attached to his ass and not stuck in mine.

Then we had tea with honey and everyone got a jar to take home. The bees most likely fed on Walnut's scarlet runner bean flowers, because she lives close by. I don't have any plants for bees to eat but I did care for Walnut's deck garden when she was away, so I like to think I too had some small part in creating the jar of honey that's now on my kitchen table.


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