Birds, Bees, & Trees

Oh, hi! I totally didn’t see you there… Um, wait.

Exactly how long have you been standing over there?

So you’ll all be happy to know that we’ve long since rounded the corner past our familial bouts with COVID (Daphne had it twice, actually) and we’re all doing well. Doing wonderfully well, in fact.

The weather has been beautiful, as only Vermont in the springtime can be, and we’ve been enjoying being outside on the daily.

Chicken chicks...and bastard chicken Marty.
The Lilac whale

And with the warmer weather came the conscious familial decision to reverse our last decree of “no bees this year!” (the “beecree,” if you will), and we set about ordering two different kinds of hives from the Internet.

I’m told that bees go in here.

First, we purchased a Hoover Hive, from the folks over at Galena Farms. Pretty standard stuff, and quite easy to assemble. Those dovetail joints on the sides? They just kinda whack together. And with a few strategically placed nails here and there the whole thing shaped up quite nicely.

And then, there was the Flow Hive.

I suppose I could’ve just dumped the bees in these boxes and called it a day.

The Flow Hive proved to be slightly more challenging to assemble.

BumbleRule #385: Avoid attempting to build anything that has an “observation window.”

The whole thing took a couple days to construct. Then a couple more to paint and stain. But finally it was structurally perfect, brass trimmings fastened, wood immaculately detailed, and ready for tens of thousands of insects to regurgitate all over the inside of it.

In the days that followed I spent an unhealthy amount of time fretting over where exactly to put the hives…and finally landed on the lowland area at the base of our hill. And so there they went.

The bee path.

The next step in this process was, you know, getting the bugs that actually live in these things. And we found a bee seller (The B Farm) that was about an hour drive away.

Which brings me to an important safety tip: Do not attempt to store bee hives inside a car.

As I say, not as I do.

I am exceptionally glad the bee guy over there had these lovely teal mesh bags hanging around. Because after 20 minutes the bees were officially OVER their car ride and started buzzing angrily in the back-back.

Then, after about an hour, I noticed one or two climbing on the inside windows of the car. So I surreptitiously, so as not to alarm my other passengers, cracked the window open and shut with a quickness. (The bee equivalent of being sucked out of an airlock.)

By the time we got home, the insides of those bags had bees crawling all over them.

Which meant it was time for…


Feeling equal parts ridiculous and impenetrable (sometimes concurrently), I carried the angry, buzzing duffle bags out to their new home, poured as many as I could inside the hives, and then left their travel boxes nearby for the bees who were relocation reluctant.

And, as of today, I’m happy to report that they’re doing just fine.

Flo & Hooverville

And no, so far none of us have been stung since I brought them home. (That said, I may or may not have taken a couple stingers to the armpit while picking them up.)

The hope is that we’ll have fresh honey on the farm by August. But for that to happen I need the worker bees of the world to unite. We’ll see.

Now, on to the garden…

So as many of you might remember, our “garden” plot looked like this earlier this year:

Casa del Weedy Weederson

We recently had our landscapers come out and till/level the land for us, however, and turn this patch of scrubgrass into…

a filthy tabula rasa.

After some more building, and a couple nursery trips, this is what it looks like today.

Jen planted cucumbers along the fence line on the left…

Pickles in potentia

Then there’s celery, lettuce, and strawberries inside the planter boxes, interspersed with some herbs here and there. (Rosemary, oregano, thyme, and basil.)

Oh, that dark patch there at the top right? That’s a bunch of carrots. A bunch. And, lemme tell you, carrot seeds are ridiculously small, man.

At some point I stopped trying to obsessively line them up and just went Rip Taylor on the whole business.

Daphne has been a huge help in this process too (because Dad won’t let her help with the bees) and assisted Mom in watering all our new plants.

“When do they become Lunchables?”

Daph also helped me tote all the dirt and tools back and forth to the garden.

No Texas hat comments, please. Thank you.

Oh! And as you can see there over my shoulder, work has resumed on the garage/mud room. We actually have cement in there now. Progress!

In addition, we have a similar foundation poured for our new shed outbuilding that should be here next week, so we can finally start hiding all the various farming implements and accoutrements that we’ve accumulated over the past year.

That’s it there on the right. Between the Chicken Hut and Vegetable Jail.

So, all told, things round the farmstead are coming together this spring. We will have hit all of our goals and then some for the year if these endeavors, you know, actually work.

Despite how busy we’ve been, we also found time to hit up Crystal Lake on Memorial Day for some well-earned rest, which was absolutely lovely.

Oh, right. That t-shirt bears explanation…

So, as it turned out, there was ZERO chance of keeping Daphne from swimming in the lake. And she waded straight in while wearing her summer dress. Thus, after letting her swim for a bit, we put her in this giant grey t-shirt that I happened to have in the car.

I, however, was not in a swimming frame of mind.

Fortunately our neighbors, whom we were having the BBQ with, had the foresight to bring an extra bathing suit…and so Daph got to swim comfortably after all.

And after spending the entire day playing in the water and sun, and eating Fenway Franks hot off the grill, we headed back home for a bit more rest and/or silly faces before the school week started back up.

And I think that pretty much catches everyone up!

See you all soon.


1 Comments on “Birds, Bees, & Trees

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