More bee stories, my latest passion. My hive survived the winter and it looked so strong, I decided to split it into two. In the meantime, I had also purchased a package (roughly 3 pounds) of bees with a queen.
I bought lumber to build a couple of hive stands and a new step for my she-shed-bee-shed.
Grandkids were here and we literally spent hours watching the bees bring back pollen. And they made me wear a tiara all weekend (doesn’t everyone have one in their bag of tricks) because I was the princess bee and they were the brother worker bees. I decided not to delve too deeply into the drones’ (male bees) role and demise.
All looked honky dory until I did a hive inspection today. I knew I would have to wait a month before the split hive showed evidence of a new queen laying eggs.
First, the worker bees have to “create” a queen by selecting and feeding a young larva royal jelly. Then it takes 16 days to hatch a new queen and about a week for her to fly off into the sunset with as many drones as she can find. And she has to make it back to the hive without getting snatched up by a bird as a tasty snack.
Well the original hive and the new package have no new eggs or larvae. But the one I thought was forming a queen, had fresh eggs. I must have mistakenly put her in the new hive. The original hive is trying to make a queen. And the package has some young brood I put in from my original hive so maybe they will make a queen. If not, I’ll put it atop one of the other two. Yikes!
They and the hummingbirds loved our rhododendron, which I could watch from the comfort of my living room chair.
This is quite a learning curve. Tim demonstrated his true love by driving an hour north to pick up my new package of bees when I was out of state visiting my daughter. Then he drove home with them in the car! My hero.
We are caught up at home and settled back into civilization. Back to work, banking, shopping and consuming. Hmmm. Memories of Deal Island arrive every day.
There are simple pleasures at home. We have sandy soil and partial sun due to a mountain to our east. Nothing grows very well. This peony limps along but it has at least 3 blooms this year. Pretty pathetic in comparison to some but beautiful nonetheless.
Tim found this little hummingbird trapped in our garage. It spent the night there. He nudged it outside and I made a batch of nectar. I dripped some into its beak with my finger. I couldn’t even see her swallow. After a while at least she started to look around. I went indoors and watched with my binoculars. It was like watching a newborn take its first steps. I saw her flutter her wings and perch up on the dish of nectar. Some time later she was gone and off with her pals to do hummingbird things. I will never know if it is her at the feeders but will imagine it is.
Strawberries are finally in season and delicious. Both Tim and I brought a quart home. Too many strawberries. So I made a batch of strawberry jam in my instant pot. Good on toast, in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and on vanilla ice cream.
After 45 hours of solid travel, we made it home. Our flight off the island was rough. It was windy and the pilot warned me my head might hit the ceiling. It didn’t and Tim managed to get a beautiful parting shot. One of my favorites. It shows the magnitude of the cliffs, the sea and the beautiful lighthouse, now partly painted.
We spent a day on lovely Flinders Island. It really is as beautiful as Deal Island, only with a few more people.
Next stop Launceston, Tasmania, where we visited old haunts: the Cataract Gorge, The Aquatic Center, Museum and the best hamburger joint around (twice). I also had my first flat white not made by me! So pretty.
Then our journey began. We flew to Sydney where we had a nine hour layover. We made good use of our time. We visited my favorite dumpling place and then we toured the Harbor. Never fails to delight.
Then 20 hours of flying…Followed by a six hour drive home. And we made it. After a week, I am beginning to adjust. And home is pretty sweet too.
Ihave hundreds of photos from Deal I was never able to upload. I will gradually get them online, until our next adventure.