The Base

The hive should be raised off the ground. I have learned this is to keep the hive dry from water seeping in and for protection from predators. 

By raising the hive off the ground, a predator must reach up to the hive to gain access. This exposes the underside or belly of the invader to bee stings. 

The chosen hive area is made level and amended with ground cloth, a leftover cement pad block, leftover 4 x4 timbers, and then mulch for the weeds.  I think the red mulch plays nicely with the colour of the hive. 

Front view.


At the opening of the hive there is a wooden insert called a reducer. This restricts access until the hive is super buzzy. 

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Preparations – Part 2

The most challenging decision I have had to make is Where.  Where do I put the hive? My yard is not very large, I have neighbours,  there is a rear garage and a garden shed.  I have searched the internet, read many articles and I’m still confused. 

The gold standards of perfect hive placement seem to be:

  • Face south – check! Our yard is south-facing.
  • Low traffic area – half check! I need some access to the shed; we have a back gate. 
  • Morning sunshine – half check! I watch the sun for 3 mornings and determined sun hits the hive by 10 a.m.

I reach out to Urban Beehive for guideance placing the hive. 

A view of the yard and placement options.


The suggestions are based on the above picture as it relates to our attached deck:

Closest,
 *less backyard for you, more for the bees
 * easy to watch
Further back by fence,
 *more yard for you
 *hard to access the shed during day
By the eavestrough,
 *access to shed no problem
 *harder access to alley, unless early morning or night.

I decided on option #2, further back by the fence, facing the shed at the rear of the yard. The only person impacted is me when I need to access the shed. 

The hive faces south and there is a 6ft high fence to the east and the garage to the west. The bees have no choice but rise high above everyone’s head when they leave the hive to forage. 

The hive has a home!


You may notice that the ground looks different from the first to second picture. The beehive project became a much needed backyard reboot. More on the reboot later….  

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Preparations – Part 1

Now that I am registered for the program, it is time to get ready for the season. 

I picked up the hive in early May.  It will be 4 boxes high with 10 frames in each hive. The top of the hive is covered with metal for weatherproofing. The frames are wooden and there are plastic insets to be snapped into each frame. 

Pieces of the beehive before paint.


I set aside a day to paint the outside of the boxes to provide protection from the weather.  I used regular latex paint, leftovers from house projects.  For some reason I am drawn to an off-white base with a bright blue trim. That colour combination feels very ‘beekeeper’ to me. 

The hive paint is drying and the frames are assembled.


Next is deciding where to place the hive. Note that I am opting to use 4x4s to elevate the hive off the base. 

The finished product.


Can you feel my excitement? 

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The ‘Bee’ginning

It all began in April with an information session with Mark and Brian from The Urban Bee Hive. I was instantly drawn to the idea of learning about bees, beekeeping, and honey.

At first I thought I would take a hands-off approach. This idea was fleeting and soon I was all in.  I joined the mentoring program called Wax On.  The program gives you the tools, equipment, bees and guideance for the season.  Let the fun ‘bee’gin!

A sample size jar of honey to tempt us.

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The Natural World – Yes Please!

Daily Prompt:  Describe your first memorable experience exploring and spending time in nature. Were you in awe? Or were you not impressed? Would you rather spend time in the forest or the city? 

My first real memory of being in nature is me at four or five years old running through an immense meadow of grass far far away from my home.  The reality is that it was probably an undeveloped lot within site of my mother’s kitchen window  – but it felt HUGE! I felt free!  These flowers always remind me of that meadow:

Castilleja_coccinea_plant - A flower from my childhood.

Castilleja_coccinea_plant – A flower from my childhood.

 

Perhaps it is no surprise that my favorite running routes are on paths near to water and well within nature.  I am so blessed to live near a provincial park where I can tour on dirt, shale and even paved pathways.  On truly special days you can see coyotes or deer or even a moose.  It is special to me.

A shale pathway in Fish Creek Provincial Park.

A shale pathway in Fish Creek Provincial Park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Daily Good 

We are frequent visitors to the dog parks within our city.  Today we headed out for some fun.  It was hot!

Jessie, Patti, Pepper

Jessie, Patti, Pepper

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A week in review…sort of

I’ve been looking at the Daily Prompts over the last week or so.  Each one has inspired me.  However, I have not been able to put more than ten words down without it becoming a jumble of nonsense.  Complete lack of focus.  And so, I begin the summary version of a few of the daily prompts of the last week.

No Thanks.  A place I would never want to visit.  Hmm… I do not think I have one of those.  I mean, every experience builds you up, right?  Even the ones that are challenging will surely provide you with growth and learning.

Places.  Beach, mountain, forest?  Yes please!  All of it.  I am blessed to be able to see the mountains every day.  We live close to Fish Creek Provincial Park.  It lies within the city limits and you can imagine being in a real forest.  And the real forest is only a short drive away.  The beach?  Well, OGG is a six-hour flight.  I will go again, soon.

Fish Creek Provincial Park.

Fish Creek Provincial Park.

Buffalo Nickel.  First coin I find, what was I doing that year?  1991.  That was a year!  I moved to YYC, got married, bought a house, started making plans to be a grown-up.  Still here, same husband, same house, still wondering what to be when I grow up.  Ha ha ha!!!

Seconds.  Describe your favorite meal.  I admit I am an emotional eater.  So the favorite meal will vary on any given day.  Food always tastes better when paired with laughter, though.  (Unless circumstances bring you to a wedge of brie, a small jar of fig jam and the perfect crisp cracker – that is something to be treasured all by yourself).

A final note on my week:   Life has a funny way of sending you in different directions.  On the outside things may appear the same while on the inside you may be gutted like a fish.  And even if the changes which impact you are positive, perhaps it is not what you expected or planned for.  The key, for me, is acknowledging and accepting the changes and challenges that have been put before me and looking forward with openness.  And so I tell myself – Snap Out of It! Life is good. Pass the brie.

The Daily Good:

Yesterday is The Daily Good that is today.  Today is a snow storm in YYC – it is ripper!!  It is not unusual to have this happen in March, our biggest snowfalls (in my memory) happen in March.  There was a time when I would relish in the story of running through a blizzard, but not so much now.  Yesterday, a couple running friends and I did our long run in snow-free conditions along the river in Fish Creek.  We had fog and a cool temperature and the smell of snow was in the air.  It was glorious.  It was a Weekend Good!

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Cupid’s Arrow

A writing challenge from The Daily Post.  My attempt at a little poetry!  xoxo

Valentines visit once a year,
Their absence – surely is to fear.
How blessed am I today?
For I have been given quite a display…
Of love! To hold in my heart so dear.
Flowers from The Husband

My favorite flowers from The Husband!

Cake and flowers from The Kids & Dogs. (probably The Lizard, too).

Cake and flowers from The Kids & Dogs. (probably The Lizard, too).

Valentines from work friends.

Valentines from work friends.

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A Super Rad Day

The Boy is a man of few words.  He does some crazy stuff though and I love it when he is happy and thrilled when he shares the adventure with me.

Catching air, that's his shadow at the bottom of the picture.

Catching air at Sunshine, that’s his shadow at the bottom of the picture, in the trees.

Today he was out snowboarding and all the stories made me cringe in fear (especially the one about the tree).

But to see his joy at showing me this picture…well, if that feeling could be bottled and sold, we’d be rich.

 

The Daily Good:  This picture! xo

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The Lizard’s New Clothes

Leonard the Lizard is shedding. I find this process fascinating. Lenny sheds about every 4 or 5 weeks. As his shed time draws near, his colour changes from orange-yellow to a muted, milky tone as his old self begins pushing up and away in preparation to reveal a fresh suit of armour. For a day or two leading up to the shed, Lenny will not eat as much as he usually does. Of course he is never one to turn down a sloth-like hornworm but he is less inclined to go after the nimble jumping crickets.

A leopard gecko shedding.  This is not Lenny but this is what Lenny looks like when he sheds.

A leopard gecko shedding. This is not Lenny but this is what Lenny looks like when he sheds.

I’m not sure how long it actually takes him to shed his entire body. His outer shell breaks away quite dramatically. One morning I got up and looked in his cage and he was normal looking. After about 10 minutes I looked in the cage again and his skin had split open and it appeared he had two heads. When I returned home from work, the shed was over.  Rarely do we find the old skin as he eats it for the nutrients it contains. We choose not handle Lenny during his big shed. Over the next few days when we hang out there will be bits of old skin sticking to his toes. He will clean that off over time.Tomorrow Leonard will be vibrant in colour and savage in his hunt for food. It will be a feeding frenzie!  The crickets are only getting a temporary reprieve tonight.

The Daily Good:  Today a familiar face returned to my work world. While I would not say she is a personal friend of mine, she is a memorable acquaintance. She is an elderly woman who has been caretaker to husband for many, many years. The pair were always together laughing or bickering or just reading the paper. Those of us “around” the couple saw his health fail over the last few months and he passed away a few weeks ago. Seeing her back in action today was a very good thing. We chatted briefly and her comment that stuck with me was “He’s not here anymore but I am getting on with it.” Bravo!

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A review..

I read this yesterday: 

Daily Prompt: Sweet Sixteen

When you were 16, what did you think your life would look like? Does it look like that? Is that a good thing?

These questions gave me a headache.  And I kept thinking about them all day.  When I was sixteen things were blurry (for many reasons).  I do know for certain that when I was sixteen I had no idea what my life would look like.  And thus I began a review of Monday, January 21st.

8AM @ work thought:  When I was sixteen did I think I would be working at a job when I was forty-something?  Yes.  More importantly though – did I know what I would be doing?  No.  (I still wonder what I will be when I grow up.)

7PM @ home vacuuming up dog hair thought: When I was sixteen did I think that one day I would have a husband, children, a house in the suburbs and a couple of cars?   I was hopeful.  Did I know who or when or how this would happen?  No.  (I have been blessed!)

11PM @ bedtime:  When I was sixteen did I think that I would be “den mother” to three dogs and a lizard?  Yes – to the dogs.  The lizard is a total surprise. (For the record the dogs do sleep on the bed, the lizard is in his cage.)

Final thoughts:  When I was sixteen did I think I would be thinking about when I was sixteen when I was “old”?  No.  (And when I was sixteen I thought forty-something was old.) 

Perhaps forty-something is really just Sweet Sixteen – Part 2. 

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