Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Day #91 Bees in Eleven Weeks

Happy 1-11-11  !-!!-!!

After writing yesterday's blog about planning ahead -- just in case, I looked at my calendar and did some counting. I'll be driving to south Georgia in just eleven weeks (or maybe twelve, depending on when H and L Bee Farm has them ready) to pick up my honey bees.

The trouble is -- I don't know what the heck I'm going to do with them when they're here. Oh, I know lots of bee theory. I've read dozens of books and perused multiple internet sites about beekeeping, written by highly knowledgeable beekeepers. Part of me feels prepared. And part of me is scared speechless.

You know what I'm having the most trouble with? Lighting the blinkin' smoker. Smokers can be fancy copper, or utilitarian steel. I'm showing you a picture of each. Mine's the steel one.

A beekeeper uses smoke to calm bees before opening the hive. A smoker is a special gadget that provides a place for the smoke-producing fuel, a spout to funnel that smoke out in a particular direction, a bellows to push air into the fuel chamber to increase the amount of said smoke. That's about it.

Those suckers get hotter than you-know-what, so one is advised to have some handy bricks or a concrete block nearby on which to sit the smoker once the bees are settled down.

It needs to be nearby so the beekeeper can quickly add more smoke as necessary (in case the bees get a bit of an attitude).


How the heck do you keep the thing lit?

I've watched videos about it. I've read descriptions of what to do. I even watched an experienced beekeeper light a smoker when I was first getting interested in keeping bees. So, I know how to do it, right?

Tell that to the incalcitrant smoker sitting on the bricks on my back deck. I can't get it to keep burning. I get one or two big poofs of smoke out of it, and then it dies.

I have only eleven weeks (or twelve) to figure this out.


BEEattitude for Day # 91:
       Blessed are those who remain calm, for they shall accomplish more. 

One thing Fran is grateful for right now:
       For heaven's sakes, bees, quit telling me to remain calm when I'm in a panic attack ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !  

       Forget I said that. I'm grateful for you preachy old bees, because you're usually right, doggone it.

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