Monday, June 27, 2016


Whatever happened this winter was certainly good for the hollyhocks. These white ones have bloomed for the first time next to the shed. And they are gorgeous. I also have pink, lavender, magenta, and very dark purple/black. Lovely.   
The dahlias went from being planted to blooming in the blink of an eye. 
Those in the pots are happiest.  Wonder why? 

I managed to propagate the Chinese lanterns to other corners of the garden.
And they are also "blooming." I don't know if they are blooming or fruiting? I guess they are probably fruiting because there is a little berry inside there.  
And speaking of berries:
My raspberries are not letting me down. They are better than ever.  
Last weekend it was also time to add another box to the hive. I hope I didn't wait too long. We have a wonderful new retailer in my neighborhood,  Philly Homebrew Outlet which also sells bee-keeping supplies!!! So I went and picked up my very own box and frames. It was quite an experience. When I arrived they were just finishing a class on mead making. The guys working there were very nice, very helpful, even if they they were little toasted. How could you not be? Three hours, tasting different meads, on a broiling hot day in Philadelphia? Shoot, I'd be toasted too. 
The box needed to be painted. Left over paint from my bedroom came in quite handy.  
I also had to put the wax in the frames. I am suspicious about my success here. 
Someone at the Homebrew place said, Oh yeah, just slide them in - done! Weeeelllll... I don't think so. I think I need to use some wire to string them into place. They are sagging in the frames. 

 Once everything was dry I put the new box on the hive.

And what did I get for my troubles? A whopper of a bee sting. Oh man, she got me good. 
And I don't know what she was so mad about? I was bringing food and more living space! Hmph.  Actually there were two of them, one of them stung me and the other one chased me and then got all tangled in my dress. (It was so hot - no way was I putting any more on that the bee hat.) I did manage to extract her without getting a second sting. Thank goodness.

I know that doesn't look like much, but by morning my entire arm was so swollen I was a little worried. All of the joints hurt and I could not bend my arm. I went to the doctor and she prescribed an anti-biotic and a steroid. I knew it would go away because I had been stung two weeks before (totally my fault, I whacked the poor bee with the hive tool and hard - she got me back) and while it got very swollen as well, it wasn't this bad and it was on my thigh. My right arm is a different story. I ended up taking a little bit of the steroid which I hate. I've had to take it before and it makes me. absolutely. stupid. I can't remember if I just asked someone a question. 

When I had added the new box the jar of sugar water had been completely empty. It is totally possible that the bees were cranky because they were overcrowded and hungry. Since I was worried about them, I decided to check on the food situation on Tuesday evening. How much had they eaten? All I did was pop the lid, look inside, and assess the situation. A bee went flying into the box, and rather than trap her in there I let her fly back out and before you could say how-dee-do - she zoomed over to my hand and stung me on my finger. I couldn't believe it. But I was a little more prepared this time - I got the stinger out as fast as possible (faster than my arm), iced it immediately, dug around in there with pin to be sure that there was not stinger left, and promptly took two benedril. In the morning, even though my had was swollen, it was no where near as bad as my arm had been. I was also taking that steroid too - that probably helped. What actually helped the most, believe it or not, was shifting an entire collection of huge bank ledgers at work. 671 volumes of ledgers that weight 30-40lbs each. Maybe all the movement just forced the fluids out? Who knows. 

Conclusion: when I checked on the bees this weekend, I wore full regalia in spite of the heat. Socks, shoes, jeans, long sleeved T-shirt, fleece, headgear, gloves, and I made sure the smoker was working top notch. 

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