Travel and Cancer and Bees and So On

So this week we got back from two weeks in Turkey. We visited my paternal family, saw a lot of interesting things (we're kind of suckers for ruins, as you might have guessed), and brought home about 100 lbs of books, since for some reason books in Turkish are hard to find in the US. Photos from the trip later when I have time to sort through.

It's been an intense week. On top of outrageous jetlag and the overall exhaustion of traveling for more than 24 hours to get home, pretty much as soon as we got back Goldie had her six-month checkup with her canine oncologist (I am not at all embarrassed that my dog is getting better cancer care than half the world, no really) and they found another cancerous lump.

So yesterday she went in for surgery, which was successful, and when she recovers from that she will do some chemo. Apparently dogs handle chemo very differently from people, so we don't have to worry about her losing all her fur or barfing everywhere.

Goldie and our neighbor

She's doing remarkably well considering she had another double mastectomy yesterday. She even handled visitors today just fine.

And of course, months ago this was the weekend I chose to take delivery of two packages of bees. We even planned the trip to Turkey around that date. So this morning after we picked up Goldie at the hospital I set off up to Sebastopol, and this evening as the sun was setting I hived them up, with a bit of an audience:

The bee lady and her posse

A couple neighbors had expressed interest in seeing the bees in the boxes or in watching the hiving process, so I had kind of a posse while I did my work. Package bees are pretty docile and unlikely to sting, but small kids are kind of a wildcard so I asked them to stay back a bit. It went really well, and nobody got stung, which is a win.

Dumping the bees in

It's pretty fast work: open the box, dump the bees in the hive, then add the queen.

The queen in her cage

This supplier gives you the queen in a little cage that has a cork in it, and you need to replace the cork with the candy plug they provide. That went pretty smoothly.

Queen cage in an empty frame

Then you can use the rubber bands they provide to put the queen in the hive. That thing that looks like a black cigar sticking out the end is the candy plug: the bees will eat that away for a couple days to release the queen, by which time she will have imbued them with her queen hormone and they will accept her as theirs.

In the meantime, they have some work to do cleaning up the frames and the hive bodies, which are not in pristine condition. Bees are pretty sanitary animals and will clean up messes when they are not too bad. I gave them two boxes: one full of combs that need cleaning, and one full of a mix of drawn clean comb and empty frames.

Adding feeders on top

And finally, I put feeders over the top with sugar syrup to help them get started, and a big box around that to keep it from being knocked around by animals.

posted by ayse on 04/27/13