Spring Chores at the Bee Hive

Spring is upon us. When I stand outside on my deck in the morning, the birds are singing an amazing chorus. The buds on the trees are bursting open. And I have to get ready for two more bee colonies arriving in a couple of weeks!Two Sundays ago was one of the first warm days we’ve had, so I knew I had to take the opportunity to open up the hives. Remember bees like their home to stay at an even 91* all year long. During the colder months they will huddle together to keep it warm. And during the hot days of summer they will beat their wings to fan the hive down. Knowing this, it is important to open the hive when it is sunny and warm, without a lot of wind. To do so otherwise will result in a bunch of angry girls who will let you know of their disapproval with their little stingers.

Taking my time and moving slowly, I started with the yellow hive. I saw before even opening the lid that there were many bees moving in and out. That’s good. Also, I tried to see how heavy the hive was, which tells me if there is any honey and or many bees. It was too heavy for me to lift a corner, so that made me excited.

When I opened the lid, I looked to see if the pesky beetles were in check; if there was lots of activity; and if the frames looked full. All three of those things were looking great!

In the picture above, do you see the queen? She’s the one with the fancy yellow dot on her back. Without the dot, I would have a hard time finding her. She does look much different, but with so many bees walking around, it can be tough to spot her.

Check out this video I took of their activity.

I was pretty pleased with the yellow hive. I saw capped brood, larvae and the queen. And that’s good. Unfortunately, when I went to the second hive my heart sunk a bit. There wasn’t much activity at the entrance and the hive felt very light.

This picture was taken last year, but I wanted you to see that there are two supers or boxes on top of each other. When I lifted the cover off, I saw that the upper box was completely empty of honey. Not horrible, but that meant they were probably hungry. Then I lifted that box off and took a peak into the large green box. Ugh. I didn’t see much going on. I lifted frame after frame out looking for eggs, larvae and hopefully a queen. There were a few spots of brood, but I never saw the queen. Only two or three frames were showing any activity. Most of the frames were just plain empty. This made me sad.

I did what I thought was a common sense approach. I gave both hives a sugar cake and laid a mite-away strip on top of the brood frames. I wanted to give them a little boost of food and help get rid of any mites that might be hurting the hive.

The next day I went to the bee store for supplies for my new sets of bees coming in. I asked the lady there about my poor hive. She said I may have to kill the queen and replace her. Kill Her?!?! Yup. I was to pinch her head and drop her in the box so her pheromones would tell the hive that she was done. Then the next day I would install a new queen. (Yes, you can buy queen bees. Maybe one day I’ll learn how to raise my own, but for now I’m good with buying one.)

So yesterday I went to the farm prepared to have to kill the queen. But when I approached the hive I saw this! The entrance to hive was just buzzing with activity! I didn’t want to get too excited quite yet, I still needed to look inside.WHA-WHAT?!?! I was so giddy! This looks so good! Do you see the brown comb in the bottom left hand corner? Well ten days ago that’s what most of the frames looked like…empty. Now today…there is lots of capped brood, larvae and bees!🐝🐝🐝Look at all that pollen those girls are bringing in. The bee at the very top has orange pollen and the others have yellow. I wonder where they got their stash? So fun to watch! As you can see they are all bunched up at the small entrance, so I decided to flip the entrance thingy over to the bigger hole.Now that the weather should be warm, this bigger entrance will allow more bees to get in. Uh oh! Looks like some of the girls don’t realize I closed up the small door. They’re really smart, they’ll figure it out.

Ok new bees are coming I have to get the site ready. Luckily Superman was on hand to help carry the cement blocks from the barn. On these four blocks a hive will sit, so it needs to be level.I’m thinking that looks pretty darn good!

Back at home, I’ve started painting the supers for my new bees. It’s important to seal the outside, just the outside, from the elements. Otherwise the boxes can mold, thus not too good for honey. I could put one more coat of white Kilz on them but how boring!In full MerryMary style, these hives are going to be fun!

Don’t these colors scream happy? I like to think I have happy bees, who are going to make happy Honey one day.

Thanks for stopping by!

My Happy Place, no filter

IMG_5921I’ve done it again. I got busy cutting, sewing, painting and crocheting, that I just made a big ol’ mess. It’s been two weeks since my last craft show and this room still looks like this. Lordy, Lordy, being neat is NOT one of my strong points.

You know what? I got to thinking that maybe I haven’t given you a proper tour of my happy place. Well, by golly, I need to show you around!IMG_5922 2So with my music turned up, I took it one piece of ribbon, one spool of thread and one ball of yarn at a time. If you are OCD/Neat Freak/Clutter Free/No Dust XYZ, then you may want to leave now. My 12×15 ft happy room may make you crazy, even in its “clean” state.IMG_5923 2My strategy to conquer this room was to start on the left and work my way around. I decided to put everything in its place…or at least in its general area. So here we go, on our left is my Cricut station. I truly don’t use this little amazing machine as much as I should, but it is good to have on hand. I store the vinyl, mats and rolled paper on the shelves below it. (Hmm…I’ve got that cat pillow there that I need to sell and the sunflower painting I need to finish up. It’s good to see these things.) Next to the Cricut station is a shelving unit filled with scrapbooking paper, stamps, painting supplies, and odd boxes of staple and glue guns. (I really ought to finish that neighborhood applique. It does a great job of hiding the junk though. I have a lot of UFP’s, unfinished projects, huh?)IMG_5924 2

Moving right around is my “office” area. Believe it or not there is a sort of organization going on here. Go ahead and ask me where something is…

Twine? Lower left hand cubicle.

Hammer? Easy…Upper right hand cubby in metal bucket!

Important MerryMary Studios documents? Thought you got me, didn’t you! Ha! In flowered folder in second from left upper shelf! Honey, I know where it all is. Those two rolling drawers are filled with ribbons, glues, markers, and doodads.IMG_5925 2Along with the crooked lampshade and falling down painted piece (I will never be Pinterest ready), I store my glitter and punches in the lefthand side. Yes, I have a whole box of glitter. A girl like me can never have enough glitter. Glitter is sparkly. Glitter makes things jazzy. Glitter is just so…glittery!

Three of those cubicles hold my bible journaling supplies…washi tape, stamps, stickers, devotionals and doodads. That reminds me that it has been a while since I’ve done any creative journaling. I need to get back to that.

Do you see the two pairs of pants laying over the back of the chair? Yeah, they need some fixin. And those two wine glasses are empty of crafting juice! Oh my! Note to self: Must fill.IMG_5928 2Ahhh the sun, glorious sun. I believe my very favorite part of this room is the window. After ten years of crafting in my old windowless room, this is heaven. I love opening the windows, listening to the birds, watching the squirrels and feeling the breeze. I purposely put my sewing machine right there. I have my sewing corner where the thread, rulers and iron are within arms reach. I only have to scoot around in my wheelie chair to grab whatever I need.IMG_5930 2 It is amazing what this tiny cupboard can hold…buttons, fusible webs, zippers, elastics, snap pliers, bits, bobs and even an ironing ham. I love my little gem.

As you can see, I’ve organized my fabric stash into color tubs. No, my fabric isn’t folded into perfect little rectangles or hung on cute little hangers, but it is in reasonable order. Hey, I figure that’s what an iron is for, to iron out the wrinkles. Does it look just amazing when every bit is carefully folded into a fat eighth quarter and stacked in color order, ABSOLUTELY!!! But I also know that I would get really upset with myself when it all came undone. I don’t need that kind of self-criticism. I’m letting that one go.IMG_5931 2Here we are coming to the opposite side of the room. The hutch has been with Superman and me since our first year of marriage, 31 years ago. Again, being in a room with no closets, I had to be creative. The upper portion stores books and some glass jars. The green basket holds fabric for projects I have in mind to do soon and the old dish rack files my patterns. Underneath is where all of the wonky stabilizers, interfacing and quilt batting can fit and not roll all over the place.

The shelf unit holds some of my craft show display items, empty boxes and bags, felt, more ribbons and other odd crafting supplies. It tucks nicely between the hutch and sliding barn door. IMG_5933 2This beauty is probably my biggest pride and joy. I made this sucka! All. By. Myself. It is a 4×6 ft cutting table on castor wheels that can lock in position. Yes, I cut, screwed, painted, sanded and lifted this big girl ALL. BY. MYSELF. Did I tell you how proud I am of myself and how I did this….all….ok ok. you got it. But really, look how beautiful she is! Not only can she be rolled easily around, she has a large surface to lay your fabric out on to cut and a very roomy shelf space underneath. All of my small fabric scraps go into their color drawer. She’s the perfect height to stand next to when working. In my last craft room, I used a long folding table, which was good, but it killed my back to work over when standing. This pretty gal is also great when a friend comes over. We each pull a red stool up to either side and do a project together. I love, love, love this table! You know, the one I made ALL BY MYSELF!IMG_5922 2So there you have it. My happy place in all of its glitter and mess. This room is so much of who I am. It is colorful, happy, and creative. It’s organized in an imperfect wonderful way. It has lots of current ideas mixed with the old. It is a place where God’s gift is used. This little room invites friendships to grow with scissors, paper, glue and lots of talk and giggles. Fabric and thread are sewn together in this room to sell and donate the cash proceeds to organizations that serve the poor. We all should have a happy place, whether it be a shed out back, a corner of a garden, or a soft comfy chair where we escape into a world of books. Where is your happy place?

This is my happy place. Thanks for stopping by!