Friday, October 9, 2009

"bees, glorious bees" (title suggested by Maddy)

i am here in the crisp midwest, taking a break from the city streets and the hustle of tour life.

Neil is leaving on a writing trip and I came out to help Lorraine send him off into the great good night. Lucky me, my trip fell in honey harvest season.

One of the tasks in preparation was making bee food for their subzero winter freeze, Sharon the Bee/Birdchick headed up the taskforce:

Lorraine, Neil and Sharon:

we began to suit up like Ghostbusters...
I noticed everyone had their sign, everyone but me. I was “bee guest”--- change this please, Quiche. In the movies, it is always red shirts and “bee guests” that die first.

we trekked out to the hive corral, surrounded by a bear-thwarting electric fence.
Cabal the dog stayed out of bee range, having learned a thing or three about the sharp ways of the black and golden stripes.

I was there mostly as documentarian, but every once in a while, a shout for “smoker! more smoke, please!” would bring me out of my watcher role. The smoke seems to subdue the bees, they head back for the hive, thinking there is a fire.

Lorraine is so beautiful in her calm:

I got to use the hive tool to pry apart the heavy stacks of the hives to get at the full to overflowing gorgeous honey:

Sharon examines the comb:

I asked Neil to take a picture of me in my bee hazmat suit (with a few bees on me):

Three out of four of the hives were fairly subdued by the cool temperatures.
One hive however, the bees came out swinging, Sharon was stung once, and poor Hans was stung several times in the ankle.

Neil sat through a storm of bees, angry bees, and i filmed without dropping my camera, even though the “bonking” (mad pile-driving hits into our bee suits, with all the force their tiny bodies can muster)

here he impresses Lorraine with his demonstration of bee shaking:

The team works together, each of them trusting the other:

(notice the Batman hive, another reason to love Hans)

Neil shows us a drone:

poor Hansy:

the walk home:

i don’t want to leave...


ariandalen said...

Really cool photos, Ms. Kitty! Thank you for sharing. :)

Tamikko said...

very cool! thanks for the picts and the video. I love learning about bees :)

Yoga Gal said...

Beautiful photos, Neil's grounds looks like a magic forest wouldn't be surprised that you run into fairies at night. Now does the honey taste?Can you tell the difference between the home grown as to the supermarket honey?Thanks for sharing!By the way _I so want that T-shirt Neil is wearing! I never wore many T-shirts in the past but skin cancer makes me look for the soft comfort of the cotton from T-shirts,

Dan Guy said...

Awesome pics! That looks like quite an adventure. One of these days maybe I'll finally get to see the bees.

vampi said...

to bee or not to bee

really fun pictures:) i enjoy living vicariously and safey from my laptop.

poor hans.

Dragonsally said...

Awesome photos indeed. I don't think Quiche wants you to go either.

Marjorie said...

Thank you for sharing!

FabulousLorraine said...

Kitty takes the BEST pictures! That was such a great day, I wish she was here FOREVER!!!! Mwwwhahaha! No more tours!

Danguy, I think you are coming this year in the winter, not a whole lot of bee action going on then...

Seriously, we did make a great Bee Team, despite all the stings. Kitty is a Bee Pro.

(Sorry about the Bee Guest thing, I'll fix that for next time)

louisa said...

The team works together, each of them trusting the other - humans and bees alike.

A very zen post, Kitty, thanks!

vampi said...

maybe you can put up a little chalk board above bee guest and customize it for each visitor

The Original Lioness said...

i can haz honey? I can go to woodz?

spacedlaw said...

It's an addictive place with addictive people (and animals)...

No worries about the guest suit, so far none of its occupants seems to have died. After all you are still alive enough to write this blog post and I enough as well to read it.

Love Lorraine's picture.

EmilyLady said...

I don't blame you; I didn't want to leave either! I still miss Lorraine and all the Fiends.

Bill Peschel said...

Thank you so much for sharing. Even though it makes me envious, it also makes me curious why I don't live this way.