All around, the last couple of weeks have been stressful. In the non-hound, non-bee and non-garden realm (read: work), it is the kind of stress that comes from dealing with things and people that down-right piss you off. In the realm of hounds and bees (and gardens), we had the unfortunate need to have one of the hounds make his final trip to the veterinarians’ office. In the circle of folks my wife frequents, this is referred to as "heading to the bridge"; like during their lives, the animal’s journey to the bridge is embellished, dramatized, and/or anthropomorphized. Homer caught a ride, to the bridge, in the back of our old red truck. (which most likely has, since selling it, died, too) Homer would not have taken a bus; some people will say their pup took a bus. Homer hated all vehicles with air-brakes or most likely fueled by diesel – something with the low-rumble set him off.

The photo, above, is of Homer. It was taken a week before he departed. Homer was only 7 years old. Homer, you will be missed.

The title of this entry, 12 Miles, and I went no where, is sort of how I have been feeling. Tired, worn out, but in the end, nothing really substantial was achieved. The title struck me while at the gym (yes, I gym, and yes, I just used gym as a verb). I have been attempting to alter my routine, so I tried out the recumbent bike; a strange contraption where, you sit and pedal with pedals out in front instead like a traditional bike where the pedals are underneath.

Thirty-minutes later, and the machine read 12.0 miles. I felt no less stressed, sweaty (and smelly), somewhat tired, and still cranky and down.

On the bee-front, I read the book, Plan Bee: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Hardest-Working Creatures on the Planet. It was a really quick read. I would recommend the book. The author, Susan Brackney, has a very tongue-and-cheek, self deprecating sort of style. My main take-away, and I have read this from veteran beekeepers, do not get cocky. You will get stung, your bees might swarm, or a litany of other bad-things-for-beeks (yes, beeks – British slang for beekeepers). The book also includes a quick and dirty biology lesson on what is a worker, a drone, and a queen bee – as well as the birds & the bees of the queen and her orgy with the drones.

hive area

Saturday, April 10, is just two days away. The bees that we will be picking up are on their way from California via a Thermo King tractor-trailer. Word from the bee-man is that the tractor broke down somewhere around Wyoming or South Dakota, but the bees are just fine in the trailer. Frankly, I would be worried sick if I was running this operation. At $60 to $70 a package, I cannot imagine what a full semi-trailer of these packages costs. There are 400 beekeepers picking up bees on Saturday; some will be getting 100+ packages, while others will be getting just one (we are getting two).

Finally, we finished up the area where the hives will be in the yard. A nice 4′ x 5′ deck attached to the shed; completely fenced off from the rest of the yard – making it hound-proof; the side where the entrances will face is fenced with pickets instead of hog-wire – we are optimistic this will cause the bees to take a steeper descent and ascent to and from the hives – coming in higher over the neighbor’s yard. We do not anticipate troubles with the neighbor, but it is best to make sure the bees are not coming at head-level across his yard.