God save the queen

We went out to check our hives at Living Kitchen and Nuyaka Natural Farm today. Both hives looked healthy and vigorous, and we even got to see the queen at Living Kitchen. If you look in the photo above, she’s the large bee with a red spot on her back and no stripes. The red mark is not natural; the beekeeper who sold us the hive simply marked the queen for easy identification.

Here’s a frame from the hive at Nuyaka. The queen didn’t make an appearance for us, but her presence was apparent in the aggressive response we got from the workers. If you look closely, you can see them flying all around me, trying to attack me through my suit. (The whole experience made me think of Postelwait’s favorite Eddie Izzard routine: “Heeeelllllllp! I’m covered in BEES!”)

Here we have an up-close-and-personal look at the Nuyaka colony and its brood. If you look closely, you can see the little white larvae in some of the cells. The darker cells contain honey, and the ones with brown caps over them contain older brood — babies that are undergoing the transformation from larvae to grown-up bees.

Here’s a closeup. Nurse bees are responsible for taking care of the babies.

While we were in Nuyaka, we stopped at the “Nuyaka Mall” — an old D-X station that doubles as a general store — to get a soda and a sandwich. The lady behind the counter was unfazed when we walked in with our bee suits on. These tiny hummingbirds were feeding right outside. I didn’t get a very good picture, as I was shooting through the window, but you get the idea. At one point, five of them were zipping around the feeder at the same time. They were SO cute. If you look closely at the picture above, you’ll see three — two perched on the feeder, and one flying in behind it. Below are four of them, enjoying a mid-morning snack together:

I wish hummingbirds would notice the feeder on my window. These little guys were just too cute for words.


Great Stone Frog

(Photo by Ron.)

It’s not quite the Old Man of the Mountain, but if you happen to be in northeastern Oklahoma, this big stone frog west of Mannford makes a pretty good excuse for a Sunday drive and a silly photo op. (And if you’re playing along at home, that’s 55 down and 65 to go. I’ve gotta rustle up a freelancing gig to pay for some gas and motel rooms so I can devote an entire week of my recently-freed-up summer to finishing item No. 64 on my 101 Things list….)