Saturday adventures

I generally judge the quality of any given Saturday by how tired, sunburned, and dirty I am at the end of it. The best weekends involve beekeeping, power tools, Route 66, or a trip to the hardware store. This weekend involved all of the above.

It started with a Friday evening hardware-store run to pick up dirt, hypertufa ingredients, and sweet potato vines for my new-and-improved dragon project.

Here’s what I did Saturday morning:

I was pretty tired after spending the entire morning and most of the afternoon hanging drywall in the souvenir shack at the Blue Whale, but I decided I had just about enough energy left to spend an evening on the berm at OneOK Field.

The bees had other ideas.

We came home from Catoosa to find the biggest swarm of bees either of us had ever seen flying frantically around our front yard. Our neighbor said they’d been flying like that for several hours, but they started settling onto one of the middle branches of our loblolly pine just as we pulled into the driveway, and by the time we rustled up a hive box and set up the ladder, they were all clumped up and ready for a rescue.

We got right to work:

We’ll pretend that what I am doing in the pictures above is checking the height of the ladder as part of our effort to figure out the best way to get them out of the tree. You don’t need to know that what I am actually doing is taking advantage of the fact that the bees are too preoccupied with the business of finding a new home to notice me reaching up to pet their little furry collars. (I’m also providing a sense of scale — it’s hard to tell exactly how ginormous that swarm is until you see it in relation to my hand. An average swarm is usually half that size.)

It took three tries to get them off the branch and into the hive we’d set up for them. We finally gave up on shaking the stubborn little boogers out of the tree and just cut the branch down.

That’s my baby-talking-the-bees face. I can’t help it. They’re little and fuzzy and cute. I always coo over things that are little and fuzzy and cute. I think I make the same face when I’m talking to the cat.

See the bees sticking their butts in the air? That’s a good sign. It’s part of a little dance they do when they’ve identified a new spot as home.

I hope they like their new digs and decide to stick around. They look like a pretty spectacular colony.

I ended my weekend tired, sunburned, and dirty, with three bee stings (note to self: Suit up next time — honeybees are docile when they’re swarming, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to be gracious about it if they fall down your sleeves and panic), some wicked cool photos, and a little video footage from the center of a swarm.

Definitely a great Saturday.


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