As you all realize by now I am not one to post a new blog entry every time the girls lay an egg. On the contrary, I'm lucky if I get around to a new post every six dozen. The biggest news is that after the winter's tragedy and loss of the bees on the roof, I have two new hives which are now located in our garden and a neighbor's garden three doors down. No longer do I have to make the climb up a vertical wrought iron ladder carrying deeps, mediums, frames, smoker and everything else needed to maintain a hive. The loss of the girlz over the winter was profound, but the two new colonies are thriving. I always wanted two hives to compare and contrast and they are living up to my expectations. The hive in our neighbor Jennifer's garden is growing quickly already well into the first medium. The hive in our garden is slower to draw out comb and I have only just put on the first medium. It could be that "Queen Jennifer" is more aggressive, but it could also be that that hive gets sun sooner in the morning. That said, it has not stopped the girlz in our garden from stinging the beekeeper. I now cover up completely even in the hot weather and wear latex gloves which is where they've been getting me. My acupuncturist, Adrienne (affectionately referred to as "the witch doctor") has been treating me for allergies to all things hive related, so I have not swelled up as in the past. The stings on the tips of fingers hurt like crazy, but the swelling doesn't travel past the first knuckle.
I am woefully behind with gardening, but the plants don't seem to mind. We are having the largest first crop of raspberries we've ever had. I've got to think it's the bees. I was also inspired by an article about a farmer in Maine whose tomatoes are planted like little soldiers no more that 8 inches apart with little-to-no foliage except at the top of the plants, but laden with fruit from the soil up. So far so good; lots of fruit with lots of trimming off of leaves and suckers and lots of support. The garlic has started to come in, all of which I planted last October. I'm trying something I saw in a gardening catalogue called potato bags which promise lots of potatoes in a small space. That's perfect for our "back forty" (feet, that is).