Long Live the Queen


  Last week, during Screen-Free Week, we went to Des Moines to pick up our two new hives of bees.  We struggled up the muddy driveway, the rain pouring in sheets on the windshield.  We had arrived at Ebert’s farm.

      Almost immediately, we had identified the other eccentric clients, waiting for hives themselves, as witches.  They may not have called themselves that, but they obviously served as the “hedge riders” in their respective communities.

You can’t see it, but this man is covered in bees and having a calm conversation.

   Getting the bees settled in their hives was touch-and-go for a while.

  A few hours after we had installed the bees, Melanie saw a ball of bees on the ground, about four feet away from the hives.  Upon further inspection, she discovered a queen in the middle of it.  But, which hive was she from?!  We reopened both hives, and Hive 1 was queen-right.  We knew, because the queen was still in her tiny mesh box.

  We improvised a new queen container (we couldn’t get her in the old one) from a small glass jar, and some mini-marshmallows, and put her and two attendants back in Hive 2. (The one the queen had been “dropped” in in the video.)  Fingers crossed.

But, the next week, things had seemed to have been going quite smoothly. Today was the best day of all, since we saw the bees really getting down to business:

Chris gave his usual lament: that their should have been songs to be sung, and rites to enact at this holy time.  He then remembered that there was an Anglo-Saxon metric charm still known to us from the ancestors:

 Sitte ge, sigewif, sigað to eorþan!
Næfre ge wilde to wuda fleogan.
Beo ge swa gemindige mines godes,
swa bið manna gehwilc metes and eþeles.
Alight, victorious women, descend to earth!
Never fly wild to the wood.
Be as mindful of my good
As every man is of food and home.


Screen Free Week Highlights

 What did Many Hands House do during Screen Free Week?

Made duck tape masks

Drew babies

Took pictures at the Putnam museum
Played with Fenris
Dyed silks

and yarn

Visited the capitol in Des Moines

Attended the American Atheist National Convention

Made new friends
while wearing the coachella sweater I finished!
Listened to audio books
 Met our 20,000 new pets

fed and housed them
practiced food presentation
And cooked of course!

How did your families’ screen free week go?

Waiting for Bees

 I have wanted to be a bee keeper for as long as I can remember. I bought this book when I was seven years old.

  We bought bees when we first moved out to the country. We have had from 1 to 3 hives at a time. But the last few years I have slacked off on my bee keeping. Doing only the bare minimum needed to keep our last hive going. Honestly, they don’t need much!

  So this year we ordered two new bee packages from Ebert Honey. They will arrive April 22. Today I started getting their new homes ready!

My to – do list

Gathering and checking the equipment.

The old hives, waiting for make overs.

The chosen boxes, in the staging area

Painting the base.

Strong for the revolution. 

Old frames to be scraped, re-wired and waxed.

I had hoped to do a tutorial, but there are so many already available! Just do a google search for “How To Keep Bees”. My favorite book on the topic is A Book of Bees by Sue Hubbell. You should read it, and any other book by her, even if you aren’t a beekeeper!
  While scraping the frames I cut myself pretty good. I know I should wear work gloves, but then I can’t feel anything. When I stuck my finger in my mouth it tasted like blood and honey, and I thought, cool coven name….

  There’s a lot left to do, but we got a good head start today.