Bucket list boo-boo

Yeah, it was really cool last week, meeting the beekeeping club members, a few retired guys similar to me, even though I’m not technically a guy. I’ve just never been girly or interested in girly things.

The guys cracked open the hives with a hive tool, a flat piece of metal with a bend in one corner. The bees glue all the wooden boxes together with dark brown propolis, sealing the cracks, and those sticky links have to be broken when you open up the hive boxes, called supers. We pulled out each rack, one at a time. The bees fill the outer ones with honey. The inner ones are filled with brood cells.

We were looking for the queen, so we had to check every rack. That means lifting it out and examining both sides in detail. Ten racks, 20 sides. Why is the queen always on the 20th one? Well, with a sample of two, I shouldn’t be generalizing, but if you think about it of course you always find something in the last place you look – because after that you stop looking.

While looking for the queen, I got to notice the difference between the ordinary worker bees and the hulky drones. They are plumped up like someone obese or a body builder. Hard to tell under all that fuzz. Is a teddy bear fat or ripped? You never know.

Also got to see the brood cells, which are larger for bees that will be drones. Looking for the initial egg that’s set down is very hard. You have to get just the right light. Then a little curl forms that is the larva. The guy showing me all this had a good idea of if a larva was at the three, four or five-day stage. They just looked like little curls of DNA protein to me, whether from a quinoa seed or anything else.

Then I saw something amazing. A couple of the brood cells had little black legs sticking out of tiny holes. The bees were hatching. So cool. They don’t all hatch at once. They are deposited each day, and some hatch each day, but it’s an ongoing process. I had no idea. at some point the bees stop making drones. Not necessary over the winter, I think it was.

I even got to hold one of the racks. Not too heavy, maybe five pounds or so. Some honey dripped out of one of the racks. I took a drop and tasted it. Honey. “That’s five cents, please.”

Then I got stung, which was never on my bucket list. It was like a needle, and then it was like nothing after I pulled out the black stinger. I felt like a tough guy for a second, because I didn’t make a fuss about it. “You should brush it aside, not pull it.” Later I googled and it tells me if you pull it you can inject more venom into yourself. The next day it swelled up and itched like crazy. The thickened pad of skin was a few mm thick and about 10 cm across.

I donno if I gave myself extra venom, but a week later it’s still ugly and itchy. Part of it looks bruised. I tried steroid cream, baking soda, cold, etc. I don’t want any more bee stings. I got stung one of the most common ways, when the bee is on you and you put your arm down against your own body. Something to avoid when beekeeping.

Also, a really good reason for the head coverings is that an eyeball sting is the worst, I’m told. One guy showing me the hives had had one of those. I’m glad it didn’t happen again, since he lent me his head covering and went commando, so to speak, that day.

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Parsley

Parsley

I was just reading about the health benefits of parsley. This alone could almost explain why my blood work is almost always “perfect” despite the fact that I’m very overweight.

In fact, I’m obese. I found this in my medical records some years ago when I ordered copies. The doctor had never used that word with me, though. I was shocked! I had to google its definition, which was re BMI. Yes, I’m heavy because of muscle and very substantial bones – could be to do with parsley and also weightlifting formally as well as just carrying my weight around. I haven’t been inactive. I’ve sweated in the garden, turned soil and loaded mulch with a wheelbarrow. Pretty intense. But I really am fat, got lots of jelly that I have discovered does not help with belly dancing, ironically. A little jelly is fine. I’ve got so much it goes bouncing in one direction after the core of me has moved on to another direction. Kind of like a blurry echo or visual haze image. First, fairly distressing, but in the end very motivating.

But anyway, at least I’m pretty healthy.

I see some fancy recipes to get you to eat more parsley. Tabbouleh, some baked stuff, even pesto. But I’ll make it way simpler for ya: Take a big handful of parsley, like 2-3 generous branches of it. Chop it up, not too finely. Pile it on the plate, maybe on top of some chopped cuke or tomato, something it’ll stick to. Pile some other salad on top of that – maybe a bean salad, which is what I keep handy in the fridge all summer. Greek salad, whatever. And just eat it. Or for that matter, just chomp on the branches by themselves. I have never left parsley on a restaurant plate unless it looked pale or limp. Just eat it! Yum!

And by the way, if you don’t like the taste of parsley very much, grow some or get some from a veggie gardener or maybe even a farmers’ market. It tastes different from the store kind, about 10x better, as with everything else home-grown.

 

 

 

Dill seedlings

Dill is up. I stood there staring down at the dirt that doesn’t seem to change quickly. So cold, so slow. Record moisture – even some of the seedlings are too wet and yellowing around the edges.

This is tax weekend, in Canada, for those of us who don’t always plan ahead. Got mine done in 3 hours or so. Maybe next year I’ll file electronically, and it’ll be even faster. I keep my biz records all year, so by tax time they are all ready to go and just need to be exported to a document to print out.

Yeah, so not eating or overindulging tonight. Considered it. But my go-to talisman is my own body. Tuning into it does not make me want to eat. I feel bulky and shapeless, despite having a strong core, despite dancing well for an hour, despite riding my bike and all. Looks like flab-reduction surgery is in my future. But first… stay away from the emotional eating and create even more loose flab. Yech. It’s enough to drive you to drink, but that’s not gonna help. Guess it’s time for a movie, some more dancing, or some creative project after a nice hot bath.

My habits of calmness, happiness, and lightness are relatively new. Small, pale green, and weak, just like those dill seedlings.

Beets are up at last

Beets are my favourite. Fresh greens good in a salad or boiled like spinach. They don’t keep so you gotta eat em when they’re fresh. Nothing like it in the grocery store. Then so many rich red dirty-tasting beets. Good in a veggie bake. Good boiled and served with salt or butter or both. And good over wintered in pickled form.

And, finally, their firm little seed leaves have come out of the ground. High point of my day. By next week I suppose I’ll be thinning them. No other common garden seeds are like beet seeds – a gnarly little ball with multiple seeds clustered together. That’s why they have to be thinned. You never need to plant two beets in one area, unlike with other seeds. You’re going to get several out of one of those rough little balls called seed clusters.

Gardening

Went out to plant a few more seeds and noticed the lettuce came up overnight along with some brassicas that I planted so long ago I can’t remember exactly what they were. Possibly kale or some other broccoli-ish thing. Seeds must have been there more than two weeks already. It’s been a long cool spring with not much sunshine.

Seeing those fat little teardrop shapes on the ground was pretty much the high point of my day. Certainly the most exciting. The garden’s finally going. Those fresh little leaves, kinda brownish looking because they are going to grow into being quite red.

Just a low-energy kind of day of rest and catching up with some cleaning.