Friday, March 10, 2006


honeybee in rosemaryIf the bees were ready to swarm, they would have done it today, so I kept an eye on them. Instead of waving goodbye to a cloud of departing residents, however, I got to supervise a glorious working day for many hundreds of busy honeybees.

I sat on the roof near the hives, trying to see what they were bringing in. They have been thronging the birdbath and the planters, so some of the more wobbly arriving flights were probably packing H2O. Others had their panniers packed with bright yellow pollen: most likely maple, since you can now see buds on the trees, even from the ground.

Then it hit me, last year it had seemed a shame that I had no picture, or real idea where to take pictures, of where the bees were working each day. Therefore, I focused as best I could on incoming and outgoing bees, trying to see where they were headed or coming from. This is not easy! The bees tend to fly out of the front of the hive, spiral around higher and higher, almost beyond sight, and then take off like a shot in their desired direction. It almost seems as if they blink out of existence.

But some were headed right past me and down, past the bird bath, to something else nearby. I grabbed the camera, headed down the twisty staircase, and out in the alley behind the house, pursuing a generally bee-ish course.

rosemary bushAnd it turns out that the bees had found this rosemary bush, gloriously in bloom, in the yard of a neighbor who does not like me much. Honeybees on the job are notoriously difficult to photograph, and I was afraid to go in this yard, so I leaned on the fence, propped up the camera, and crossed the fingers that weren't pressing the shutter. Within a set of some 20 nearly random shots, the first picture above and the last one below managed to show happy honeybees in their first Spring blooms.

honeybee in rosemaryThis officially marks the beginning of the season where my poor dogs will have to wait as I poke my head into every bush during their walks, looking for the girls. It's time to root for even temperatures and nighttime rains, for abundant nectar and gentle winds. It's time to realize that it's way too soon for these things, but to feel them tantalizingly just ahead.

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