Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Bringing In Reinforcements

I'm in New Hampshire, helping my cousin to pack up one life and start another (the skillset required: I'm ruthless at filling dumpsters with other people's stuff). Because I am far from the bees, I do not have a picture for you, but I do have news!

It is far easier to advise others to toss away the parts of their lives in which they have invested than it is to take that advice yourself. Therefore, when MaryEllen emailed me yesterday to say that the master beekeepers who let me work with them a couple of weeks ago had bees for sale... well, I just decided to bring in reinforcements for Twain.

I've been telling myself that sometimes nature requires you to take a loss, and that you can pile damage on damage by trying to hold back the truth. But these guys breed awesome bees, and if I let Twain go, I could lose all the drawn comb and honey that the girls had managed to set aside so far. So I asked MaryEllen if she could help me, even though I am several hundred miles away.

Over the phone, I have been coaching my husband on which frames and boxes and covers and bottom boards and so on he needs to bring to work, where MaryEllen will pick them up, and bring them to the beeyard out where Larry and David are. This coaching involved him running around on a nighttime roof with a cell phone, describing various bits of woodenware in the dim light.

During another phone call seeking advice and setting up the purchase, Larry said that he will give me five deep frames of Carniolans and five deep frames of drawn comb. He'll put it all in my deep, watch it for a few days, and I can come get it this weekend, when I return.

After talking on the phone with Larry a bit, he and I decided on getting a new queen, too. Twain's home grown Queen, who I kind of don't want to call Abigail anymore, just does not seem able to perform. There aren't many drones in my neighborhood, so she might not have had a chance to mate properly...or it might be congestion in the hive, or it might be a temporary fluke of hive geography, or it might be something else. I need a known quantity, however, in order to understand what the girls need, so I just signed up to kill yet another queen. Ugh.

So let's say a word in honor and in sadness over the renewal of life, what it costs and how we somehow face the risks of making changes and going for greater vitality and a brighter future. It's wrong to think you can do it without cost, or that "going for the glory" is always the thing to do.

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