Just paddling along

I was prepared for a very productive day at home this morning. Bills taken care of, dishes washed, laundry hung on the line…and then my friend Pat called and asked if I wanted to go paddling. Productivity out! Paddling in!

BB Bridge on a sunny day

BB Bridge on a sunny day

We took Pat’s kayaks and floated a stretch of the Little Wolf River not far from home.

Married frogs, as distinguished by completely different focuses

Married frogs, as distinguished by completely different focuses

The turtles that George and I saw along the river earlier this year are still around, but are faster moving! No photos today.

Water lily

Water lily

The water lily is overexposed, but it was a bright day out.

Pat heads downstream

Pat heads downstream

I was doing the good thing and picking up garbage. The too frequently found plastic bottle was expected; a section of tire wasn’t surprising; but the old electronics were the low-light. The frog using the case for shade was a surprise.

Frog house?

Frog house?

Loaded up with the "goods"

Loaded up with the “goods”

Now, I just need to stop at the dump in the morning. The heated river scum smell isn’t very appealing in my car. Still, its much better than a productive day! Thanks Pat!

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A honey of a haircut

Photograph of smoking the bees

Smoking the bees

Mom and Dad had honey bees when I was young. For the most part, the bees took care of themselves and their honey. When intervention was needed, it was always fascinating to me. I remember being curious about tools and techniques, well moderated with the desire not to get stung. Extracting the honey was a great project!

Inspecting a frame of honeycomb

Inspecting a frame of honeycomb

Photo of removing a full frame of honey from the bee box

Removing a full frame

Once the honey was moved indoors, going in and out of the house was a cautious undertaking. The less docile bees where flying up against the screen door, trying to protect their stockpile.

I must have gotten a stern directive not to get honey spread around the house. I remember being told how difficult it was to clean up honey.

Photo of removing the wax caps from the honeycomb

Removing the wax caps from the honeycomb

Loading a frame into the extractor

Loading a frame into the extractor

Extracting the honey

Extracting the honey

Child labor

Everyone gets a chance to extract the honey

Filling jars

Filling jars from the bottom of the extractor

The good stuff

The good stuff

At some point I got honey into my bangs. I clearly remember that I was aware that this wasn’t a desired outcome and that honey was very, very difficult to clean up. Even parents had a hard time cleaning it up. The best thing I could do was to take care of it myself. Water certainly wouldn’t remove it, because if it did, honey would be easy to clean up. I took the next best method and cut the honey out of my hair before it became a bigger mess.

I discovered a swarm of bees in a tree west of the house by their buzzing. I don’t remember very clearly, but I think the bees weren’t our own. I do remember being very proud that I could do something productive…I was the one to find the bees!

Swarm of bees

Swarm of bees

Filling the hive

Filling the hive

A tower of bees

A tower of bees

All of the photos above are from Mom’s album, labeled March – August 1979. The photos were taken by Mom, Dad, or Eddie. The color photos are dated July 7, 1979.

The photo below is from Mom’s album, labeled Fall – Winter 1979. Someone has short bangs!

Kids in the fall

Can you guess who is in seventh grade, second grade, and four years old?

Bee keeping seems like a great idea, especially when I read a good book about bees or beekeeping such as A Book of Bees or The Secret Life of Bees. Then I remember all of the half-started projects around and get more realistic about a project that involves live insects. (I’m being optimistic, the projects are only 23% started.)

p.s. Thanks Jessie, for the book recomendation that hopefully has lots of good bees in it!