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...and they lived happily ever after. Smith & Lady: poets, artists, photographers & adventurers.
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Archive for the ‘bees’ Category

sage smoke

Monday, October 17th, 2016


Sage Smoke

Standing with the Cleveland Native Americans
who are standing with Standing Rock
the sage smoke circle ends
with Blossom saying
“Give your thanks your way”

I nod to the green of the trees
the blue of the sky
then down to the clover on the ground
and the honey bee caressing it.

I am thankful.

Hours later the sage smoke
is replaced by a bee smoker
fired with cedar chips
small twigs
and a sumac seed cluster
as we inspect our hive.

Again, I am thankful.

– Smith, 10.17.2016



Lady Poem 8/14/2016

Sunday, August 14th, 2016

Wistful rain
like I am being taken care of
home safe carapace from which I play
the carilon of keystrokes on computer
I sit in comfort of couch in presence of husband of love
the cat shifts her hind toes carefree in plush sleep
knowledge of oatmeal to come berries to pick
bees to visit
wish I could make things good
for all

~ Lady


back in bees-ness + psychedelic steampunk dream

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016



last of old hive Daisy

We back in bees-ness.

Bought a box of swarm honey bees two days ago and installed Hive Ivy out in Ashtabula. The last two hive were Daisy 1 and Daisy II, and we figure Queen Daisy I, II, and III have had their say.

Hive Daisy I the bees disappeared the first week of February after giving us 125 pounds of excellent spring and fall honey. We think bee diarrhea weakened them, but there were no bee bodies so we really don’t know. Hive Daisy II started off with a bad queen, the workers killed her, we improperly re-queened and the workers killed her too, so we quit because we couldn’t afford anymore, but Lady’s father bought us a swarm from another beekeeper.

Placed new Hive Lily on higher ground closer to her parents’ house.

Where the old hive had been there is a clump of bees clustered beneath the beehive stand. I think they were the remaining female workers who were out gathering pollen when I moved the mostly male drone hive down next to the pond.

After we were done setting up the new hive, I noticed a strip of wood blocking part of the entrance, and as I knelt down to remove it, a bee stung my upper lip. Pure liquid fire, intense pain. It’s still swelling – I have thin lips, but my upper lip now looks like Angelina Jolie’s bee stung lips. If it gets grotesque enough, I’ll use it as my FB profile photo, though most of the swelling’s inside my mouth. First time I’ve been stung above the neck. Lady was stung once on her right temple and it made her dizzy, woozy, shaky, enough so we were worried.

Should have fall honey this year.

When Lady woke me this morning I went Wow Wow Wow There’s no way I can write this dream down.

I was in an Alice in Wonderland old timey psychedelic Mexican town with a lot of characters who were my people. There were snakes, and shape-shifters, and people with tentacles. We were trying to find a guy named Clay who’d disappeared after telling me what to code but had never gotten back to me on how the testing went.

The people I was helping had come to me because I was the last one to see Clay. They kept giving me small amounts of marijuana and laughing. As Lady woke me I’d just told one of them You can never have too much marijuana and he laughed and said How about a small amount of marijuana and a badge?

When we started out I thought they were angry with me, that I was in trouble because I’d not coded my program right, but I’d taken extensive notes of what Clay had told me as he’d taken me through this strange land in which I’d understood nothing but this time through after awhile I realized we were going through the same places and events as I’d been with Clay, that I’d written good code and now we had to find Clay and save him.

It got so strange I began taking notes in my back pocket notebook and when one of them asked why I said This story is too good not to write and he said Don’t use my name and I promised to change all the names except Clay’s, but after awhile I gave up taking notes because there was too much happening, all of it strange and surreal, the colors explodingly vivacious. I even called Lady to explain I’d be late getting home.

When Lady woke me at 4 a.m. so she could go run 10 miles before dawn, I staggered out here to the keyboard lurching back and forth off balance not quite awake and now I’m sitting in my undies sweating in the heat needing to badly urinate my morning bladder typing away like mad with two fingers and the cursor keeps jumping around so some of this is up and down the paragraph between words so I’ll have to unscramble it but this is the best weirdest most surreal dream I’ve had. I could gladly live in this dream forever.

Dusty Mexican roads, failing antique pickups, intense vibrating colors glowing everywhere, Mexican music, Zeppelins floating in the steampunk air, the dream went from me thinking I had screwed up the programming code to having more fun than is possible, and I contributed to the adventure, figuring out some of the clues, saving a few of my people as we were shot at. They were wearing long ragged earth-tone western overcoats with colorful scarves and earrings with black mascaraed eyes and they were funny folk, droll, witty, would make jokes with serious faces to make me think I was in trouble, then hand me a few buds as they laughed.

I could see the dust hanging in the air from driving falling-apart pickups too fast through the desert, could see the mold on the dimly lit dingy brothel hallway walls, could feel the crystal trichomes on the gorgeous red and yellow and green and blue streaked marijuana buds they gave me. Must have had 20 to 30 pounds of grass stuffed in my pockets, yet none of us ever smoked any of it during the dream – we were too high on the adventure itself, didn’t need it, although I got a buzz through my skin just handling the stuff. One dude handed me a card saying here’s a clue and the card was 9 large vacuum packed buds that had glowing crystal trichomes I could see from two foot away.

This was a three-day dream – 1st day Clay gave me the specs as we walked through the wonderland, 2nd day I wrote the code, 3rd day we went to save Clay. Lost so much of it between sleep and wake but what’s left is pure treasure.

When I was smoking a little every day, I could not remember my dreams, something to do with the short term memory buffers being wiped by the THC – I knew I had dreampt, but not what.

Now I’m in my 4th week of not smoking, the dreams are coming fast and fortunate, and if I wake during them, I come out with lots of detail. This is worth being unstoned.

Could be the best dream I’ve had, although almost all of them are surreal fun . . . darn few bad ones.


new hive Lily


flock of phlox / back in the bee business

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016


A flock of phlox
outside our door
bursting into sun

– Smith, 7.19.2016

We’re going to buy a bee swarm in two weeks, be back in the bee business.



light to stride the day

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016


When we bought our $125 three-pound box of starter bees with queen this year, we got a bad queen, so we were screwed before we started and didn’t know it.

Within two weeks the worker bees started building supersedure cells to create a new queen, which means they didn’t think our queen was doing a good job. Lady mentioned she was laying in a spotty pattern.

So the workers likely killed the queen. We spent $33 for a new queen not knowing that you have to get rid of the laying worker bee before adding a new queen to the mix, so they killed our new queen as well.

So much for year two. Year one we got 125 pounds of honey and our hive lasted 9 months until they disappeared the first of February. Year two our hive lasted less than two months, though actually never even got started due to the bad queen.

It’s a shame. Last year our spring honey had a slight medicinal undertaste; this year it was light, delicate, super sweet. Got less than 10 pounds of it; we spent maybe $400 for new hardware and bees, so our honey cost us around $40 a pound.

On to year three next April when we buy our third three-pound box of bees . . . that should be our main expense next year since we’ll reuse this year’s wooden hive.

We burned last year’s hive because we believe the bees had nosema, which is bee diarrhea. We also bought hive tools and a honey extractor last year so our total was over $500, but a third of that was a one-time purchase.

~ ~ ~

Status Report 225

Eat the cookie
drink the coffee
stare the dark
wait the sun
for light to stride the day

Sun will bring the wind
to move the wild grasses

– Smith, 7.12.2016



not to bee

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016


Our beehive is dying.

Our first hive last year was by-the-book successful for nine months, giving us 120 pounds of honey, then the first of February all the bees vanished.

We bought a new box of bees with a queen and dumped them into the hive end of April. Within the week the worker bees were building supersedure cells, which means they aren’t happy with the queen and want to create a new one.

We weren’t getting good egg laying with our queen and knew the bees weren’t happy, so we bought a new queen for $30 and installed her two weeks ago. They continued to build supersedure cells, and we can’t find her or any eggs, so assume the worker bees killed her.

The queen lays 1,500 eggs a day. Since we have no eggs, this means every day we’re 1,500 bees less than the day before, plus another 500 to 1,500 that die from old age every day, so our hive is disappearing. They won’t have enough to protect their honey from other bees.

Saw a couple hundred dead bees on the ground, so our first thought is pesticides. Farmers rotate their crops every year, so maybe this year’s spraying practices affected us . . . honey bees travel 2-6 miles to forage, and that includes a lot of farmland and pesticides.

Check again next week and take any honey we can, then start again next year with our third new hive in three years.

This is not the way it was to go.

Status Report 224

When I was 30
my poetic metaphors were
Elvis, Richard Nixon, and Marilyn Monroe

Now at 70
it’s Sisyphus and status reports

– Smith, 7.5.2016



going to cost you, but it’s the best way to go

Sunday, June 5th, 2016


Out at the In-laws 20

After beehive inspection
before they get back
I sit in sun on empty back deck
alone in human silence

Red-winged blackbird darts cross green
frogs echo-pond locution call out the seen
windchimes slowdance their no-breeze way
put my feet up, sip coffee, ease into day

As I pack car to leave
4-yr old nephew says “Do you have kids?”
No, why?
“Then why do you have two doors?”
pointing at the back door.
You telling me 2nd doors are for children?
You’re a thinker, aren’t you kid?
Good. It’s going to cost you,
but it’s the best way to go.

– Smith, 6.5.2016



Dr Smith’s duct-tape wrap

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

ladystungLady’s duct-taped stung left hand after Dr Smith’s visit

Lady got stung Monday as we picked up our bees from Queenright Colony. With hundreds of 3-pound boxes of bees shipped from California stacked about, thousands of bees were loose and one landed on Lady’s shawl unbeknownst to her. She accidentally brushed it with her hand. and now it’s swollen and itchy because we had no Benadryl to take to soften the symptoms.

The worst part is the itchiness. When scratched, it just becomes worse, so you scratch more and itch more and scratch more and . . .

Last night we covered her hand in a baking soda paste, wrapped gauze around it, then wrapped her hand in duct tape so she couldn’t get at it, and this morning she’s better.

I’ve found the day of the sting is nothing, 2nd day is miserable, 3rd day an itchy swelly hell, 4th day you begin to mend.

We were each stung on seven occasions last year.

Status Report 205


Sometimes I reach for my grass in the dark
and cannot feel any in my round tray
so set its three pipes, ashtray,
toothpick and lighter aside
angle tray 45 degrees
tap thrice firmly
and scrape down loose scraps with my calling card
knowing a pipe’s worth of weed will appear,
and it does.

Such is the faith of experience.


The daze of the weed:
Monweed, Tuesweed, Wednesweed,
Thursweed, Friweed, Saturweed, Sunweed…
these are the only days I toke.

– Smith, 4.27.2016



lay away now, pay a lot later

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016


Our bees are here.

Last year was our first as beekeepers. Got our box of 10,000 bees in April and by fall had turned them into 70,000 and 125 pounds of honey.

Then early February they disappeared.

So we ordered more for year two. Yesterday drove 44 miles southwest to Spencer to pick up our bees, then 101 miles northeast to Ashtabula to put them in their hive, then 58 miles southwest home to Cleveland . . . 7 hours, 203 miles, and $400 in bees and new hive woodware to replace last year’s that we burned because we think we lost the hive due to bee diarrhea a.k.a Nosema..

This year we will be giving less of the honey away and selling more to recoup part of the $1,000 dollars our first two years will cost us.


Charge forth
charge fifth, charge first, charge card
buy or fight, fight or buy
American might tripe on sly
lay away now, pay a lot later
check all the sales
dig two-for-one crater
gobble it up
swallow it down
clump with the chumps
stand with the clowns
run to replace
dash to discount
buy stuff for your stuff
have most stuff in town
now you’re talkin’
as possessions you’re stalkin’
stuff’s what it is
don’t think of the ain’t
or those who don’t got
your color of paint
forget about them
they’re on the wrong path
they think easing heart
is best you can ask
well we all want more
we want it now
and we want it all
for we are the big
we write off the small
new stuff brings new you
big bill coming due

– Smith, 4.26.2016




Monday, April 25th, 2016


Petals’ smoother-than-leaf
plastic velvet house essential
color and oil

Nectaries gild anther and pistil,
ovary, stamen, style and sepal

Methyl benzoate
aerates an immediate halo
of a painted landing pad

Strong busy black legs cling
Pollen shakes on brushing wing

Done, a bee cleans herself on
petals’ protruding lips

From tail to tip
she packs the pollen on
the bootstraps of her backleg hair

And when it’s had enough
when it knows it can make its stuff
a flower’s musking stops

~ Lady


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