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...and they lived happily ever after. Smith & Lady: poets, artists, photographers & adventurers.
Our relationship was forged to the soundtrack of Yoko Ono's magic,
frenetic, love-laden song, "Walking On Thin Ice." ( play song )

Archive for the ‘bees’ Category

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


today: beekeepers 1 year, sober 25 years

Thursday, April 21st, 2016


Considering I was supposed to be in the hospital right now getting ready to have the back of my neck cut open so the doc could go in and scrape protruding bone and cartilage from the inside of my spinal column before screwing two metal rods onto my spine, I’d say this was a good day.

It’s likely I’ll have to have the neck surgery in a couple months anyway after they rule out B-12 vitamin deficiency as the villain, but I’ve decided the reprieve is nice.

Today is our one-year anniversary of being beekeepers – even though our hive died off in February after nine months beekeeping, we still got the experience, plus 125 pounds of honey, which is a LOT of honey for a first year hive. Waiting for our new bees to arrive any day now. We had to burn the old hive, so there’s another $300 hive expense. Honey ain’t cheap the first year, need successive successful years to reduce the per year cost of the hardware.

Today is also my 25th year anniversary of being sober. No one believed I could be sober, nobody believed I’d live past 50, yet here I am 70 yrs old, 25 years sober.

I didn’t drink alcohol my first 20 years, drank responsibly for five years, drank like a fish for 20 years, now sober 25.

Status Report 203

Dear, I found the lost.

Your missing black nightgown is
on the floor
behind the black bike rack
in the shadows
to the left of the air conditioner
in the closet.

Shall I help you change?

– Smith, 4.21.2016




lost our hive

Sunday, February 21st, 2016

hivebytim2foto of our beehive with Miles the Wonder Dog by Tim Green

Status Report 180

We lost the hive
lost our girls
our babies

Went from 10,00 bees
to 70,000 bees
to none.

Our first year beekeeping
ends three months short.

Try again.


Dumped our first batch of 10,000 bees into our first hive last April 21. Those three pounds of bees grew to 70,000-80,000 and gave us 120 pounds of honey . . . and a lot of hard work.

They were fine last inspection. Now the hive is dead. They have plenty of untouched honey, so it’s not a food problem. The winter hasn’t been very cold, so that’s not it. Lady wrote that “It was probably from Nosema, a parasite that causes bee diarrhea. We saw that there was diarrhea around the top entrance of the hive. I think that they were more susceptible to dying from the cold because of Nosema.”

Now we have to burn the honey frames, take a blowtorch and scorch the inside of the hive, order another 10,000 bees with a queen for the spring (around $140) and try again.

I feel sad. Lady feels worse.


Status Report 181

One last dying bee clings to Lady
riding her back inside
saying goodbye


foto of our beehive by Tim Green


dead flies can’t fly, but they’re still flies

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015



We’re done for three weeks.

Every week since April 21 we’ve driven an hour east to Ashtabula to take care of our first beehive in one capacity or another. Now that fall honey harvest is over and we’ve winterized the hive, we need only monthly quick checks until spring warmth frees the bees from winter cluster flux.

If we get our bees through to spring, we’ll indeed beekeepers be.

April 21, 2016 will make one year for us as beekeepers, and 25 years of me being sober. I like that our beekeeping anniversary is also my sobriety anniversary.

Meet Me at the Meta Morph

Time flies, yet it can’t fly.
Dead flies can’t fly, but they’re still flies.

Far away train wail to would
is can’t to could and should to say.

We need to tell the Jabberwocky this
to incorporate it into his dance.

For between done and do
the White Rabbit wants to rock and rue.

Slowly we’re heading for hole
falling through this last of laugh.

 – Smith, 11.3.2015



sweet lull in beekeeper stream

Friday, October 16th, 2015

beedaughtersometimes during daughter mom conversations
it is best to wear protective gear

Out at the In-laws 17

Highway east we fly
Miles’ Blackbird Bye Bye sliding ride
upstream to Ashtabula
the autumn leaves turning trees
cool sun smiling clean clean clean on green
county road tooling our country mile
to check the bees please
for winter store less or more
and after
from law ma pa
an earth-toned lunch
of squash apple soup
homemade applesauce
oatmeal bread
apple cider
sweet potato pie with whipped cream
singing a sweet lull in beekeeper stream

– Smith, 10.16.2015



Daisy Hive Update 10-12-2015

Monday, October 12th, 2015

So – I want to share the bee update. We visited Queen Daisy’s hive today. We took away all the honey supers last week. We had thought to leave on the ones we’d harvested so that they would clean them up but then they started to distribute new honey across all of them. So, by removing all the supers we forced them to store honey in their two deeps, which is where they raise brood and live most of the time.

Today we inspected the top deep only. We were pleased to see that theyhad packed a fair amount of capped honey in the top deep, 5.5 frames. We didn’t check the bottom because they had a lot there last week and we didn’t want to agitate them, kind of give them a break.

Bee man at bee store says 6 frames capped honey A-OK if we’re insulating the hive, and we are. Otherwise, really 12 or even 14.

We have a super in the freezer with an add’l 6 frames. 10 frames to a super. We’re going to smear fondant (hard frosting) on the four frames on the outside. Hopefully the bees won’t need it because they’ll not need to travel up into the super due to having plenty of food in their deeps. OTOH, we want them to live in supers next year so that we don’t have to lift up deeps, which can weigh up to 90 lbs when full of honey. So, maybe get them bees up into that super.

I saw tiny little bee larvae – didn’t spend more effort looking for eggs as they are so hard to see. Bee book says we don’t really need to check for eggs this time of year.

We fed them some fumagillin as a preventative measure against nosema, or “bee diarrhea.” The fumagillin is mixed with a half gallon of 2:1 sugar:water syrup, put in a baggie, baggie laid down flat on top of the frames (pushing the bees aside), slitting the baggie with a razor. The bees sip the slits.

Mom made us local food from farm share for lunch. Homemade applesauce, homemade squash & apple soup, homemade oatmeal bread, homemade sweet potato pie with whipped cream. Smith says “Earth food, earth tones.”

Hive looks so small with the honey supers off. Bees very busy, much still in bloom. Even more goldenrod.

~ Lady


we go east

Monday, October 5th, 2015


Dead Man’s Curve

Out at the In-laws 17

Round Dead Man’s Curve
and its Blood & Oil billboard warning
electric Miles slithering sound
we go east
to cleansing bees of parasites unsighted

Work and sweat and worry wet
we do our duty do-fully
daylong splurge
drive return
sticky fingers reggae riding

– Smith, 10.5.2015



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