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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

kicking males out of hive to die

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015


Status Report 91

Female bees getting ready for winter
kicking males out of hive to die
and moving upper honey down to lower frames

all male drones do is sex the queen
and guzzle honey

and winter is long

Smith, 9.30.2015



seems time comes down to death or decline

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015


our honey extractor

I’m exhausted, my back aches, legs are weak, arms sore, and I have my 6th bee-stung belly in 4 incidences.

Hour drive to hive, hour back — left 10:30am, got home 11pm.

Extracted 50 pounds of Fall honey from 17 frames, plus another two frames we had to bring home with the honey unextracted because we experimented with wax foundation frames which came apart when I spun them too fast in the extractor.

Looks like we might have to harvest again in a couple weeks, maybe 20 pounds more;.

That makes 20 pound harvest of spring honey and 50 pounds of fall honey bottled – third harvest could bring our total to 100 pounds, which is good for a first year hive.

Our Spring honey was light in color and taste, our Fall honey is three times darker and muskier in taste. Love them both but find Fall more intriguing.

Status Report 83

I read on average age 45 eyes start to decline.
I was right on time.

Asked doc why lower valve in throat weakened
letting stomach acid up throat
doc said “age.”

Asked dentist why I get dry mouth
dentist answered “age”.

Seems time comes down to death or decline.

– Smith, 9.16.2015


some of Lady’s & Georgia’s bee art



Tuesday, September 8th, 2015


Status Report 77

Hands on table
feet on floor
mind somewhere outside the door

I didn’t become better, merely less bad
not wiser so much as not quite as mad

The moon eats itself monthly, as does the I.

– Smith, 9.8.2015

The bees were so pissed today that even once we were done with hive inspection and had walked halfway back to the house and taken off our protective gear, a honey bee gave chase and stung Lady on her right temple.

This will be educational because this is first sting above the shoulder line. I’d rather have been the Guinea pig on this. (her temple is swollen, but not too badly next morning, and is numb).

I got stung twice – inside right ring finger through canvas glove, and inside left knee through heavy denim. May be my 9th sting in 7 incidents. (both mine are unswollen this morning – perhaps due to the canvas and denim absorbing much of the venom?).

They seriously wanted us. thousands in the air, a hundred or so on my pants, a dozen climbing in and out of my jean pockets. Looks like we’re at the overflow end of 60-80,000 bees.

Massive amounts of honey. Going to be serious harvesting this year. They’re in acres of goldenrod, which they love and which makes good honey. May have to harvest next week and again a month later.

Part of the reason they were so angry is that the local bee inspector gave them an inspection earlier this week and was not what one would call gentle. The main reason I think is they are so thick and plentiful and hang in bundles down from the bottom sections that we end up crushing dozens of bees — even though we brush them away they immediately re-cluster . . . can hear the dreaded “crunch” as they die crushed between the hive sections.



Well knock on wood with an Eddy Floyd

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

Cuyahoga County Fair observational beehive 2015

Well knock on wood with an Eddy Floyd — I haven’t been stung the past two weekly beehive inspections, and the belly sting the week before those went through my sweat-soaked cotton shirt which absorbed most the venom so no swelling.

Lady got stung though, outside right thigh right through her denim jeans, which surprises me.

Bees were quite angry this time, maybe we were too early in the day and too many had yet to leave for foraging. 80,000 bees is a lot of creature.

Status Report 62

Gods are nice sometimes, and sometimes not
to set in sand the line or advance the plot

They belch and blow above about what’s wrong below
yet set rule and limit off with ritual sentiment

Then take part of your pay to pave their way
to more power point presentments for primates

– Smith, 8.19.2015



cherries, grapes, strawberries, yoghurt, raw honey

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015


our 1st honey harvest from our 1st hive

Status Report 45

This morning’s smoothie:
Cherries, grapes, strawberries,
Greek yogurt,
and first hive honey . . .
the sweet life.

– Smith, 7.23.2015



call me Venom, call me Cassandra

Sunday, July 19th, 2015


Summer Cleveland

Humidity slow, steady,
heavy with heat,
flesh gravity’s tired bone.

– Smith, 7.19.2015

Call me Venom.

I proposes, God disposes . . . into the laughter machine.

The previous beehive inspection I wore protective netting for the first time because I was tired of getting stung and having right hand left hand right thumb right bicep turning red getting hot swelling up itching into madness.

But I didn’t tuck my shirt in and a sneaky bee crawled up and bit my belly. Then I must have given one a ride into the house on my jeans because an hour later one bit my belly two inches from the first sting while I was sitting around talking. That’s one way to liven up one’s conversation.

Sooooo, this time I tucked my jeans into my socks and my shirt into my pants and said the only way they can sting me now is where my ear touches the hat net or thru my shirt. Call me Cassandra.

It was a near 90 degree day, the protective gear is made of canvas, sweat swept down my face neck torso wetting shirt to flesh and a bee stung my belly through the cotton.

That makes one unstung inspection last seven tries.

Next time I billow my shirt out after tucking in so they can’t touch flesh.

This makes me grin, it’s sort of an on-running serial joke between me and Reality with Reality ahead 6 to 1 so far, but next time I’m betting on the Smith.

It is special the taste of honey freshly harvested from your first hive, way well worth the sweat and venom and itch.

(the fotos are neighboring bumblebees, not our honey bees).



bees, twelve weeks, word, sweat, nine stings

Monday, July 13th, 2015


Status Report 41

First hive, first honey —
bees, twelve weeks, word, sweat, nine stings
bring ambrosia.

– Smith, 7.13.2015



1st honey 1st hive

Saturday, July 11th, 2015


Status Report 39

Shoulder pain
rises like a tsunami
washing way my best.

– Smith, 7.11.2015

I strained my replaced shoulder couple weeks ago moving our used freezer. Was almost healed until yesterday when I way overused it harvesting our first honey. So back to the undrawing board. Basically cannot use my left arm today.

We got 20-25 pounds of honey from 7 honeysuper frames – there are 10 frames in a box. For our fall honey harvest, we should do much more.

Cool tasting first honey from our first hive. Sooooooooo sweet. Got 10,000 bees April 21, and two and a half months later have 50-60,000 bees and 25 pounds of honey.

We keep spending money on bee equipment too, have at least $500 in this first hive. Much of it one-time costs though, stuff that can be used on future hives.

The gods laugh. I got tired of being stung and swelling up so for yesterday’s hive inspection and honey harvest, I wore protective gear for the first time . . . but forgot to tuck in my shirt so a bee crawled up and stung my bare belly. Then an hour later up in the house after I had changed my tee-shirt and was sitting around talking to folk, another bee who must have come in on my pants crawled up and stung my belly 2 inches away from the first sting. Expected to wake to a swollen belly today but it’s not bad . . . red, slightly itchy, barely swollen. Unsure why the double sting is so mild. Maybe area of body, maybe young bees, maybe getting used to venom, maybe because I took benadryl multiple times this time, maybe none of the above.

So far four single stings and one double sting in last 6 hive inspections. Next time, none.

But there is one intriguing possibility . . . if one of the bees that stung me is also a bee that made a portion of the fresh honey I  ate, the honey and venom intermix and I can mutate into BuzzMan, always buzzed but never having to toke Рrather the same principle of Peter Parker turning into Spiderman after being bitten by a radioactive spider. Hmmmmm, the closest nuclear plant to Ashtabula is only 19 miles away at Perry

ladybannerbanner Lady K did for Greater Cleveland Beekeepers Association



The Human Lobster Claw Paw Project, part 2

Monday, July 6th, 2015


Status Report 33

The world doesn’t end, just sheds dead skin.
So you out?
Or in?

– Smith, 7.5.2015

The Human Lobster Claw Paw Project, part 2.

The good news is on our previous beehive inspection, I was not stung on the neck as I’d feared, so my head didn’t swell up, which is good because folk say my head is too big already.

The bad news is I was stung by my wedding ring this time. 5 weekly inspections, 4 stings. May have to give in and wear protective gear cuz I’m tired of swelling up.

This morning just my ring finger was swollen, but a few hours later the venom realized there wasn’t enough swelling room so oozed south into my hand, which not only swoll but is still swelling. There’s now more flesh than skin can hold so it bulges out, rubbery, red.

I don’t start swelling until 18 hours after the sting, no idea why the delay, so I go to bed wondering what deformity I’ll wake with in the morning. Interesting process.

Flesh is tight, uncomfortable, little pain, but major itch factor, and if scratched becomes infinitely more itchy, deeper itchy, angry itchy. Skin is red, taut, hot, radiates heat.

Fortunately as soon as I removed the stinger from my finger I glanced at my wedding ring next to it, flashed on how my hand had swollen into a lobster claw last sting, and immediately moved my ring to my right hand . . . if I hadn’t, they’d be cutting it off in the Emergency Room right now.

I’m wearing head net and maybe even gloves next time. Had both of my hands been stung this time my daily life would be a Laurel & Hardy routine. I can’t fathom how uncomfortable a ballooned neck or face would be, though I would get some interesting fotos.

I walk the wire until it breaks, and my previous path done look broke to me.



bees ness

Saturday, June 27th, 2015


Status 25

Bee sting venom burns.
Hand swell to lobster claw turns.
Dead bee’s life token.

– Smith, 6.27.2015

Thought I got stung on my neck yesterday during hive inspection, but thankfully didn’t. Could not be sure until I woke this morning with the normal size head folk usually see instead of one grotesquely swollen as if my ego let slip its true face. Most folk start swelling and itching as soon as they’re stung but for some reason it takes me 18 hours before stings start to swell and itch – until then, nada.

Lady got stung for second consecutive time, me the previous three inspections.

My first sting I took no benadryl and for the next two days my right hand just kept swelling until I had a large, red, itchy lobster claw. Third day it started to go down. Second honeybee sting lead to a swollen thumb for one day, the third to a swollen bicep for a day. The last two times I took benadryl pills (over the counter allergy medicine) because they lessen the venom’s effect.

She keeps imploring me to wear the hat with protective webbing, but I won’t do that unless they sting me so often or badly I have to . . . many beekeepers say your body gets used to stings after a while and that they’re actually beneficial health-wise, although I will wear protective gear when we harvest honey because that tends to rile them.

April 21 we dumped 10,000 Italian honeybees shipped from California into one hive box called a deep. In the two months since, we’ve added a second deep and two honey supers (more shallow boxes, maybe 25% smaller than the deep). The Queen lays 1,500 – 2.000 eggs a day, which take about 2 weeks to hatch, then they live 6 weeks and die . . . literally work themselves to death.

Our initial 10,000 will grow to 60-80,000.

And if things progress normally, this fall we will have honey.

Helping the planet pollinate and getting honey in reward is worth the occasional lobster claw.

Some dragonfly, arctic fox, dove, and spotted deer fotos follow.

dragonflystrangely colored dragonfly checking out our beehive
young arctic fox male at Queen Right Colony, where we buy our bee supplies. The fox let me pet him and he lightly bit my finger
Queen Right Colony dove
small spotted deer (about 1/3 smaller than American deer)
one-week old spotted fawn
fawn’s mom eyeing me, making sure my intentions are honorable


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