Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Flying Solo

I've moved hives hundreds of times during the past 25 years or so. I always move hives at night, when the bees are all at home. Moving hives requires two people -- one on each end of the hive lifter, a metal device that slips over the hives and enables them to be moved as easily as you can move something so heavy... hives often weigh over 100 pounds.

Most recently, I've hired either my son Neil, or his friend Devon, to help me move hives. I was scheduled to move hives with Neil this evening, but Neil brought Devon along and wanted the two of them to move the hives by themselves. This is costing me twice as much, of course, since I'm paying two helpers rather than one, but it's worth it. Here I am, luxuriating at my computer, while they're out there doing all the heavy lifting.

This shot shows them posed jauntily on my little trailer, that holds 6 hives. Like the tough film students they are, they're both smoking cigarettes. Neil smokes Camels, and Devon prefers Marlboros.

This shows the complete setup. The car is my 86 Mazda 323, to which I added a trailer hitch. I use the Mazda without the trailer to harvest honey and do other bee-related tasks. It's a mini-system that has worked very well for me over the years. I use the luggage rack to carry hive boxes and fume boards (used for harvesting honey).

The brown stains on the bee suits are propolis. Neil is wearing my suit, which is heavily stained. I hold the heavy supers up against my body while harvesting honey, and the propolis on the hives rubs against the suit.
UPDATE: Well don't that just suck! Here I was, happily ensconsed at my computer, taking it easy, snug as a bug, when I get a call informing me that the Mazda had died. Great, just great. Now I get to head out into the cold darkness on a rescue mission. Great. Fantastic. Make my day, why don't ya. I thought I was headed for a standard jump start routine but as evidence quickly showed, we were dealing with a more serious problem -- the alternator had crapped out. The Mazda was operating on battery power only. We managed to limp home, towing 4 hives in the trailer, jumping the Mazda 4 times and charging the battery for about 10 minutes each time with the jumper cables. Today we'll have it towed to the shop and have a new alternator installed. I highly recommend towing insurance, especially for rural dwellers. It's cheap, convenient, and a fantastic bargain if you use it at least once a year like we do.


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