Monday, March 4, 2013
Procrastination, Propolis and One Overwhelmed Beekeeper!
I am just kicking myself for the mess I have on my hands. It is my own fault and now, I am completely overwhelmed with the task at hand. I can't imagine what on earth I was thinking last fall when I junked up the basement with all our bee equipment straight from the bee yard. You can only see about a third of my mess in the picture. Boxes covered in propolis strewn about, nothing organized. Large Tupperwares filled with stinky sticky frames all combed out but scattered with unhatched brood. It is nothing short of a disaster.
I am not a procrastinator. My nature is anything but. I never stall. I am a get done now kind of gal. I make lists, I organize and I get stuff done. I never do this kind of thing! It is so unlike me. Right now, I am not even sure where to start. To make matters worse we left equipment in the bee yard.When we went down to check on the bees last week I was a little dumb founded to find the bee yard the way we left it. Behind the two dead out hives we had thrown bottom boards, hive stands and hive boxes. We would have pulled that stuff when we were there last week but it was snow covered and frozen in place and we couldn't pry it loose. We are expecting another foot of snow today so who knows when we will be able to get that equipment home for restoration. We also have stuff in Paula's garage. All of this makes it very difficult to inventory, organize and clean.
I finally faced it all this morning and started hauling the hive boxes up to the work room to begin the daunting task of scraping, cleaning, repairing and painting.
I am trying to tackle one hive at a time which is hard since not everything is in the same place. Today I pulled Colleen's Royal Ruckus upstairs and spent the morning scraping Propolis off every nook and cranny. Propolis may have its purpose and it may have great medicinal properties but frankly the dark sticky resinous stuff that the bees seal everything with is a bitch to clean up! I probably shouldn't be so callus in my dismissal of Propolis and take more care in actually harvesting it but right now I have four hives that need to be scrapped clean, repaired, and painted before April 6th.
Do the math, each hive has a screened bottom board, a hive stand, three brood boxes and three honey supers. That is 6 boxes plus 2 hive stand parts times four. That is 24 boxes and 8 hive stand parts that need to be restored people. That isn't counting the frame work. Each box holds 8 to 10 frames. Did I mention I am overwhelmed?
Once I scrapped all the Propolis off I vacuumed each box and cleaned them with a wet rag. Then started painting. I hope to get the bottom board, the hive stand and all three brood boxes painted with two coats of paint by the end of the day.
Once they are dry and labeled I will stack them neatly in the corner of the room until I make my way through all four hives. Eventually I will need to tackle the supers and the frames. Right now I need to prioritize so that we have hive bodies ready for the four new packages of bees. The supers can wait. If I can finish a hive a day I might make my deadline. Our bees are coming three weeks earlier than last year so the heat is on to get this done!
I got started painting this morning and didn't notice that the door to the work room was open. You can imagine how interesting this work is to a pair of kittens. Ziva Jane worked her way around the room and the activity like a little lady but not Tashi Losar he managed to get a wide swath of white paint on his beautiful dark coat.
In all honesty this pales to rest of the organizing and preparing that needs to take place before the bees arrive in early April. I have bee suits that are sorely in need of repair, feeders to clean, syrup to make and our record keeping logs to get organized. Like I said, OVERWHELMED!
I sure wish I had done a better job cleaning and storing last fall which would make all of this feel far more manageable right now. The good news, it is work I like doing and it is fairly physical which is all good. I couldn't be happier smelling the wax and tackling all that Propolis, knowing the girls will be here soon.