Monday, June 2, 2014
A little fox
The first embroidery from Sharon Boggin's online course is finished.
The upper left border was a killer. Good thing the Blue Jays were playing or I might have thrown the whole thing out.
You might notice two blank spots (upper right corner and bottom centre) that are now filled in. The camera battery is exhausted and having a spa day over at Electrical Outlet Central, so you'll have to use your imagination.
Now, I have to tell you a little story about a bee emergency. The hive has been divided twice this summer, as i have mentioned before. One third to revive a dwindling colony and the other third to start a new hive. The remaining gals in my backyard have been doing pretty well. They are busy making a new Queen and drones for her to mate with. That means pollen collection isn't on their minds as new eggs aren't being laid. They are flying aimlessly around the hive and having a bit of a holiday before the new Queen emerges. They have been sunning themselves on the little landing strip. A passing Blue Jay noticed the activity and has been snacking on the bees.
I was telling the bee keeper about this and neither of us thought too much about it until she realized the Queen would be emerging with a bevy of drones to mate with and the Jay might snack on her. We had one day to figure out a Blue Jay Defense Strategy. Beekeeper went the Canadian Tire and bought bird netting. She wrapped the hive in it, but it confused the bees. They stayed in on a sunny morning instead of coming out for their romping about. I saw this and hustled out in my pajamas and tried another approach. I loosened the netting so they could come out more easily but they struggle to figure out the way back in.
Version three. I took some tomato staking stuff and pulled the netting away from the hive altogether but still blocking access to the landing strip. The bees were getting a little annoyed by this time so my courage began to fail. I didn't complete the job but hoped the Jay would be confounded enough for the day. That evening, the beekeeper came by again. It was cooler and the bees had gone in for dinner. We tried the same structure but with better staking and pinning of the netting.
(My morning was spent watching these bees intently in bright sunlight and when I went to bed that night, my closed eyes saw bees flying around and around and around. It took a while to fall asleep.)
Today and yesterday the Jay has not been eating off the landing strip but has been nipping bees out of the grass. This means he has to work harder and wait for an opportune moment to grab a snack. It also, hopefully, means the Queen has emerged and gone on her mating flight. If not yesterday, then perhaps today. It is a lovely day to mate with a male and tear his innards out once copulation is complete and do it again. Such Fun.
In the meantime, I continue to watch the hive, the cat watches the hive, the Jay watches the hive, I watch the Jay, the cat ignores the Jay but threatens the pigeons and the Jay watches the hive some more. It is very exciting around here.