I’m sure I’ll post pictures here ongoingly (I love this non-word), but I’ve also started a hive album on le flickrs. The set is fetal right now, and my first hive is still a pile of wood on the back porch. But, it’s supposed to be sunny on Saturday and we kind of know what we’re doing now that we’ve cut one out. I am also hoping to have a better camera soon so we can get some good bee and honey porn going.
I know it looks like I’m doing fuck all in these pictures, but he is the cutter. He has more practice. I learned to use power tools in art class in high school, but I used them then for dubious projects like “cut legs off thrift store Barbies for repurposing into angst sculpture.” GOD BLESS my high school art teacher who had a bandsaw and let 17 year-old stoners use it. I also sawed up all my Crown Hill coop parts myself. For this project, I did a lot of measuring. I am the measurer and he is the cutter. A shared duty was arguing about “What does this part of the plans mean?”.
I’m using these plans. They are in British but they are in imperial measurements and contain this note on dimensions:
The author still thinks in feet and inches, despite all attempts to modernize him, so that is mostly what you will find used here. As a concession to people who insist on using metric measurements (a wholly artificial system, based on an erroneous calculation of the circumference of the Earth), if you convert using 1 inch = 25mm or 1 foot = 30cm you will be close enough. Anyone pedantic enough to convert using several decimal places will get the result they deserve.
Awesome. We are keeping with the plans except doing a front entrance for the bees and hinging the roof so it doesn’t need to be lifted off and set somewhere.
We decided on top bar hives in part because historically both of us have had touchy/injured backs over the years, though they’ve been mostly fine since we changed our diets last year. This is a significant consideration, because the big hives that you may think of when you see bee hives, that look like file cabinets, can be quite heavy when they need to be opened and worked. You can be tasked with picking up a “file drawer” of ~60 pounds of wood and honey, whereas with a top bar hive you can open the roof like a treasure chest lid and pull out one comb at a time, which will be more like ~6 pounds. We could handle that, even with tweaky backs. So the bees will not ever be neglected due to illness or injury, I hope.
I realized as I was emailing with a Victorian Concerns friend a couple of days ago and nattering on about bees (just like now) that the Langstroths were invented in 1852, smack in the middle of Victorian things. It seemed so right, this idea of putting bees in tidy boxes (filed away if you will) with fixed-size frames that the bees must conform to, rather than letting them build free form combs. MAN’S DOMINION OVER NATURE.
The weather has been CRAZY here. Two days ago it snowed, lightninged, and hailed in various places in the city. Lightning is rarely seen here, and snow is extremely rare beyond February, let alone April. After we’re done assembling them, I am going to have Franny paint the hives over her spring break and I hope she’ll be able to do it unhindered and undampened.
This bee chatter is just me enjoying talking out of my ass though. Where the stinger meets the choad is the 18th of this month, when the two packages of Italian honeybees get here. Something we’ve been talking about for about ten years now! Boom, accomplishment’d.