Honey Bees and Dirty Feet

Last week I went home. And by home, I mean that place where I grew up with my brothers, parents, and quite a few animals of various species. The animal population has decreased significantly since I was home for a visit last. They are down to two cats, one dog, and five ducks.

As long as we are talking about ducks, let me mention that ducks are stupid. I mean, really, really dumb. Let me give you an example. I threw a green bean at them. They were so terrified of that bloody bean that they plastered themselves to the back wall of their little house for hours. Later, my mom put out a tray of lettuce, and one duck was so terrified, it got trapped between the lettuce and their swimming pool, unable to get to the safety of its duck house. 

Dumb. And hilarious.

ariele-with-ducks

But what I was really home for were bees. Bees. Beekeeping. Honey. The Honey Harvest Open House, to be precise. Each year, my parents and I host an event where the community can come over to our house, watch us extract honey from the hives, and learn about beekeeping, honey, wasps, and more. We have had a very positive response, and it's a lot of fun to do.

In preparation, we spent two days cleaning and prepping the bees. My dad and I had a lot of fun wandering around with bees on sticks.

 This was part of a dry swarm that had been sitting in a tree for a few days.

This was part of a dry swarm that had been sitting in a tree for a few days.

 This is my dad pulling some frames out to look for queens. On this frame, the bees have built some very interesting-looking comb.

This is my dad pulling some frames out to look for queens. On this frame, the bees have built some very interesting-looking comb.

Of course, extracting honey is never as simple as you expect it to be. So while we were preparing, we ran across three separate swarms, all of which were dry, meaning they'd been out of the hive for a couple of days and had started to build comb. One was 20 feet up in a tree, and we decided it was too difficult to get to. The others were low to the ground, so we captured them, just to give them a chance over the winter. 

This is us putting the swarm in a hive.

Once we took care of the swarms, though, we were able to grab a few supers of honey and cart them down to the honey room. Then, we let the event commence!

I, being a volunteer, was allowed to sell my books at this event. So that was fun, too. Plus I get to see people I knew a long time ago, which is also fun, and family.

Basically, my dad did live bee presentations and my mom sold stuff while I extracted the honey from the hives. I wish there were two of me. That would have made the whole day a million times easier. But we had friends helping out this time, and it was a whopping success.

And there you have it: one particular day in the life of Ariele Sieling the 1st, author.

Here is a wonderful gallery of pictures from the day:

And as you saw in the first video, I do tend to wander around barefoot or in flipflops. So in case you have ever wondered what feet look like covered with honey and dirt, I will leave you with this:

Long story short: it's not pretty. :)

But, if you happen to be anywhere near Bath, NY next year, come to the Honey Harvest Open House, where you will find bees, honey, and local authors. :)