Thursday, June 27, 2013

Bee Bearding is the New Cat Bearding

It's been hot here the last couple of days.  During the week I don't really notice it that much because my office is a chilly 60 degrees during the summer.  Seriously, most of the girls in there have heaters under their desks because it gets that cold.  I have to dress in jeans and sweaters and only notice the heat when I drive home. 

The bees, however, definitely notice the heat.  When I came home over the weekend, Mike told me to grab my camera because they were bearding.  After I asked what the hell that meant, I did as I was told and headed behind the garage with my camera ready to check it out.  For those that don't know, "bearding" is when the hive gets really hot and some of the older bees gather on the outside to keep the hive from getting too hot, and to let the worker bees have space to do their thing.  Here's a quick article I found to explain it a little better.

Mike first took off the board that covers the back entrance to provide more ventilation.  He put it on top of the fire pit because it was covered in bees.  They hang out for awhile, but then realize they're not in the hive and eventually fly back home.


The hive is behind the garage which is shaded by our neighbors tree, so it's a little cooler, but it was in the high 80's over the weekend.

At first, I was a little in shock at all the bees at the entrance, (so much so I forgot to change any settings on the camera).


I'm not sure what's going on with the buckets holding the roof down, but if Mike did it, he had some sort of reason to.  Also, now you can see why I've been begging for a new fire pit.  I think the plan is to scrap that one eventually.

The hive's entrance is usually busy with bees coming and going, but it looks more like this on normal days.  The top white bar is removable and has a couple different size holes which allow the bees to better protect the hive. During the really active months we remove it altogether and it allows more bees to come and go, not to mention better ventilation.


It didn't take long for me to get closer.  I'm not one to get skittish around them, I mean I did bring them home like this in the back of my car back in the day:


It's so crazy to me that they all just hang out like this and meanwhile the worker bees are still flying in and out, continuing to collect pollen and/or water.


Some of the bees close to the opening will regulate the hive's temperature by clinging to the board and flapping their wings to bring in cooler air.  It's hard to photograph, but really neat to watch.


People always ask if I'm afraid of the bees.  While I don't do a lot of the hive maintenance that requires actually opening it up like Mike does, (I'm usually making the bee food if needed, while he opens it up to put it in), I do like to go back here to check it out. 

At first I would only go back with the full jacket and hood, and long pants.  But, now I'm more confident and head back wearing whatever I want.  I've never been stung by any of our honey bees, (and probably never in my past either, since people who think they've been stung by a bee usually get stung by wasps, not honey bees, since honey bees usually only bother you if you're pissing them off).  I've learned how to approach the hive, and when's the best time to check them out.  The bees have a path that they use to fly in and out of the hive.  It's actually around the hive in the opposite direction of the photo above, (something I'm very aware of when on the off-chance I'm mowing the yard).  And, they are active during the day, but are very calm at night and early morning.

To prove what a bad-ass I am I took a picture of what I was wearing when I took these photos. 


I think my status of a bad-ass is greatly reduced when I wear Mike's crocs, but I still feel pretty confident around all our little bees.

And, if that wasn't enough bee knowledge for one day, I noticed something in the first photo while I was writing this post.  The big-butted black bee, (that sounds bad), in the middle of the board on the left is a drone. 


There are 3 types of bees in a hive, the Queen bee, the worker bees, and drones.  Drones are the males.  They don't have a stinger.  Pretty much their only job is to mate with the queen.  Actually, come winter time they get kicked out of the hive to die.  Rough life, but it's kinda cool how the hive is is so woman-centric. 

Drones and bearding.  Hope you learned something new!  I know I'm constantly learning new things even about my own pets!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Ding Dong, the Rug is Dead

Last time I shared that I had bought a new rug for the living room.  Well confession time, I had actually listed our old rug on Craigslist before I had officially told Mike I wanted to buy a new one.  I figured if I got money for the old one it wouldn't be so bad buying a new one.  As is Craigslist, it could have sat for weeks with nothing, or, as luck would have it, someone would buy it right away!

I listed it last Tuesday, and Sunday night we got a call to come check it out.  I asked $100 and ended up taking $80 for it.  I always ask a little more than I'm willing to take it for, knowing that Craigslist is all about the negotiation.

The room's looking a little bare nowadays:


File this under "real life", also "I'm too lazy to get the real camera so my iPhone is good enough".  The rug pads are sitting on the chair and I'm in a pillow transition at the moment, so I've piled all the old ones in the basket in the corner.


The floor still looks amazing and was actually really clean under the rug, but I hope to clear out the room and deep clean everything before we put it down.  (I'm not one of those good housekeepers who regularly rotates and cleans under full size rugs very often).

My new rug just shipped yesterday, so it's not here yet, but I'm glad the old one is out to make it easier when it arrives.  And, with $80 for the old one, (which we bought new for $200), and the new one costing only $180, it's like I'm getting a new rug for only $100!  It's this logic that I use on Mike all the time to get new things.  His response is usually, "but we could not spend any money and live with the perfectly fine (insert random house object here)".  Where's the fun in that?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

New Changes in the Living Room

After my surgery we thought we'd jump right back into house related projects, but then we remembered we had a not-so-little event happening at the end of August.  Oh right, just our wedding.

So, while it may seem that we're not doing very much over here, I've been a busy bee working on all the projects we are making for the wedding.  A lot like our home, we've decided to do a lot of it ourselves, and while some people think I'm crazy for not delegating, I live for this stuff.  Seriously, the contract negotiations of the real vendors stressed me out, but creating 125 custom favors and handmade centerpieces, this is my idea of fun.

Since I've decided not to share wedding details here on the blog, (a lot of my readers are friends and family that are invited and I didn't want to ruin any surprises), it might be a little slow for the summer. That being said, I can't completely neglect the house, (even though more and more space is being taken over with wedding paraphernalia everyday - the dining room is pretty much more boxes than usable space at this point).

I've written about my dislike for our living room, (evidence here, here, and here), and the biggest offender is the rug, (which I mentioned while shopping for the rug in the basement here).  I have a bad habit of having to complete a room all at once, instead of letting it grow over time, and the large rug was definitely a purchase strictly to get a neutral-ish rug that would fit the space, all within our budget, which at the time that we moved in was pennies.  So the $200 Ikea Persby seemed like a good idea at the time.
  

 
It's giant, 10' x 12', and is a great size for anchoring the seating area and creating a foyer area next to the front door.


But those swirls, ugh!  And the color was starting to annoy me.  It's a little more yellow than I wanted.  Moral of the story, I've wanted it gone, for years now.

So, I've had my eye out for a direction that I want to take this room and I'm really drawn to the styles of Dana from House*Tweaking's new home and Chris Loves Julia.  They both have a more masculine feel to their styles and in my opinion incorporate textures really well.  So, I looked at the type of rugs that they have, and immediately fell in love with the textured jute rug that Chris and Julia have in their front room.  It was as if my living room finally found it's purpose!

Image from Chris Loves Julia

So, I pinned the link to the rug from Rugs USA a couple months ago and have been stalking it ever since.  At the time I pinned it, it was 50% off and free shipping and I was working up the nerve to sweet talk Mike into letting me buy a new rug, when in his mind there's nothing wrong with the perfectly good one we have now.  Usually when this scenario happens I wait too long and it's no longer on sale.  This time something crazy happened and my procrastination actually worked in my favor, because the price dropped even further to 65% off.  For the 8.5' x 11.5' one that I thought would work it was originally $536, and at 65% off would come to $187.60.  Seriously, I had to use all my persuasive skills because I.had.to.have.this.rug.  The under $200 price tag made it that much easier to persuade Mike.


I finally got up the nerve to ask Mike and although he isn't completely sold on the new rug yet, he relented that I could buy a new one.  (Disclaimer - I technically don't need his permission to buy purchases, he's not a crazy dictator or anything, but as this is just as much his house as it is mine, although technically it could be argued it's more Benelli's than either of ours, I like to have his support when I make big purchases or change a room dramatically.)

So, last night a pulled the cord and bought it.  I've listed the old one on Craigslist, but we'll see if we get any bites.  Even with all the excitement and focus on wedding projects I can still get excited about finally moving this living room in the right direction.