Thursday, July 2, 2009

Bugs In The Basement

Not only is it a song, but it's going on in my house right now.

It's time for the first honey extraction of the year. Time to drag the equipment out from its hiding places in all the corners of the basement and clean it. Time to get honey and propolis and wax all over everything. To take decadent mouthfuls of comb honey and chew the wax until the honey is gone, spit out the wax and then do it again, another big mouthful. Time to get stung by those wayward bees who were unfortunate enough to get hauled into the basement with the hive supers.

Last night was the first step. After I tidied up and made some extra space, Mark took the honey supers off the hives and put them in the basement. There's a special liquid called Bee Go that Mark uses to drive the bees out of the supers. It smells like crap. Literally. It's really potent stuff so you must be very careful that you don't get it on anything you don't want to smell it on for a long time.

Even with the Bee Go, there were a lot of stowaways for some reason. So now that means there are a lot of bees in my basement and a few wandering around the other stories of the house. Last night when Lily went up to her room to get ready for bed there was a sudden Bloody Murder Screaming. I thought for sure it was the sound of Lily being stung, because I've heard that woeful wail before, and I pictured he standing there, hands spread and shaky in a "why me?" formation. Turns out she wasn't stung, she just saw a bee. So that was good. And we all went to bed including the bees.

This morning when I tried to exit the house using my usual route through the cellar I stood at the top of the stairs looking down into the basement frozen with indecision. There was a huge pile of bees investigating honey drips at the bottom of the stairs and a thin haze of bees flying around the light at the bottom of the stairs, stray bees bouncing here and there. There was no avoiding them. There was no way for me to know what the rest of the basement bee population was doing because I couldn't see around the corner. What to do?!

My car was parked around back, I was carrying lots of stuff, and I hate walking in wet grass in my sandals. The basement was the best way to go. Then I thought about how the bees get stuck in my hair, or how they might be silently perched on you but you don't know it until Whammo, they sting you for no good reason. How once one stings you, all hell breaks loose and there I'd be running screaming from the cellar with a trail of bees following me.

Don't be a wimp I said. And I took one step down. Right back up I went and shut the door. What's the big deal, you baby, just go, it's faster. Down the steps I started again. Nope. Back up the stairs and shut the door.

This is ridiculous. Man Up! And I held my breath, made myself as small as I could, and avoided all eye contact with these irritable broads as I shuffled past and through their buzzing congregations.

Past the group around the light bulb, around the pile on the floor, avoiding the large bunch on the wall, and everybody still crawling all over the supers, (turn around because you can't resist taking a fingerful of comb honey sitting right there. Are you nuts? What are you? A bear?) I thought I was home free when I opened that door to the outside. But No! Bees buzzing everywhere out there! Double time to the car, Sister! Hop in, shut the door, and after a few moments of listening silently, breathe a sigh of relief when you neither hear buzzing nor feel that unexpected pinch and burning from a sneaky stinger.

Current score:
Sara 1
Bees 0

Mark's score is a little more complicated. While he's got probably hundreds of pounds of honey, he also got stung at least 20 times. I think we'll call it a draw for now.


Emily said...

Why do you have to do this in the house? You can't do it in a barn? My hat is off to you m'lady. I only like other bugs and spiders in my house to sleep with. Beetles, flies, those thin, light brown spiders that make there homes in the corner and create that pile of dead things they have eaten right below it. Well, you know what I mean.

Michelle Johnson said...

Oh Sara you do live the adventure, don't you. I would probably risk getting stung too for that rich, sweet honey. Have a great day.

Annette said...

Mark mentioned the impending honey extraction when I stopped in for blueberries yesterday. In one breath, he's mentioning you and I going riding this weekend and in the next, he's talking honey extraction. So I'm thinking that riding probably isn't a likely possibility. HOWEVER, other than taking Mom to the store Saturday morning, I happen to be free.

Just sayin'...

honeypiehorse said...

I love honey. Thank goodness for heroes like you. If the world depended on me for its honey there would be none.

Becky said...

Hey Yogi, howsabout a nice picnic basket? Hilarious post. Please look out for bees.

Amy said...

This is so funny. You are a far braver woman than I! Love that you couldn't resist the honey. :)

Kristina P. said...

Wow, I can't even imagine doing this! But I bet the honey is simply amazing.

Thanks for stopping by my blog! I will definitely check back for your adventures!