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Saturday, May 24, 2014

New Packages!

Yesterday afternoon, I got a message from Sam Comfort to meet him in Pine Plains, NY, at 10:30 am "somewhere close to the traffic light in the center of town." As a result, last night felt like Christmas Eve, and I couldn't sleep a wink. The packages (and a horror of  missing the right traffic light) were all I could think about!

Pine Plains. The countryside around this tiny town is amazing.

Although Mapquest indicated a 90-minute drive, the trip took far less time than I'd expected. Even with a brief detour to Tractor Supply, I still rolled into Pine Plains about 45 minutes ahead of schedule (no need to fear missing the traffic light, btw), so I rang Sam up to let him know I planned to grab a cup of tea at The Pit Stop. Happily, he was ahead of schedule, too, so I waited only about 10 minutes.

When Sam stepped through the door, he recognized me immediately, though I don't know how. Of course, I knew him from online videos -- he really does have an unruly mop of curly hair and an open, boyish smile.

Anyway, he was very kind and patient answering my torrent of questions as he helped carry my new bees to my car. I can't say enough about what a really nice person he is and what a pleasure it was to meet him.

Don't they look ready to build comb?

The drive through the country was just gorgeous. The hills looked so green and lush, and the air had a wonderful freshness from the recent rains. On the way to Pine Plains, I almost wished someone else was driving so I could stick my head out the window like a dog. It was just as lovely coming back, though I confess that I was too bubbly with excitement to pay much attention to the scenery.

Sam shakes his packages the morning of pickup, and he doesn't use syrup cans. The weather forecast for my area is pretty iffy today, too. These combined factors impelled me to install the packages as soon as I got home.

Some fanning action

Hiving the first package went perfectly smoothly until I was stung on the ankle. The second package was a bit trickier since I accidentally dropped the queen cage in the box as I was opening it. Arrgh.

I don't think they're interested in that queen cage at all! LOL!

I have gallons of honey/capped syrup that I saved from last year, and Sam recommended giving that to the bees since it was my own and I knew it was germ-free. He recommended putting it in a  jar feeder in the hive, but I mentioned that I'd gotten rapid feeders. He's too polite to say anything negative, but I think he was skeptical because he asked, "Did they work for you last year?" I had to fess up and say that I had no idea if they'd work because I'd just gotten them a few weeks ago. "Ok, try them out then and see what happens. We're all learning, and everything's an experiment." (See how cool he is? He's got years of experience, but he has a modest and generous nature, and he doesn't try to tell anyone how to run their business. He's happy to offer advice when asked, but also just as happy to let people find their own way. Try and see. That's excellent advice for everyone.)

Here is an image of the rapid feeder without its lid.
A bee (the one under the cup) found the feeder within seconds of my placing it on the hive. 

Anyway, I left the girls fanning and making orientation flights. Now it's time to let them do their own thing without any interference from me. Hmmm... Try and see. I wonder if that's something that Sam learned from bees.

My lovely assistant

Growing into her beekeeping clothes

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