The Engineer and I took a road trip to Knoxville a few weeks ago.
Joe Jackson was playing at the beautifully restored Bijou Theatre (see above) — a great excuse to head south. Plus, it was around my birthday, and we got to stop off and see Darling Daughter on the way.
And, by the way, if you’re not familiar with Joe Jackson’s music, you’re missing out. It was a wonderful show — good enough that we plan to see him again soon.
Knoxville was a delight. For once, we managed to go somewhere when they were having good weather — 50s to nearly 70 while we were there — and the city itself was charming.
Small enough to walk just about everywhere we wanted, with free trolleys available for visitors who’d rather ride.
The buildings were lovely too, lots of old brick with beautiful details.
As you can see, I have a thing for brick. There were parks too. And public art strewn about the city.
I was particularly taken with this sculpture.
Knoxville also had a nice little (free) art museum.
I think the best part of the Art Museum was the Thorne Rooms, a series of miniature rooms created by Narcissa Niblack Thorne, exquisitely detailed down to the views out the windows.
While we’re on the subject of free (as in, trolleys and art museums), I must mention the free lunchtime concert held M-S at the Knoxville Visitor Center (with two hours free parking!) The “Blue Plate Special” is supported by several local businesses and features music in a variety of genres.
Of course, exploring a city’s food and drink is an important part of any trip. (Or maybe that’s just us?) Like my blueberry-grapefruit Mimosa from the Tupelo Honey Cafe.
We also ate at Stock and Barrel (where we split a delicious burger), Pete’s Coffee Shop and Restaurant (wonderful breakfast), and Jig and Reel (a Scottish restaurant where I indulged in a Steak and Ale pie, and we were able to buy some packets of Walker’s Crisps!)
I won’t detail the breweries except to say there were enough to keep The Engineer happy, one of which was deemed to have beer worthy enough of filling his growler.
Check out the sidewalk sign at Union Ave Books. Finding an indie bookstore made me as happy as my husband was with the breweries.
On the way home, we stopped at a Liquor Barn. Ohio is funny about alcohol laws, so seeing so much beer, wine, and liquor in one place was dizzying. Thanks to an excellent salesman, we ended up buying several(!) bottles of French wine to prepare our palates for our trip this summer.
If you ever get the chance, vist Knoxville. It’s great for a few days away and would also be a good stopover on a longer trip. The people were nice, the food and drink delicious, and the surroundings pleasant.
And now … the bees.
You may, or may not, remember that last fall and the one before, we put sugar patties on top of the frames before winterizing the hive(s).
When it warmed up enough last winter and spring, we checked on Buzzers’ Roost (we didn’t yet have FreeBees), to find they hadn’t touched the stuff. When it was finally warm enough for a complete hive check, we discovered they still had honey.
This year, things are different.
Dave checked under the hood a few weeks ago (I had to work on the only warm day available). Here’s what he found.
Buzzers had eaten over 3/4 the sugar, and FreeBees slightly less.
As usual, we’re not sure what this means. Do they have more bees in the hive than last year, and therefore have consumed more honey? Are they less frugal? Did they get stuck near the tops of the hives because the weather changed too fast for them to form a bee ball near the honey?
We’re just glad we provided a safety net of sugar patties.
Both hives have had bees taking cleansing flights whenever it warms up. We’ve seen them out on some surprisingly cold (but sunny) days. And they seem to like being able to, ahem, relieve their bowels under cover as you can see by the state of the hive lids. (La Hacienda de las Apis goes over the hives, and we remove it to feed and look under the lids.)
This past weekend, before we treated them with Oxalic Acid (OA), The Engineer cleaned out the bottoms of both hives.
Lots of dead bees from Buzzers’ Roost.
And even more from FreeBees. There were also many dead beetles in the FreeBees pile, which isn’t good and may have contributed somehow to the bigger death toll.
The good news is: there were no queens wasn’t among the dead.
The next day, we checked under the lids again. Both had eaten about half the sugar, so we filled up again, and gave them some Super DFM Honeybee probiotic to help them recover from the OA treatment.
The FreeBees hive (above) still seems to have more bees than Buzzers’ (below).
We’re feeling cautiously optimistic about them surviving winter, but we won’t know anything more until the pollen starts kicking in. Silver Maples will be out soon, and we’re crossing fingers we can keep them alive until the spring flow.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have one hive (or even two!) healthy enough to benefit from the early flow?
He or she landed on our deck last weekend. No doubt s/he was eyeing the birdfeeder. This may explain the dearth of finches this year. Usually they sit at the feeders and gorge themselves, but we’ve seen very few.
Sorry about the fuzziness of the pictures. I took it with my phone through the window and didn’t want to scare away our hawk.
Initially we thought it was a Sharp-Shinned, but The Engineer did more research and discovered it was actually a Cooper’s Hawk. Turns out it’s mostly about size. Cooper’s Hawks are much bigger. Read more about them at Audubon.org.