Retirement and Bee Busy-ness

I worked my last day on Friday 15 April. At least that’s the theory if all goes to plan. When I retired from the library and started at the grocery store, I planned on staying for a year or two. It worked out so well I ended up staying for 5-1/2 and intended to work until next February, when I’m eligible for a (reduced) Social Security benefit.

However, after The Engineer finished work in December, and we started to plan things, even working part-time seemed to get in the way. Also, since I’m four years older than him, I began to wonder why I was still working when he wasn’t. This isn’t quite true since he’s actually doing a little contracting, but it sort of felt that way.

So, we had a look at our budget, with and without my salary, and concluded if we couldn’t live without it, then we were spending too much money.

I’m convinced we can do it, even though — as is usually the case with our monetary moves — this decision runs exactly opposite to what the economy is doing right now. I’ve gotten a little lax with my spending, and this is a good time to cut more of my wasteful habits.

In addition, we — or at least I — have reached an age where it’s time to think about how we’d like to spend the years we have left. We don’t know how many years that might be, and I’m determined to begin to do more of the things I’d have liked to do in the past if I’d only had the time.

And what might those things be, you ask? At least, that’s what everyone else asked when I told them the news.

Here’s my list:

— Clear out every cupboard, drawer, closet, shelf, and storage area in our house and cut my belongings by at least a third

— Have a garage sale with those items

— Work with The Engineer to get our house in marketable condition, sell it, and then move into a smaller place

–Start working again on my family tree

— Read (even) more

— Travel (even) more

— Take more hikes

— Go cycling more often

— Fly more often

— Volunteer for park cleanups and other one-day events

— Go to garage sales and thrift stores again with an eye to re-selling items on eBay

— Work the bees when the weather is good instead of having to fit that work around two schedules

— Possibly grow our OH Honey apiary to include a few more hives (but not too many)

Anyway, that’s enough to be getting on with. I’m quite sure we won’t be bored.

And since we’re talking about bees, I think it’s time for an update.

I am happy to announce that all three hives made it through the winter. Two seem quite strong, and the remaining one is still active, if not quite thriving on the level of the others.

We were finally able to inspect the colonies about a week and a half ago, and although we (The Engineer) only spotted the queen in one hive, they all seem to be doing fine.

As expected, two were doing a little better than the third, but all in all, they looked pretty good.

They are bringing in a lot of pollen!

Some of the pollen was light green, and we even saw some blue. (The green didn’t show up very well in the photo, and the bees with blue pollen moved too fast for me to get a photo.)

Can you see the larvae in the cells on the left?

After attending two sessions on swarm prevention, we both concluded we’ve been lucky to never have had any of our bees in the trees. Apparently, we’ve been splitting our hives rather late in the swarming process.

They’ve already been hatching drones, and we saw several queen cups. Even though we didn’t see any big queen cells, we weren’t able to see if the cups had eggs in them, so they may or may not have been the beginning of an actual queen cell. Our bees almost always have a queen cup or two in their hives, so it’s hard to say.

Queen cups in a poorly focused photo

Nonetheless, the presence of drones, and the number of bees in the colony indicated it might be time to do a split as a means of swarm prevention. I’m not going to try to explain how and why this is so because there are others who can explain it much better including Perfect Bee and Honey Bee Suite. If you really want to delve into the subject, I suggest you take a look at Swarm Essentials by Stephen Repasky. He literally wrote the book on swarms.

We decided to split the two larger hives, one at a time.

Unfortunately, it then got cold.

And we had snow.

Today, the sun is coming out, but it’s later than predicted, so we will split a hive tomorrow instead.

It’s so nice to be retired and have that option. 🙂

8 thoughts on “Retirement and Bee Busy-ness

  1. Moving is a great motivator for clearing out your house of accumulated stuff. Moved 3 times since 2014, so we have really pared down. We live really close to a thrift store, so it’s easy to drop stuff off. Enjoy your time and never feel guilty!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like your plans! I’d add visiting distant friends we haven’t been able to see for two or three years, using up some of the more unloved fabrics in my now quite small stash, finally unpacking some of my craft boxes from our last move three years ago, getting my vegetable garden started, laying out a hard stand for the caravan in front of the house, painting the front door and shutters…. well, you get the idea. And I’m already retired! Good luck with splitting the bees, I hope all goes smoothly and the weather holds for you.

    Liked by 2 people

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