Tuesday, December 8, 2009


One of the things about becoming a beekeeper is that you have to register, and included in that process is describing where the hive is: you are required to give a verbal description AND give map coordinates. The form referred me to a website but that didn't work (no such page, it said), or failing that it suggested using a GPS device. We don't have one of those, so borrowed noe from Mac's sister. In the event, we discovered hers wasn't sufficiently sophisticated to give coordinates, but it did help me navigate my way to a friend's place in Auckland.

On the way home from Pat's place after collecting the device, we took the short cut, and discovered that the GPS device did not really approve of short cuts that take you over gravel roads!


Leaving the bush line of Mt Pirongia
Bouncing down the country driveway

*Find the nearest road*

Coming home the short way

*Perform a u-turn when possible*

Heading west down Whittaker Road

*Turn right into Limeworks Loop Road*

Turning left into Filliary Road

*Perform a u-turn when possible
Turn left into Limeworks Loop Road*

Biting into a crisp out-of-season apple,
spitting out the sticky label

*Perform a u-turn when possible*

Milky Way in the black sky
like a jarful of glitter sprinkled
across black sugar paper
by a joyous two year old

*Perform a u-turn when possible*

Over the black hills
and past the quarry
Past the point of no return
(though really I could if I so chose)

*Perform a u-turn wh.........
Continue straight ahead for 7.8 kilometres*

I’ll not perform a u-turn for u.
I’ll not go straight ahead
for a defined distance.

I’ll take the short-cut
or the long cut
the twisty gravel road
or the straight state highway

I’ll take the walkway
or cut my own path
through the tangled bush

Monday, December 7, 2009


My enthusiasm for bees and beekeeping didn't wane, despite the thought that I might not get any of my own until next year. There was an introductory talk at Whale Bay, Raglan, and Mac and I went along. Barbara then showed us her hive.

I joined the Waikato Domestic Beekeepers Association, and when I heard Barbara say that she was planning on putting a new queen cell (from Lorimers) into her hive, I asked if I could go over and watch, and help if there was anything I was able to do. That was the start of us becoming 'bee buddies'.

So, I thought I may not get bees until next year, but on 11 November, on my way back from Auckland I got a text asking me to be in Dinsdale at 7.30pm to collect a swarm Peter (from the Beekeepers Association) had caught for me. Driving as fast as I could without being (too) illegal, I made it there only ten minutes late. We put the hive, the entrance blocked up with a piece of wood, in the boot and home I went. Mac helped me lift the hive over the fence then stood well back and took photos, while I removed the piece of wood, so that the bees could get out.

Then I waited......

......................................and waited

...........................................................for three and a half weeks which was torturous.

I could see bees going in and out, some carrying pollen, but had no idea what was happening inside the hive.

Then last Sunday, after I went to Barbara's and helped her check her hive, she came over and we took a first look inside my hive. The bees had been very busy.

Peter had told me to put just 9 frames in the hive when I took it to him, and he also told me to leave the hive to settle down for four weeks: I did exactly that, but I should have put another frame in, or at least opened it when I got home and spaced the frames evenly, I think, because.......

when we finally looked, there were big lumps of comb where there shouldn't have been.

But there was also lots of brood, honey and pollen where it should be! Yay!

We removed the worst bits of inappropriately placed comb and discarded it.

Then it was time to put the lid back on and leave them in peace. They had been really calm, in spite of me not managing to keep the smoker going, but we didn't want to risk disturbing them any more.

Oh! I had better than Mac for the photography - and the neighbour's yearlings for keeping an eye on the proceedings: