Saturday, July 22, 2017

You may Bee right.

I may Bee crazy, but I'm finally following through on a desire I've had for several years to keep bees.

Far be it from me to do anything in the standard way. Rather than building or buying a traditional hive box, I recently acquired a sturdy but somewhat beaten-up highboy dresser to convert into a hive.
With its all-solid-wood construction, a thorough coat of exterior house paint, and some ingenuity, I expect it to hold up for quite some time.

I've started the new paint job. It may not look like much of a change from the old colors yet, and in fact the old colors influenced the new ones. But it will be a distinctive design, with varying shades of dusty lavender and pollen yellow set off by crisp white.

The drawers will be stocked with top bars, allowing the bees build the comb down from the top, more or less as they please. My plan is to make the second drawer from the bottom the main hive, or "nuc" in the parlance of beekeeping. This is where the queen
will lay eggs, and the workers will raise brood and store pollen and honey to feed the hive.

Each hive drawer will have two or three entrance holes drilled through the front. Unused drawers will have corks in the entrances to keep them from being colonized all willy-nilly, but once the nuc drawer is pretty well established I'll connect it to the drawer above by means of a length of tubing run between a hole on the nuc and a hole on the new drawer. This will give the bees access to more space without allowing them to build in the body of the dresser. If they need still more room before I start collecting honey comb for my own use, I'll add a tube from that drawer to the next one up, and so on, as high as the second drawer from the top.

The bottom drawer will be storage. The top drawer will be altered to provide access to the top of the drawer below it for maintenance and feeding, if necessary, while keeping that drawer closed.

You may have noticed the dresser is missing a couple of knobs. I've moved the odd yellow knob down to keep the odd grey knob company. They will soon both be lavender.

In their place on the second drawer down will be cast metal bee knobs, already looking aged and worn to perfection.

The finishing touch will be art work, like the bees at the top of this post, courtesy of Karen at The Graphics Fairy. She combs estate sales and antique stores to source print art that has fallen into the public domain. Many of these pieces she shares as free printables on her blog, along with instructions for beautiful crafts you can make with them. She also gathers images into theme packages you can access via a monthly subscription. If you just think you might want some piece of vintage art for a project, you must visit The Graphics Fairy!

Time for a cup of tea. Where did that jar of honey get to?

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da.

I haven't been very crafty the last couple of years. Life got sad and I got otherwise occupied dealing with it. But I don't want to drag down this poor, neglected blog with the details when I feel the creative juices starting to flow again!

While I may not have produced much art recently, I have been thinking about it, and some of those thoughts are finally starting to take shape in the real world. There is a highboy dresser in my backyard waiting to become something the manufacturer probably never dreamed of. There is a stack of styrofoam insulation leaning against my empty aquarium. And I still have plans to cut holes in the end of my storage shed.

What the hell am I up to with these things? Stay tuned.

And there's more, an even grander project in the works. It's a project so big I've enlisted the help of friends and colleagues across the United States to help me make it a reality. But that's all I have to say about that right now.

Life, eventually, goes on. :)