Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Don't be expecting coherence in this post is all I'm saying.

Or rather, Bubba skied and I snowboarded. I can't do the skiing. And I haven't figured out an easy way to say that we went to snow and he skied and I snowboarded without making it sound all over-specific and forever-taking, so I just always say that we're going skiing or we went skiing or, well, you get it.

I'm over-thinking this semantics thing as always and you're used to it.

NOT THE POINT - we saw snow.

And we rode it using our preferred shape of board(s).


I don't know whether it's the extreme dire horrible depressing alarming sad lack of snow in Tahoe or my own newly developed endurance and pain tolerance thanks to the leg-eating mountain biking, but I didn't take a rest day for the first time in EVER.

Like, usually when we go on these week-long ski trips, I ride for a day or two, take a day off and then ride a day or two more before we blow town. And those final days are usually halvsies because I can't summon the physical strength or stuff my body with enough Advil to keep myself upright on the board long enough to enjoy myself.

Not this year though!

I mean, yes, I was still slow as fuck and not doing anything that a pro rider (or any decent rider) would consider ambitious or strenuous, but I did go out five days in a row, ride nearly the entire mountain in the "Biggest Skiing in America" (and they aren't kidding - Big Sky fucking massive) and did so with a modicum of grace and dignity and at speeds imperceptibly faster than previous years.

So yay for that.

Also, there was Cards Against Humanity with favorite friends, emptying of the liquor cabinet, soaking in hot tubs, woodsy snowy walks with the dog, birthday whisky flights for Bubba and lots of poor behavior and butt bruises.

See for yourself...

My last semester is underway and OH DAMN THAT WAS FAST
I'm probably not going to stop freaking out about how fast this whole going-back-to-school thing has gone by until I graduate in May, at which time I'll be freaking out about how I need to get a job or something similarly grown up and scary, so just get used to either reading it or ignoring it.

If you're ignoring it, skip to the next section now. Bye!

Yeah, so my first day of class was yesterday and, um, it was kinda the sweetest thing ever. Sweet and also sorta sad, which people call bittersweet but since that sounds cliche, I'm just saying that it was sweet and sad. Like sweet and sour but, well, not.

This makes no sense! Yay! It's a Finny post!

So, you know how you would go back to school in the fall when you were a kid and there'd be happy reunions with teachers and friends that you hadn't seen all summer because your mom wouldn't drive you all over creation to see that one friend whose family lived in the boondocks or because your best friend went to camp or whatever other tragic childhood things befell little friendships? But then you'd see those friends on the first day and it'd be all "HOW WAS YOUR SUMMER?" and "I missed you!" and "Want to grab lunch and maybe we'll get beers because WHY NOT it's a special occasion since I haven't seen you in four weeks?"

Well, it was like that and it was adorable and lovely and sweet and I didn't expect it, so it was even extra special and sweet and now I'm getting all verklempt and sappy and I hate to read that kind of shit, but there it is.

I - me - the girl who was weird and unknown and wearing shiny new red rain boots to work on the muddy farm with her style-y haircut just a scant year and half ago, has made friends that greet with hugs and enthusiastic lunch-with-beers invites and instructors that know it's my last semester so don't even ask whether I've fulfilled the prereqs for their classes and, well, it's nice as hell.

And in a few months I'm going to be sad - really sad - to go.

Fucking love it here.

Again - yay for Awesome Steve.
All was going, like, SUPER well with the beehive before we left for Montana. The girls had put up a super (box) of honey for their winter, they were having babies, foraging, hiding out taking good care of their queen, escorting intruders out of their winter den successfully - ALL WAS WELL.

I had even begun to entertain the idea that me - the most failingest of beekeepers - had actually successfully overwintered a hive of bees and this year was going to FINALLY be the year for honey and YAY.

Oh my delusion. It knows no bounds.

But about the bees pre-vacation - In addition to the overall supreme health and happiness of the hive, I even saw the queen every time I checked the hive. Girlfriend was on the job and darling to boot (she crawled up on my hand a few times and I imagined she was saying HI because I'm sappy like that).

Then we went to Montana.

When we got home, all of the bees were dead except the mighty queen.


Like, the bottom of the hive was covered with tiny fuzzy sad little bodies and there was a giant mass grave of dead girls around the hive.

The queen, in all of her regal poise, wandered the frames of capped honey and abandoned brood just...lost.

She again crawled up onto my hand, searched around for a clue and flew away briefly - returning to my palm after only a minute or two investigating the nearby airspace for a reason. A cause. Some explanation as to why her mighty colony of hard-working, gentle, productive bees had up and died out of absolutely fucking nowhere.

The waterer was still half full. There weren't any solid signs of invasion, infestation or disease in the hive itself. The weather had been warm, but not hot, and definitely not too cold. They had plenty of food stored away.

I'll tell ya - I nearly cried.

However, in lieu of crying like a puss, I let the Boss Lady crawl back into her empty (albeit full of honey) hive, collected my best and favorite swears and flipped off the sky.

Because I'm a grown up.

Then I read through some of my beekeeping books which, as usual, offered no helpful guidance, and then emailed Awesome Steve because obviously.

Awesome Steve, after reading my mini soap opera synopsis of events, asked whether anyone had been tenting for termites nearby.

WHY YES THEY HAVE. There are fugly tents all over the damn place right now.


Apparently he's lost 10 hives to nearby fumigation this year. TEN, PEOPLE. That's 600,000 bees - dead. That's enough bees to pollinate 10 acres of apple trees or five acres of almonds or, or, or...I'm not going to get all statistics and alarmist armageddon bullshit on you, but that's fucking bad.

And terribly, heart-crushingly, soul-smashingly fucking sad.

I'm sad about it.

Alas, he thinks that's probably the cause of my hive die off because of the sudden and complete death of all bees except the one who doesn't leave the hive - the queen.

So now what?

Well, that's a good question. I asked it myself, to myself like a crazy person and to Bubba like a sort of crazy person, and you know what we all said? Resoundingly even?

Welp, time to get another package of bees then.

Yep. Even with no free time to spare, a question as to where we'll live in a few months when I finish school and a history of beekeeping tragedies - I'm getting a new colony of bees. Steve put me down for a package and gave me explicit instructions about what I need to do to prep the hive for their arrival.

There are blowtorches involved, you should know.

The upside, which thankfully exists because otherwise WHOA NELLY REFILL THE LIQUOR CABINET, is that the top super full of capped honey is now MINE ALL MINE.

So, I'll be harvesting 10 full, bright, gorgeous frames of wildflower honey this weekend while trying not to cry about all of my lost girls.

Mostly, I'll just be swearing and drunk. So, normal for a Saturday I guess.

Cheers to you, ladies.


  1. I'm not a fan of bees being near me but I like what bees do so I read all the bee stuff and silently cursed along with you. I think if Little Man hadn't been within earshot, I would have been muttering, "MOTHERFUCKER" a few times. That sucks all around.

    Also, damn drought. It needs to suck a really wet egg and rain, dammit!

    1. Definitely deserves a MOTHERFUCKER.

      For rain and bees and no snow in Tahoe. Amen.

  2. OMG, that's so sad. Seriously, my heart broke a little when I read that... I realize we have to have our homes termite free, but that seriously sucks. Aside from all the work you've put into this hive, and the emotional attachment you have, there's also all that senseless loss of life caused by something so far away. This is a serious bummer.

    But look at you, jumping right back into it!

    So do you have to make sure your former bees didn't bring back something from the termite treatment and leave it in the hive to kill off the new batch? (Maybe the torch is for some sort of sterilization?) Does the existing queen get to stay and meet her new family, or does she have to be removed and replaced with a new one?

    So sorry to hear the awful news.... :-(

    1. Yeah - guess I should do a follow up post after I fix it up for the new colony, huh?

      Basically, I'll harvest the honey (yay!) and wax (also yay!), throw away the foundation (the plastic sheets on each frame that they build their comb on) and install new foundation and then torch the inside of the main boxes to make sure that any harmful spores or chemicals don't linger. Then it all goes back together and the new colony gets installed with a new queen.

      My good old girl probably only had a month or so left anyway before she was replaced with a new gal, so she's on her own until her final days. Which is the part I have the hardest time with. I've cuddled her after all. Poor dear.

      I suck at this.

  3. Oh shit. No good with the bees. I haven't yet posted about our lamb losses this year, because lambing's not done so we don't know how bad it's going to end up being, but there is a definite pathogen in the flock and we've lost almost all the lambs born so far. It's awful.

    So, I know the terrible, terrible feeling of losing animals (or insects) in which you've invested so much care. And I'm sorry.

    But yay for your badass snowboarding!

  4. You do not suck at this. We as humans suck at caring for the earth. I am SO sorry you are going through this again.


[2013 update: You can't comment as an anonymous person anymore. Too many douchebags were leaving bullshit SPAM comments and my inbox was getting flooded, but if you're here to comment in a real way like a real person, go to it.]

Look at you commenting, that's fun.

So, here's the thing with commenting, unless you have an email address associated with your own profile, your comment will still post, but I won't have an email address with which to reply to you personally.

Sucks, right?

Anyway, to remedy this, I usually come back to my posts and post replies in the comment field with you.

But, if you ever want to email me directly to talk about pumpkins or shoes or what it's like to spend a good part of your day Swiffering - shoot me an email to finnyknitsATgmailDOTcom.