Friday, February 14, 2014

bee my candy crush

Jonathan has a little bit of an obsession with the Candy Crush app on his iPad.  I find him trying to explode colorful candies at unusual times.  I cannot judge.  There was a certain period in college when I played so much Tetris that I started to mentally fit shapes into the blank spaces along the right hand margin where the paragraphs of my Freudian Psychoanalysis books ended.

And there's the app formerly known as Flappy Bird...

With Valentine's Day coming, and the kids in full Valentine card frenzy, I felt I needed to do a bit of research into the candy arts.  Following a brief tutorial as we were in bed one night on the basics of Candy Crush, Jonathan rolled over and went to sleep.  I woke the next morning with my face pressed into the iPad, having fallen asleep on it after trying approximately 27 times to complete Level 53.

I decided to cut myself off.  I have not played since.

What I did instead was make candy.  For my bees.  They seem, from what limited information I have, to be low on honey and in need of supplemental feed until they can find their own forage.  And so, I am in for a bit of a long haul in the feeding department, given that it's February and there is currently 2 feet of snow in the yard with more coming.

I had purchased an extra inner cover for each hive, which had been filled with candy at the Honey Exchange.  But I decided I needed to learned how to make it myself since I will be doing this for quite a while, until the silver maples start to blossom to be exact.

I am looking at you, Sylvia.

I used this recipe here.

It was quite simple.  

The kids were in the other room crafting their own Valentine's Day cards, so I was able to swipe what supplies I needed to turn my inner cover into a tray to pour the syrup into.

I did indeed almost forget to create the tunnel for the bees to escape out the upper opening and for ventilation.  But I remembered before the candy had set.

Later that night, they had hardened, and become actual candy.  

When the weather was right, I headed down and popped the tops.  Bees were everywhere in the space above the top frames and the inner covers, and so I retreated, having learned from past mistakes, and grabbed my smoker and my bee brush, realizing I was going to have to remove the bees somehow from the remaining candy in the inner cover that was already in there.

Let's just say it did not go particularly smoothly in one of the hives.  And that there were some very angry bees.  And my veil and the part of my parka that stuck out beneath my veil were covered in a lovely showing of the results of cleansing flights and guarding one's food.  Multitasking, they were.

I am sad to say that many bees that flew out at me then died in the snow around the hive.

And so, I am thinking that I may need to try another method of making candy boards.  If there is any candy left behind in the inner covers when I get into the hive, the bees are going to cling to it, and therefore removing one inner cover and replacing it with another is easier said than done.  So I think I want a filling method, where I can pop some new candy pieces in atop a structure that stays in the hive.  And therefore so will my bees.

Luckily, I had bee class on Wednesday.  Geoff and I talked about how I might be able to slide pieces of candy in on top of the frames from now on so that I do not need to try to remove bees from the inner cover again.  That sounds like a good plan.  And I kind of enjoy making the candy.

I read a few months ago about zombie bees.  Later in the morning, after I had installed the candy boards I had made, I put my besmirched parka and my veil into the laundry closet to wash, wondering how I was in fact going to be able to wash the veil.  I noticed that there were a few dead bees stuck in some of the wrinkles and velcro.  When I opened the door that afternoon, there was a zombie bee in my laundry closet, gently buzzing around.  I collected her in a dishtowel, and took her down to the beeyard.

The two inner covers that I removed sat on the counter for a few days while I waited until I could talk to Geoff about how to better give the candy to the bees.  They still had a bit of candy on them and I planned to remove it and to fit the pieces into the hives when I next visited them.

I came home to find Rory, our cat, eating the leftover candy off the board.  Her own candy crush.  We all have our weaknesses.

Needless to say, I have since packaged it up and put it in the refrigerator.

Today, Valentines Day, I went down to the bee yard to take a look and see how they had fared in the snow and ice.  They seem fine.

But I do believe, given the shape of the snow melting off the roof of one of the hives, that they like my candy.

It's there, right?  That's the definite shape of the top of a heart.  Right?

OK.  Forget what I told you about seeing Tetris shapes in college.

(Jonathan's Valentines gift to me this year was to agree with me on this.)

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