I’ve decided to pull the plug on Mud Songs instead of letting it fizzle out and die. Here’s why: When I first began beekeeping in 2010, I kept my hives in my urban backyard and was engaged in a daily fascination with the bees because they were constantly present. I saw the bees every single day, even in the winter, and loved every minute of it. I was glad to share my experiences so others might learn from my stumbles and bumps and little successes along the way. In the summer of 2012, though, I had to move the hives to a rural location because my next door neighbour complained to the city about the bees buzzing around her yard too much. Pretty much overnight, the fuel that fired most of my interest in beekeeping — the constant presence of the bees — was gone. My time with the bees dropped from several hours a day to maybe a few hours a month and none of that time involved the leisurely observations — watching the bees all day — that I was accustomed to when the bees were in my backyard. So that’s it. Even though it’s more work than pleasure these days, I’ll continue to keep bees. But until I have them on my own property again and can reconnect with the fascination I experience from being around them all the time, I don’t see the point in maintaining this web site. The driving force behind most of what I’ve done with Mud Songs is gone. The bees are gone. Not completely gone, but gone enough. With any luck, though, I’ll be back in business within a year or two, chilling with the bees in a different backyard like I used to. Thanks for hanging in there with me. Take care.
January 17th, 2014
St. John’s, Newfoundland
Read on . . . »
For anyone who didn’t get the memo, I’m on vacation from the intertubes until sometime in the fall. I’m thinking about turning Mud Songs into an off-season website, anyway, something I poke around with during the winter when I have more time on my hands. About 95% of the daily visitors to Mud Songs read items I published more than six months ago. That means most of the useful content is not time-sensitive. So it can wait. I’ll swing by again sometime in September, October, maybe November, to report on my summer of beekeeping. I’ll still be around to read and respond to comments. I just won’t be posting anything new for a while. Have a good summer.
Uuuuuuuuh. I have a serious case of beekeeping burnout. One of our hives swarmed about seven weeks ago; one of our neighbours had a bad experience with our bees; we subsequently trucked our hives out to a farm thirty minutes outside the city; we’ve had to borrow a vehicle once a week to attend to the bees for the past four weekends; we caught a swarm out on the farm (okay, that wasn’t too bad); we’ve had to take swarm prevention measures with monster hives growing out of control every weekend for the past month (okay, that was pretty bad); and yesterday we had to requeen a hive and tear down some monster hives to make splits. Uuuuuuuh. This is my favourite photo from yesterday because it accurately captures my state of mind:
Yesterday wasn’t horrible, but it was a long, long day. I am so tired.
We have to check out the bees next weekend and they better damn well be great. We plan to load them up with more honey supers and leave them alone for two weeks after that while the honey flows are shifting into high gear, and then we’ll come back from our vacation from the bees and steal their honey. And don’t anyone try to tell me, “You shouldn’t leave the hives alone during a honey flow because the queens could get honeybound…” — blah, blah blah. I don’t want to hear it.
I set up our camera close a hive entrance a couple days ago with the intention of playing back the video and counting how many bees entered and exited the hive in 60 seconds. Futility is the word for that. But here’s some of the footage I used, some of it in slow-motion and cropped in close (so it’s not the highest resolution). It’s just a video test, only for purists.
I’m trying to find a file type that doesn’t produce the ghostly after-image of the bees flying. It may look kind of cool, but it looks better in the original HD without the after-image. If anyone has any tips on how to encode a video file for upload so it doesn’t do that, I’m listening. Thanks.
Here are four and a half minutes of photos from our first 567 days of beekeeping. It’s not a “best of” collection, but it’s the best I could put together in 20 minutes (there are more photos of bees than beekeeping per se). It should look half-decent played back in full screen at the highest resolution. Recommended only for purists. There’s no music, but I originally had some Geoffrey Oryema on the soundtrack and it was good. You’ve probably never heard of Geoffrey Oryema, but he tends to make quiet night music with lots of echo. Or maybe Herb Alpert and The Tijuana Brass is more your thing. Whatever floats your boat.
480p, 720p AND 1080p PLAYBACK ARE AVAILABLE. FULL SCREEN MODE IS THE BEST.
2011 wasn’t a good year for beekeepers on the east coast of Newfoundland. We had a late wet spring, a short cold summer, and we (i.e., the royal we, as in I’m talking about yours truly) made plenty of mistakes along the way. But we managed to harvest about 20kg of honey from our two established hives and it was all worth it.
Here are some photos from 2011 (about 100 photos, approximately 5 minutes):
Read on . . . »
I know some new beekeepers in eastern Newfoundland who read Mud Songs from time to time. If you’re reading this around 1pm on Friday, now would be a good time to weigh down your hives if you haven’t done so already.
According to the CBC, Hurricane Maria should smack into us right about now with winds around 120km/h (75mph), plus a whole lotta rain. My hives are well protected from the wind and have weathered through worse storms than this. But if your hives are out in the open, you might want to take some precautions.