My father had a pile of wood lying in his driveway after a kitchen renovation. I inquired about his intentions knowing full well it was for the bin. I sized it all up and settled for as many drawer fronts as I could manage with a car already packed with the double buggy and its accompanying passengers. I had plans for those drawer fronts.
This year we are heading into the winter with two beehives instead of the usual one. Two hives had to be constantly fed thick sugar syrup over the month of September until they could take no more. It is our hope that they took enough for the long dark nights and the cold winter storms. One hive had all their honey stolen from them, while the other didn’t have a chance to make any at all. They raised a new queen only to have her fail to mate in what should have been good weather for bees to do that sort of thing. After much too long I gave up on her and replaced her with a mated queen.
Some of the kitchen drawers were chopped up accurately to make a square frame. Two big squares of knigspan insulation board were pushed neatly to make a little extra addition to the new hive. I think this insulation is the norm now for beekeepers. Instead of a closed box with a small entrance hole and a roof, we now hive the bees in a box with an open floor. The floor has only wire mesh with holes small enough to stop other bees, mice or wasps from getting in, but big enough to allow the dreaded varroa mite to fall through. Thick insulation is then added on top of the hive to reduce heat loss through the roof where most of it is usually lost.
Tonight under a fattening moon and a clear autumn sky, I added the kitchen drawers to the new hive. I also added an extra layer of insulation to the old hive. They had their winter feed, they had their varroa medicine. With gold and yellow leaves spilled all around them and the scent of the cottage wood stove in the air; I wished them all the best. The earth is turning through the seasons and I told them that I hope we will all find each other well in the spring. Then I lost myself in the moment and told them their honey tastes great with my porridge in the mornings. I realised my mistake and slipped quietly, and quickly, away before they had time to think about it.