Monday, September 12, 2011

Weekend Destruction

Imagine this.

You live in a sort of a cooperative. Let's say it's a three-story building full of others working for the betterment of the community. They're mostly females and you consider them to be sort of like your sisters, which they biologically are.

You work hard everyday, foraging a little out in the larger world, making your own food, storing it for the winter, looking after the young. At night, you huddle up with your sisters for warmth.

All seems well and good in the world.

And then, one day, seemingly out of nowhere, someone or some thing rips the roof off of your cooperative. This thing shakes it all up, moving stores of food hither and thither. Is it stealing your food?

You are on guard duty that day and you watch as some of your sister are enveloped in a cloud of smoke. They fall, fall, fall down the levels of the cooperative to the very bottom. What is that grey haze? It smells sweet and slightly skunky. Is that the smell of death? But no, they are not dying, they are... well, it seems like they are merely high. Woah, Dude.

Around you and them, the chaos continues. They building itself seems to be moving. It seems it is being moved by those two giant, white things.

"Sisters!" you call. "We must attack! We must defend ourselves!" You want to fight off those intruders, but you know that you can't do it alone. Your only defense is a sort of sword-like thing attached, more or less, to your butt. If you use it against these invaders, your butt will be ripped off and your entrails pulled out. You will die. In vain. BUT if only you can rally your sisters to join you. Enough of you together, a critical mass, can probably avert this attack.

"Everyone!" you shout. "Life! Liberty! Fraternity! A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse! Fight with us on St Crispin's Day!"

But around you, your sisters are shuffling their feet.

"Um, well," one of them says. "Let's just see what happens. It doesn't seem too bad. Maybe something good will come of this."

You seethe. "Good? Good?" you demand as the building around you shifts and moves and shakes. You watch, helpless, as a few handfuls of your comrades are crushed under the moving walls. You weep.

And then. It all stops. The walls are, sort of, in place. The roof is intact. Some of your food stores (along with a few larvae) have been tossed outside. And, oddly, it seems that the first and third floors of the cooperative have switched places.

You breathe. Gasp for breath. You stay on your guard, ready for another attack. You gather with the others to clean out the dead bodies and to try to recover the food lost outside.

"So, um," you say to one of your sisters. "What was that all about?"


That was what Eric and I did this weekend. It's sort of hard to explain, but we had to switch the top and bottom boxes of the hive so that the bees would be able to fill them up (and will have enough for the winter).

Afterwards, they were acting a little strange, lining up in rows on the outside of the hives, like they were getting ready for battle, but I think that was because they were trying to recover the honeycomb we had thrown on the lawn in front of the hive. We have to remove the comb because it was in the wrong places and made moving the frames and boxes nearly impossible, but we want them to recover the comb because, well, otherwise it's sort of wasted work.

Here's what they were doing:

In spite of all of the chaos we caused, our bees are very, very docile. Granted, we were both wearing our protective, full-body, white bee suits, but neither of us got stung, not even on our hands, which were bare and right in the thick of all of it. One bee somehow managed to get inside my bee suit (up the leg cuff, I assume) and didn't sting me.

Docile bees. Makes us seem not nearly as tough as we'd like to be.

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