Beekeeping and snow shovelling

The last few days have been quite busy ( it’s all relative!). On Friday, I took the AKB up on his offer of coffee and waded my way up the bank and the steps between the two houses in snow that was up to the top of my boots. I then had a very entertaining and informative three hours having a lesson on beekeeping, discussing the conspiracy theory of the Twin Towers and a poetry reading, amongst other things.

The AKB and his partner have owned the house for 10 years and have spent the last three renovating it, in between long trips overseas and writing poetry and stories. Whilst he says he is now nearly finished, it appeared to me that there was still some way to go! He has a very long term vision of building decks around the house and hosting musical and poetry/story reading evenings as well as dinner, bed and breakfast guests. He also intends to clear half the forest, construct deer proof fencing and plant hundreds of azaleas and rhododendrons with a view to opening the gardens to the public. It is a very long term plan!

Snow and icicles
Snow and icicles

In addition to all this, he has started beekeeping, with no knowledge whatsover. He built hives to his own design, which, unlike traditional hives, have entry at the top with an opening of a size that ensures any bugs (varroa mites etc) get brushed off before they enter the hive. The frames in which his bees build their wax honeycombs are completely empty when put into the hive (just a square wooden frame) so that the bees are able to create the honeycomb in the size that is natural to them. He found that in doing it this way, the bees produce a much thicker layer of honey on either side of the wax than the more traditional methods of using frames with the honeycombs already marked within them and which are of a size that is viewed as commercially viable and not necessarily right for the bees. His methods were ridiculed by experienced beekeepers (what did he care about that?) but seem to work.

Towards the end of our chat, he read his latest poem to me which, I have to confess, being a poetry philistine, I did not understand at all so he had to explain it to me line by line. He uses a website called Cowbird, which is a library for aspiring writers to publish their work and have it critiqued by other writers. (He can be found under the name of Hop Shore.) He has also had stories published in magazines.

Christmas decoration in Newport
Christmas decoration in Newport

Over the weekend, I did a lot of snow shovelling. The snow plough driver, for some inexplicable reason, shoves the snow up against the garage doors so, in order to get the car out, I had to move the snow, which I had been ignoring for several days. I was also expecting an oil delivery and thought that I had better clear a path to the outlet so that the driver could get to it. I needn’t have bothered! When he arrived, a small, very wiry man, who had lived in the area all his life, he just dragged his oil pipe behind him and strolled on through the knee deep snow with no problem at all. All my energy expended for nothing!

However, now that I could actually drive the car out of the garage, I took a quick trip into Newport, which has a sad lack of Christmas decorations, to get some milk and post a letter. Then it was back home to recover. I was aching all over from the unaccustomed use of muscles (what are they?) but had to repeat the exercise on Sunday to clear the other garage door as a sauna was to be delivered on a very large truck on Monday. As it happened, this never materialised, but the garage door is now clear, at least until it snows again and the snow plough returns.

Progress on the knitting
Progress on the knitting

In my spare time, I have been doing some more knitting, whilst listening to audio books, and am on to the cowl neck, so the end is in sight. It looks as though I am going to have a whole hank of wool left so I may have to move onto a hat or gloves, not that I will be needing either of those in Cuba.

I’m off now to track down the sauna. Who knows where that has ended up?!

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