Saturday, June 7, 2008

Do things ever go according to plan?

A lot happened today, but very little of it was according to plan.

The first bit went OK. I went up into the attic to open the storm windows. It does make a big difference in the bedrooms if there's a way for the hot air to keep rising. Didn't see any bats, which was fine by me, but did see plenty of signs that they were there. Means it's Big Brown Bats, since they're the ones who hibernate in buildings through the winter.

Then, I started out to do some mowing, desperately needed after the rain of the last few days and the current heat wave. Managed to make about three passes to the end of the field and back before I ran out of gas. Retrieved the gas can and filled the tank. Straightforward, yes? No, not. Mower wouldn't start, wouldn't start, wouldn't start.

So, I decided to do something else and give the mower a chance to cool off. Walked back up to the house to get the pruning saw with the intention of trimming some pine branches that have grown out around the beehive. On the way past, I looked over and realized the beehive had tipped over. All the supers were upside down on the ground. No damage to the boxes or frames, but it's hard to know what could have done it besides a bear. Still, I guess it's a good thing the mower ran out of gas, or I might not have gone specifically to check the beehive and wouldn't have known they needed help.

So, back to the house. I called a friend of a friend who used to keep bees to ask for help. He was out of town till Wednesday. Called someone else who I don't really know but I do know keeps bees. He was out but due back shortly. Left a message.

So, then I tried the computer. What I really should have been doing all along was writing my paper! Some program on the computer was running in the background (I never did figure out what) and the computer was running so slowly I couldn't do anything on it. Gave that up.

So, then I decided to put away some of the winter clothes that were still cluttering up the kitchen. Took a load of snow boots out to the garage and tucked them carefully into one of the plastic storage bins my sister-in-law picked up at WalMart for me last time she was here. Perfect! Reached for the lid of the bin and discovered that the lids are not the right ones for the bins. $95 worth of storage bins with no lids. Oh, well -- I expect I'll be able to trade the lids at the store, but I hadn't counted on an expedition.

By this time the temperature had risen to about 95 degrees and humidity must have been about 85%. Kept trying the mower periodically with no success. Called a friend who knows about mowers and left a message pleading for help. Decided to go to Sam's Club to get an air conditioner - one that rolls around on the floor and doesn't have to go in the window. Finally, success! They had the air conditioners in stock. Bought one & brought it home. Got a friend to help haul it up the stairs.

Had a phone call from the beekeeper to say he was home and would be happy to come over and help me evaluate the situation. More success! Went out to the carriage house and dug around till I found the bee suit and equipment. More success - not only found them, but they hadn't been chewed on by mice! Spent two hours on the hottest day of the year so far all dressed up for bees - suit, boots, long gloves, hat with net. Beastly uncomfortable, but we did get them sorted out and tidied up. Never did see the queen, so now I have to decide whether to get a new queen for them or hope that I just missed seeing her and let them try to make it on their own. They came to me two years ago - just moved into an empty hive one day. They're very good-natured, hardly needed to use the smoker today - I'd rather not lose them. On the other hand, I don't have a lot of time or money to put into them. I hate to just ignore them and let them die. What to do? What to do?

Came in from the bees and found a message from the friend who knows mowers. He'd been by to check on mine while I was at Sam's Club. He said I should plan to relax this weekend. Translation: the head gasket's shot, the tractor is thirty years old and I need to buy a new one. Oh, dear.

Computer's working OK now. Two loads of laundry are done and a third is in the washer. We've had dinner. I was just about to say things were looking up - but, as I was typing this, there was suddenly a horrendous sound from the fan across the room. A lovely chrome retro style standing fan that I splurged on at the end of last summer. The blade just dropped off the spindle in mid-spin...I'm sure it's fixable, but there I go with one more project....

It's not all that surprising, I guess, that I sometimes feel as if I never finish anything I start around here. But even though it's not easy, I sure do love this place. And there were a lot of little things I'd have missed if everything had gone according to plan, so it's not all bad.

I saw two garter snakes today that I wouldn't have seen if I hadn't been prowling around the old bee equipment. Saw the Eastern Towhee down at the brush pile on one of my trips to the mower. He hadn't been heard for a couple of days and I wondered if he'd left, but apparently not. I went down to close up the hen and saw a painted turtle who'd come to lay her eggs on the knoll by the house. They always do come about this time of year, so I shouldn't be mowing at all for the next few days, anyway. Heard a Great Horned Owl calling a few minutes ago when I walked down to check on the bees before it got too dark; also heard an amazing chorus of Gray Tree Frogs.

It's going to be just as hot or hotter tomorrow - far too hot to be healthy for mowing. Good thing I'm planning to relax!


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