Saturday, May 28, 2011

Back in the Saddle

I remember pretty clearly the day that I first perceived the beauty of sheer hard work. It's not as though I was raised by slackers, far from it. But lessons presented are not the same as lessons absorbed.

Anyhow, I was newish to my marriage and therefore to my inlaws, and we had gone up to their place for some visit or other. Maybe it was when my sister in law graduated with her PA degree, and we went up to help get ready, or it may just have been an ordinary visit.

What matters to the story, despite my nattering along, is that I watched (and helped, some) my inlaws work. They did yard work, housework, whatever needed doing, and then they took a break and had lunch, cleaned up, and got back to work. Nothing really out of the ordinary. We were all significantly younger then, too.

At any rate, the message finally found a resting place in me -- work, hard work, is in many ways its own reward. Sometimes it's the only reward. On that day, I did one of those "I want to be like them" things and it's never gone away fully.

I don't mean to suggest that I work as hard as they did or do, I'm still myself. But I'm able to dig deeper and find more effort inside me than I used to. So even though I had terrific (though fortunately shared) insomnia last night, today was really productive so far. Eventually I get to go to my nephew's 11th birthday party, so that's a few hours of a different kind of productivity.

But I got up and mixed the sourdough english muffins that were started last night from the sourdough starter, then moved some of the really rich dirt out from the old chicken coop area to a garden bed, although there's much more dirt to move. We decided not to raise meat birds, as I'd planned.

Taking a year off of beekeeping because I had no bees and hadn't gotten any swarms was something I'd seriously considered. I was a discouraged beekeeper. Yesterday, though, Eric reminded me that our vacations are built on honey sales, and then I got a call while I was at the zoo looking at baby otters. A friend's neighbor had a swarm in a tree. Although it took longer than I'd hoped and I wasn't certain I'd gotten all of them, I hived that really big swarm in two nuc boxes. Then Eric and I went back at night and picked them up -- all of the swarm had moved down into the boxes, so we had to borrow an exterior box to transport them all. Good night's work.

This morning then, we really decided to dismantle the would-be meat coop and make that area a bigger apiary. I'm hoping to have at least four hives, and to be a more conscious beekeeper this year. With a late start, I'm going to have to get my act together.

In the midst of muffining, I moved the colony into its hive boxes -- really big swarm, as I noted.

Tomorrow the cement on the metal stand should be firm enough to lift the box up and I'll get set to start admiring the real champions of hard work.


Unknown said...

It is amazing how "work" seems to flow some days, but is a challenge on others. It sounds like you had a productive and rewarding day.

Mr. H. said...

So glad you were able to find a swarm and keep the honey flowing.

"I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have." - Thomas Jefferson

Daphne Gould said...

Oh how I hated to work when I as a kid. And we lived in the mountains and headed with a wood stove with wood hauled from the woods. So I had a lot of work. Yes there was a garden and turkeys, geese, and ducks, but they were never as much work as hauling wood and slash. I have a huge lazy streak in me. So I don't know how I grew us and started to like physical labor. I appreciate it. I even used to hate all housework when I was younger, and though parts of it I still don't like, most of it I don't mind doing and even some parts I enjoy. Sadly no one else in my family like hard work, so when I need help it is hard to get them out to help me.

Chris said...

I'm getting pretty serious about beekeeping. I'll most likely be asking you lots of questions. Hope all is well!

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

I'm glad you finally caught a swarm! The swarm alert system was a dismal failure this spring.

Stefaneener said...

GrafixMuse, you're so right. I think it's weather, health, and hormone related too. Today has been. . . less productive.

Mr. H., nice quote!

Daphne, I'm with you. I was one lazy child. Fortunately for me, I was also a coddled suburban child. And in the long run, it seems not to have harmed me. My children, on the other hand, are suffering : )

Chris, often I'm a good example of what not to do. I used to garden in Tempe, AZ, and had a remarkably funny interaction once with a master gardener: Me -- when should I cut my artichoke back? Them -- you can't grow artichokes in AZ. Me -- would you tell that to the 6' one out back of my house?

Lisa, it sure was. I am also thinking of buying some hives.

kitsapFG said...

Work is not really so "work like" when it serves you or your family directly. The perspective of it changes when it is done not because you have to - but because you choose to do it.

Kristin said...

Yeah! You got your girls goin' again.