I'm in the business of bees...
I'm in the business of bees...

I guess if there’s news this early summer, it’s that I have learned to capture swarms of bees. The packages above — one mine, and one a friend’s — represent over $200 worth of packaged bees ordered throug the mail, shipped with a queen at the center in a small box. I couldn’t afford more than one, but called my local critter control folks and they started giving out my number to people with honeybee problems.

FOUR SWARMS I caught in two weeks time. The first one was almost eight pounds of bees with a healthy, somewhat pissy wild Italian queen. I brought them home in a big duct-taped box. Three swarms live in hives at my house, one was a gift to a friend.

Meanwhile I am remodeling my studio to make space for teaching. That meant making a doorway through a cinderblock wall, sorting through boxes and shelves of stuff that needed to be given away or discarded, and painting a nice fresh coat of white paint over a decade of handprints, scribbled notes, postcards and doodads on the walls. I now have three very nice electric kilns and four good electric wheels. It pays to scrounge, and know how to fix things!

I am remodeling my website, too, just because the old one I knew how to build with became so outdated that it barely functioned. I am determined to keep up with the learning curve, and my determination renews itself every time my parents call to ask my children how to operate the TV, VCR, DVD, cell phone or computer. It would be easy to be left behind with updates in technology. I just turned 48 this week, and I simply refuse to be too old to know what’s next. So I’m up after midnight, figuring out FTP and how to move big blocks of information from one service to another without losing everything. I lost a good amount of info and images already, but I am trying to be zen about it… open my fist, let it go, make room for the new. This is a new blog site, too, but I carried along an attic full of my old baggage from my previous blog. Who has time to read that stuff? Not me… but I have boxes of college diaries in the attic of my house, as well. Maybe when I’m an old lady I’ll write my memoirs, lol.

I’ll post pictures soon of the stoneware beehive I am wheel-throwing in sections — it’s in the kiln right now. Making work seems to proceed despite the remodeling, teaching at the guild, and my other part time job painting offices. I am easily distracted, and find a pressing deadline ot be great incentive to go get caught up in some unrelated project. So I am playing around with screenprinting on clay, image transfer and resist techniques.

We’re still severely underemployed, but I am so glad to live in a green, wet, relatively cool place that I hardly care. My garden is booming, flowers are blooming, I’m making strawberry jam. Tomorrow it’s cherries and mulberries from the back yard, and I’ll make a pie for my little pickers.

My boys got home today from a week at boy scout camp (we carry their dirty clothes to the washer wearing full hazmat suits, using asbestos gloves and tongs.) I took great pleasure in remaking their beds while they were gone, with clean sheets, and bedding sunned out in the breeze. A week of sleeping on the ground in a pile of dirty clothes may have given them some appreciation of life back in civilization. It’s good to have them home, as the house was oddly quiet this last week. Their troop won the camp olympics, got the Baden Powell award for general troop efficiency and innovation, and Tyler was the emcee at the closing ceremony last night. They look freckled and bugbitten, handsome and happy. Both are well on their way to being taller than I am. They are already smarter, but I can still work circles around them both.

Molly and I rode our bikes to the Crosby Festival of the Arts this morning. The weather is perfect, and the crowds were good. It was nice to see Ann Tubbs, Tom Marino and Deb Malinowski selling pots. I used to look at potters’ booths at the art fairs and think, “One day maybe I will be good enough to do that!” Now, I consider the heat and the long days, the hassle of setting up my EZ-up and tables, the pricing and sales tax, and the possibility of bad weather, and think, “Maybe a nice Etsy store this summer… ”

An afternoon at girl scout leader training “boot camp” topped off my day with a big yawn.  I understand the need for the paperwork and schoolishness of any organization, but the real world is so much more fun. Our girls have their own bee hive, and are making big plans for the Ohio State Fair. I’ll post pix in the days to come.

Off to sleep. Lots to do tomorrow!