bees and beef

Wednesday, August 17:  

We went down to the bee yard to unite the colony on number six stand with the swarm we caught on Saturday, and found it had not stayed.  We had dropped the bees from a low sapling into a box with six frames of drawn comb, covered the hive box, and stuffed the entrance with green grass to hold them there a while.  Maybe we didn’t have the queen; the drop was awkward, and a good many field bees were dislodged and took to the air.  Maybe she didn’t like the hive body we gave her; maybe it just smelled wrong.  With no swarm to unite, we might have come back on up to the house and gotten out of our long sleeved shirts and heavy boots, but as we were already in veils we first examined the supers on number six.  A week ago the number six bees were ignoring the frames in the supers, and putting all the honey they were making into cells in the main hive of two full-depth bodies.  Today, the comb in the lower super is mostly drawn, and there is some activity in that super.  This bodes well.

Traditionally we eat pancakes on Wednesdays.  The young children consider this their inalienable right, like bedtime stories and Papa’s lap, but the older ones have grown more aware of food in a nutritional light, and elected this morning to top off their eggs with ham steaks fried in the egg skillet.  Our half hams weigh about twelve pounds each; we have some we cure ourselves, and some that were cured by the farm butcher in Richmond.  Last night S-2 suggested we get one out for breakfast meat and sandwiches.  It would be easy to put on weight around here.

The trip to Bergolz for what we hope will be our last load of siding wood was combined with a stop in Richmond for the steer we delivered there last Monday.  Having a steer processed at the market means meat about five times as expensive as home-butchered:  the difference between ten cent a pound meat, and about fifty cents a pound.  This steer was split with our collaborator in Cadiz town, who pastures steers for us for part of the summer; he paid the processing in exchange for half the meat, leaving our half still about ten cents to the pound.

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