Bricks n’ Bees: Urban forest cob part IX

As locals know, it rained for an entire week, which is unusual for the Triangle area.  Roots rotted, the ground became a soggy quicksand, and there was nothing but grey skies and tears in my eyes.  Brick and mortaring were put on hold for my cob project, but I did get to work editing and filming my Comments project and rest my hands so that was nice.

Free cedar posts

This week, I made some progress on the wall, mortaring the rest of the foundation footprint, measuring out the doorway, and collecting some (future) cedar posts thanks to our good friend Matthew.

I’ll be using the cedar posts to build my roof — but first I’ll need to debark and delimb them and cut them to size.

 

Rob and Matt unloading the cedar (I helped at the end!)

Rob and Matt unloading the cedar (I helped at the end!)

Syba helping by getting underfoot

Syba, ole prancy-paw, helping by getting underfoot

Thank you Matthew for the cedar tip and trucking and loading/unloading!

Thank you Matthew for the cedar tip and trucking and loading/unloading!

 

Bees!

In addition to a full-time job, a band Ellertronic, and volunteering at Durham’s Bike Coop, Matthew is the president of the Durham County Beekeeper’s Association and the person you would want to talk to should you be interested in learning about beekeeping or why it’s important to our entire life/ecosystem.

Today, he invited us to visit some of the hives he helps keep, right on top of the American Tobacco Campus. Specifically, the roof over the Power Plant.  It’s not open access so if you’re interested in learning more you’ll need to arrange a viewing.

We took the elevator up and were given brief tips on what not to do (my favorite – don’t fall over the ledge when/if backing away from a bee) as well as a very informative story about bee society and behavior.

Today’s task was to check the hives to ensure the queen was present/laying, and that the hives were doing well since the rain had prevented their opportunity to leave (and more that I’m not well-versed enough to explain!).

Matthew is passionate about beekeeping and the best teacher you could find on the topic. And a humble-as-heck guy about his work, being sure to credit everyone involved. The work is slow, meditative, and meticulous.

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The hives. Hive sponsors choose/decorate them.

Right here, is where they are.

Right here, is where they are.

Smoke helps in handling the bees - this system has been used since invented

Smoke helps in handling the bees – this system has been used since invented (puffing smoke near/on the hives). Here, Matthew burns pine needles and fans them in preparation.

Checking each tray for eggs/queen and activity

Checking each tray for eggs/queen and activity

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That look on Rob’s face? Fear. But given the angle of these pictures, you might note that I’m even further away. Though as Matthew informs us – we really need not be that afraid of bees. He doesn’t even have a suit on here!

 

Looking closely at each frame

Looking closely at each frame – sort of a health inspector for bees

 

Suiting up, reqiured for last hive, whose trays were moved to another box.

Suiting up for last hive, whose trays were moved to another box.

 

whoa!

whoa! (look how close I got!)

 

The queen, with a blue dot (for monitoring)

The queen, with a blue dot (for monitoring)

 

We were honored to be able to learn more about keeping bees, and see Matthew in action. After these photos, Matthew went on to inspect the observation hive he has at Burt’s Bees, most appropriately.  You should check it out if you haven’t seen it.

 

Brick!

I worked a bit more on mortaring brick:

Yesterday - from "door." Mortared the rest of the footprint for the foundation.

Yesterday – from “door.” Mortared the rest of the footprint for the foundation.

 

Almost there!

Almost there!

Some brick on top was loosened in the constant rain, though mostly it held up so I am encouraged.

Next week I hope to finish the foundation, fit the door frame and start on the roof.  Correction: the next 2-3 weeks.

If you have made it this far, thank you for reading!

 

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Bricks n’ Bees: Urban forest cob part IX — 2 Comments