My Brother versus the Honey Bees

By N. M. Cedeño

Photo courtesy of a neighbor. Beehive in the wall of my brother’s house.

What would you do if you discovered honey bees had moved into a wall of your house? My brother, who lives near Dallas, Texas, had this issue recently. Here is what to do.

In the thermal image bee activity is purple. Red is hive.

First, you call a beekeeper. The beekeeper will come to your home and takes thermal images of the area of wall where the hive is believed to be located. In my brother’s case, the hive was between the floors of his home. The bees had found a hole to enter between where the brick-covered ground floor ended and the HardiPlank covered upper story began. Based the on the thermal images, the beekeeper estimated 3 cubic feet of hive had been built between the exterior wall of the house and the floor joists supporting the second floor. The bees were under the floor of the upstairs master bedroom!

Next, you send notice to all your neighbors warning them to stay indoors and keep their pets indoors at the date and time of the removal. The beekeeper, in a piece of masterful understatement, said this is necessary because the bees will become “defensive” when he starts to remove the hive. And, 60,000 to 70,000 “defensive” honey bees are not to be trifled with. The extraction cannot be done during the workday. Instead, in order to remove as many bees as possible, the bees have to be removed around dusk as foraging bees return to the hive.

Putting the honeycomb in a frame.

On the day of the extraction, the beekeeper arrives and goes to work removing the bees and their home. For my brother, this meant the HardiPlank and plywood exterior wall on his house by the hive was removed, exposing the insulation. Insulation was removed to reveal a massive bee hive. The beekeeper went up and down a ladder for several hours, carefully cutting down panels of hive and inserting them into hive boxes that he brought with him, cutting the honeycomb to fit as needed. (For the enormous hive in my brother’s wall, a single box was not sufficient.) As he accomplished the removal, the beekeeper searched for the queen. Her capture was vital to the process. If he could find her, her colony would follow her.

If you are a normal person, you hide safely out of the way while the bees are extracted, allowing the beekeeper in his white protective suit to handle the matter. My brother, on the other hand, constructed a protected space for himself on his lawn: mosquito netting over a framework under which he placed a chair, so that he could sit and observe the beekeeper as he worked, with tens of thousands of angry bees buzzing around him.

The beekeeper working and my brother in his “safe” space. Picture from the neighbor.

Then, you, um, get a pizza delivered. As the hours went by, my brother in his netting safety cage, became hungry. So of course, he ordered a pizza to be delivered. But, how could he retrieve the pizza without endangering himself or the delivery person? Well, the hive was on the front of his home. He would see the driver arrive. It would be a simple matter for the beekeeper to walk over and accept the pizza, bring it to my brother, and slip it under the netting. The beekeeper agreed. So when the driver arrived, he stayed in his car, and the beekeeper asked him to lower the window just enough to slide the pizza out. This process worked as planned. Neither the delivery driver nor my brother was stung.

I suspect that the pizza delivery driver had never delivered to a fully suited beekeeper before. Hopefully, he wasn’t traumatized by the experience. My brother says he tipped the driver generously and shared the pizza with the beekeeper.

Honey comb in a bag. Picture by my brother.

Hours later, the bee hive is finally completely removed from the wall, and you get to taste the honey. The beekeeper supplied my brother with a chunk of honeycomb in a plastic bag. My brother reported that the honey tasted good. The next day, my brother received more news from the beekeeper. The hive had contained two queens, a mother queen and a new successor queen who had just emerged. The hive would have split with about half the bees swarming to follow the exiting queen, possibly within a matter of hours, if the beekeeper had not removed the hive when he did. With two queens and approximately 70,000 bees, the beekeeper was hoping to get two producing hives from the original one. A few days later, the beekeeper brought my brother two jars of honey.

Finally, the hole in the side of your house has to remain open for two days to allow bees from other hives to raid what is left behind. The raiding bees perform the final cleaning process, extracting any remaining honey. After two days, my brother got to repair and repaint his home. He planned to caulk very well to ensure no new bees move in.

***

N. M. Cedeño writes short stories and novels that are typically set in Texas. Her stories vary from traditional mystery, to science fiction, to paranormal mystery in genre. Her debut novel, All in Her Head, was published in 2014, followed by her second novel, For the Children’s Sake, in 2015. In 2016, For the Children’s Sake was selected as a finalist for the East Texas Writers Guild Book Award in the Mystery/Thriller category. Most recently, she has begun writing the Bad Vibes Removal Services Series which includes short stories and the novel The Walls Can Talk (2017).

Getting Out of Bed by Stevie Turner

Writing Wranglers and Warriors
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Stevie Turner
Posted by Stevie Turner

For all of you living with stroppy teenagers, I thought I’d tell you of the time back in 1995 when my then 13 year old son Leon was at his worst…

Leon never wanted to get out of bed in the mornings.  On school days it was the devil of a job getting him out of the door.  He would lie in bed later and later.  All the shouting and cajoling had no effect.

It got to the stage where my husband had to physically lift him out of bed and put him in the car, still in his pyjamas.  He would then get dressed in the car as my husband drove him to school.  He would have had no breakfast, as he had refused to get out of bed.

This carried on for some months, until I returned to work.  I made an arrangement with another mother that my husband would take their daughter to school along with Leon, and she would bring Leon home at the end of the day, where my mum would be waiting for him.

On the evening before I went back to work I warned Leon that we would be taking one of his female classmates to school, and that he needed to get out of bed earlier in order to get dressed.  Did it work?  No… it did not.

There was Leon sitting half asleep in the car in his pyjamas, and a dainty teenage girl sitting on the back seat trying not to grin.  Of course he now couldn’t get dressed because the girl was watching, and so he turned up for school in his pyjamas.  He had to run into the boys’ toilets, get dressed, and then bring his pyjamas out to my husband who was waiting in the car.

Funnily enough that was the first and last time he ever went to school in his PJ’s, and he never had any trouble getting out of bed after that.  Now I have to laugh when he complains that his own teenage daughter won’t get out of bed in the mornings!

*****

 

Stevie Turner works part-time as a medical secretary in a busy NHS hospital, and writes suspense, women’s fiction, and humorous novels in her spare time. She won a New Apple Book Award in 2014 and a Readers’ Favorite Gold Award in 2015 for her book ‘A House Without Windows’, and one of her short stories was published in the Creative Writing Institute’s 2016 anthology ‘Explain!’.

Stevie lives in the East of England, and is married with two sons and four grandchildren. She has also branched out into the world of audio books, screenplays, and translations. Most of her novels are now available as audio books, and one screenplay, ‘For the Sake of a Child’, won a silver award in the Spring 2017 Depth of Field International Film Festival. It is now being read by a New York media production company.

Stevie can be contacted at the following email address: stevie@stevie-turner-author.co.uk

About Me: https://about.me/stevie_turner/

Website http://www.stevie-turner-author.co.uk

Amazon page: http://bookShow.me/B00AV7YOTU

Blog:    https://steviet3.wordpress.com/

 

My Name is Leonard

propic11_1_1This post by L.Leander, Author of Fearless Fiction

My name is Leonard. I am a beautiful, buff male kitten, if I do say so myself. I haven’t hadunadjustednonraw_thumb_1bd much of a life up until now because my sisters and brothers and I were turned over to the Humane Society. I had to share a big cage with lots of other kitties. I tried to get them to play but they weren’t too much fun.

A couple of days ago I was neutered, and if you know what I mean, you know I didn’t appreciate it much. Someone put a sign on my recovery cage that said I was up for adoption. I might have liked a couple more days to recuperate, but no one asked me.

The other day some people came in with a Service Dog (a Shih Tzu) and one of my handlers unadjustednonraw_thumb_200came in to get me and put me in a room with the people and the female dog named Patty. I tried to get her to play, too, but she told me to go fly a kite, so I sat on the man’s lap, and then sat on the woman’s lap. I was on my best behavior – after all, I wanted a forever home. I wasn’t sure about the dog, but I figured if she tried to bug me I’d just use my claws to let her know just who is boss.

I was very excited when I found out I was being adopted. Dreams of all the kitten chow I could eat and maybe at least one toy that is just for me floated through my head. I wasn’t too fond of the ride home, because they put me in a box. Can you imagine that? A box! Even if it said Cat Box I wasn’t too impressed.

When we got home I did get some toys just for me but the dog kept playing with my feathers and bell toy. That first day I got to know my new parents but Patty the dog acted very uppity.

I ignored her. My dad loves his coffee and I like to share it with him. Mmm, what a goodunadjustednonraw_thumb_1b3 taste. It has cream in it and, well, everyone knows cats like cream. I found a favorite place to take a nap but my mommy got a little upset with me. It’s the dish drainer, just long enough for me to stretch out.

Patty sits on my dad’s lap all the time. So I thought I’d show her who is boss. I climbed all around my dad’s head and then cuddled up next to the dog to be nice. She jumped off the chair – not very polite if you ask me.

I spent another day exploring the camper I am staying in for the summer. There are lots of places to hide and I like to torment Patty because she can’t get in the spots I can. Yesterday I finally took a nap on my dad’s chest and Patty stayed in his lap. Later she let me lay by her but she still doesn’t want to play with me much. I guess I have to be patient.

Update: My family has moved home from the lake for the winter and I’m happy to say I unadjustednonraw_thumb_1a2finally won over that darned dog. We have lots of fun together now, running through the house chasing each other, grooming each other and sleeping together. If my mom would settle down a little it’d be nice. She really doesn’t like it when I jump on the kitchen counters or the table. She squirts a water bottle at me and since I don’t like it I get down. But if she only knew the places I explore when she’s gone! I try hard to get out of the house every time the door is opened but so far I haven’t gotten very far. One thing I just love – when Patty has to go outside she gets a treat when she comes in. My dad gives me three little treats first and then gives Patty a bone. I’ve got it all figured out now and I stay close to the door when they go out ‘cause I really like those chicken treats.

That’s all for now, except I really love my new home. I feel very lucky to live with such nice people and Patty. I’ll keep you posted.

Books by L.Leander:

Inzared Queen of the Elephant Riders Video Trailer

Inzared, Queen of the Elephant Riders

Inzaredonecover

 

Inzared, The Fortune Teller Video Trailer

Inzared, The Fortune Teller (Book Two)

inzaredtwocover

 

13 Extreme Tips to Self Publishing

Linda's book

 

13 Extreme Tips to Marketing an Ebook

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You can also find L.Leander here:

L.Leander Books

Amazon Author Page

Facebook Author Page

L.Leander’s Book Reviews and Interviews

Twitter

LinkedIn

Goodreads

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Posted by Kathy Waller
Very long, but sort of necessary

 On January 29, I was diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer. Two kinds of cancer are present, not a common occurrence. One kind is aggressive but easier to treat than the other, which is slow-growing. There is a lesion in each lung. One was biopsied, so we know which kind it is. My oncologist said there’s no reason to think the lesion in the other lung is the same kind, but since that lesion wasn’t been biopsied, we don’t know. The radiologist preferred not to biopsy it because it’s near the heart. Sticking needles near the heart isn’t a preferred protocol.

Before I go further, I must say this: Please don’t say you’re sorry. I don’t feel ill. I have no symptoms except one lump I can feel. I’m sorry–really, really sorry, big-time sorry–I’m in this fix, but I already know you’re sorry, too, so it’s okay not to say it. Hearing it can be a bit of a downer. 

I announced the diagnosis to a friend over lunch. We discussed the situation from all sides. Before we parted, she said, “You know this is an opportunity to write.” I said, Yes, I’d already thought of that.

Newbie writers repeatedly ask themselves–and each other–When can I call myself a ***writer*** without feeling like a fraud?

Answer: When no matter where you are, or what you’re doing, or what you’re feeling, you think, I can write about this.

From now on, when people ask what I do, or what I am, I shall say, in a firm and forthright manner, as if they’d better believe it or else, I am a writer.

I responded to the diagnosis with a combination of O God and Okaaaayyyyy…. The oncologist spoke of palliative care and statistics. I despise the word palliative, and the statistics were mind-boggling, and not in a good way. But I told David I’m going to fight, and he said he was, too. I said I was going to be happy while I fought. He said, “That’s what fighting is.” I’ve never heard a better definition.

When a navigator (survivor) from the Breast Cancer Resource Center (BCRC) called to introduce herself, I told her I hadn’t read the stack of literature the surgeon had given me–a looseleaf notebook, a spiral notebook, and a passel of booklets–because after glancing over a couple of pages, I decided I didn’t need that much information. I said I guessed I was in denial. She said a little denial can be a good thing.

I dumped the stack of paper in David’s lap and invited him to read it. He did. He’s a good person. A brick, if I may use an old-fashioned word that sounds funny now but in this case isn’t. He takes copious notes, asks questions, knows what meds and chemo drugs I take, records appointments on his calendar, remembers what other questions we need to ask, and and and…. He can recite most of the info from memory.

I’ve vowed several times to step up and take more responsibility for the fight. To date, I’ve learned which anti-nausea pill to take first and which to take if the first one hasn’t worked. I know chemo #4 is scheduled for April 15, too, plus a few other random facts.

On the not-denial side–and to date–for a few days after a chemo infusion, I feel kind of meh but generally okay. However, I become fatigued easily. But I forget about the fatigue and do too much and then pay for it. The oncologist said, “Yeah, everybody does that.” The first time, I paid with a day in bed. Then, a couple of weeks ago, I stayed up half the night, three nights in a row, trying to write three hundred words for a guest blog, and paid for over-reach by thinking, What if the chemo doesn’t work?

The good old What if?

The thought had already crossed my mind, of course, but this time it was accompanied by the line from It’s Always Something, Gilda Radner’s account of  her experience with ovarian cancer:

I had wanted to wrap this book up in a neat little package. I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned the hard way that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end.

I’ve not read the book, but a long time ago, I read that sentence, and it stuck.

The BCRC navigator called again to see how I was getting along. We I met for iced tea and conversation, and I unloaded a couple of million words on her and said I would attend a meeting of a group the oncologist had strongly recommended (twice already). I perked up some more. But then came the third visit with oncologist. He ordered a CT scan to check progress, as in, Is the chemo working?–and the possibility of No surfaced again. After a while, No morphed from possibility to probability. Then it began to feel like a prediction. More sighing, combined with an undeclared expectation of the worst.

But I knew that surgical oncologist Dr. Bernie Siegal says cancer patients must tell the truth, that if you go around claiming, I’m fine, just fine, your subconscious, which takes words literally, will believe you, and won’t tell your body it must fight. He recommends using a grading system: When you feel like C-minus, admit it. So I told people who asked, and some who didn’t, that I was a D-minus: scared to death.

Anyway. I had the CT scan yesterday afternoon. The oncologist had stressed that he wanted me to have the results by the second day at the latest–I like him a lot–so if we hadn’t heard by then, to call his office.

Later I realized that when you have a scan on Thursday, the second day is Monday, which leaves a weekend of not knowing in the middle.

But. Here’s where things get better.

The oncologist called Thursday afternoon, not two hours after we left the imaging center. One lung lesion has almost “resolved,” the other has reduced in size by nearly half, one lymph node has reduced significantly. However, a lymph node near where the bronchial tubes branch off from the trachea has enlarged significantly. He said it could be just “reactive,” doing what lymph nodes normally do when you have, say, a cold–but not to count on that. We’ll follow it closely, see what it does, and if it doesn’t shrink, figure out what to do next.

In short, this is a mixed result, but the oncologist is pleased. What pleases him pleases me. So I’m pleased.

Backing up a bit, at our second visit, oncologist asked whether I had more questions. I said, “No.”

He said, “Okay. Well, your next question should be, ‘How will we know the chemo is working?'” I told him I’d assumed he’d get around when he was ready.

Now, Dear Reader, your next question should be, Why did it take you so long to write this post?

For a variety of reasons, I suppose. Because I’ve only now decided how to approach the topic. Because I wanted to hear some good news before writing. Because I wanted some grounding–I like certainty; even relative certainty–before writing.

Because I didn’t want to.

Because writing about any subject makes it real.

Years ago, I put off writing a letter because I’d have had to say in it that my father had died. I still haven’t written that letter. Writing it would have made the death real, and I preferred it stay as it was, hovering on the edge of reality.

Writing about Stage IV cancer would have made every detail, every statistic, real. I wasn’t ready for that.  Now it’s okay. It’s real, not like it was yesterday with No in the ascendant, but real with mixed but pleasing results.

Ending tacked on Tuesday night: That’s the post I wrote last Friday, or most of it. I started working on it during chemo infusion #3 and continued that evening and into the night. Chemo drugs seem to invigorate me. Sunday, however, the crash came. The “flu-like” symptoms the oncologist had been asking about finally hit. That lasted only thirty-six hours or so, and it could have been worse. However, it left me in a nasty mood from which I haven’t emerged.

Last Friday, this was a chirpy post about adventures in breast cancer. Tonight–or, as it will probably post tomorrow, the 30th, a day late–it’s a non-chirpy post written by someone who’s in a nasty, nasty mood. Because I took all the chirpy parts out.

I shouldn’t admit that. Even if it’s evident, I shouldn’t admit it. I should pretend to be chirpy. I really, really should. That’s what nice Southern girls are supposed to do. Chirp.

But I remember the name of the English honor society I joined in college: Sigma Tau Delta. Sincerity. Truth. Design.

And I think of Dr. Siegal: If you’re feeling D-minus, say you’re D-minus.

So what this post lacks in Design, it makes up for in Sincerity and Truth. Tonight, I’m D-minus.

Having said that, however, I think tomorrow I’ll be much improved.

###

Oh, all right. As long as I’m already late, I’ll mention one achievement: After watching selected videos on YouTube, I have learned to wrap a scarf into a turban. For one devoid of manual dexterity, that’s big. The first two times we appeared together in public, the turban stayed put, and I received compliments. During Friday’s chemo, filaments of fringe kept popping out. They looked like little bitty antennae.

Obviously, Friday’s edition was poorly engineered from the get-go, because as soon as I got home, one end slipped out and draped down the side of my face. Fringe crawled over in front of my glasses.

I reminded myself of Lord Byron in Albanian dress. Except Byron’s headgear probably isn’t called a turban.

And he’s absolutely gorgeous.

I look like I wrapped a scarf around my head, and shouldn’t have.

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###

Kathy Waller blogs at Telling the Truth, Mainly and at Austin Mystery Writers.

 

 

 

 

Coincidence or Synchronicity?

Steph_2_cropped. jpgBy Stephanie Stamm

Merriam-Webster defines coincidence as “the occurrence of events that happen at the same time by accident but seem to have some connection.”

Synchronicity is defined as “the coincidental occurrence of events and especially psychic events (as similar thoughts in widely separated persons or a mental image of an unexpected event before it happens) that seem related but are not explained by conventional mechanisms of causality.” This definition includes the note that this meaning of the term is “used especially in the psychology of C. G. Jung.”

I’ve been thinking about these terms because of something that happened to me last week on one of my evening walks.

I was about three-quarters of the way through my walk, on my way back to the apartment where I’m currently staying, when a car pulled up beside me. The woman behind the wheel lowered the passenger side window and said something I couldn’t hear because I hadn’t yet managed to silence the music streaming into my ears from my phone. I shut off the music, apologized, and she repeated her question: “Can you tell me where the Dunwoody Police Station is located? It’s supposed to be on this street.”

I told her I was new to the area myself, so I didn’t really know. But I asked if she had an address.

“It’s number 41,” she said.

I have been walking this same route for about six weeks now, and I had passed signs indicating numbers—41, 47, 53—but I hadn’t noticed anything about a Police Department.

41_47_53

“I think it’s on that side.” I gestured to the other side of the median that separated the opposing lanes of traffic. “Somewhere back in that park area.”

The woman thanked me, I wished her luck, and we both went on our way.

I had walked only about a block more when I found a driver’s license staring up at me from the sidewalk. At first I stepped over it and kept walking. “Some jogger just dropped it and will come back looking for it,” I thought. But then it occurred to me that the person might even live in my building, so I went back and picked up the license to check the address. It was from a neighboring county.

What should I do? I could mail the license to the indicated address, but I didn’t know if that was the best option. So I did what most plugged-in people would do. I took my phone out of my pocket and asked Google:  “What do I do with a found driver’s license?”

What do you think the answer was? Yep, you guessed it. Take the license to the police.

So I walked toward the nearest 41, 47, 53 sign and followed the bread crumbs to the Dunwoody Police Department, where I turned the license over to a smiling officer who thanked me for doing the right thing.

Police_Dept_Sign

Funny how things happen. The woman had stopped to ask me for help, but her question ended up helping me.

###

Connect with me:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

I am the author of the New Adult/Young Adult urban fantasy series, The Light-Bringer:

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I have also contributed stories (one fictional and one true) to the following volumes:

Undead of Winter Front Only Into the Storm Cover