Thursday, May 25, 2006

Paul's henhouse is better than ours.

Well, okay, maybe not better, necessarily, but it does look like he actually measured stuff and had real plans and all that. I had been inclined to think such things were overrated, but after spending two days digging into subsoil with a trowel because our site was much farther from level than we'd thought, I decided maybe we should consider having pretty detailed plans once we're ready to build an actual house. But the Olin P.T. Younger Memorial Chicken Fortress stands proud, and is certainly not going to be blown away by stray breezes. And once we paint it a delicate pink, no one will notice the miscut plywood.

I recently said to Odious that I didn't want to post about a particular incident because I wanted to keep this a book blog rather than an online journal. Well, since I really don't feel like posting about books today, I'll tell you about the latest farm adventures instead. The chicken fortress will indeed be done once we get around to painting it, and the chicks are due next week. And not only do we have a real bee hive, it's now filled with real bees! (Or at least it was on Monday; we have not heard to the contrary.) Odious and I picked up our little nucleus Monday morning--a gently buzzing wooden box that turned out to be not quite as well-built as one might hope. Fortunately only a few escapees met sad deaths before we got the crack covered and made the rest of our 1 1/2 hour journey safely.

Once at the farm, Odious cavalierly slung the bee veil over his head, scorning the sturdy yellow gloves provided with our starter kit from Dadant, and strode with manly purpose out to the hive. Prying the lid off the box, he stared down for a moment at the the three frames swarming with docile but nervous bees, then turned to me and said in a tone that he claims was not more high-pitched than usual, "Why don't you go get those gloves?"

Bees are not difficult creatures, but they don't like to be fussed with. Any dealings with them should be brief and assured, and beginning beekeepers are, understandably, anything but. Despite the croonings in French (don't ask me), the bees were somewhat disturbed by their transfer. I still have a red welt on my temple, and Odious, with more French, pulled seven stingers out of various extremities. He's still immoderately enamored of the petits soeurs, though he's decided to take them rather more seriously next time.

Our next project? Rabbit hutches, for those freakiest of animals. Odious drew up the plans yesterday during a store meeting, where he was also presented with a customer service award. His prize? A $50 gift card, which will certainly come in handy. And a medal. Yep, that's right. The kind that hangs round your neck. We're going to hang it in a place of honor. I'm just disappointed he didn't get a plaque.

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Ouch. That sounds painful. Is it worth it?

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