Wednesday, April 30, 2008

School and Bees

Today Teuta and Rubis came down and picked us up (the school teachers from the north side). They wanted Trinda to come to the primary school to show the kids about folding paper airplanes, fans and finger puppets. She also made a double batch of chocolate chip cookies and took some of my old line to make jump ropes. Everything was a hit. There are now paper planes all over the school grounds. They knew about jump rope, but usually twist 2 pandanas tree roots together to make a rope. Trinda made them
promise that the ropes would stay at the school and not go to a fisherman! Ha! Rubis locked them up in the school office.

We had given her some seeds and cuttings of sweet potato eyes. She is having the school board build a fence in front of her classroom for a garden. Otherwise the pigs would eat the plants. We also had started an avacado tree from a seed. She has it too, ready for when the garden fence is finished and some more dirt is brought in. She had a melon, she called a watermelon, that was almost ripe. Trinda showed her how to tell. She picked one and gave it to us. It is a cross between a cantaloupe and
a honey dew. It was really sweet.

They made lunch for us. Rubis has trained her chickens to come when she calls. She beats an old coffee can on the porch then feeds them a little rice. She caught one and boiled it special for us. It was again tough, but tasty. She also had rice, fried bread fruit, boiled pumpkin (a sort of local squash) and they opened a cold can of corned beef. We ate and smiled.

There was a large tree leaning over the teacher cottages and the end of the soccer field. The teachers wanted it cut down. It also had a large bee hive high up in it. So they cut it down yesterday. Teuta tried to get the bees in the Top Bar Hive last night. He was unsuccessful. The kids were throwing rocks at the bees, so they weren't calm. They asked for my help. "I know nothing about bees!", I said, but went along anyway. We lite some coconut husks for smoke and went close to look. After the kids
got back the bees calmed down some. The hive was broken up some. We sat the hive box close to the hive and started trying to get parts of it in. That made the bees mad! About the third try they really took after Teuta. They got in his hair and stung him several times on the head. It didn't seem to phase him much though. Finally we leaned the box over and I got a long branch. I pulled and poked the hive till it was sorta in the box as we up righted it. They were mad again. This time one stung me on
the forearm. I was holding a burning coconut husk (it had quit smoking so it wasn't doing any good). The only thing I could think of was to brush off the bee with it. Black arm! No burn, just charcoal all down my arm. I put a little mud on it and it didn't swell much. We had about half of the hive in the box. We let the bees settle down again, then I started putting the bars on top. I finally got all but 8 inches of the top closed then put on the top plywood over it and the remaining open part. We
left them alone for an hour or so. I went to the school well and washed off my arm. Just a little sore, not much damage I guess.

It looks like most of the bees are staying in the box. Maybe we succeeded in getting the queen. Only time will tell. I told Teuta to return at sundown. And check if more bees are in the box than out on the old hive. If they are then finish putting the top bars on, close it all the way up then take the have back to his house and put it where he wants it.

I am anxious to see if they stay. I am considering borrowing a bike and peddling the 5 miles out there tomorrow just to see. I forgot to take the camera out of my pocket till the action was all over. I got a few pictures of the box beside the old hive but that's all.

On the way back, his cousin stopped by the end of the old airplane runway and showed us the cannon pointing out to sea left from WWII. I was surprised it was still here. I hadn't realized that the war affected islands this far east.

It was a long day.

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