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Farmette 1769

by Monica Melograna-Ward


Pics from November 10, 2018

It was a working weekend for me, and last Saturday evening’s activities revolved around the 17th wedding anniversary of my husband and I. I squeezed in a few photos and a last minute queen excluder topper project that day also. There was no time to edit pics or write a blog article.


This is what was happening last Saturday around 2 pm at 55 degrees, sunny and crisp. One lone girl wandered out to greet my potential invasion. The rest of the honey bees had retreated back into the recesses of the hive.


I popped the top off to check the added super box situation out around 6 pm, having discovered that the overnight temperature was going to drop below freezing. It was projected to be 28 degrees. I had forgotten all about insulating the empty space from the queen excluder, into the additional super, and up to the top cap.

So my poor husband had to wait for me to speed hack together a solution, before heading out for our celebratory dinner date.


A used board and a new 1″ x 2″ pine strip was available in the garage.


We have both a hobby sized table and miter saw. The board was chopped to size. The strip was cut for gap fill and a cup hook added for future removal. I was doing it on the fly – fast. I managed not to chop my fingers off.


When I opened the top of the hive again, the honey bee workers decided to come storming up through the queen excluder.


I put the make-shift excluder top on, took a photo, and placed two strips over those gaps. Then the bees came to get me, so there’s no pic of that step.


But here’s one of my big, loose jacket. It’s the one I threw off as I ran away from the hive. A bee had gotten up the sleeve. I didn’t get stung. I’ve only gotten stung 4 or 5 times since starting the hive and never really wearing any gear.


This pic is the only one from tonight, November 17th. It shows those stop gap wood strips. I’ll probably use the battery driven screwdriver to attach those to the main board with some type of braces. It does not now nor will it look pretty, but it’s doing its job. Our 55,000 honey bees are staying warm and toasty in their complex little world – all inside a bee box.



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After a few extra rough weeks here on Farmette 1769, I was thinking about the idea of stopping to smell the roses. I’ve done it in horrible life cycles before, but I thought of a way to really force it into my life to a higher degree.

I am a morning person that loves the still and quiet breaking of the dawn. It is not being welcomed by rooster crows right now. We had lost one during the early October onslaught of terrible events. Our remaining rooster, Hector, barely survived the second issue with the flock. I really don’t know how he survived. His comb had drooped and was not only pale pink, but also had a yellowish tinge to it.

But, Hector is running around full speed now, albeit lingering on the floor of the coop at night. I hope that he gets back to crowing soon. Either way, we’ll need to locate a second Swedish Flower rooster. It’s nice to have a back-up to help protect the flock. And, two crows are better than one.

But back to seizing the day, no matter what is going on in one’s own life; I started to take sunrise photographs. They are taken with just my iPhone. It’s quick-ish to do that. I can just edit with the light and color controls that come with my phone software. Then, posting right onto social media is easy.


October 16, 2018
Noles Drive

Weekdays start with the morning drop-off. It’s nice to have some car talk time with our teenage son. He rides the bus home from school and could do so in the am. But, it gets us both rolling for the day.

I started this new project on 10/16/2018. It’s a Monday through Friday, one final photo per day, type of thing.


October 17, 2018
Noles Drive / Side Street, Mount Holly, NC

I couldn’t decide between these two pics, so I posted one personally and one publicly.


October 18, 2018
Old NC 27 Hwy

This one was taken just across the way, in front of our neighbor’s horse field.


October 19, 2018
Noles Drive

At some point, the people that own the house (down the driveway from where I have been stopping) may grow weary of my visits. But they don’t seem to be home on weekdays, so I may be able to get away with this for a while.


October 22, 2018
Woods to the side of our house.


October 23, 2018
Railroad Tracks – Downtown Mount Holly


October 24, 2018
Noles Drive


October 25, 2018
E. Central Ave. & S. Lee St.


October 26, 2018
Catawba River, Mount Holly


October 29, 2018
Catawba River, Mount Holly


October 30, 2018
Willowside Drive

SR_103118October 31, 2018
Stockbridge Drive

I parked at the top of the drive at our son’s friends home. It had one of the best views on the street, and no one would think I was a stalker there. So, that is where I got out of my truck to take in the crisp, fall day aka Halloween.  It was my last October sunrise photograph for the year.

On the weekend following the last weekday of November, I plan to blog that whole month of pics in one fell swoop.

Next Saturday, I’ll stalk the honey bees.



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It’s 52 degrees Fahrenheit out tonight. I took these pics within an hour of when I started compiling this article – around 9 pm. The front entrance was very quiet, due to the weather cooling down into fall. No worker bee guards came to chase me off. I had to put my phone camera lens right up to the ledge; in order to get a shot back into where the bees were congregated.

There was not much activity, so I was going to use an alternate plan to make a boring blog post better. But, I’ll save that for a rainy day, since things got more interesting after I opened up the top/cap.

Without all the bees coming to get me, I realized that I could, with my bare hands, place my lens anywhere I chose, without getting stung. This clip looks down the back width between the farthest comb and the back wall of the wooden hive.


Then I re-positioned the lens, and got a view eyeballed down through the queen excluder mesh.

My big flood flashlight is being used to avoid blown out detail from the phone flash.

Then I took another video from that angle. All three clips caught busy bee sounds. And, I did not get attacked the whole time.


The two photographs are still shots from my excursion out to the hive.

It was a short trip out to the right hand sugar maple tree. It shades our honey bee hive and gives it a little bit of wind break. Albeit right out the front door and across the yard, it was akin to Gulliver’s Travels.

It was a wondrous adventure into the world of tiny creatures living a massive hidden city.



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Honey Bee Hive Front Entrance

It’s 56 Degrees Fahrenheit @ 10 PM. Sunday night into Monday morning, we will get our first freezing temperature of the season. That is when I plan to start feeding the masses sugar water syrup again.

As you can see, even at this temperature, our honey bees are no longer overflowing the front of their hive. They are hanging inside, keeping themselves and their queen toasty and warm.

102018_Bees _A

As anticipated I was able to get some close-up photos this Saturday.

102018_Bees _1

I popped the top off the hive and looked down onto the queen excluder mesh. This worker girl showed me her holster, ready to sting me at a moments notice.

102018_Bees _2102018_Bees _3

The extra super above this mesh, about a half of a regular hive high, is empty. I have not decided how to address this issue yet. I may build a drop-in top lid to keep the hive warm for winter, since the super is now glued edge to edge with the main hive; meaning that I can’t really take it off.

It is glued with whatever that orange-red substance is that the bees filled gaps with. I think it is nectar. Whatever it is, it sure acts like cement.

Short Clip – Inside Top View

That’s all until next Saturday! Have a great upcoming week!

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The crisp fall weather has arrived here in the Charlotte, NC region, and our honey bees are tucked into their hive; with a few guards wandering out to the ledge of the hive entrance.

The following photos are not breathtaking by any means. I am saving up for a Digital SLR Camera (My SLR is a late 1980’s Pentax Film Camera). These are taken with just an iPhone. And, my menace of a big, young dog (Barry) was pulling on his leash while I was trying to get a good shot.

But here is what I was able to manage within those parameters.









Maybe next week Barry will be sleeping and I can get an even closer close-up pic of a honey bee or two. I should probably pull out my old reliable Pentax, use that “through the lens” viewpoint and have some old school film developing done. I think I have some good Fuji 35mm spools around here somewhere…

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