Thursday, July 31, 2014

Monsieur M.'s Bees And Beehives

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Just two of my neighbor's beehives
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My daughter with bee keeper's hat and veil, ready to help Monsieur M. with his bees
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Monsieur M. getting the smoker ready.
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A few years ago, our neighbor here in the Auvergne started keeping a beehive in his garden.  Just like in the United States, honey bees have slowly disappeared in Europe and many, like my neighbor Monsieur M., are trying to lend a helping hand to ensure the bees'  survival.

Monsieur M. added five more hives in the past two years.  The reward for tending to his bees were 58 kilos of honey from the first hive alone this past September.  With any luck, he will have a lot more this year.

Last week, Monsieur M. needed a helping hand to relocate a colony of bees from one hive which only has four frames to a new hive, which has six frames.  Apparently,  he was afraid that without the two additional frames, there was a risk of the bees freezing during the winter because the bees can not keep each other warm enough f they are not densely packed in the hive.

My daughter Celina, who spent a few days with us here in France, immediately jumped at the chance of helping Mr. M.  She covered up from head to toe and then put on a very fetching bee keeper's hat and veil.  Her job was to direct the smoker at the bees.  The smoke makes the bees sleepy and easier to handle.

About a half hour later, the mission was accomplished without a single bee sting.  I am happy to report that the colony felt right at home in the new wooden hive and are back to business as usual, which is to buzz around our hill to pollinate all the flowers.

Thanks to Greg, Celina's Boyfriend, for documenting.




Monday, July 28, 2014

Once Again, Market Day In Ambert

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While I am writing this post, it is raining once again on our hill here deep in the Auvergne, France.  The temperature currently is 55 degrees and will drop to the 40s tonight.
However, this past Thursday was glorious, which was fortunate because it was market day in Ambert. By far, buying my produce at the market is one of my favorite things to do while I am here.  The markets move around during the week to other small towns, but the one in Ambert is the best, as far as I am concerned.
Stalls line the narrow, curved streets leading to the town's unique round town hall, in the center of town.  Vendors from all over the region sell their products. Over the past few years, more and more organic produce from small local farms are offered.  Amidst the cheese, eggs, fruit and vegetables, one can find almost any bric-a-brac. Even parrots and hopelessly outdated clothing items.

And if that is not enough, one can purchase a 5 Euro chamber pot.  It was the week's promotion at a local store along the market route.

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