Friday, April 5, 2013


Can you see the queen in this picture? Just take a moment to look for her. She's gorgeously golden, largely beautiful, and hard at work laying eggs.

This afternoon I spent a couple hours at the apiary on campus. I wore a smock with a hat-and-veil for protection, and I congratulated myself on not getting stung. Then on the drive home (not from my school, but from Mat's daycare!), a stray bee who apparently decided to hitch a ride with me/us discovered she did NOT want to be stuck in my hair anymore and stung the back of my neck.

I was thrilled! The sting was not any worse than a tattoo. I saw my first queen bee in action and learned a little something about beekeeping, a long-time fascination. I cupped a drowsy drone in my palm, ignored the agitated worker bees buzzing around my ears, and assisted in the splitting of a hive. A few years ago, I saw this film, Queen of the Sun, at the Seattle International Film Festival with a best friend. I already knew about Colony Collapse Disorder when I saw the film, but the documentary clarifies the potential for devastation, confirmed by this recent NY Times article. Do you love vegetables? Do you love almonds? Do you eat plant-based foods ever? This PSA is for you! Our crops are in danger. Crop monoculture is an enormous problem. I don't think backyard-schoolyard-churchyard apiaries are going to solve this dilemma, but they surely are a start.

I also taught Mona Caird's 1888 essay "Marriage" for the first time today, and it went very well. Oh, fin-de-siècle marriage debates. Sigh. All in all, today was a very good day-after-birthday. (And yesterday, the actual birthday, was less great, because I discovered a student had turned in this lousy paper as his own work. Somehow plagiarism is even worse when it's about one of one's most beloved novels.)