Was up at the old ranching homestead in Montana for a week. The bees now have two hives inside the walls of the house. One opens under the eave of the porch and is in the wall of the first floor guest bedroom- just where it was last time, back in the late 1990’s. By tapping the inside walls at about 5′ high I can tell it is about a 3 foot tall by 16″ wide honeycomb. An easier way to spot it is just noting that all the wallpaper in that area has peeled back. Who knows how much longer til they are inside the house.
Up high on the second story at the back of the house is another hive. The entrance spans about six vertical feet of corner where woodpeckers had opened multiple holes down the corner of the house. I didn’t go upstairs to see if they are inside the house or not, but since there are holes in the old ceiling up there, it is a good possiblity.
The bees are doing so well that a new colony emerged from the house, and made a temporary nest up in one of the willow trees in the yard while they scouted for a new site for their hive. If the house is getting too crowded with other hives, I’m sure they can find space in the tool shed, the barn, or any of the other out-buildings- but my money is on the house. Maybe in the chimney, since it doesn’t get use any more.
E & I brought the bikes and cycled along Belt Creek from Monarch up to the old mining town of Neihart for a cool drink at the little local “inconvenience store” as the sign proclaims, then a few miles further to see the waterfalls on the advise of a friendly white-bearded local, but our road shoes turned us back from the rocky 1/2 mile trail. Next time we’ll take tennis shoes along and see the falls.
It was a cold wet spring up there, and has been dry and heating up for the past six weeks- so the hay is short, and the grasses are parching out, but all the springs are running strong. E & I trimmed up the hedge on a cloudy morning, I triaged the broken gate (again), and mowed the dried up lawn & weeds after we both took turns trundling off cartfulls of horse-apples (the horses were the lawn-mowers earlier in the spring and last summer as well).
The land pushes hard on such an old place when no-one lives there.
Yesterday was a further sanity break: hiking in Bells Canyon. Elizabeth found the hike listed in the local paper’s “hike of the week”. This is a tight steep cirque valley between Big Cottonwood & Little Cottonwood Canyons (up where the ski areas are)- but this little gem opens straight into the valley. I have biked past the trailhead and not known it was there- it begins in a gated neighborhood near the valley floor. It is an exceptional little valley, the only places I can compare begin out of high parks in Colorado (Estes or Winter Park)- but the ecosystems here change fast from desert scrub to sage to scrub willow to Aspen and Pine woods wrapping far back into a tight sub-alpine hanging-valley with long waterfalls cascading from the surrounding cliff walls and a vigorous river washing the steep canyon with sound as it tumbles waterfall after waterfall after waterfall.
I left without breakfast, as walking Cmonster and treating her wound ate up time. I put a Pro-Bar in my camel-back, and some cherries, and headed out making the trailhead around 10am. I worked through the light-headed low-blood-sugar fits and ate up the miles instead. I burned down two pair of old recharable batteries taking movies of the various waterfalls with my little camera. I have posted a few of them on YouTube (the42the) and linked them to my facebook page, as I can’t seem to upload them here- it is worth a viewing if you like pretty waterfalls. I was so wound up with nature-giddies that I soon found myself in the high valley, broke off the fading trail and took the NW side of the river. The trail cuts to the other lower and saner side of the river- as I saw from up on a boulderfield on the opposite side. I trekked up the tight little valley with the river roaring along below me and two waterfalls cascading down the opposite side of the valley (the last few picts). There were lots of freshly crushed trees in the boulderfield I was moving through and snow up above- lots of snowmelt shifting things around. My disaster aversion alert had been moving from worried cricket to droning horsefly- so I took a break and finally had the snack bar for a much delayed 1pm breakfast, then began heading down.
It was hard to leave the moraine falls- where old glaciation had smoothed and rounded the granite bedrock with the river taking multiple forms as it slid over and flew off, but my own water level was getting low in the pack and the day was only getting hotter down there. Eventually the valley turned to a clear view of the vast Kennecot Copper Mine, Suburbia, the Great Salt Lake, and Antelope Island (with a dragonfly in the upper left corner). I made it back down to the hot desert flats just after I’d pulled down the last of my water. Before hitting the shower I stood on the scale- I’d dropped five pounds in water weight. I was a bit delerious with a blurring of time between years spent in the Colorado alpine wilderness and the day at hand.
I sculpted the original of this way back in 1998- the model held the pose for about two hours. In 2001 I made this Aluminum casting while casting a passel of other work for my MFA (she didn’t make the show). I put about twice as many gates & vents for the molten metal to flow in/air to flow out as she needed. I was seeing if I could get the aluminum to hit the mold hard/hot enough to achieve the flashing results I was pioneering in bronze. It didn’t work, as AL pours 1,000 degrees cooler than bronze, and is 10x lighter. I broker her out of her mold while she was still a few hundred degrees and the AL oxidized to a brilliant gold. This faded over the months she sat in my grad studio- I should have sprayed a soluvar coating on her as soon as she was cool enough. The gold is still apparent in her hair now, and the model had pretty blond hair. I liked all the crazy sprews hidden under her and intended to drill & tap the two biggest sprewbars and work out a way to base her. She didn’t fit for my MFA show, so I put her on the to-do list. This To-Do didn’t happen til today. She was pulled from a box about a year ago to remind me buy a drill/tap setup, and the drill/tap has been in the studio for a month now. Finally I had everything possible cleared off my plate today- after an 8 hour interview yesterday for an Arts Executive Director position, I really needed to do something that would have an immediate result (hard to come by in sculpture). So finally this little gal was able to anchor to a wall. She still needs a real base, rather than the cheap piece of scrap pine- but that will serve as a blank when I determine the final material. It would be nice if she could be rotated as well…