Oh happy, happy day. Well, compared to what it could have been anyway. Josh’s grandfather owned a pest control company and he worked there as a kid, through college, and right up until he became a cop. He knew exactly what to do but it has been several days of work.
Rather than taking the siding off the outside of the house we’ve taken the old cedar paneling off the inside of the attic. There was no insulation and the hive was relatively new, probably just one season’s worth, and small so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Josh even helped to relocate some of the hive by capturing the queen and most of her court with a shop vac, taking some of the honey and comb, and depositing them in a hollow oak tree in the woodlot. I feel bad about that but not so bad that I’m going to put Feena at risk.
Getting rid of the bees was actually the easy part; it was cleaning up their mess that was a challenge. We disturbed some of the comb when we took off the paneling and gooey, warm honey dripped even further down between the walls almost to the first floor. We had suspected it but began to be sure of it when Josh pushed on the crown molding and baseboard of the room directly beneath that part of the attic and heard a kind of sticky sound like something was tacky behind them. We had to take both off but luckily there was only dribs and drabs in a couple of places and we got most of it by taking down the trim and the molding from around the window on that wall.
Josh also showed us how to save what honey that we could since he didn’t use pesticides to get rid of the bees and there was no insulation in the walls so no particles to worry about in the gooey stuff. I guess you just never know about some people. We got eighty pounds of honey alone from that one small hive and that didn’t include the waxy combs. I wanted to pay Josh for his help but he got all offended.
“Don’t be hard headed. You may be Cal’s friend but that doesn’t mean your expertise hasn’t been valuable. You certainly saved me a ton of cash. You even managed to remove the bees without killing all that many of them. They’ve probably been pollinating my trees and garden and I’d hate to lose the free labor.”
Josh crossed his arms and just looked at me. “You’re trying to make me feel bad.”
I told him archly, “I’m trying to have my own way.”
My honesty startled a laugh out of him. “All right already. Then how about giving me some of this honey and comb and we’ll call it even.” I wasn’t going to argue with a good barter deal like that.
Josh did not strike me as the most useful person the first few times I met him. He comes off as a bit of an oversized goof but then again I think some people think of Cal the same way. They are way handier to have around than you might guess. Shows you can’t always judge someone on initial meeting or short acquaintance.
The bee wall also happens to be the one that faces east and gets the most sun. Cal and Josh talked me into letting them inject pre-expanded foam insulation into that wall. It worked so well that we’ll likely do the other exterior walls as well when we’ve saved up a bit more money. The only thing that I didn’t like was all the holes they drilled. The attic was OK since it was just cedar paneling over cypress framing and the paneling could be reused with only a few minor repairs. Second floor also wasn’t too bad since it is easy to repair drywall. First floor? That is the problem; it’s real lime plaster on slats and can be a pain to fix if it cracks. I should know, I was playing downstairs when I was ten and rough housing with one of Papa’s dogs that wasn’t supposed to be in the house. We knocked over a table that then hit the wall and created a big dent with a running crack. In addition to lots of extra chores I had to help repair the mess I had made. Taught me real fast that rough housing was NOT something you do inside, a lesson I’ve never forgotten even to the point of cringing when I see other people doing it in their homes.
One of the reasons I loved the bungalow was that it reminded me so much of my old home; it had real plaster walls too except in the bathroom which was green board. In a way I am sad that it has been torn down but I have a feeling it would not have survived the winds that went through the Ybor area during the hurricane. Many of the historical structures near downtown sustained heavy damage; to the point that some of the older homes in the area simply have to be bulldozed down. I’m not sure how far they have gotten in the clean-up efforts; the news media seems to be focused on the more affluent areas of town. I hear it is a lot like what happened after hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. Even though I miss the cultural flavor of the area and the unique people, I’m glad I don’t live there. It would have been nice to visit but everything has to change eventually. There are very few real constants in life.