Alright, enough with the funny stuff! Determining that Hive #1 (as you may recall, the only surviving hive) was indeed queen-less, and that the population was rapidly declining, I started hunting for a queen.
For starters, when Daddy called the folks we buy our honey from, he inquired into the possibility of acquiring a queen from them (apparently, they do sell queens when they have them). No go.
With that option closed, I immediately went to the websites of two bee-supplier/supply shops within driving distance--one north, one south. I heard back from the northern most one first--no queens. I was a little disappointed, even though I did not really like them much the first time I had dealings with them--not that there is probably anything wrong with them, I just didn't "like" them, if that makes any sense. It was very odd since I don't normally have that reaction to people unless given a reason to dislike them. However, moving on.
I had, two years ago, attempted to buy a nuc from the second of these two companies--but since I got around to "putting myself on the list" too late I was unable to buy from them. So, knowing about them, I shot an email off and soon a reply came back: "I have two queens". YES!! (And ten bucks cheaper than the other place!)
The long and the short of it is, I made an appointment to go pick Her Majesty up at 2:30 this afternoon. Daddy and I left here at about 1:30 and due to a hang up at the gas-station we really left town at closer to 1:45. From there, we took another accidental fifteen to thirty minute detour due to "new roads" and a consequential wrong choice on the freeway. Oh...AND the wind. Horrendous straight winds of gale proportions requiring a slowing of driving speed.
At anyrate, we reached the place (in a beautiful residential neighborhood), and in under five minutes, I handed over $30 and walked away with a queen cage tucked inside Daddy's jacket to keep the wind off her ladyship and her maids on the short walk back to the car. (He had her because I had to dig my wallet out.)
The ride home was uneventful except for a pit stop at a gas-station where it was amusing to watch people nearly blown off their feet. I think Daddy drove about 45 all the way home.
It was snowing when we arrived, so I waited until the sun popped out again (it's been doing this on and off all days--sun--rain/snow/sleet--sun--repeat). Then I grabbed my hive tool, wrenched the cork out of the candy end of the queen cage, hurried out, pried up the hive body (in order to break the propolis free so I could slide the entrance reducer out), slid the queen cage in, put the entrance reducer back in and ran back inside.
I cannot remember if I have explained the re-queening process on here or not, but the basic idea is that you put the queen cage in, still closed up basically, and let the bees eat through the candy stopping up one end of the little box--thus giving both sides the time to acclimate to each other. I imagine my girls will be so happy to have royalty amongst them that they will eat her out rather rapidly (hopefully the cold will not hinder the process). However, if she is not out by tomorrow afternoon when I get home from church, I will go ahead and pry the wire off and let her out. I need babies fast.