Sawyer and I took a couple hours to go ice fishing again. He caught and released a beautiful pickerel (or pickle as he called it).
Jen and I figured the bees would be flying Sunday, cleansing their hives, so we went down to the field to watch them do their thing. Sadly 2 of the three hives seem to have given in to this past month‚Äôs extended cold snap. There was plenty of honey but the hives just couldn‚Äôt sustain the warmth required to keep the poor creatures from freezing. We opened things up to see how their food supply was and they seemed to have plenty of honey still untouched. We wrap the hives in black tar paper to help keep them dry and to give them a little solar gain on the coldest days. It seemed to make a difference last year but we did not have this 4 week cold snap a year ago. We try to do things as organically as possible but we have discovered that there are a host of challenges to bees besides the cold. Despite how healthy they may look in the fall we just never can tell. The one remaining hive, one original from 5 years ago, was just humming and many bees were ‚Äútaking out the trash‚Äù as noted by the bee carcasses and brown spots on the snow. So goes the cycle of life. We will start again this spring with fresh nucs and hope for the best once again. As we taste the sweetness of their honey we taste with a renewed reverence for the life force that they put into this gift. Honey, like windjammer vacations, is not just about warm summer days. There is a whole winters worth of energy that makes the sweetness of summer possible.
Have a great day. Be well. Do good.