Showing posts from 2018

It’s Spring Somewhere

We’ve been socked with three nor'easters in two weeks, all of which resulted in snow that canceled school. We also lost power for a couple days, which is not at all fun in the middle of winter. 
So I was very happy to ditch the crummy weather and head south to North Carolina for the weekend. They’re a good six to eight weeks ahead of us when it comes to the ground warming, so my trip to Reynolda Gardens in Winston-Salem was a hint of what is eventually to come this spring. Enjoy!

It was nice to be reminded of green grass, pansies and daffodils, but I did have to return to an additional 18 inches of snow at the end of my trip. Sigh. 
Did I mention there’s a possibility of another nor’easter next week? March is the new February, it seems.

Bee Check

We had an incredibly warm day last week — 75 degrees in February! — which was perfect for checking in on the bees. You can’t open the hive when it’s colder than about 55 degree for risk of chilling them, but they were all out and about enjoying the weather anyway, so we dove in.

As suspected, the hive of bees that swarmed is still going strong, but the ones left behind in the original hive didn’t make it. I moved the mouse guard away from the door of the good hive to allow the bees access to all three entrances, and this gave them more room to start bringing out the dead.

One of the more disconcerting things about a wine hive is that the bees can’t break free of their tight cluster when it’s cold, or they’ll freeze to death. That means that chores like carrying dead bees out of the hive have to wait until spring.

There are a lot of dead bees in there.

Still, as soon as I moved the door, they started carrying out little bee corpses. I also put out some extra sugar water for them, whic…

Cleansing Flights

This has been a strange winter as far as temperatures go, and we’ve been bouncing between thaws and deep freezes throughout the season. On days when the temperature gets up to about 55 degrees, the honeybees will relax their tight cluster sine they don’t need to stay warm together, and they’ll leave the hive to fly around a bit.

These are known as cleansing flights, and it lets them stretch their wings and get a little fresh air for a bit while they can. Three weeks ago we had a day in the 50s — and with sun, to boot. The bees from our swarmed hive were out and about, enjoying the fine weather! 
There were no signs of life at the other hive, and it didn’t feel quite warm enough to open them up to have a look. The next time we have a day when the temperature is above 55 degrees, I’ll take a peek inside to check the honey situation. I’m not convinced that there’s enough food in either hive for a whole winter, but if the weaker colony has already died, I can look for any used honey stor…

Desert Blooms

Last week I took a much-needed vacation to Palm Springs, California. Since that’s in the warm desert where it never freezes, there were plenty of flowers to enjoy. It was great see so much color when all we have here at home is gray and brown. 



Trumpet creeper



Jasmine (maybe?)

January Thaw

It’s been a truly strange stretch of weather around here this month. After a nearly two-week cold snap with temperatures bottoming out below zero after Christmas and stubbornly refusing to get above 20 for a good 10 days, we had a rebound that ended in a couple bizarrely humid, 60-degree days. Add several inches of rain to that, and this is all that’s left of the blizzard:

Alas, not everyone made it through the cold spell. Kirk found Louisa Catherine dead in the chicken run the other day. As with our other chicken deaths, there are no clues about what happened. Chickens die suddenly and — as far as we know — quietly. 
If you’re not sure which chicken was Louisa Catherine, that’s because she never did anything noteworthy enough to mention. She was a gold-laced Wyandotte and cute as a chick:  

She wasn’t a great layer, and I think she was the only chicken who could tolerate Lizzy’s craziness. She mostly kept to herself and was pretty far under our radar. 

Louisa Catherine is the one in…